Wednesday, March 6, 2024

251. A peach-colored jumpsuit } & a bundle of rags.


After the reading I went to a house in Providence where a woman said she was going to tell us a story about a serial murderer. She told us what the murderer did with the skin & genitalia of his victims & that he carried a human skull in a lunchbox & brought it with him to work. She was excited to tell these anecdotes; she believed she would enthrall us—but her anecdotes were poorly told & pointless.

The reading: I read w/ K.H. Vaughan & Jeffrey Thomas. Vaughan sipped Maker’s Mark from a plastic cup. Wore a beautiful shirt with paisley cuffs. He read his story from Scott Dwyer’s anthology The Pinworm Factory. Jeffrey Thomas read two stories from Scenes from a Village, a slim volume from the press Oddness. A head appeared at the window. We took a break. We sang Happy Birthday to the Horror Depot. I read “The Great Blind God Passed Through Us” from Stone Gods. Cover artist Anna MacLeod came, & discussed political puppet-making. Is it possible to have a conversation with a puppet-maker & not mention Sesame Street? It should be.

Our host was Lovecraft Arts & Sciences; s. j. bagley our master of ceremonies. Stone Gods, Worse Than Myself, & issues of New Genre are all available at the shop.

After the reading, I gave a ghost a ride home.

Friday, February 16, 2024

250. Livia Llewellyn’s last } post / publication.

Livia Llewellyn writes,
Going forward, I’m going to continue to write and submit stories, but all of that other stuff—trying to find an agent, trying to get a book deal, networking… will end. I don’t need to do it, it makes me miserable… and while I’ve appreciated the “you can do it” cheers from all of the writers I’ve met over the years, at some point we’ve all come to realize that, no, I in fact cannot do it. And honestly, it’s become exhausting and cruel to everyone to make everyone keep up the pretense. You’ve all done so well, and it’s been amazing being allowed to hang out with so many writers who’ve achieved so many incredible things. It’s been a privilege and a joy to know all of you—you know who you all are, and I will miss your company. But I’ve been stuck in this fork of the road for two decades, and now it’s time to move on, down a different path from everyone else.
That’s how I read Llewellyn's “Allochthon”—we gotta murder our way out of our canyon-deep rut.

Word Horde published Furnace, Llewellyn’s second collection; the sight of it used to make me jealous—the buzz around it, the terrific cover—Word Horde expressed interest in Stone Gods, but publisher Ross E. Lockhart & I never managed to connect (that’s OK!)—but now Llewellyn’s done with publishing altogether. 

I wouldn’t write “I’m done”—I don’t think I would. Is it a strategy? Is the next post, “Hey! AGENT reached out. I’ve made it!!!” I hope so.

Llewellyn’s announcement hit me funny. Last month I finally began to read her work. Taken w/ it, I visited her website—& “The Final Missive.” It troubles me.

Particularly, “You’ve all done so well, and it’s been amazing being allowed to hang out with so many writers who’ve achieved so many incredible things.” What does Llewellyn mean by “achieved” & what does she mean by “allowed to”? She’s no imposter, agent or no, book deal or no.

She reassures us—& this is good—, “The writing will continue. The publications will continue. Occasionally a story in an anthology will appear. Hopefully an occasional collection or short book might appear.” That’s my plan, too.

Stone Gods is published. By a brand-new & very small press: NO. A handful of bookstores will stock copies—as of today they are Lovecraft Arts & Sciences in Providence, The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, & Bucket O’ Blood in Chicago. The writing will continue.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

249. “Can we talk about…? } “(Rabbit).”


Last month I wrote an essay for David Surface’s Strange Little Stories. Roughly monthly, David’s newsletter features true strange stories, one by David & another written by a guest—plus news about David’s work, other writers’ work, &, in this issue, an interview w/ me.

David writes (about me),
 …he said some very nice things on his blog about a story of mine he’d read…. I reached out to thank him, and that started an on-again off-again correspondence that I enjoyed very much. So, I was very glad when I got the chance to pick up our conversation again.
I praised David’s story “Terrible Things”; it became the title story of his first collection, available from Black Shuck Books. In the interview, David & I discussed my brief correspondences w/ Mark Samuels (who died early Dec.), my upcoming collection Stone Gods, the essay I wrote for David, & the term “weird” as it’s used today. Among other things. I’m sure that if you’re interested, you can join the other 200 (or so) subscribers to Strange Little Stories by contacting David through his website; ask to start w/ Strange Little Stories #23. Nay, insist!

Stone Gods can be pre-ordered from NO Press & will be published (I’m told) this month.

[ The above image is a still from David Lynch's short film Rabbits or maybe from his long film Inland Empire. I mention Inland Empire in this post about David Cronenberg's Fast Company. ]