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Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

Paul A. Toth

My Siamese Twin

November 6th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

This has been what I call the Year of Ice. Colder than a shaved polar bear. Sayonara 2009. It’s been a year of pills, pills and more pills, until finally I seem to have reached some kind of treaty with bipolar disorder, which barely warrants discussion given that virtually everyone is now diagnosed as bipolar. Still, it’s important to note that when I write “ice,” I mean anxiety, yet when I write “anxiety,” I do not describe all attributes of “ice.” (more…)


Ronlyn Domingue

My Horrible New York Times Review

November 3rd, 2009
by Ronlyn Domingue

NEAR 91 DEGREES LONGITUDE-

Here’s the good news. My first novel was reviewed by the New York Times.

Here’s the bad news. It was a horrible review.

I do not hyperbolize. It was really bad. So that you understand how terrible it is, I’ve included it entirely as the next full paragraph. Please feel free to gasp, snicker, or laugh aloud at any time during my cautionary tale, even if you think you shouldn’t. Release the humours. It’s healthier that way.

Fiction Chronicle, Sunday, November 20, 2005. The Mercy of Thin Air (Atria Books)

Domingue’s first novel is like “The Lovely Bones” minus the lovely prose;

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Paul Clayton

Writing From the Gut!

October 29th, 2009
by Paul Clayton

SAN FRANCISCO-

I recently flew south to do a piece for Poets & Writers magazine about a rather unorthodox writers camp. Called The Write Stuff, it’s run by a writer named Rock Adams. Ever hear of him?

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Suzanne Burns

Diary of a First Book, Entry 4: Still Loving Morrissey and Shopping at the Gap

October 23rd, 2009
by Suzanne Burns

BEND, OR-

Don’t ever agree to your book being published if you have a fear of public speaking. I can say that, over the past five months, I have almost completely conquered this fear. I have beaten it out of myself. My husband has stood by, helplessly watching the self-berating, doling out the necessary Kleenex and gelato cups, weighing in on every outfit I’ve tried on. My vain (in more ways than one) attempt at looking just the right combination of serious literary writer and hot-ass bitch has culminated in committing the worst of sins: I bought a black T-shirt from the Gap.

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Tom Hansen

The International Tom Lifetime Arts Grant

October 22nd, 2009
by Tom Hansen

SEATTLE, WA

Want time to write that masterpiece? Well now there’s a solution.

The International Tom Lifetime Arts Grant

Applicants [artists, writers, etc.] from all nations should adhere to the following guidelines;

  1. Chop off your leg [or inflict some other significant permanent physical harm to yourself that your government classifies as a disability] Think twice before chopping off your hand—it will probably be needed for your art.

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Paul Clayton

IeBAF 2001

October 10th, 2009
by Paul Clayton

SAN FRANCISCO-

You’re a writer, right? You’ve been writing for eight years, ten years, fifteen… and you’ve had a few small successes. But not with ‘the book,’ the one you poured your heart into over the years, the one that is not merely an entertainment, but is true, containing the essence of yours and others’ experiences, and the little bit of insight it all gave you. You’ve submitted it to the big New York houses hundreds (sometimes it seems like thousands) of times… with no result other than enough rejection slips to stuff a queen sized mattress.

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Peter Schwartz

Heart VS. Head

October 8th, 2009
by Peter Schwartz

AUGUSTA, ME-

In my worst moments, when I’m awake and shouldn’t be, when I feel as though I am merely surviving this life, I think: what am I? I don’t know what I am but I do know a little about the habits of the creature that is me. Maybe the most important duality I inhabit is that between focusing on my mind and focusing on my heart. When I’m in my mind, I’m serious, possibly a little cranky, and doing something useful like accepting my next friend on Facebook. When I’m in my heart, I’m either writing my next new poem or practicing one of my more inspired hobbies like autoerotic asphyxiation or Reiki. (more…)


Tyler Stoddard Smith

How to Write, Or Not

October 4th, 2009
by Tyler Stoddard Smith

AUSTIN, TX-

They tell me you should write about what you know. I’ve always had a problem with that. I may know some things other people don’t, but in writing that down, what good does that do me? Not much. I already know it. I want to write about things I don’t know about. I want to learn things about what I don’t think, how people I don’t know don’t act and why. Perhaps I say this because I don’t know much. I know a lot of facts about arcane things, but I already know them and I already know that nobody, unless they are short of Trivial Pursuit cards, wants to hear that kind of bilge. However, I don’t know one thing that I think will serve me well in my writing career: I don’t know how to write.

(more…)


Simon Smithson

Decompressing from TNB - LA

October 3rd, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

I’d been warned about Los Angeles. They (the same ‘they’ in ‘That’s what they say’) warned me that it’s a city where people smile at your face and stab you in the back; that the whole town only exists to exploit people of youth, beauty, and talent; that everyone there is obsessed with making money, making their cut, and then getting out of Dodge as fast as their new Lexus can carry them.

People characterised the city as soulless, shallow, and desperate for a quick buck.

Why people thought they should warn me, I’m not really sure. Because it sounded like I’d fit right in.

But seriously - LA, man. Now that’s a fun town. (more…)


Tony DuShane

With Love, Nick Cave

September 29th, 2009
by Tony DuShane

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-

Does Nick Cave know about my love life?

I found out my wife was cheating on me. Not the greatest feeling in the world after a decade of marriage. I admit, there were times when I met another attractive woman and thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I could just…but I put that thought right out of my mind and went home a committed guy.

Not that sex was the only thing to the petit mess that our marriage was. There was me, the writer, and what she thought the writing life style would bring her.

When we dated, I was the quirky artist guy. She thought listening to Nirvana made her alternative and Nora Roberts was literature. (more…)


Greg Olear

This Is My First Novel

September 29th, 2009
by Greg Olear

NEW PALTZ, N.Y.-

Today is the official release date of Totally Killer, my first novel.

That’s what my oh-so-brief bio leads you to believe, anyway. “This is his first novel,” it says, as if I’d suddenly decided, after floundering about for the first thirty-five years of my life, to bang out a book, and a few months later, voilà.

As Hemingway concluded in his first novel, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” (more…)


Suzanne Burns

Diary of a First Book, Entry 3: Voodoo Doughnuts and First Loves

September 28th, 2009
by Suzanne Burns

BEND, OR-

I have learned many things over the past few months of book touring. Number one, grabbing a book-buying audience’s attention in the summer months is like convincing me that Dan Brown, or Stephen King, is a good writer. Number two, if you read in a venue where they make maple-bacon doughnuts, they will come. Number three, there is no other bookstore like Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon. (more…)


Paul Clayton

Thoughts on Publishing and PR, Marketing, and Other Dirty Tricks!

September 17th, 2009
by Paul Clayton

SAN FRANCISCO-

I’ve been thinking a lot about book titles lately. My first published book (not the first book I’d written, but the first I’d sold), Calling Crow, had originally been titled by me as Cacique. Envisioned as a historical thriller, ala Clavell’s Shogun, I put a lot of thought into the title.

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Ben Loory

Tarnishment of the Living Apparatus

September 15th, 2009
by Ben Loory

LOS ANGELES, CA-

There is no point to this. The point is that I’m getting sick. I just noticed it an hour ago. Suddenly I am blowing my nose. Out of nowhere. And now feeling a little wonky. So I took some vitamin C and ate about 14 pounds of sautéed spinach and now I am sitting here waiting to die. If the pig flu gets me tell them I was an okay guy. Kind of quiet and not very good at tennis, but basically decent.
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Richard Cox

A Thousand Words: Emergence - From Simple Lessons Arise Unexpected Results

September 15th, 2009
by Richard Cox

TULSA, OK-

The first memory I have of my father is my earliest image of anything, a thunderous voice demanding I finish some long-forgotten meal. I was still in a high chair then, and the world was binary, black and white, yes or no. Mostly no. If you were uncertain about whether a particular action was permissible, you didn’t have to wait long to find out. The loud voice made the world exceedingly simple.

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David S. Wills

A Thousand Words: Wilderness Kicks

September 14th, 2009
by David S. Wills

BIG SUR, CALIFORNIA -

I used to work on an organic farm in California, living in a barn full of horses and riding tractors through fields under the warmth of a gentle fall sun. I was a Beatnik then more than now – among hippies and flower children, believing everything I was told and digging all the world in some glorious young innocence.

I was obsessed with Kerouac and Ginsberg, and with the notion of wilderness. I read too much for my own good; my head full of dreams and naïve thoughts. I’d read Into the Wild, a lot of London and some Thoreau. I was obsessed with Big Sur and becoming free of the constraints of humanity. I loved the idea of the writer disappearing into nature.

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Paul Clayton

Smiley Face Fiction

September 13th, 2009
by Paul Clayton

SAN FRANCISCO-

I sent one of my stories to a so-called literary magazine and got back the strangest rejection letter I’ve ever received — and I’ve been doing this for over thirty years. I’d never heard of The @$$!@# Reader until the night I picked up (but didn’t buy) a copy at my local Borders where I go with my daughter, D, every Wednesday afternoon. (more…)


Alexander Chee

Why Must the Novel Be Boring?

September 11th, 2009
by Alexander Chee

AMHERST, MA -

Yesterday, in my Fiction II class, as the students introduced themselves I asked them to speak about what they’d been reading over the summer. One student impressively admitted to reading both Underworld and Infinite Jest. Another, though, shyly said she was reading YA novels.

“I suspect they’re more fun,” she said.

“To read or to write,” I asked.

“Both,” she said.

“Well,” I said, “I think it has something to do with what Doris Lessing said once about 20th century literature, that it was a long cry of pain.” (more…)


Autumn Kindelspire

Over the Rainbow

September 2nd, 2009
by Autumn Kindelspire

NEW YORK, NY-

“Butterfly in the sky / I can go twice as high”

While television was never favored in my childhood home, I do remember watching Reading Rainbow. Even after my reading level surpassed the books reviewed on the show, I always enjoyed watching. Reading Rainbow just had so many good things going for it. Notice how I’m speaking in past tense? Had. PBS is canceling the show.

(more…)


Richard Cox

You spin me right round (like a record baby)

August 20th, 2009
by Richard Cox

TULSA, OK-

In fiction, one common and generic way to refer to well-drawn, realistic characters is to call them “round.” As in:

…characters as described by the course of their development in a work of literature. Flat characters are two-dimensional in that they are relatively uncomplicated and do not change throughout the course of a work. By contrast, round characters are complex and undergo development, sometimes sufficiently to surprise the reader.

2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. (more…)