November 2008

A Thanksgiving Post: Secret Santa Update

Some things you won't regret include signing up for the HTMLGIANT Secret Santa Gift Exchange


Thank you everyone who has signed up so far for the HTMLGIANT Secret Santa Gift Exchange for Independent Literature. As of right now, we have 60 people signed up to take part in the gift exchange, including some people from the United Kingdom. I am amazed; this has sort of gotten out of hand. So thank you for this.

So. We have nine days until the due date. Those of you who are participating, I ask you for your help in spreading word. Some of you have already blogged about it; great stuff. Keep on doing that. Do other things too. Those of you who are still trying decide, well, you have plenty of time. I suggest you take Thanksgiving to think it over. Hopefully, you’ll get drunk and email us. Unlike other things that happen when you get drunk, this is one you won’t regret.

Let’s try for 100?

Web Hype / 14 Comments
November 27th, 2008 / 12:32 am

Black Ocean Black Friday

From Black Ocean Press:

***Buy One, Get One Free***

On November 28th, from 12:01am to 11:59pm, buy any book priced $11.95 or more and get a second title of your choice FREE (offer does not apply to issues of Handsome). Just write in a note on the PayPal order page which title you’d like to receive. And, as always: Free Shipping! Go to to place your orders.

Support independent publishing and have a very handsome holiday.

Um, can anybody say Rauan Klassnik’s HOLY LAND + Zach Schomburg’s THE MAN SUIT knockout blowjob? That will take you down harder than the turkey swelling. Get that shit together.

Presses & Web Hype / 2 Comments
November 26th, 2008 / 1:37 pm

WE WANT YOU: To Help Name Rachel Sherman’s Firstborn Child!

So yesterday I had lunch with Rachel Sherman (author of The First Hurt), who also teaches at Rutgers. She’s wildly pregnant, and told me she’s due in about 7 weeks. She mentioned that the baby is a girl, and I asked if she and her husband had a name picked out. She said there were several in the running, but nothing was settled. I suggested that maybe the best way to come to a decision was through an internet contest. And so, after I agreed to her single and only stipulation–which is that the results are non-binding–she basically told me to go knock myself out.

So it’s now up to YOU to help NAME RACHEL SHERMAN’S BABY. The rules of the game are simple: post your nomination for the baby’s name in the comments section of this post. Eventually, Rachel will pick a winner, and also explain what type of winner you are: (1) “winner” in the sense of “yeah I might totally call my kid that” or (2) “winner” in the sense of “that was really funny slash original slash offensive of you, but seriously dude.”  (UPDATE: Rachel says the winner also gets a signed copy of The First Hurt.)

To help get you in the right spirit, here’s a picture of a tiny adorable primate clutching a teddy bear.

Author News & Author Spotlight & Contests / 182 Comments
November 26th, 2008 / 12:07 pm

Ander Monson’s BOX

Ander Monson has sneakily snuck a hyper link text object onto the web, at his suddenly updated website, which now features a section called The Swarm, containing several new essays and weird links, as well as the above mentioned hyper link text object, having to do with a BOX.

I got pretty far into it and plan to go back and play some more. It does some cool, new stuff I think, based often in Ander’s vivid and multi-edged prong of new layers and new space, ie the launch text of this:

Every word is contained by space, white, visual, semantic. Being a word, it is a segment of something larger, potentially. Alone it is isolated, in a box. As you look into the box you are in the box.

Go play.

The site also mention’s a new book by Ander, but no info directly yet or where, when, or what.

However it comes, I hope it’s soon.

Author News / 8 Comments
November 25th, 2008 / 10:45 pm

The Rome Review: an update

I emailed Tarek al-Hariri this (unnecessarily formal) email the other night after he commented on the post about his new journal, The Rome Review. He emailed me back and including a complete list of contributors for the debut issue.

Dear Tarek,

Thank you for commenting on my post at HTMLGIANT regarding The Rome Review.

I admit that it did not occur to me at the time that there had been a misunderstanding about Diaz being published in your journal. Thank you for clarifying that as well as providing for us a complete list of your contributing authors. That was much appreciated. I’ll have to link to it or bump it to the front of the page to make sure the rest of our readers have a chance to see it.

Also, thank you for being patient with us. We’re a rough crowd at times (both our contributors and our readers), and we like to gossip about things, to question them, to talk trash, etc. Everyone is kindhearted, but also opinionated over here.

I do sincerely wish you luck with the journal. I hope you can publish exactly what you want to publish.


And here is his response:

Dear Ryan,

Thanks for the note; I really appreciate it.

We’ve received several submissions as a result of the publicity from your blog-post so we appreciate the attention! Blake Butler sent us an incredible piece; It’s exactly what we’re looking for.

I thank you for offering to link our author list. I’ve attached it.

“Everyone is kindhearted, but also opinionated over here.” Thank god for that; you have no idea how refreshing that is, a lot of people in college here seem to have forgot how to feel and think a long while back.



And here is his list of contributors for the debut issue:

Authors who have been accepted and will appear in the debut issue of The Rome Review:

Steve Almond, author of the short story collections The Evil B.B. Chow and My Life in Heavy Metal, the non-fiction novel Candy Freak and Not That You Asked

Marshall Boswell, author of Alternative Atlanta, Trouble With Girls and Understanding David Foster Wallace

Patrick Bouvet (translated by Frank Wynne), author of the poetry collections Canon, Direct, and Shot

Blake Butler, (pending) work has appeared in Ninth Letter, Willow Springs, Harpur Palate, and others.

Stephen Cushman, author of Heart Island, Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (ed.)

Junot Díaz (interview), Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and the short story collection Drown

John Domini, author of Highway Trade, Talking Heads: 77, Books and Rough Business, and Earthquake ID

Thomas Sayers Ellis (artwork and poetry), author of The Good Junk, The Genuine Negro Hero, Song On, and The Maverick Room

Norton Girault (fiction and poetry), has appeared in MSS, Crescent Review, Timbuktu, and Snake Nation Review

Rigoberto Gonzalez, author of Men Without Bliss and Other Fugitives and Other Strangers

Joumana Haddad, administrator of Booker-IPAF prize, author of Time For a Dream, Invitation to a Secret Feast and Two Hands to the Abyss

Mickey S. Hess, author of Icons of Hip Hop and Is Hip Hop Dead?

Roy Kesey, author of All Over and Nothing in the World

Nestan-Nene Kvinikadze, author of Ispahan Nightingales

David Means, O’Henry Prize-winning author of the story collections A Quick Kiss of Redemption, The Secret Goldfish and Assorted Fire Events

Aimee Parkison, author of the short story collection Van Windows

George Singleton, author of Work Shirts for Mad Men, The Half Mammals of Dixie and Novel

Eric Vrooman, fiction has appeared in Kenyon Review, The Cream City Review, Passages North, and Ninth Letter

G. C. Waldrep, author of Goldbeater’s Skin and One Way No Exit

William Wall, author of This is the Country, The Map of Tenderness, Minding Children and Alice Falling

Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish and Mr Sebastian and the Negro Magician

Jake Adam York, author of Murder Ballads and A Murmuration of Starlings

That is all. Carry on.

Uncategorized / 16 Comments
November 25th, 2008 / 6:55 pm

Zachary, I’m sorry…

I found a copy of Zachary Schomburg‘s The Man Suit at a used bookstore a couple of weeks ago.

First, this should be evidence that Seattle has really amazing used book stores. The copy was originally purchased at Open Books, an all-poetry bookstore. (How Open Books manages to stay in business selling nothing but poetry to an increasingly disinterested-in-poetry audience* remains a mystery to me, but I love that they exist.) I tend to walk by the poetry sections of used bookstores because, really, I have The Spoon River Anthology already and don’t need another copy. But this little store—Ophelia’s Books in Fremont—had a book I’ve been thinking of purchasing anyway.

Second, who the heck sold The Man Suit? It’s really good—full of surreal images and dream logic

Here’s an image that stuck with me: a voicebox—removed from its throat—still full of words. A person can pick up said word-filled voicebox, and blow through it to hear what was left unsaid when the voicebox belonged to a body.

I am fairly certain that some time in the future, I will forget that I read about this voicebox in The Man Suit by Zachary Schomburg, and I will use it in a story, thinking I came up with it. I’m sorry, Zachary. Eventually I will remember, and then I will feel bad for stealing from you.

(This has happened before. I have an as-yet-unpublished story that features a character named Boy. I stole this from a Peter Markus piece I read on elimae. I thought it had been my idea. There are other examples.)

(Actually, I wonder if this post will serve to stop this from happening. If it will immunize me from the Schomburg voicebox image that could some day infect my writing.)

Is this a bad thing? I’m not sure it is a great crime for artists to steal from one another in this way. Art bubbles up from a subconscious place, and it shouldn’t shock anyone that the things that bubble up are dropped into the stew of the subconscious mind by other artists.

Are you familiar with the concept of sperm trains? Some animals create sperm cells that hook themselves onto one another. They drag one another toward their goal. And move faster. The voicebox, I’m pretty sure, will one day find another idea hooking itself onto it, and they will both swim out onto a page of my writing.

(There’s an image for you: my pages of fiction are covered in sperm.)

Because I feel bad that I will steal from you, Mr. Schomburg, I would like to at least pay you the royalty you should’ve gotten for the book I purchased used. If you would like, I don’t know, five dollars, you should write to me at giantblinditems at gmail dot com.

Please use the comments section of this post to cop to things you have stolen.

Author Spotlight / 38 Comments
November 25th, 2008 / 5:17 pm


Melchizedek Priesthood, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1944

Melchizedek Priesthood, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1944

Featuring Matt Bell, Steve Almond, our own Jimmy Chen, and nine other people.

Twelve Stories says that they will put out an issue whenever they reach the critical mass of having–wait for it–twelve stories that they want to publish. I like this attitude.

Molly Gaudry (not pictured) and Blythe Winslow (not pictured) are the editors of Twelve Stories.

Uncategorized / 10 Comments
November 25th, 2008 / 1:22 pm

Trickhouse 3

I wonder if you google Trickhouse if you can find local whores. Probably everything you google ends up at whores eventually.

Anyway, you don’t need google, cause here’s a link: TRICKHOUSE.ORG

Curated by Noah Saterstrom, the house just keeps getting trickier.


visual artist: Eric Baden
writers: Brenda Iijima, Rebecca Brown, Michelle Naka Pierce
guest curator: Miriam Kathrein
sound: Andrew Klobucar
video: Abigail Child
correspondent: Erik Anderson
interview: Mathias Svalina with Shelton Walsmith
experiment: Denise Uyegara with Natalie Nguyen

Videos, experimental, an emphasis on visual art, language shits, et al. I really like the videos (‘Blonde Fur’ is particularly eerie.) and the roomy layout. Trickhouse is dope.

Uncategorized / 4 Comments
November 25th, 2008 / 3:05 am

Mean Monday: Tao Lin is not a ‘good guy’

My ball skin wears thinner every time I hear/read the words ‘Tao Lin’. Statements like ‘Tao Lin is the King of Bloggers’, ‘I love Tao Lin’, ‘Tao Lin is a great guy’, and ‘Tao Lin saved my life’ are thrown around free and excessive. I don’t get it. Tao Lin is not a ‘good guy’ and he’s not necessarily a ‘bad guy’.

He’s a self-interested writer type of guy.

Most of Tao Lin’s persona attributes are misconstrued (specifically the guise of neutrality) by his readership of emotionally distraught teenage girls.

Leave a comment on Tao Lin’s blog; he’ll respond back with a very unimaginative ‘I am glad’ or ‘thank you for’ and end with restating your comment.

Reader: ‘Tao Lin your poetry saved my life’

Tao Lin: ‘Reader I am glad my poetry saved your life’

Send Tao Lin an email describing how “EEE EEE EEE” helped you survive being committed to a mental hospital for self-mutilation because you, as a human being, could not cope with the torture and abuse endured at home; he’ll respond with the same unimaginative reply of ‘I am glad’ or ‘thank you’ or may not reply at all.

Occasionally, he will freely give away books to people expressing desire to read a ‘Tao Lin book’ they may not be able to afford. Nothing altruistic exists in his actions.

He does not often post comments on other blogs. When he does, the comments will be centered around him completely dismissing the subject of the blog post. Don’t be surprised if he asks you what font size is used on that post about how your wife had a miscarriage.

Shock announcement: TAO LIN DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU.

Tao Lin is fond of citing his indifference, neutrality and world view. This is all part of his gimmick. Tao Lin is not indifferent or neutral and the only world view I can perceive is a world view of Tao Lin being famous.

Post a comment on Tao’s blog indicating you’re a professor wanting to teach his books to this year’s creative writing students; Tao Lin will interact and become very interested in your goals.

Email Tao letting him know you are a semi-famous person who enjoys his work; he’ll interact with you and blog about it.

Tao has spent monolithic efforts to promote his work and aesthetic. More hours have been spent trying to get linked by Gawker than replying to a single email from a teenage girl reaching out while feeling very alone and suicidal because her alcoholic step-father beats her.

Tao Lin is not indifferent.

A lizard is indifferent. It exists, bathes in the sun, eats, sleeps, and reproduces. That is indifference. What it doesn’t do is fret over being famous, promote its work with every breath and action, and desperately strive toward a very specific style/persona.

Tao Lin is far from indifferent. Don’t let him fool you. Don’t excuse what he does because he seems meek. He is quite aware of his actions.

I do not blame the emotionally damaged teenagers for confusing this concept. The rest of you are shameful.

Mean & Web Hype / 432 Comments
November 24th, 2008 / 4:59 pm

Secret Santa Ideas from Adam Robinson

If you can’t please Adam, you can’t please this V of me. See here now:

HTML GIANT is Secret Santa. What this means is you email and tell them you want to participate and they email you a person’s name and then you send them some indie lit present, like a subscription or a book. There are more details, too. Check it out: Secret Santa.

For the occasion PGP is offering Rupert Wondolowski’s book, THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES AS A HEATED MOLE SUIT, at a reduced price of $9, shipping included. Email if you want to order internationally.

Other great Secret Santa ideas are:
a Keyhole subscription
Mud Luscious Press books
Verb Sap by M. Magnus from Narrow House Press
What are other awesome things I’ve bought in the last couple weeks
A long arm stapler I think is a good present for anyone who cares about indie lit
Abraham Lincoln book ends
Talk has begun re: No Colony 2, maybe you could buy your person a publication in pink
I finally read Altmann’s Tongue, that’d make a good gift
Preorder the book Ryan Call will be publishing someday I imagine; THIS IS THE ONE I WANT
Just get them Rupert Wondolowski’s book he’s been at this game for years and years

Random / 14 Comments
November 24th, 2008 / 4:26 pm