Saturday, July 31, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rootsy Music

Stephen Duesner gets in the best zinger I've read in a music review in a long time--at the expense (and to the benefit) of Blue Giant:

Their understanding of indie pop music remains as strong as ever, but their take on roots doesn't get much further than the Cracker Barrel off the interstate.

Makes me want to buy the album anyway, because sometimes that's as far off the interstate as I want to go.

-----

Here's an older, sweet one from Blue Giant:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recommended Read: "The Husband Across the Hall"

If you've got three minutes for an encounter with flash fiction, read Andrew Roe's "The Husband Across the Hall." Here's the opening paragraph:

There is a husband across the hall who looks at me. Two doors down, to the left, opposite side, near the emergency exit, with a wife I never see, yet I know she exists because there have been periodic sightings over the years, like the sightings of a rare, delicate, beautifully named bird.

And here is Roe's blog: Title TK. Roe reads from his work next weekend in San Diego in what may well be this country's premiere reading series for up-and-coming writers: Jim Ruland's Vermin on the Mount. Wish I could be there. If you're within striking distance, I envy you.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, July 19, 2010

WE'RE HOT! HOT! HOT!

WE DID IT!!!!! Congrats to everyone for pulling together to break the WORLD RECORD! Yay for us! WOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Great work, team. Great work! Now let's see if we can top ourselves in July. Come on! Less than two weeks left!

UPDATE: The original version of this post included an embedded video of the song "Hot! Hot! Hot!" by The Cure, which would play automatically for anyone and everyone who arrived at the main page of this blog. That was obnoxious. It was also inadvertent. Our sincerest apologies go out to anyone adversely affected by hearing this song.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blogalicious Word of the Day



Pax Ravenna

My book's publisher, Ravenna Press, has a new blog called PAX RAVENNA: News emanating from the veins and arteries of Ravenna Press. If you enjoy my work--or if you don't, I suppose--I encourage you to wander over to show your support as a follower of the Ravenna blog, too. The followers' widget is near the top of the right-hand column. Ravenna is a fine press with many excellent books under its belt; and the blood flowing through those veins and arteries is some hardy, vital stuff, let me tell you. I'm proud to become a part of Kathryn Rantala's empire.

Come to think of it, I've been part of it for some time. Rantala published "Onion Ring," a short-short story of mine, in her journal Snow Monkey, back in 2002 or so.

-----

While you're in a clicky mood, check out the latest "chapter" of Kathryn's current project, Anemone Sidecar.

-----

And while I'm in a linky mood, Ravenna Press published one of my favorite books of fiction from the past couple years: Kim Chinquee's Oh Baby. If you read flash fiction and prose poetry, you must have this book. Chinquee is a master of both forms and the gray areas betwixt and between.

-----

By the way, my book, Magnificent Mistakes, is scheduled for release in October. After four years of tinkering, I have finally put a full manuscript in the publisher's hands. In it, the stories are selected and sequenced, as opposed to one big pile of stories for potential inclusion. Yet I continue to tinker as I await a final-ish set of notes from Kathryn; and in the meantime I'm working with the cover designer. I'm also collaborating with an animator on a hand-drawn cartoon adaptation of one of the stories. Watch for it, you, on a tube near you this fall.

It's all coming together. I want to say I'm thrilled. And I am. But honestly I'm equal parts thrilled and terrified. I suspect I'll feel this way until an actual copy of the book rests in my hands. Then I imagine I will find peace, hear a choir of angels, burst into fireworks, and ascend to Author Heaven.

Simple Minds, "Hunter and the Hunted"

This song is almost thirty years old. That means I am really old. Pass my walker, Edith, I'm gonna dance to artsy, angsty, ambitious new-wave pop.



Whatever Roxy Music did, Simple Minds did it better. There, I said it. Now make me regret it, Edith. Make me regret it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

With Half-Closed Eyes

It's bloody hot here. I can't wait for night. In five minutes I must leave the chilly confines of my office, step into the sauna and the sun, and bike home. That five minutes will be my least favorite part of this day. I hope.

-----

It's been a long time since I was last moved by a Depeche Mode song, but I found this version of "Waiting for the Night to Come" this afternoon and suddenly felt just a wee bit better about my world. Because night will come, and I'll be here to meet it.

Come on, thunder!

This just in: James (my favorite band of the nineties, bar none) has announced a tour of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to go with the North American release of this still-thriving band's new double album, The Morning After the Night Before. Sadly (for me, certainly, but perhaps not for Tim Booth and company), the closest James will come to Oklahoma is Atlanta. Or Denver. Not sure. Either way, I'll miss the show. Ah well. I am used to it, and missing out on the tour does nothing to diminish my enthusiasm for the new songs--which are FANTASTIC! I'll post dates, a promo video with interview and live clips, and a new song below.

But first, here's an oldie--a live (or semi-live--it's hard to tell) performance of "Sometimes" from Top of the Pops in 1993:


One chord. Five guitars. And the truth. Oh, and plenty of spinning.

The Morning After The Night Before Tour
USA, Canada, Mexico ~ Autumn 2010

September:
20th – Fort Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
21st – Lake Buena Vista, FL – House Of Blues
22nd – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
24th – Philadelphia, PA – The Trocadero Theatre
25th – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
27th – Washington DC – 9:30 Club
28th – New York, NY – Webster Hall
30th – Toronto, CA – Queen Elizabeth Theatre

October:
1st – Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Theatre
2nd – Chicago, IL – The Vic Theatre
4th – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theatre
5th – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
7th – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
8th – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
9th – Seattle, WA – Showbox at the Market
11th – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
12th – Anaheim, CA – House Of Blues
13th – Los Angeles, CA – The Music Box
16th – Mexico City, MX – Corona Capital Music Festival (with the Pixies, Interpol)**
18th – Guadalajara, MX – Teatro Diana**
19th – Second headline show in Mexico, venue TBA

And here's a recent promotional video for the European tour:



Finally, "Ten Below":

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Generic Link

This is a generic post, meant to convey some deep cultural significance to my Facebook friends along with a glimpse into my soul. They may or may not click through, and may or may not 'Like' this link. But it exists as testimony to the fact that I am thinking of them, thinking of you, reaching out to you, offering to entertain, enlighten, move, or motivate you. Though this post offers vaguely political implications, it does not preach. It affirms your worldview and mine. It secures my sense of participation in that world. And it accomplishes precisely nothing.

Up from Shadows

Though unsure how or why, I have fallen into a deep funk since the completion of my manuscript a week and a half ago. These past few days, I've felt unable to claw my way out of this hole, unable to connect with even my family in meaningful ways. And worse--I began to suspect the world was trying to break my will to live. Not that I had become suicidal, mind you--the impulse to care for my children is far stronger than any darkness to be found in this heart. But I have wondered who I am and what I'm doing here and why I do the things I do and do not do so many of the things I want to do. Yesterday, I hit rock bottom. Alone in the house, I shouted at no one and wept for no good reason. Shortly after that, I drove to work (a rare event, as I usually walk) then sat in the car to wait for heavy rain to pass. It passed. I got out of the car and locked my keys in the ignition.

Somehow, that goofy mistake broke the spell. I recognized my depression for what it was. And that recogition is always the point at which the journey back begins.

Today, though I have much work to do, I will set aside time to write in my journal and read poetry. Then I will work on a story that has been lurking in the shadows for days. Then who knows?

----------------

Friday, July 9, 2010

Captain Beefheart

My friend Pete has been patiently persistent in pointing me toward and into the music of Captain Beefheart. Today, I found the door...





Now I know that Tom Waits wasn't abducted by aliens in the early eighties. He just discovered Captain Beefheart.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I know...

...I'm neglecting the blog and pretty much everything else, and have been for a month. Finishing this book has been hard. And I know now it will never be "finished." But the manuscript is now a whole manuscript, and as I move past this milestone I'm starting to feel like a whole human being again.

Which is not to say I'm all sunshine and cheer. Let P.J. Harvey speak for me now: