Sign up for $30 and get three sweet books in the mail over three months. Seattle folks: you can talk about the books with other attractive brains at the Frye Art Museum Cafe every month. You have to RSVP, so that’s important. The first book is our own Matthew Simmons’s excellent Happy Rock, and the meeting in Seattle is October 6th at 2PM.
This is the 5th Seattle Author Spotlight (previous ones were Richard Chiem, Maged Zaher, and Deborah Woodard) and I plan on running new Spotlights every 10-14 days because Seattle has plenty of talented and interesting writers.
When I first emerged a little from my cave in Kirkland (not far but really far from Seattle) it was to see Matthew Simmons read from “A Jello Horse.” Later on as I started attending more events I ran into Matthew over and over (at a Patricia Lockwood reading, at a CAConrad reading, at APRIL, etc) and enjoyed many little chats with him. Recently I was glad to be part of the big crowd at the Hugo House for the release party and reading of Matthew’s new book “Happy Rock” at which Matthew read with great confidence the story about the exploding mothers–read it, in fact, in front of his mother, his father and, as Matthew said, “all the people (he) loves.”
Introducing Matthew that night Brian McGuigan quoted from Paul Constant’s excellent review that had just come out in The Stranger:
Matthew Simmons has never misused a word in his life, or at least that’s how it feels. His prose manages to be economical and exact, while at the same time suggesting a broader universe that ripples out from every sentence. It’s like handing someone a few Lego bricks, bending down for a second to tie your shoes, and then looking back up to discover they’ve built a palace. READ MORE >
Happy Happy Rock day! Happy Rock is a book of stories by Matthew Simmons, seen at left wearing a shirt that’s about Michigan or something. If you have ever walked home through snowdrifts in the wrong shoes, and the only thing keeping your knees above collapse was the thought of your cat or your twelve-sided die, you will hold Happy Rock as tenderly as Matthew does in this picture. Except it will be open and you will be reading it. Everything is a kind of love story if by love you mean grey sand.
“Back home Boy went to the bathroom. Younger, he played a game where he had to leave the bathroom before the refilling of the toilet ended, imagining it as the countdown to an explosion. Older, he didn’t mind, but sometimes saw himself blown through the wall; ripped apart by hot, swift gusts of fiery air; scattered; his fingers embedded in the plaster; the bones of his toes like nails into the floor; his teeth, shrapnel. Now he rubbed his eyes. His grandmother knocked on the door to call him to the dinner table.”
Late last year Keyhole Press released a short book of fiction about black metal by Matthew Simmons, The Moon Tonight Feels My Revenge. Given its heavy inspiration, the texts employ a surprising and refreshing mix of thoughts about creation and duress, delivered in the eye that only Mr. Simmons could pull off. Over the past month Matthew kindly answered some q’s about the book.
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BB: How did this book begin? Was it your intention specifically to write a book about black metal, or did a specific story come first?
MS: I wrote a couple of one-man black metal band pieces for my blog a while back. (I think I was just writing about black metal bands and then noticed that all the ones I liked and wanted to write about were made up of one guy.) When I got together with Keyhole for the collection coming out next year, Peter asked if I had something shorter, a couple of stories that weren’t going to be in that collection, that we could gather and publish in a little minibook. I had a few, and I decided to use the short black metal pieces as a gathering principle and as little breaks between longer stories that, though not explicitly about one man black metal bands, felt like cousins to them. The three full stories in the book feature three individuals who isolate or world build or reject collaboration.
I don’t know if someone else was going to write about this here at htmlgiant, and they still oughta if they wanna, but in the meantime let me say: everyone tune your browser to On Earth As It Is, a new web journal that uses prayer as a story telling form. As the website puts it, “On Earth As It Is is a cycle of prayer narratives, or dramatic monologues addressed to God, from writers of different faiths.” It’s run by our beloved Matthew Simmons and Bryan Furuness, and so far they’ve run two pieces (one per week). Last week we were given an Augustinian-but-more-lovely apologia from Melanie Rae Thon:
What more evidence do you need? Snow melts into dark earth and here in damp woods white trillium blossoms.
Really astoundingly good new story from our friend Matthew Simmons at The Nervous Breakdown: “We Never Ever Went to the Moon.” It’s got plot and heart and floating. In a self-interview, Matthew says that the story’s from an as-yet-unpublished collection called Happy Rock, all about people who believe in things even while other people are watching them. Somebody needs to make that collection appear, if you ask me.
Matthew Simmons and Eddie Vedder are from Seattle. They are both musicians, pro-choice, and own the album Ten. Matthew Simmons, when he was in high school, identified with Jeremy, the protagonist in the song “Jeremy.” When Matthew told his mom he wanted to shoot himself in front of his class, she said “that’s a banana, dear.” Matthew Simmons’ tongue is not as long as Gene Simmons’, and neither will his career be. (Ouch.) When Pearl Jam was on SNL with Sharon Stone, Eddie professed to smelling her garments in the dressing room. I remember thinking “go pervs!” When I read Matthew Simmons’ posts here, I think “insane is okay.” Thank you Matthew Simmons for being you. I can mail you some unwashed articles for you to sniff. My B.O. Boxers in your P.O. Box — get it? Moron.