December 8th, 2010 / 1:34 am

Some Stuff & Things

New issue of Vinyl Poetry has grocery litsts from the home team: Roxane Gay, Blake Butler, and Kyle Minor…plus a bunch of other good stuffs.

Word wizard Robert Kloss is Writer-In-Residence this month at Necessary Fiction, and he’s dedicating his month to doing some badass literary remixes of work from folks like Amber Sparks, J.A. Tyler, Michael Kimball, Me, James Tadd Adcox, and Andrew Borgstrom.

Speaking of Andrew Borgstrom, he has a new chapbook out called Explanations, from the almighty Cupboard.

This piece I read in Thought Catalog by Megan Boyle called “Everyone I’ve Had Sex With” captivated my attention. If you need or want more writing about sex, especially if you like stuff that might make you feel simultaneously uneasy and captivated, you should check out Janey Smith’s “Total Retard (Or How To Run a Successful Home School)” in the Lamination Colony swan song issue.

Next installment of my series “What is Experimental Literature?” coming soon!


  1. Trey

      ha, I just read that Megan Boyle last night, along with her similar “Lies I Have Told,” and I was definitely captivated.

  2. Sean

      I note via grocery list that Blake eats tortilla chips. If you need a nacho recipe, give me a whale/yell.

  3. gavin

      I’ve read “Total Retard three times in a row now. I’m not sure what it is at all. I like not knowing what it is at all. I thought I should shower, but I’m at work, so I washed my hands. They felt too clean, so, for a third time, I read “Total Retard” again.

  4. Inktastesbitter
  5. M Kitchell

      I read Megan Boyle’s piece when it came out and it managed to actually be grossly offensive to me & really banal is it’s casual “shockingness.” Mostly the totally blasé notation of condom usage is what fucking pisses me off, mostly for loaded reasons. Actually, it’s mostly the tone over all, too inline with both Vice & Butt magazine’s annoying “oh look we’re so comfortable with sex that it’s just this totally boring casual thing now” (which is also their approach to drugs), and as someone who both loves sex & loves reading about sex, that is dumb, sex should always be intense. Janey Smith, however, is always fucking awesome.

  6. Christopher Higgs

      Yeah, the inclusion of whether or not she used condoms really struck me. But I’m not familiar with that mode of writing, so I’m a different type of reader, I think. The only time I’ve ever gone to the Vice site is to read something Gian the Tyrant wrote…oh, wait, there’s an interview with Ryan Trecartin that I have bookmarked to read that’s at Vice, but otherwise, I never look at it. And to be honest, I never heard of Butt magazine (although I will admit that I giggled like a little kid at that title). So maybe my unfamiliarity with the genre made it intriguing in a way that I might not have been if I were more familiar with it? To me, it read like a diary entry on display or else some kind of deadpan confessional or like one of those lists they tell you to make at AA regarding all the people you’ve wronged. I don’t know. I hate to think of it as a hipster thing — that whole ethos of “I’m above everything/everythign is boring” pisses me off, too. I’m with you: intensity!

  7. Christopher Higgs

      That’s a good question, Christine. I’m not sure. I just did one of those “oh yeah!”s that I do when someone points something out that makes perfect sense but alluded me at the time, which is to say I didn’t even think to make that connection before but now it seems impossible to ignore.

  8. Justin RM


  9. Trey

      well, whether it’s (as Mike says below) offensive or annoying, etc. or not is certainly up for debate, but there’s something in me that loves to be in other people’s business. difficult to say why that is exactly, I guess? probably not a satisfying answer. basically I wasn’t looking at is so much as “writing” necessarily, but just looking at the information, and interested in knowing information about another person. it’s not just that it was about sex, though of course sex is a pretty interesting topic. just like to know stuff about other people. probably that’s weird.

  10. Sean

      Just read the Megan Boyle piece and was underwhelmed by the language intent/spark. Having said that, I’ve read other things of her that seemed to care more. If KGM wrote this, it would still have had the gratuitous ease of “look, sex!” but would also have imagery and glow. And would be more, so actually wouldn’t be gratuitous at all.

      Yes, yes, I get that this is the Tao Lin camp and everything has to be beige treadmill, but just saying.

  11. Sean

      Ok, the Janey Smith, on the other hand, kicks ass.

  12. stephen

      fuck ya both

  13. Stephen Tully Dierks

      as in, how would you feel if you told someone your whole sexual history in a factual way, with no embellishments, and they said “how banal.” writing edgy sex scenes in literature involves a different context and goals. jokes about casual sex on vice are not the same as a factual list of what has happened to a person. also note that she repeatedly writes about her feelings about the people and what happened. it is up to the reader to read into her calm statements. to not jump to the presumption “she thinks sex is boring and nothing” requires empathy on the part of the reader. i understand it’s easy to assume “i’ve seen this attitude i don’t like here, so this is probably that again here.” and sorry for lecturing. you both seem nice and interesting

  14. Stephen Tully Dierks

      and because i know how smart you guys are, i am also aware that “all sex is banal” or something, or maybe in m.’s case, “all sex must be intense, or else it is banal,” but we can’t control our real-life sex lives completely, and one’s feelings at the time will always color/interpret any sexual experience in some way, while without emotional or (later) written recreation, the act will remain, from the point-of-view “everything common and unremarkable is banal,” banal (seems like everything we do in life is banal, depending on how you define that word). for me, that’s not bad news, because that refers back to the idea that we get to control how we think about things. that means not just that we have the capacity to increase in mindfulness/awareness, but also that empathy is boundless (if you want it). seems like boundless empathy would lead to everyone and everything seeming hilarious and beautiful

  15. Stephen Tully Dierks

      just realized christopher was the one who liked the piece in the first place. heh… anyway, you guys know i don’t mean “fuck you.” i like you both

  16. stephen

      doesn’t seem weird to me

  17. Christopher Higgs

      Whoa, Stephen, point of clarification: I was *distinguishing* my reading from Mike’s. That was the point of my response to him. I wanted to say that I did *not* read it the same way he did, i.e. as banal. Not sure why you’ve conflated our two positions. Obviously I thought the piece was interesting or I wouldn’t have plugged it. Thus, I’m not sure where your angry response is coming from, at least toward me. What I agreed with Mike about was disliking the hipster ethos, which I stand by that. But notice that I said I would hate to think of Boyle’s piece in that vein *because* I liked it. To be honest, I’m disappointed in your reaction here, Stephen, given that I have been kind to you in the past. Hopefully in the future we can holster our “fuck ya” comments?

  18. Christopher Higgs

      Just got through writing the above comment and scrolled down to see this. Glad to read it. Was caught off guard by your last post, and having not slept much in the past four days probably took it too close to heart. All is good.

  19. Eleanor

      seems like it

  20. stephen

      Sorry, Christopher. Only skimmed your comment, conflated the two responses, had an insane though not entirely serious reaction. Stupid. Sorry

  21. stephen

      I’m glad. Sorry yet again. I was feeling strange and inexplicable—felt some impulse along the lines of “I must now emphatically defend Megan Boyle in an excessive manner, even though I like both of these guys.” I don’t like when I comment impulsively. You seem like a very nice guy. Thank you.