Recommended Reading #4

  1. “The Village with All of the Boyfriends” by Zachary Doss
  2. “The Murder Sounds” by Amy Silverberg
  3. “How to Spend Your Time Before the Renegade Planet Makes It All Go Dark” by Justin Lawrence Daugherty
  4. “Grief as Mythos” by Brandon Taylor
  5. “Let’s Not Begin” by Maggie Smith
  6. “How the End Begins” by Cynthia Cruz
  7. “Ten Step Tulpamancy” by Kia Groom
  8. “Beach City” by Jaquira Díaz
  9. The Best Small Fictions 2015, edited by Robert Olen Butler
  10. The Bad Cover Letter Generator, built by Kendra Fortmeyer, which generates extremely professional cover letters for the aspiring writer (give it a whirl!)

Pugnacious Boy

A poem of mine, “Pugnacious Boy,” has been published in the newest issue of Permafrost. It’s dedicated to Donnie Marsh, a friend of mine and writing partner who died from an overdose three years ago. We met on Livejournal back when I was in high school. His apt handle on there was “a_pugnaciousboy.” He was a very controversial figure in publishing – if you Google him, you will see him ranting on various writing forums. People appreciated his bluntness, but he lacked professional tact to get ahead in an industry where that kind of thing really matters. He was an extremely prickly person with lots of demons. People who knew him exclusively online (myself included) weren’t even aware of his problems with addiction. Nonetheless, he was always encouraging me to write and told me he’d publish my first collection of stories once he started his own press. He was an incredible memoirist himself, with aspirations of either being a great literary agent or publisher someday. It’s a shame his demons finally won. I miss our conversations. I’d like to think he’d appreciate this poem.

I’ve been reviewing editors at the Review Review who publish hybrid and “alternative” literature. There’s my interview with Threadcount and my interview with Matador Review. Interviewing is a new venture for me, but I’ve always loved asking questions and listening to people’s thoughts. I updated my writing portfolio to include these new interviews and some old essays. Have a look.

Writing in Real Life

For the very first time, writing has been brought to the forefront of my “real life” career. It’s odd – the workweek tedium is suddenly being broken by…stretches of writing? I am not used to this. I’m now helping my company revamp all of the writing across their websites, as well as coming up with ideas for blogs. I am appreciated and getting paid for my contributions. It’s a nice place to be in.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to attend the AWP conference this year. I was invited to give readings and help man Conium Review‘s booth, but I’m unable to make the time and take a trip to Los Angeles. I wonder if there will ever be one in Florida?

In order to remain an active participant in the literary community (other than just writing and tweeting quietly sometimes), I’ve accepted a position at The Review Review to review literary journals and occasionally conduct interviews with editors.

Here’s an issue of a journal that you should probably read:

rattle51

It’s Rattle‘s feminist issue, featuring an interview with Maggie Nelson. Now you know I’m all about that.

I’ve also started a blog where we can all share our favorite poems with each other. My goal is to highlight a wide range of poets from all kinds of backgrounds, especially those that may have been overlooked. Feel free to submit, follow, and share.

Masochistic Love

My story, “Teaching Them Happiness,” has been published over at the Conium Review‘s Online Compendium. Have a read. It is a darkly absurd story about a teacher dealing with a suicide epidemic at her school. Is there a solution? The idea for this story most likely rose out of  my recent rewatch of Heathers. A favorite of mine.

I’ve been working on a long poem about growing up in South Florida. It is divided up by place and time, written in the form of journal entries. The feelings are not all negative, which continues to surprise me. I’m not sure which journals would be interested in a particularly long poem like this, however. I’m guessing print journals may be more open to the idea. I’m aware that online journals tend toward short and snappy. One of my writing goals this year is to submit to snail-mail only journals, so I guess this will be a good way to start.

I go back and forth on whether or not I want to start my own literary journal. I love editing and discovering new writers. I have a name picked out for the magazine already, and I know what I’d look for to publish: writing that pushes boundaries in terms of genre (prose poetry, lyrical fiction, hybrids) by a very diverse group of writers. I like what DIAGRAM and Threadcount are doing especially (I really miss <kill author and PANK too…). However, it just comes down to the huge time commitment and how I’d probably want to dedicate that time to my own writing instead. But I admire this complete labor of love, what so many tireless editors of new journals are doing now, especially when you have other old Big Name journals taking advantage of writers (see: Narrative Magazine) or hearing stories about how they don’t even read through their slush pile.  I don’t understand why these journals have such an antagonistic relationship with writers. Why run a literary magazine at all? I’ve also discussed elsewhere about how I don’t like when magazines say that no response from them means a rejection. Could they at least do us the courtesy of letting us know? Even if it’s just a simple “no thanks”?  I talked to editors of a few  journals and even they agree – it takes next to no time at all to send a form rejection. Just a few button clicks. Buh-bye.

Even though I now have file saved on my computer that is a List of Journals I Will Never Submit To Again, I’d like to help. Here are some magazines that not only read their submissions very carefully, but sometimes will offer valuable feedback:

  • Necessary Fiction
  • Bartleby Snopes
  • The Offing
  • New South Journal
  • One Throne Magazine
  • matchbook
  • Hermeneutic Chaos

Keep on keeping on, editors. You’re heroes.

The 2015 Memory Jar Project

Contents:

  • Sun Trolley ticket
  • Ticket for a parking garage at Arts and Science Museum, Fort Lauderdale
  • “Positive power pills” from Customer Service Appreciation week
  • Raffle tickets for new car I didn’t win from Nativity Catholic School jamboree
  • The moon I filled with colored sand from the same jamboree
  • “Kiss me, you fool!” message from my sister (I guess it’s her catchphrase?)
  • “Love” from Valentine’s Day
  • Atelier Hachi business card, made by a talented friend
  • Pins from Quaint Magazine: “Misandry,” “(Don’t) Fuck Broets,” “Quaint Magazine,””Vile Misandrist Harpy,” “Alt Lit Is Dead”
  • Some kind of carved bone from an ex (I joked it was human)
  • Sea shell
  • Moonstone (for all the traveling I didn’t do)
  • Card from horse breeding game (featuring my horse, Kronk) printed at Dave and Buster’s
  • “I <3 Kreayshawn” bracelet from my sister
  • Rubik’s Cube from an 80s themed party
  • Business card from my middle school teacher (advertising his books) found in the wild by my sister
  • Ticket stub from Welcome to Night Vale live show at Broward Center for the Performing Arts
  • Consent form from Nova Southeastern University to participate in skin treatment study for research
  • “Two Minutes About Ghosts,” a short story by Amy Tan, found on Chipotle bag
  • Map from Morikami Museum
  • Results from HIV testing (negative)
  • The last Uniform Advantage catalog I worked on before my departure
  • An old office key
  • Scarab bracelet from my sister
  • Panda Express fortune (?): “Important associates will be there for you, if needed”