Monday, September 27, 2010

15. Readings } Portland, ME & Chicago, IL

John just finished reading Ciaran Carson’s translation of Inferno, so we talked about Brunetto Latini, Dante’s former teacher, mysteriously damned (by Dante) to the ring of the sodomites: “To me he seemed like one /who, in the fields around Verona, runs /for that prize, a length of green festoon. /He seemed to be the one that wins, not loses.” The conversation turned to Daniel Mendelsohn’s recent piece in the New York Review of Books about Edmund White’s latest book City Boy; Mendelsohn criticizes White’s “intellectually grotesque” reading of Inferno, specifically regarding Latini: “This reflexive tendency to reduce everything to the dimensions of [White’s] erotic interests and predilections can become wearying….” Then I brought up a short essay by White himself, and a line that had caught my eye regarding The Beats: “Early on, when they were just inventing themselves and their original brand of writing, Ginsberg and Kerouac decided to turn all their friends into myths.”

Though lightly attended, the reading in Portland was a great pleasure. Chris Bowe (the owner of Longfellow Books) gave excellent introductions, excellent because they were not merely recitations of bios John and I wrote, but a response to our work. People came because they read and were intrigued by descriptions of our books. Cupcakes were served that were frosted to be Color Plates. After John and I read we answered thoughtful audience questions for an hour.

After the reading, fog fell. John and I sat outside and ate burgers at Shay’s (seated near us, a group attempting to consume a fishbowl filled with an absinthe-blue cocktail). We walked for a while, drove a while, ended the night in a locked courtyard surrounded by sprinklers with a stoned couple who’d been asleep or screwing when the gates were closed, and couldn’t figure out how to get out. We showed them the way. As a gift, they handed us two marbles, one with the face of Mao, the other, an eye.

I read twice in Chicago, Friday (the 18th) with Jennifer Karmin at Myopic Books, and then as part of the Orange Alert series at The Whistler Saturday night. Matthew Klane and Amy Nowak drove from Iowa city to see me and Jennifer; Jennifer packed the room and I was just as pleased to see Aaaaaaaaaaalice sold as I was to sell a couple copies of Color Plates. This was the first time I’d seen my book, and it’s an odd moment: books by other people are real, books by you own self are objects imported from an alternate reality.

After the reading at The Whistler, I ate a brilliant meal in Logan Square with Rose Metal Press co-publisher Kathleen Rooney, her husband Martin, fellow reader Davis Schneiderman, Jennifer Karmin, and the poet Snezana Zabic. I’m terrible about self-promotion. Snezana emailed to ask if I was reading in Chicago days before I left, then told me she would be at my reading. I, of course, should have invited her. I was delighted she was there.

Lastly, an odd moment in Portland. Very early in the morning—was it four? was it five?—I woke to a noise—a “huff, huff.” I swore it was made by something at the end of my bed. I sat up—waited for my eyes to adjust—they didn’t, quite, heard the sound again, got up, walked to the door—I was now sure the noise came from the hall. I peered through the peephole—nothing—opened the door, and stepped into the hall. At the end of the hall—where the hall met a bay of elevators, stood an enormous white horse. It huffed. It turned its head and the dim light caught something—something crystal that sprouted from the horse’s forehead. I panicked, slammed the door shut, stood behind it a moment, breathing hard, calmed myself and thought: I did not see a white horse in the hallway of the Holiday Inn. I opened the door, looked out, and I was right, of course, there was no horse. Not only that, but the hall was configured differently. It did not end at a bay of elevators, the elevators were down a side corridor. I went back to bed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

14. Links } They are boring.

Not all of them are boring.

"Neglectorinos no more!" [blog post by Don Share re. my essay "This is Not Sad; This is Not Funny"]

Fall Books Preview ["Golaski is a champion of experimental and genre-bending fiction"; a reading at Longfellow Books, Portland, Maine, 7pm, Sept. 24th]

"...and August's rare delight may be April's fool." [blog post by Jeff Sypeck, author of Becoming Charlemagne, re. "Green"]

Small Press Spotlight ["Adam Golaski is embarking on an ambitious and adventuresome multi-city book tour..."]

"Someday on Planar Surface" [another story by Matthew Pendleton; read his lovely fiction in print by purchasing New Genre #6]

"Checking in with Rose Metal Press" ["I've been through magic and through life's reality / I've lived a thousand years and it never bothered me... don't try to reach me cause I'd tear up your mind / I've seen the future and I've left it behind / fictionaut! fictionaut!"]

"Sekrit Project Reveals" [LiveJournal post by Althea Kontis re. Werewolves and Shapeshifters, an anthology edited by John Skipp]

Color Plates [Goodreads marked it as to-read]

Raw Dog Screaming Press Retrospective [Gorelets post by Michael A. Arnzen re. Worse Than Myself, Sheep and Wolves, and 100 Jolts]

Cinnabar's Gnosis [a weird review of an anthology in honor of the writings of Gustav Meyrink I contributed to. "Proustian selves by cassette tape. Proustian selves as flies."]

"Open Letters Montly: August, 2010" [Like Fire blog post re. "Green" and the August issue of OLM]

Worse Than Myself [a review posted by the Speculative Fiction Junkie. He points out that "many of the horrors in close proximity to comforts." So true!]

"The Open Letters Monthly Anthology" [an announcement by stevereads: "here is the brooding, authoritative essay-voice of Adam Golaski still at the dawn of his career"]

"Adam Golaski's book of little stories..." [blog post by Rose Metal Press, with a link to the Little Stories blog]

Friday, September 10, 2010

13. Color Plates } “the subtle intersections between appreciation and invention”

My publisher sent me a link to the short review of Color Plates that appeared in Publisher’s Weekly. It’s a positive review, for which I am grateful.

Built into the review is an assumption that the reviewer made about the book: that because the paintings that are the book’s inspiration are 19th century paintings, the stories must be set in the 19th century. They’re not.

Neither are they explicitly now, though. The reviewer has picked up on something that the stories couldn’t escape: even though they’re all set in the present (or a time like the present), something essentially 19th century was brought into them. Or, maybe what the reviewer has picked up isn’t that specific. Maybe the stories don’t feel like they’re set in the 21st century because they’re set so much in their own world.

Friday, September 3, 2010

12. Color Plates } I came across this note:

“The first Color Plates reading I ever gave (three from Toulouse-Lautrec) was at the 2003 World Horror Convention in Kansas City. I read to an audience of three: Alice Henderson, Kimberly Zagoren and Phil Locasio. That same night I read a fourth plate, ‘The Toilette,’ to a much larger crowd for the Morbid Curiosity-sponsored flash fiction contest. Alice won third place.”

All Hallows #32, published two months before Mr. Locasio and I met at the convention, featured fiction by both of us: his “Sundown in Yellow Scar” and my “Back Home” (collected in Worse Than Myself). My path hasn’t crossed with Ms. Zagoren’s since that weekend; she’s the author of two books (that I know of). Ms. Henderson and I attended several conventions together. We’ll be together again when Werewolves and Shapeshifters, edited by John Skipp, is published this October.

Two weeks from now, Rose Metal Press and I will debut Color Plates in Chicago.