Ad lib, stress out

Up for a quick challenge? Go to oneword. You’ll have 60 seconds to write a story based on a random word prompt. No editor*, so instant publishing success!

It’s nice to see Oulipo constraints applied in this internet age. Back in the ol’ days, you’d need a stop-watch and someone with a large fist to knock you out.

*Thus, not exactly the most refined writing, but that’s where YOU come in. Just don’t freak out, like I did.

Wednesday / Uncategorized / 8 Comments

The Corduroy Mtn.

The Greying Ghost has been one of my favorite chapbook publishers for a while now. Their books are always well designed and hand made in small editions. La la la lovely, yes. They printed my favorite chapbook of 2008, Shane Jones’, I Will Unfold You With My Hairy Hands. I’m looking forward to their rad list of upcoming chapbooks by many super special writers such as Kathryn Regina, Zachary Schomburg, and Brandon Scott Gorrell. 

Greying Ghost


So to get to the point- something exciting is happening over there. The same kids who make Greying Ghost are now accepting submissions for their new print magazine, The Corduroy Mtn. Yeah, ya’ll should submit to this shit because hell, you know it’s going to look good and be filled with cool shit. Hooray!

Wednesday / Presses / 14 Comments

Surgery of Modern Warfare

I’ve been thinking about places that published me when I was just starting out. Some sites I loved are now gone. Here are three:

Surgery of Modern Warfare

Second site to ever publish me. I met Amy Fusselman, author of the incredible book The Pharmacist’s Mate, on her book tour. She was pregnant. She had one of those acoustic guitars Buck Owens used to play, the ones painted red, white, and blue. She played the songs “Hell’s Bells,” on it. She was possibly the nicest person I ever met.

I sent her at least four stories, and she rejected all of them. Eventually, though, I broke through.

Surgery went away a while back. When I was the web editor at Monkeybicycle, I convinced a bunch of sites to undergo a month long redesign so that they all looked like Surgery. This is what Monkeybicycle looked like.

Reinventing the World

Reinventing the World was emailed out to people on a list. It was a nice looking Word Doc. I think I still have the one I was in on the hard drive of my old iMac.

What happened, I wonder, to Patrick Reynolds? Patrick, are you out there? Last I heard, you were at Yaddo or McDowell.

The American Journal of Print

First place to ever publish me. The very short piece I sent them is now the pituitary gland of a much longer, still homeless story about love and the faked moon landing. A couple of years ago, I tracked down the editor who accepted the piece, and sent him a fawning love letter. Who forgets their first?

We should put together a list. A canonical list of long gone lit sites. Comment or send me a note:

giantblinditems at gmail dot com

Wednesday / Uncategorized / 20 Comments

Online Lit Spotlight in the Believer Oct 08

There’s a new issue of the Believer out for October, and while the magazine is always a great read, this month is particularly good for two sects of people: those who like Gordon Lish, and fans of online lit.

I’m not sure if it was an editorial schematic or chance, but there’s more Lish related stuff in this issue than seems coincidental: an interview with Diane Williams by Kevin Sampsell, an interview with Will Eno by Patricia Mulgraw, a review of David Ohle’s The Pisstown Chaos by Benjamin Strong, and a review of Normal Lock’s Grim Tales, by, well, me.

Of course you could probably take just about any literary magazine with big names in it and somehow Kevin Bacon it right back to Lish, but this one seems most close to home.

On the online lit side, I am excited about my Lock review mainly because it’s primarily an eBook that I reviewed, published online by Elimae and readable here, and also because I got to talk about other online lit sites and eBooks in as awesome a spot as the Believer. The review is also replicated in full online and you can read it here.

Wednesday / Uncategorized / 6 Comments

First Book Interviews with Keith Montesano

Although I’m not an expert on the poetry of Keith Montesano, I’m sure I’ll be reading his first book soon. I’m told it’s a killer manuscript that’s won all sorts of finalist spots in contests and such. And most of the poems from that manuscript have been published by now in some nice journals. So, it’s just a matter of time.

Unfortunately, that time has been filled with lots of rejection, revising, contest fees, increased postage rates, more revising, querying, and research. Also, I imagine lots of alcohol in there somewhere. I don’t know all the specifics – you’d have to click his blog to see how long he’s been working on this manuscript and to read some funny, if you could call it that, rejection situations. I only know that this whole thing has sort of inspired Keith to seek out other authors with first books, other authors who have gone through the whole process themselves. What follows, then, is First Book Interviews, an interview blog that continues the tradition of Kate Greenstreet. He’s just posted interview #1 with Matthew Guenette, and he soon plans to post interviews with the following people: Paul Guest, Jason Bredle, Mark Wunderlich, Sandra Beasley, James Allen Hall, Jennifer Chang, Alison Pelegrin, Brian Barker, Jericho Brown, and Dan Albergotti.

Wednesday / Author News & Web Hype / 6 Comments

!!!OMG!!!Avery Anthology Gossip!!!OMG!!!

If my Facebook feed is correct, and if we can trust the information on the Avery Anthology weblog, then Avery coeditor Emma Straub and Avery designer/art director Michael Fusco got married this past weekend in an impressive power grab at indie giant Avery House Press. I admit that I did not try to contact Emma and Michael for a comment, nor did I ask Emma’s permission to use this yummy picture. Instead, I just sort of clicked around the Internet for a while.

Anyhow, now I understand the inactivity on Duotrope recently – instead of reading submissions, they were getting married and eating a lot of chocolate.

Congratulations, you two.

Now when is Avery #4 coming out?

Wednesday / Web Hype / 6 Comments


Talking Man is now available–like as of yesterday, this is some serious brand-newness–from Small Anchor Press, a Brooklyn-based independent chapbook publisher of poetry and prose. Some of their other titles include Joshua Cohen’s “Two Tribal Stories,” Joshua Furst’s “Close to Home,” Mathias Svalina’s “The Viral Lease” and Betsy Wheeler’s “Start Here.”

Talking Man is the second in a series of four thematically linked novellas to be published in 2008 and 2009. The first part, Man Talking (that was released–it’s actually the fourth novella in the series; don’t ask) is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD from Heppner’s website. Talking Man is being released in a gorgeous handmade, highly limited edition of 60. I can’t wait to get my hands on one, and you shouldn’t either.

The other two novellas–Man and Talking–will be released in December ’08 and Sometime ’09, respectively. No word on what format(s?) those works will be available in, but why don’t you stop worrying about that right now? You’re already two novellas down–time to get cracking.

Said publisher Jen Hyde to me in a gchat yesterday: “Mike Heppner is two steps ahead of the publishing world [and] you can quote me as a publisher on that one[.]” Done and done, sister.

Oh, and for those of you in the NYC area, Small Anchor writes: “We hope you will join us Friday, October 3rd at Freebird Books & Goods at 7:30PM for a reading and release party.”Directions are available at

Wednesday / Author News & Author Spotlight & Presses / No Comments


The guy from Bookworm talks to David Markson. You should listen to it, because David Markson writes books ostensibly without plots. But actually, they always sort of seem to have plots.

David Markson writes the books you wish you could write:

“Sophocles, I’ve used them all. Aeschylus, I’ve used them all…I’m running out of famous people to talk about!”

“I’m spending a million dollars on those little index cards.”

Tuesday / Author News / 2 Comments

The daily obsessions of Mark Baumer

Mark Baumer’s everydayyeah chronicles (among author interviews, short fiction, misc.) with a new photo posted every day, inscriptions of the words EVERY DAY YEAH on practically anything imaginable: gumdrops, mattresses, crosswalks, pasta, etc. Part of the thrill is seeing what he comes up with—the sometimes imprudent terrains (i.e. public property, high altitudes, heavy traffic, etc.) on which he writes the words, and the orientation of the words (sometimes they are written in different places and only come together to form the phrase at a certain perspective. It’s a hefty commitment, not just of time, but of creative mental energy. Each incident is fresh, peculiar and intuitive.

I always ask myself, “where the hell is he taking these pictures?” (Let’s just say the guy gets around.) Many of the photos remind me of Where’s Waldo or the hidden bunny on the Playboy covers, as one often needs to search around before finding the phrase. Baumer, who seems highly in control of his own aesthetic, is probably doing this on purpose.

Another Baumer creation is Best Friends: photos of complete strangers (or light acquaintances at best) caught in an unlikely incidence of quasi-romanticism—at least through Baumer’s eyes. Of course, the appropriations are sarcastic, yet there’s a hint of solemnity—a certain loneliness conveyed, from not just the subjects, but the voyeur Baumer himself. He seems to always be looking, seeking comfort in the awkward spaces between limbs, averted eyes, and pending smiles.

Every day, every day. Yeah, yeah. I wouldn’t worry about OCD for Baumer, just server space.

Tuesday / Author Spotlight / 2 Comments

EWN Indie Publisher E-Panel

Dan Wickett of Dzanc Books and the EWN once again rips shit up with a nice new epanel discussion on independent publishing, with a Q&A among publishers from several indies, including Underland Press, Ellipsis Press, Keyhole Books, Tyrant Press, Hobart Short Flight Long Drive, Rose Metal Press and Hotel St. George Press. They discuss all matters of what running a small press entails, from searching through submissions to marketing the books to sales and promo, just about everything you could want to know.

A great, great interview, and a fascinating read, esp. if you are in the market of trying to place your own book or start your own press.

As a particular favorite moment, here’s Eugene Lim of Ellipsis Press on the future of Indie publishing:

I’d like to think an indie movement is going on. Twelve years ago there was an issue of The Review of Contemporary Fiction, titled “The Future of Fiction,” and edited by none other than David Foster Wallace. In it, there’s a hilarious and dead-on piece by Dalkey head John O’Brien, which stated among other things that the “end of literary books in commercial publishing is a historical inevitability.” And so it has come to pass. The bigger houses will cease (have ceased!) to publish literary fiction. It is not profitable for them to market and produce a title that will sell to 5000 people (even if Rick Moody strong-arms a National Book Award for them). S’okay though. The old publishing joke goes, How do you make a small fortune in publishing? Answer: Start with a large one. And then you and your crony get to laugh bitterly together. But it’s the wrong question. A small and lively (and one hopes resurging) group of people care about the novel as art. And with the new methods of production and distribution, it’s getting easier for writers to connect with readers. The truth is there’s never been any money in publishing innovative writers (at least before canonization—for those lucky few). But now what’s being revealed is it doesn’t matter that there isn’t. This is parallel with the digital revolution in filmmaking, which Francis Ford Coppola famously predicted by saying, “One day, some little fat girl in Ohio is going to be the new Mozart and make a beautiful film with her father’s camcorder and the so-called professionalism about movies will be destroyed forever.” Similarly and importantly, the means of production and marketing for books have become much more affordable.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Tuesday / Presses / No Comments

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