Monday, June 29, 2015

124. New Genre no. 7 } envelope addendum.

Daniel Mendelsohn wrote in the introduction to How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken, “For (strange as it may sound to many people who tend to think of critics as being motivated by the lower emotions: envy, disdain, contempt even) critics are, above all, people who are in love with beautiful things, and who worry that those things will get broken.”

My criticism has never been criticized; it is always me—I am “jealous,” my criticism is “nothing but a ploy to bring attention to yourself,” etc. Instead of making such assumptions, why not engage with the criticism? (A. to do so requires the ability to do so.)

That’s how, I realize: on July 11th at 11am, I will participate on the panel “When should we argue with reviews.” The etiquette of when interests me less than how, but I’ll give when some thought and why, too——

Later that day, at 1:30pm, I’ll read from a novel in progress. My Readercon readings are not usually well attended. Let me engage in a bit of bribery: anyone who comes and listens to me read will receive a complimentary copy of New Genre no. 7 (while supplies last).

# # #

John Cotter, who contributed the ghost story “After the Storm,” received his copy and wrote this about the issue.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

123. New Genre no. 7 is } New Genre no. 7.


Very early this morning I wrote, “Maybe after the first issue was printed I was in a celebratory mood—New Genre was actual—but that didn’t last. For all the care we took, the issue wasn’t perfect, and ever since, when a new issue arrives, I only feel anxious.” I added, “I am, however, entirely confident about the stories. That’s true of every story I’ve ever published—they’re all fantastic.”

New Genre no. 7 is in hand. The stories are Jennifer Claus’ “The Room Is Fire,” Geordie Williams Flantz’s “Parents of the Apocalypse,” Matthew Pendleton’s “Work Planet Welt Space,” John Cotter’s “After the Storm,” and G. Carl Purcell’s “The Middle-Managers of P├íchnout.”

My designer, Eliza Smith, wrote toward the end of production: “I read all the stories in my final pass and think this is my favorite issue of NG. Maybe I'm biased, but I think all five of these stories have a unifying thread of exceptional quality, and I feel so lucky to have worked on this issue.” Of course we’re biased, but I agree.

The authors waited a very long time for this issue to happen. Mr. Flantz was particularly faithful, for which I am grateful.

All the anxiety, what kept me awake last night and on into the morning, is the worry that I’ve not or will not—that the issue doesn’t—serve the stories as well as they ought to be served.

# # #

Apparently I attended Readercon 20 in 2009. I dimly recall moderating a panel “The Career of Elizabeth Hand,” but I don’t remember anything else about the convention. According to the program, I spoke about “[Edgar Allen Poe’s] importance to the development of the [horror] genre,” led a discussion called “Short Horror Fiction: The State of the Art (and Market) Today,” and interviewed Victoria Blake, founder of Underland Press. Let’s be clear, I don’t know much about Elizabeth Hand’s career (though I am acquainted with her and she is great), I don’t know how Poe helped develop the horror genre, I am a poor navigator of the short fiction horror market, and—well, ok, I did know something about Underland. There was talk, at one point, of Victoria buying the digital rights to New Genre. I haven’t been to Readercon since.

I will attend Readercon 26, on Sat., July 11th. Also in attendance will be G. Carl Purcell. If you will be at Readercon, seek me out for a copy of New Genre no. 7. And I bet Mr. Purcell will autograph your copy.

And by the way, Mr. Purcell, as Greg Purcell, is in the latest issue of Fence. There’s a party in NYC on Thurs., June 25th at Babycastles to celebrate Fence no. 30.

# # #

Watch this space for news re. New Genre no. 7 as it enters the world, and contact me here with any questions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

122. “Over you } (just for a change).”


On the E train to Science Park listen to Abbey Road with fervent interest, especially the b-side, especially the transitional stuff—chimes and chatter (“Oh listen to that now… [laughter]… Oh look out”), crickets, a roll on a big cymbal. To be in that big room inside the record.

“Time Transfixed”—the MBTA runs a line to and in-to that room—the other direction is late afternoon, “was a way /to get back homeward.” Lo-fidelity tape hiss and train racket, passenger chit-chat, the lap of the Charles against Gridley Dam, and the crackle of the Van de Graaff generator all sound in that room.

Monday, March 9, 2015

121. House show } Holy Komodo.


Cryptic invitation:

mauwf
bring furniture
& paper to
allagash trail
03.07.15 9pm

An empty house at the end of icy Allagash Trail Road. Split-level, big windows covered with invisible paper, teal wall-to-wall carpet, teal carpeted steps and upstairs hall. Band names on the wall. Bathroom. A soft couch. We waited for the Holy Komodo while we discussed age. A woman asked if I knew Tom Leotard. Possibly she thought I might be Tom Leotard or, as likely, she wanted to sell me some Tom Leotard.    

Downstairs for the Holy Komodo. We stood against the wall to watch. “How do you make a cult following?” My companion asked; the cult followed. My companion asks—she’s interested in how people make an idea actual in the world and subsequently cause the world to take notice. Bare cement walls, stamped by plywood forms. White wiring wrapped around the support beams. Bright, single-cell organisms projected on a sheet behind the band. Nina on keys, sang, dark hair flash and keyboards.

Flock of Seagulls hairdo camera-phone filmed the band, the audience, and us interlopers. A woman with her boyfriend behind her grinned. A crowd-surfer barely cleared the ceiling beams. “If you must mosh,” Nina said, “do it away from the equipment we’ve spent all our money on.” She was obeyed. My companion noted Flock of Seagulls hairdo; “If I had hair like that, I’d—” the rest of her comment lost, but something like, “—voodoo fan.”

From where I stood, Joel, the drummer, was the most visible member of the band. Pink and salmon, all joy—before the show he’d told an anecdote, said, of his brother—“he’s a lot skinnier than I am”—a claim hard to believe. Komodo’s recorded output in no way prepared me for the vigor of his drum work (in retrospect, hinted maybe by “Make Time”). He sat and he stood.

My thoughts were not especially interesting. Teenagers in the midst of an experience that—if remembered—will become a shorthand for who they think they are. People who go to house shows. Who shout: I was in that place. Pressed by the reptile nation, we braced ourselves against the wall.

An angry woman clutched a glass pitcher of ice water to her chest. My companion asked, “What do you think she’s on?” The angry woman shouted, in response to someone else’s interest, “You’re not my friend!” The pitcher sweated. The angry woman sat hard in a wooden rocking chair. Maybe she ate some bad Tom Leotard.


[ Photo of Holy Komodo at Space Afrika house show courtesy Sierra Clark. ]

Friday, March 6, 2015

120. Notes made while } Philip Glass & Tim Fain played.

“Mad Rush” (Glass says, from 1979). Sweet is thot / just the / piano” \\ a near stop + / the small / keys retake / the piece // [gold curtains, purple shirt, vest, pleated brown slacks] \\ left hand / crosses / the right / for a / lower / note [E. leans against me] \\ gold + green + brown / …keep [the work] warm / + kind… \\ write in your own line. / …the place the performer goes to / [E. wants to ask questions “when does the next song begin?”] / partita, 2 movements, for a chaconne \\ …holds the violin with his chin / + plays after \\ a breath / in the midst / emerges / familiar / Glass / built into the old form \\ we want high + low together / always

\\ [Fain] jumps / onto the notes, / feet planted but / heels up. / …scrape / drag \\ written for him + / …sounds / like him / “Metamorphosis” (Glass says, I like to play the even \\ ones in reverse order [4 then 2] ) / a little / showy \\ fast / went up / as I don’t / recall / embrace / heat. \\ not uncomfortable / but too / warm // in places, the keyboard / is re- / found \\ Music from The Screens (Glass says, from 1991), “French” (heard, “Friends”), “The Orchard,” & “The French Lieutenant Dreams” (heard, “…Lieutenant’s Dreams”) // the European piece / Kora \\ they tune up / my eldest melts

\\ feature / texture / on wave / [we] land // hollow sound [in] strings \\ hold hands / to bow // Hydrogen Jukebox (1990) \\ (Glass says, “the first time [Ginsberg’s performance] was perfect… / used [recording of Ginsberg reading “Wichita Vortex Sutra”] in the tour… \\ after he died / I didn’t / play it / for a long time // too painful / I didn’t want to hear it \\ one day I put it… / the only good thing / about this now / is a I know / how it goes”) \\ a hymn / (Glass says, “I’m an old man… \\ vortex is like / an energy system / sutra is / a prayer.”)

\\ ecstatic / lang. \\ who touches the breath / + says / om / stop for tea + gas [Ginsberg?] \\ “Evening Song” partita \\ a green / partita // played alone, / the violin at / times / becomes / more / isolated \\ smaller, maybe [my eldest / is on fire] / long / whisper \\ (2010) // (Glass says, “Actually / Tim plays his part / + the other part” \\ “Pendulum (for Violin & Piano)” \\ [goth] anniversary concert // tunes— / holds a note \\ [E.’s leg itches] / encircle particle open \\ Glass sits on the bench + listens. // “Closing” (1982), from Glassworks \\ tangled / keys / in closing.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

119. Readings } 8 Anthology.


Sandra Doller read “where did you get that hammer” and Oliver Strand asked if I was—“are you?”—Adam Golaski and we went to hear Forrest Gander read “…colorless bath mat with its frayed, dirty edge folded up.” I said, “Yes.”

Oliver Strand and Katy Mongeau, MFA candidates, co-host Anthology, a series that features “readings, performances and visual works,” mainly by Brown University and RISD graduate students. Last month I was most impressed by the work of Maggie Hazen.

Next week, I’m in Anthology 8.

Among the readers is Rachel May, author of “The Vermont Studio Center Experiments.” When last we spoke she told me about Quilting with a Modern Slant; I misunderstood everything she said. The book is an art anthology of 70+ modern quilters. What I heard, what I thot she told me, was that she wrote a book that hybridized her writing and her stitching, something like “The Vermont Studio Center Experiments,” but more extreme, with the text stitched, possibly into paper. I dunno. Clearly, I am not a good listener. I will try harder.  As for grad students, I’m interested to hear Leah Rafaela Ceriello. Her “Durational Performance” photographs I like.

Anthology 8: Bridget Brewer, Leah Rafaela Ceriello, Adam Golaski, Felix Green, Rachel May, Kristen Mueller, Kelsey Wakefield, & Kelly Walters. Wednesday, March 4th at 7pm. The Granoff Center (see photo above), Studio 1, 154 Angell St, Providence RI 02906. Wine, other refreshments provided.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

118. Re } introductions (pt. 2).


[ What follows is the Dream Coda of the introduction to New Genre #7. ]

At a conference, invited to speak on a panel about an essay I wrote, the subject—. The panel sat behind a table set on a raised platform. My boss, uninvited, sat beside me and opened the discussion. He told the audience that he never wrote horror fiction, in spite of successfully placing work in well-known horror magazines. He said, “To avoid writing horror, I take a close look at what is horrible and absorb the details so I can relay its character free of the limitations of the horror genre.”

I was about to respond when a member of the audience stood, joined us behind the table, and began to attack my boss’s statement. The audience member’s argument was completely undermined by his manner and his need to make the audience laugh. Meanwhile, I articulated a reply in my head: my boss, I thought, did write horror fiction—horror is a very broad category that freely bleeds into every other genre. “Even realism,” I said (in my mind), “gets weird, especially when realism writes death. See A Simple Heart. See The Death of Ivan Ilyich.”

The audience member’s blather was without cease. My boss exited via a series of ladders and by scrambling over a peaked roof. Still eager to make my point to him, I attempted to follow.

Without the transition typical of conscious narrative, I was in a brothel. The women there knew about horror fiction, but didn’t want to discuss horror fiction. They asked me if I planned to stay. From the brothel was a view of a dam, water high behind it.

[ Image: cover of New Genre #7, designed by Jeremy Withers. ]