This past Thanksgiving break, I rented a car to drive home to West Virginia and see my family. Also, I was supposed to meet up with Scott McClanahan (author of Stories I and Stories II), talk about his manuscript, and then go try and visit the grave of Breece D’J Pancake with him. It was the promise of this bonehunt that got me to walk to the rental car place, to rent that car, and to play all of that music so loudly and for so long in the car to get home to. Not that I didn’t want to see my family. It’s a long story. There is a shorter story.
Scott drove into Charleston from Beckley, stopping by my aunt’s house to meet up. We talked about his book for a bit, then got in my rental car to head off to find Breece. His grave was thirty minutes outside of Charleston in a town called Milton. How romantic were we being? Borderline-fucking-gay romantic is how romantic we were being, but Scott and I don’t care because we’re from here. This is our place as much as it is Breece’s. Not like we were going into some foreign land to find his grave, or disturbing his home. The state of West Virginia is our backyard river rope-swing too.
Have you ever wanted to pick an editor’s brain about the how, why, and what of a given issue?
Tomorrow you will have that chance when the Literary Magazine Club talks with Giancarlo Ditrapano, editor of NY Tyrant, right here, on this very website. The time? 8 PM EST. Come with questions and we’ll have a grand old time. You simply need to show up. Around 8 PM, a post with a chat forum will appear like magic.
Any questions, or want to know more about the Literary Magazine Club? Get in touch.
[a guest heads-up for the NY set]
[The Tyrant Giancarlo Ditrapano sent us this and we couldn’t help ourselves. With all due respect to the Esquire fiction camp and the creator. Read both, see what you think? – BB]
I just read the James Franco story in Esquire and thought it was great. There were just a couple of things that needed tweaking in my opinion so I started messing with it. You’ve written a good, funny story, Mr. Franco. But now it’s even better. Remember, it never matters who writes it, it only matters that it gets written. Or something like that. Some good stuff in here though. I’d love to work on something with you for my meager little journal. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s talk it out.
N.B. This was done with entirely good intention and I meant no harm, as I never have meant harm. Just having some fun and don’t want anyone to get in trouble or angry over this. Who knows? I may have ruined the thing.
[The Tyrant sends his thoughts on the unpspeakable. Please enjoy. – BB]
“Most stuff that is genuine is better left unsaid.” This is from a letter written in 1993 by J.D. Salinger to his friend E. Michael Miller (for this story, go here). Sounds like old boy’s last plea, doesn’t it? That last line of the red one, you know: “Don’t tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” This thought occupies my mind past the point of it being healthy. There are so many things for me that I cannot write down, or will not write down. I have tried to write them down, and I have written them down, and hated myself afterwards for doing it.
It’s the same with speech. There are so many things I can’t speak about, won’t speak about. I have tried to speak about them, and I have spoken about them, and hated myself afterwards for doing it. I don’t know how to categorize these untouchables for there is no common denominator that I can pin down. I am not talking about gossip or secrets. Forget all that shit. I’m talking about the times or thoughts or experiences that cannot be regaled, or feel like they shouldn’t be regaled (even though they could be regaled but you would just feel like shit afterwards because no matter how good it felt to tell it, once you’re done it always feels like you have just let go of a kite string). That bit of advice from Dorothy Parker (about how if you have an idea for a story, not to speak about it or it will lose its steam) has something to do with it, but not exactly. Or it’s like that feeling you feel in that span of time between the moment you hear some good news (Writers, insert “acceptance-letter joy” here) and the moment that you start blabbing your head off about it. As soon as you start communicating it, telling others about it, something disappears, doesn’t it? And there was something good about that something that disappeared, wasn’t there? It’s not exactly like, but is kind of like, how you and your good friend would never talk about how good of friends you are because the mere mention of you even being friends would cause your friendship to wither somehow.
The Tyrant Giancarlo Ditrapano sends a word:
Hullo. The New York Tyrant has opened submissions again. I know, I know. It’s been awhile, but hold off on giving me shit before I have a chance to explain. See, I have this huge fear of submissions readers. Besides pieces suggested from friends, I am the only reader I have. That’s a bad idea, I know. The reason why I won’t take on any readers is due to the fear that they might pass over something good. I mean, I know I don’t have magic eyes or anything but what if something really great got passed up? To avoid this I’ve always had a small submissions window in order to not get too bogged down and forced to make hasty decisions. I mean, staring down a pile of slush and saying, “I’m fixing to end you, you mother,” and then going at it and throwing them so fast into the rejection pile that you never really have a chance to read their name, well, it ain’t so fair. You’d be lucky if I even got past your title. Sometimes even the first name is as far as I’d get (“There is no way I am publishing another fucking Thomas this year, sorry!”). That would be terrible. Then I would be at the bar later on, drunk, doing drugs in the bathroom with someone I don’t even like and I’d be telling them, “Yeah, I went through like 200 submissions today.” And he’d be, “That’s impossible.” And I’d be, “No, it isn’t, I’ll show you. How much of that is left? Let’s go back to mine and I’ll show you.” And we’d go back to mine and I’d say, “See!” and he’d say the slush pile looks like I didn’t really go through it but just kind of moved it to the side a bit. And he’d be right. And I’d be sad. And you’d be cheated.
But I met someone though. I took a class on plumbing this summer and met someone I think I can trust. Luke Goebel. He’ll be handling the direct submissions for now. Great guy. Plus, he lives a magical kind of life. The other day he was swimming with dolphins in fucking Hawaii (sounds cheesy but you just know it isn’t cheesy at all once you’re doing it) and an hour later was rejecting submissions for me. I need that kind of sunny extension of myself because I’m a fucking mess. It’s freezing cold in New York, my apartment is getting smaller (it really is!), and I am almost done smoking all of the non-menthol cigarettes in Hell’s Kitchen. I can no longer read the labels on my prescriptions (“Wait, is that even my name?”) and I’m thinking about shaving my head. I need a man in Havana (nonsense). I need a Marlow (not nonsense).
So, you still mad? Cool. Submissions are open. Please put it inside me. email@example.com
P.S. Check our submissions page first. There are only like two rules.
P.P.S. Disregard the cash prize thing on postcard. Shit’s old.
Giancarlo DiTrapano day on Everyday Genius, still featuring the guest editorialship of Michael Kimball, a monthlong+ reign of great work by a long list of good people. From Gian’s piece: “If the mind is a terror gift, he is an opener.”
A report on the way in from way out from Master Giancarlo DiTrapano:
Ah ha ha ha ha. You have GOT to be kidding me. After smoking a joint with my coffee this morning, I began to cruise around Facebook (I feel like less of a loser when I Facebook stoned). That’s when I came across this absolute JEWEL of a tattoo. Just look at it. Behold it….
First, I thought it was a joke. Not only is it the title (altered slightly) of a David Eggers book, but it is the title of his absolute worst one. Now, Eggers has written a cool thing or two, I will admit. And he helps all the kids learn to write with irony and stuff at those 666 places. I even once read a nice paragraph that Eggers wrote. The thing is, just never two in a row. I think that’s his style though. Modulation sells. Wait, back to the tattoo: Is this tattoo supposed to be funny? I’m going to go out on a limb here and recommend that we all think to ourselves that it is. For if the reality is that it is not supposed to be funny, then the sad marring of this heavenly sculpted back is certain to overtake me on this first real beautiful day of spring in New York City.
To be fair, here are my tattoos. Laugh away.
So who else has the lit tattoo or whatnot? Let’s have a hear at it?