December 2009


Behind the Scenes / 92 Comments
December 29th, 2009 / 11:30 pm

Q & A #2

If you have questions about writing or publishing or whatever, leave them in the comments or e-mail them to roxane at roxanegay dot com and we will find you some answers.

Q1: What are some good ways for a writer to self-promote? bad ways? are there unwritten, unspoken rules? rules of engagement?


Share: tell those you respect they can read something that you’ve written. Tell them twice.  Move.


The same advice you’d give to a girl who can’t get a date would apply here too: Be confident! Don’t insult your own work. People will start to believe you if you keep saying your story is shit. At a reading, don’t count down to the end of your reading (just 4 more poems, just 3 more poems). Assume that if people came to hear you read, they want to hear you read.

Karma works too. Help promote your friends and people whose work you admire, and they will help promote you.


Craft Notes / 49 Comments
December 29th, 2009 / 5:26 pm

Centralia, PA

This city has been burning for more than 40 years. 10 people still live there.

BONUS: An Interview with H.R. Giger

Web Hype / 18 Comments
December 29th, 2009 / 4:55 pm

Dee Dee Ramone on Writing

Dee Dee Ramone was the first man with a woman’s name to be like, “Fuck your necktie and your mom’s gurney.” Dee Dee Ramone had the impact of keeping hand grenades in your car’s cup holders. The man was a retaining wall and a fuck-load cooler than we. He was so beautiful he had to kill that beauty, as we know the world must work. Or not work.

“I have no doubts in my mind where my loyalties are. They’re with myself. I’m all I’ve got.”

“I like dragons so much that I tried to look for one outside the window of the plane that I’m in now.”

“My only degree is in streetology.”

“Today I was wondering what God was going to do with me now.”

“I’m not a punk, skin, Nazi, or snob. I’m defiant. I’m angry. You made me that way. So fuck you all.”

“Dragons…Imagine one flying over one of the meadows, high above New York City’s Central Park, one crowded Sunday afternoon.”

“We all paid a price for it. It was a lot.”

“I can’t rap too well.”

“I would like to thank myself, and congratulate myself, and if I could, I would pat myself on the back.”

“I spotted a dragon immediately.”

Craft Notes / 22 Comments
December 29th, 2009 / 3:51 pm


–  Jackie Corley’s Word Riot Press, which published Midnight Picnic by me, just announced that they’re going to be publishing collections of short stories by the excellent Paula Bomer, former HTMLGIANT contributor and good friend of mine (here’s a short story by Paula called “A Galloping Infection”) and the excellent Mike Young, editor of NOO Journal and also a good friend of mine (here’s a short story by Mike called “Ten Gallon Bucket of Fries”).

–  New story by I. Fontana at Spork.

–  I was walking through the grass today and saw a black snake as long as my arm but as thin as a pencil go slithering right in front of me.

–  A huge pink-eyed white cat was yowling under my window at dawn.

–  Did you read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell?  I read it on a plane.  It made me think I can never be successful.

–  I can’t wait to read The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis.  (Great title.)  I get the feeling most of my literary peers don’t like Amis much.

Random / 44 Comments
December 29th, 2009 / 3:21 pm

Is there an album or film that has influenced your writing as much as any book?

This week AbeBooks’ Weird Book Room is featuring the Teach Your Chicken to Fly Training Manual. For those cities trying to legalize chicken-cooping within city limits, this book could be dangerous.

Comments Off on

Moyamensing Prison by Charles Bukowski

we shot craps in the exercise yard while the

dummies played ball with a torn-up shirt

wound into a ball

once or twice a day we had to break it up

under a tommy gun from the tower—

some blank-faced screw pointing it at

us, but,


Random / 58 Comments
December 28th, 2009 / 6:06 pm

An interesting ‘Top 25 Films of the Decade’ list at Hammer To Nail, with a lot of surprising or limited release picks. Netflix.

Toppling the Vinyl Castle (Rule of Threes #3)

Or, what I did over Christmas Weekend.

1. Liked a photo called “Sawhorse Buddha” from an upcoming series by Josh Grigsby:

2. Read A poem from Lana Turner Journal called “Market Forces Are Brighter Than The Sun” by Cathy Park Hong, which is crunchy and smudgy and full of errant exclamation points.

3. Read Less Than Zero and felt wonderfully wretched afterward. This excerpt encapsulates the book for me:

While reading the paper at twilight by the pool, I see a story about how a local man tried to bury himself alive in his backyard because it was “so hot, too hot.” I read the article a second time and then put the paper down and watch my sisters. They’re still wearing their bikinis and sunglasses and they lie beneath the darkening sky and play a game in which they pretend to be dead. They ask me to judge which one of them can look dead the longest; the one who wins get to push the other one into the pool. I watch them and listen to the tape that’s playing on the Walkman I’m wearing. The Go-Go’s are singing “I wanna be worlds away/I know things will be okay when I get worlds away.” Whoever made the tape then let the record skip and I close my eyes and hear them start to sing “Vacation” and when I open my eyes, my sisters are floating face down in the pool, wondering who can look drowned the longest.

Plus One:

Watched The Lakers get spanked by the Cavs. This made my Christmas, especially when they got whiny and pouty about it. Phil Jackson, I love you, but you can be a spoiled brat.

I Like __ A Lot & Random & Web Hype / 18 Comments
December 28th, 2009 / 3:14 pm