~ Friday, August 1 ~
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Joy Williams

What a story is, is devious. It pretends transparency, forthrightness. It engages with ordinary people, ordinary matters, recognizable stuff. But this is all a masquerade. What good stories deal with is the horror and incomprehensibility of time, the dark encroachment of old catastrophes—which is Wallace Stevens, I think. As a form, the short story is hardly divine, though all excellent art has its mystery, its spiritual rhythm.

- Joy Williams (from The Paris Review)

Tags: joy williams the paris review interview
~ Wednesday, July 30 ~
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Why All Our Literary Pursuits Are Useless by Mary Ruefle

Eighty-five percent of all existing species are beetles and various forms of insects.

English is spoken by only 5 percent of the world’s population.

Tags: mary ruefle madness rack and honey essay
1 note
~ Friday, July 25 ~
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"Bush League" in Barrelhouse 13

I have a short story in Barrelhouse's Comedy Issue. Here’s the first paragraph:

The city had given Ruckledge his name, and now he wanted out. A clean break. Three decades of professional baseball, as both a player and a coach, and what did he have to show for it? Two botched marriages (three, if you counted the attorney in his second divorce, a union annulled soon after the boozy nuptials). He was all but estranged from his children, and the friendships he had forged early in his playing career were foundering with time and distance. Ruckledge could feel his body circling before its final descent. Already his prostate would flare up at certain times during the day (evenings, mostly), and he needed only to walk a few blocks before his legs seized in an act of recalcitrance. When a former teammate by the name of Pendergraph, during an autograph session at a downtown shopping mall, offered Ruckledge use of his lakeside property for the summer, he accepted. It would give him the chance to sample life outside of the city limits.

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(Email me to read an alternate version of the story.)

Tags: barrelhouse short story comedy fiction lit
1 note
~ Tuesday, July 22 ~
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~ Tuesday, July 15 ~
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Amy Feldman

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I think many artists of my generation are interested in how information is received and forwarded. We are in an age of information and I feel like I am on constant overload—one step behind or ahead of the latest. The recurring urgent message creates perpetual anxiety. It’s a normalized anxiety that becomes funny because it’s so ubiquitous and habitual. For me, painting is one way to distill and export. Sometimes I think my paintings are like big headlines, each one a container for its own bit of information. They are pretty direct, printed in boldface, per se, but also quiet and loaded. As pictures, they function singularly, but if you see enough of them you’ll get more of the whole story—it’s a sincere tale, but a parody at the same time, one that chronicles my tragic and comic love affair with painting.

- Amy Feldman

Tags: amy feldman painting art
~ Wednesday, July 9 ~
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Three Condensed Hemingway Stories

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Three Condensed Hemingway Stories

"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" (1933)

"The Old Man at the Bridge" (1938)

"Hills Like White Elephants" (1927)

Tags: hemingway short stories art
3 notes
~ Sunday, June 29 ~
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1 note
~ Wednesday, June 25 ~
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Robert Adams

The notable thing, it seems to me, about great pictures is that everything fits. There is nothing extraneous. There is nothing too much, too little, and everything within that frame relates. Nothing is isolated. The reason that becomes so moving is that the artist finally says that the form that he or she has found in that frame is analogous to form in life. The coherence within that frame points to a wider coherence in life as a whole. Why is that important? I think art is the sworn enemy of nihilism. And nihilism is a great downward tug that we all feel.

- Robert Adams

Tags: robert adams photography art quotes
1 note
~ Wednesday, June 18 ~
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1 note
~ Monday, June 16 ~
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If I Would Leave Myself Behind

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Interview (and audio!) with Lauren Becker at Two Birds One Stoned

Tags: lauren becker jess stoner if i would leave myself behind two birds one stoned lit
1 note
~ Thursday, June 5 ~
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Understudies Available for $6 Through 0s&1s

Newly launched retailer/publisher 0s&1s is selling digital packages of popular independent titles for only $6. Inaugural offerings include Hill William by Scott McClanahan, Even Though I Don’t Miss You by Chelsea Martin, A Moody Fellow Finds Love and Then Dies by Douglas Watson, A Jello Horse by Matthew Simmons, Pee on Water by Rachel B. Glaser, my novel Understudies, and a whole bunch more awesome stuff. 

Tags: 0s&1s better option than amazon lit
3 notes
~ Monday, June 2 ~
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Understudies Reviewed at Necessary Fiction

Claudia Smith reviewed Understudies for Necessary Fiction:

Reading Understudies is something akin to binge watching The Office all alone, during a transitional period in your life, with a cheap air conditioning window unit blasting to keep the night heat out.

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Tags: understudies claudia smith necessary fiction review lit
2 notes
~ Sunday, June 1 ~
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Wigleaf Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions 2014

Super honored to have my story “Feats of Strength" selected for the Wigleaf Top 50. Erin Fitzgerald and Ben Loory have put together an incredible reading list (one that should keep me busy for the next few weeks).

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Tags: wigleaf top 50 tin house very short fiction lit
3 notes
~ Tuesday, May 20 ~
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Stanley Crawford

The writing of fiction, when it is going well, is an exercise in joy, in figuring out how to love the world, at least imaginatively, with the illusion that yes, imaginatively, you can encompass and understand its entirety. An illusion, to be sure, a too brief illusion. Yet that, the imagination, is what is best about us as a species. Or best, most agonizing, most destructive. Fiction can net at least some of this.

- Stanley Crawford interviewed at BOMB

Tags: stanley crawford bomb magazine interview quote
1 note
~ Thursday, May 15 ~
Permalink Tags: kerry mansfield expired photography