Tuesday, March 4, 2014

sing from a woman's perspective

Whoa it's been a long time since I wrote here.

The western is done and laid out as well as it can be for now. I'll be emailing the printer shortly to let them know that it's that time again. I'm working on a couple of other projects as well, and I made a short little e-chapbook of poems that I'll post on this site later on.

I've been reading a bit as well: finally finished The Wind-Up Girl, and read Gabe Durham's Fun Camp after that. I also read Chelsea Hodson's chapbook, Space Camp, because I felt like I was on a roll with books named "[x] Camp" and didn't want to stop. I can't tell whether or not I was being guided by pangs of nostalgia for a more innocent-yet-hormonal time. It's not like I spent a significant amount of time at camp. I only went once, really.

Anyway, I don't have the energy for more in-depth reviews of either thing, so I'll just say that both Fun Camp and Space Camp were good, even if they suffered from the common indie lit phenomenon of ending just as they're getting interesting. This is especially true of Space Camp.

Wind-Up Girl was awesome aside from where it followed the unfortunate spec. fic. trend of making the central female character a beautiful prostitute. I mean yeah sex sells books and all but it's just weird when so many books fall into that same rut.

It's also impossible to complain about this without sounding like a prude. Whatever.

Good lord I am tired.

Monday, December 30, 2013

the high-quality format of your choice

How did I lose track of this thing for two months? Jesus.

Well, I do have some things to report. I am finished with the layout for MY NAME IS HATE, aka the sad bleak Western I wrote this year, and the cover is just about done. It'll be sent off to the printer soon enough, and then I will begin the strange and arduous process of selling it to people. I feel like I should have some kind of online store or an Etsy or something, but at this point I feel like I'd sell just as many books with the informal, bass-ackwards process I currently have. I would like to tour this book around a bit, though.

I also made myself a Tumblr: cops on vacation

I also also made myself a fancy e-chapbook of a short story I wrote during my MFA. It's called "We Suck," but it does not suck. My writing has come quite a long way since this was written, but I've always liked this story and since no one's interested in publishing it, I did this:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

the media broke it

I keep meaning to talk about John Dermot Woods' Activities here, and I keep forgetting because I am the worst.

It's also hard for me to really review comics because I don't have much experience creating them, and the fact that I can't draw means I can't really say much about the visuals. I pretty much just enjoy comics on a superficial level unless the writing is really good.

Lucky for me, John's comics all benefit from solid writing and concepts that don't feel like random indie comic wackiness; even when I don't quite understand the point of what he's doing, I'm aware that there is a point. If nothing else, I admire his ability to start with something very basic and tangible and twist it into something surreal without losing the original charm.

Basically, think of each comic as a piece of flash fiction broken up into panels and told primarily through images instead of words and you have this book.

(Sidenote: Baltimore is something of an indie comics hub, and most of them aren't very good - I feel like too many indie comics use post-modernism as a shortcut because whoever's writing them can't come up with good jokes or anything of import to say.)

I'm also a fan of the multiple drawing styles in John's book. which goes from really cartoony to impressive, if simple, realism. I feel like each entry in the book lets the story dictate how it was drawn, and I like that approach. Honestly, I wish more mainstream comics would take that approach.

Anyway, I'm rambling, but I really did enjoy Activities. There were times when it felt more like an exhaustively illustrated short story collection than an indie comic book, and I mean that as a compliment.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

how does one spell halloweiner

I finally got into Lorrie Moore's Birds of America, which I've had lying around for a while, and there's something very quaint about it. Lorrie probably won't like that, but there's no other word for someone in 2013 reading about what are essentially bored 1990s suburban adults whinging about their aging parents and career problems and affairs. All the women have difficult mothers, all the men are bumbling sitcom dads, and a not-insignificant amount of characters have jobs where they travel around teaching people things. I keep picturing every one of her characters as my parents.

What I'm getting at is this: there are a lot of obvious patterns and multi-story threads in Lorrie Moore's collection, and that's not bad, but I did catch myself thinking "what, this again?" when I encountered yet another awkward mother/daughter scenario. Of course, I'm sure people who read my collection had the same thoughts (something like "oh great ANOTHER isolated sad narrator"), but maybe in some way that familiarity works for short story collections. Maybe a collection of totally random stories with no connections between them is too jarring and thrown-together for readers to get into.

So, yeah. Thinking about things is good.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

engage in fast-paced tasks

I'm still here.

Haven't been writing as much as I'd like, due to some motivation issues and trouble keeping up at work. I've been reading about executive function disorder and dyspraxia, and the symptoms for both sound eerily similar to problems I've had over the course of my life.

Haven't done much reading lately either, which is bad because I have books to review, but again, motivation. I think more writers go through periods like this than most of us are comfortable admitting, despite the general attitude that writers should write in every spare moment they have and anyone who falters at the gallows, even for a second, isn't fit to be a True Writer.

Horseshit, says I.

That said, I need to get back on the horse and continue my work. Since I probably won't be getting much sleep tonight, maybe I can put some of that time to productive use.