awp: when the internet sits in the same room

AWP is always one of the most fun things to happen every year. All these beautiful and insane people I know through the internet all arrive in the same place, drink too much, talk way too much, and don’t sleep enough. This year was no different, but it was also completely different.

I think this year was my favorite AWP yet, so hopefully this trend continues.

My first AWP was pretty intimidating. I didn’t really know very many people, didn’t really know what to do, and tried to do way too much, which resulted in me missing a lot of cool things and sort of wandering back and forth. I worked at the Lit Pub/MLP table where I got to hangout with JA Tyler, Molly Gaudry, Josh Denslow and a rotating cast of others. It was probably the best introduction to AWP for someone in my position. If you don’t know what to do, where to go, or who to talk to, just latch onto a table because people will think you’re important. It also gives you a break from the insanity that is the bookfair. I also got to finally meet a lot of the Velvet/Manarchy crew. I had known them for years and it was super awesome and fun to finally get to highfive and hug them in person, instead of just through the internet.

Last year was my second AWP and it was better than the first because I learnt to accept that you can’t see everything. You’re always going to miss out on most things, so just surround yourself with great people and let them guide you. Got to finally meet the CCM people, hangout with Phil Jourdan again, and hangout at the MLP/Dzanc table with JA Tyler and Matt Bell, which was awesome, of course. Though this year was better than the first, I still felt like I was running around, trying to see/meet/talk to as many people as possible.

That’s what made the difference this year. I felt much less of a need to explore and meet all the new faces and places and books and publishers. I feel like I met the group of people that I wanted to meet in 2013, and this year I got to spend more time with them, and get to know each of them better. In addition, the cast of characters grew. I got to meet Janice Lee and Peter Tieryas who are so so awesome. I wish I got to spend more time with both of them, but I’m really glad we had a few great talks. J David Osborne, too, was the bee’s knees and sort of completely different from who I expected him to be. JS Breukelaar was the big surprise for me, since I knew nothing about her, but then I spent hours just talking to her. She made me miss all my Aussie friends and reminded me how much I need to finally get there. Then there’s Rose O’Keefe and Patrick Wensink who are just so awesome and talked with me about ballet, because I guess we all really just needed to do that for a while. D Foy and Jeff Jackson are two of the coolest guys around and I’m excited to see D in Minneapolis in a few months. Oh, and then there’s Stephen Graham Jones. Coolest and nicest guy around. I’ve been reading his novels for almost a decade now and it made him seem intimidating at first, but he’s just a great person who also happens to write my favorite books.

And then there was the core crew from the previous year: Michael Seidlinger, Kyle Muntz, Cameron Pierce, Kirsten Pierce, and Alexander Allison. Michael, unfortunately, fell ill, which was a huge bummer, but I had an awesome time with Kyle [as always] and it was great to talk more with Kirsten and Cameron, who might be two of my favorite people in the world. They remind me of two of my best friends and they’ve convinced me that I need to be in Bizarrocon this year. And Alex was very english and very awesome and just always interesting.

And it seems like I’m falling into that bizarro crowd and I honestly think they might be the best people to know. To be honest, before I met Kirsten and Cameron last year, I thought bizarro was just a silly genre full of stupidity and weirdness. But you can’t talk to Cameron and Kirsten and ignore how intelligent they are, and if you pick up any of their books, you know there’s a lot more happening there than just strangeness. But most of the people I met this year are tied to bizarro in some way, and they’re all so awesome, so down to earth, and just so intelligent. They’re all normal people, and I think they’re actually quite a bit normaler than a lot of the literary genre folks. I really dig the people, their sense of community, and I’ve come to find that I really love their odd little books.

But, yeah, probably I’m forgetting people. Molly Gaudry and Jason Cook were great too! Seeing Molly always just sort of warms my heart, and Jason wears the dopest suits. Ah–Bud Smith and Sam Snoek-Brown too! Michael Kazepis and Nick Mamatas and and and-

Okay, I’ll just leave it there. If I forgot to mention you, just know I love you privately.

things have changed

Almost everything. No, not really, but life’s a bit different now that Chelsea’s here. Lots of other news I’ve meant to talk about for these last however many weeks. I guess it’s only been about two, yeah? Seems like the days and weeks have slipped from me.

She’s here now, though. Working beside me. Doing her internet programmery and so on.

Maybe I’ll just leave this as a placeholder for now. Something to remind those who read here that I’m still alive, still thinking and working and creating. Wrote about 120 poems over a weekend a few weeks ago when I was feverish and ill. I guess that’s what happens when your brain boils and a wordprocessor’s nearby. Hoping to get back into a more normalised routine here soon.

Oh, I’ve also been doing interviews. Lots of them. Start reading them here:

Phil Jourdan

Brian Allen Carr

Curtis Smith

All of those were at Monkeybicycle where I’m taking over JA Tyler’s interview series. It’s pretty cool and I’ve some really great ones coming out soon.

Other things:

Interview with Matthew Salesses at Heavy Feather Review.

Review of Christopher Barzak’s new collection at The Lit Pub.

But, yeah. Hopefully getting back into a novel this week and maybe getting another short story done for the year. I’m well ahead right now, but I feel a few brewing in me.

Till next time.

Hopefully soon.

But Chelsea’s here, and sometimes there’s not much else a body needs but love.

more reviewery

Got back from DC, from a wonderful weekend, from the lovely Chelsea and am now here, in the cold north. DC is a strange city with the worst metro in the world. No one seems to live there and all the buildings are gigantic. Monuments to tyranny and oppression framed as beauty and democracy.

Anyrate, two recommendations went up at The Lit Pub recently.

Town of Shadows by Lindsay Stern:

It’s a peculiar book, relying on more than sentences and stories to give you the life it holds within. Full of odd math problems and experimental notations and lists and poetry and definitions that seem all wrong, Stern disorients the reader by dropping us in the middle of this town where nothing is quite what it seems to be, where absurdity and magic are just a skipped breath away.

Dead Girls, Dead Boys, Dead Things by Richard Calder:

In his Dead trilogy (Dead Girls, Dead Boys, Dead Things), Richard Calder creates a cataclysmic future where the difference between nature, technology, reality, time, life, death, and imagination all swirl and blend together, becoming more and more indistinct as the narrative unravels at a dizzying pace only to somehow come back together as something both magnificent and visceral.

The kinetic language will sweep you up until you’re reeling from the poetic. The first novel contained in the trilogy is certainly the most straightforward, if one can even use that word here. It’s fitting that it’s printed as a trilogy because the second two novels are so inextricably bound that to read one and not the other is to dive in an orphic nightmare and leave drowning.

Also, this short film is just magic.

book reviews

Two book reviews over the last week. Four Messages by Joshua Cohen is up at Manarchy Magazine and Parallel Stories by Péter Nádas is up at The Lit Pub.

Been babysitting my nephew recently and it wears me out. A lot. Mostly because I need to wake up at an ungodly hour. But, yeah, changed my first poopy diaper and cool things like that.

Anyrate.

business as usual

Some write ups went up today. First, at Manarchy Magazine, now edited by the awesome Pela Via, is a list of my ten favorite things of the week here. I’ll be doing these every week, so join in the fun and let me know what you think about my favorite things.

What is Manarchy Magazine? A good question. It was newly relaunched and has taken a sort of shift. I suppose it’s still meant to be a men’s magazine but it’s mostly just a culture and art type place where cool kids do cool things. Some of those cool kids are viewable here.

Also, a new recommendation up at The Lit Pub by me about Caleb J RossAs a Machine and Parts published by Aqueous Books, which is a pretty awesome publisher. Also, The Lit Pub only has a few more days left in its inaugural contest, so if you have a novel, memoir, poetry/short story collection or some such things, check out the information here.

So many links here. But, yes, you know, business type aspect here.

mornings remind me of you

These autumnal days resurrect me in the proper way and all I want to do is sit inside of it, breathe, and close my eyes for days and years, wake up in a new world that was always here.

Molly Gaudry‘s The Lit Pub is back! Click the link and browse around. There are even a few [five] posts by me about my favorite books, which can be found at the click.

Meant to be doing some reviewing, some reading, but all I want is to expand beyond my body and float into the sky, be a cloud.

And then because she’s my favorite ballerina and I love me some Prokofiev: