Sunday, June 29, 2008

'pretend i am there but very little' scared the crap out of me and also i liked it very much

last night the literati discussed blake butler's chapbook from publishing genius,
'pretend i am there but very little.'

it is about a person that sells his teeth and uses part of the money to buy a dog. the dog has a giant blue tumor. these sentences are perfect. blake butler writes perfect sentences. the book is full of nausea and dull aches. it is like dreaming about the house you grew up in, only in the dream the house is creepy and full of ghosts and vomit. something is wrong and it feels like homesick horror.

here is one of my favorite paragraphs:

"In the living room I put him down again. He stood with his eyes open and legs shaking. I got the pink rabbit that had belonged to my prior dog and showed it to this one now. The dog did not blink. I pushed the rubber at his lips. I got down on my knees and put the toy in my own mouth. I did not realize I was crying. Each time I moved to match my eyes with his he turned away a little, just like that."

everyone's favorite part of the book is the emails that the main character writes to a girl named emily. emily emailed him once. she is most likely spam and not a real emily. the emails to her are genius and heartbreaking.

later he goes to visit his teeth in a museum. also a room appears. the room is full of the feeling of memory. it is not full of actual memory, but feels like the deepest part of someone's limbic cortex: dark, stale, boundless, insane. full of dead insects and breath like spaghetti.

i think blake butler is always typing something in this room.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jeff Koons is so sweet and adorable and naive

Check out this adorable video clip of Jeff Koons. He has stuff at the MCA right now.

I took some students there yesterday. They did not know what to think; they giggled a lot in an embarrassed way; I think they think Jeff Koons is silly in a bad way, or maybe that he is retarded, or maybe that he is just a perv for having all those boobs flopping around in all his paintings.

When they did or said these things I referred them to the internet, as all good teachers should do, rather than having a conversation with them about what art is. I could not handle that conversation yesterday.

Anyway, I wish my philosophy of writing was like Jeffy's philosophy of his art. We should invite him to our next meeting and he can give us all bubble baths or something. I definitely want him to wash my hair.

don't eat your desk

Diet Book Author Advocates New 'No Food Diet'

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In honor of hump day

Let's all do five-song shuffles. If you lie, Venom will know and pierce you good. Here's mine:

Appointment at the Fat Clinic: Digable Planets
Distant Lover (Live): Marvin Gaye
Senor Burns: Tito Puente
Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat): Digable Planets
Scarecrow People: XTC

Your turn, Kathy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A business story

Today I am editing a 26-page fictional business fable that I wrote a year ago into a 7-10 page business fable. Here is an excerpt:

"Mary, even if you do reach someone and make the corrections to the lead article, Danita hasn't been able to figure out what's wrong with the template."

There was a piece of Mary that wanted to disagree, send the team home to their families, and plough ahead until the issue was completed--so what if she didn't know HTML? By sheer force of will, she would figure it out.

She hadn't missed a deadline since her early days as a junior marketer. They'd distributed this electronic publication on the first Friday of every month for the last three years. It's been a point of pride for Mary--and it's what Chris, the CMO, expects. But now...Miguel was right.

"Go home," Mary said, and her staff reluctantly packed up. Danita looked back at her as she crossed the threshold out of the conference room.

"You missed Debbie's play tonight, didn't you?" she said.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Anxiously Awaiting Rejections, Tambien

I am stealing Meghan's post idea because I don't have any ideas of my own. When I write I puke out of my brain. When I talk I puke out my mouth. When I think it is about Ice Capades, or barracudas, or the song barracuda. I like to be silent and play with my cat. I want to become mute. Then I would have an excuse.

I just received a rejection from la petite zine for something I sent them last September. They said there was such a delay because I made it so far in their reading process, but really they definitely lost my submission for several months.

I hate when I read a submission later, after it's rejected, and realize it was really bad when at the time I sent it I thought it was brilliant.

Also I hate when I send stuff somewhere because I think it is way better than other peoples' stuff that I have read there, and then I get rejected and the other bad people become famous overnight.

Also, I want to win things. I never win things. I won a wooden game at a raffle in elementary school once. Also in seventh grade I won an autographed photo of Debbie Gibson, which I gave to Missy because she was such an enormous fan.

I am awaiting rejections from all of these contests I sent my book to forever ago. I am pretty sure they will all flood my mailbox at once.

I'm excited for a new round of rejection letters!

I just sent out a couple new stories over the weekend and can hardly wait for the first rejection letter to roll in! Seriously. Rejection letters make me feel productive and like things are happening. It doesn't matter if it is a form letter or a slightly personalized letter. You can even send me one if I haven't sent you anything.

Also, this weekend, I bought a sweet-ass record player that converts vinyl to mp3s, which I am way too lazy to ever do. Record players today are not as exciting as my old school Technics record player that broke like five years ago, sending me on a neverending quest to find some tiny plastic part no one has ever heard of. My new player looks janky and like it could crack apart at any moment. It's probably completely made of styrofoam, like my new air conditioner. That is so exciting.

"Looks like my pap on Saturday night."

This version of Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger," which I saw when I was about nine(?) made all sorts of rivulets in my gray matter. Vinnie found it for me on YouTube, and I am still scared of it. Watch Claymation Satan sculpt and kill a whole village in front of a trio of bucktoothed 80s clay kids.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Kathy is in the air right now

I think Kathy and I used to be almost exactly the same age. Now Kathy is older and wiser, and I meant to buy her a present yesterday but my youthful selfishness caused me to buy a copy of Sleepingfish instead. I must've been confused about what I was doing. Her (amazing!) poem was in that magazine, and I don't think she wants her own poem for her birthday. We'll see.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Face-punching doesn't solve anything

Once again, I would like to draw your attention to Police Beat, where face-punching is the week's theme.

Also, there is a 50-year-old woman terrorizing/being terrorized the 4600-4900 blocks of North Sheridan (see "Mother punches daughter in face twice," "Girlfriend steals $500," and "Woman hit with tennis racquet by robber"). I guess it doesn't explicitly say it's all the same woman, but I really think it's too much of a coincidence.

Like my mama always said, go lookin' for trouble, and you find it. My mama never said that.

This week's headline winner: "'I did need a toothbrush and socks.'"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

on word counts

I have a story of 653 words. It does not need any more or any less words. It is too long by 53 words for a short short magazine and 97 words too short to be considered a "short short" for Narrative Magazine's first-person contest, which costs too much money anyway. I am a social outcast. Also, what a bunch of bean counters.

Waving at chicks

I have never liked to be a regular, despite really feeling comforted by routine. It's because I don't like strangers to have any dirt on me. Or to form unnecesary relationships.

The fact that I'm moving makes me more open to human interaction because I know I won't have to maintain energy-consuming false friendships.

I feel like it's okay if I talk to my neighbor because it no longer means we'll have to chat every time I'm on my deck forever and ever. This is reminiscent of when a friend of mine decided to start waving at hot chicks a week before he moved.
I have been responding in a geniune and non-crabby fashion when people ask me questions. Also, I have started listening to people. Here are some resulting direct quotes (from three total strangers):

"He uses the same sponge to do the dishes as to clean his ass!"

"You been through a 12-step program?"

"I'm just worried it's starting to smell."

Mostly, it turns out I just don't want to talk to strangers about potential gangrene. I am going to scrunch into my angry face again. And start waving at chicks. They will probably be frightened because I will look mean.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Brian Evenson now the judge of every single fiction contest in America

I have nothing against Brian Evenson, but he’s quite a prolific judge of experimental fiction competitions. There should be term limits on these positions. Next year, I'd like to elect Wayne Koestenbaum.

Evensonian Fiction Contests, a partial list:
Opium 7 line contest
Caketrain Chapbook Competition
Noemi Press Chapbook Competition
FC2 fiction contest (one of the judges)
Diagram Innovative $5 Fiction Contest

Maybe it's because I'm moving to a college town

I feel so sad about the floods in Iowa.

Monday, June 16, 2008

"Insanity - a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world. "

Today, I drove my car which does not seem to have a fifth gear anymore down Lake Shore to Seminary Co-op Books. I got passed by a Vespa. Are those even allowed on the highway?

I bought an R.D. Laing book and a book about writer's block because I've never had that and it sounds interesting.

reading: R.D. Laing / The Divided Self
Alice Flaherty / The Midnight Disease

listen to this and then say to yourself, "that's my jam."

venom literati

Sunday, June 15, 2008

read my story

I have a depressing story up at the 2ndHand. Todd Dills is nice. You should send him things.

Friday, June 13, 2008

in other news, temporary tattoos continue to increase productivity.

alicia pernell is blogging her productivity today. her temporary tattoo is aiding output.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

novels are boring (usually)

I am so tired of novels, seeing them on store shelves or in the clammy hands of boring looking people on the train. I don't even like television shows with a storyline that carries on over too many episodes (Weeds, Season 3).

I was happily surprised to find Rivka Galchen's novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, at Unabridged Books. It has everything I used to like about novels: weird detached narrators with missing spouses (see Kobo Abe), evil twins, mental illness, and science that I don't understand.

I read somewhere that there are dwarves, but I haven't gotten to that part yet. Nothing about this book has that painted-into-a-corner feel, like the poor author is chasing some retarded plotline because they don't know how to cut it off and move in a new direction. Also, the author doesn't look smug and pleased with herself in the jacket photo. She has messy hair.

Escape! At last!

Hour eight: The wistfulness has set in

Hour seven: Temporary tattoos aid concentration

Hour six: Very productive, wearing a hat of light

Hour five: No matter which view you take, this is productivity

Hour four: Kathy is appalled by Sarah's love of guacamole and lack of love for productivity

Hour three: Sarah's daily hip-hop dance encourages productivity

Hour two: I think she passed out

A tribute to Shane Jones: Kathy's productivity level, hour one

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

pedro is going to be famous

my chapbook "i am in the air right now" is being published by the greying ghost press! the greying ghost press makes lovely chapbooks and they have a lot of good things lined up. thank you to carl annarummo and shane jones.

the chapbook is a collection of poems about a hot air balloonist and it is from our book boom boom splat. our=megan, sarah, me. maybe you have not heard of boom boom splat yet but once pedro destroys the trump tower and crushes the moon with his massive vocabulary you will know. oh, you will know.

please come to my all-ages reading Saturday

Please come to see me read at the Splat Flats fest in a lumber yard, Saturday 7:45, unless it's past your bedtime.

Monday, June 9, 2008

weird fish gross fish sleepingfish

venom literati has a new bestie. his name is greg lytle. he used to wear diapers with matthew savoca. he draws things and takes pictures of things. i really like his comic strip kevan. he animated these weird gross dead fish for a rap video. gross right? weird right? you should watch the video. his animation is super fantastic.

also i am a big jerk because sleepingfish came out a few weeks ago and i forgot to say it. i'm in that. i really like basically everything in it, and i am not just saying that. i looked at it again just now. it is really good. i think my favorites are the two things by brian foley. i am his new biggest fan. also it is really beautiful looking, just like everything that comes from calamari press. so you should order sleepingfish or if you don't feel like owning new things, you can borrow it from me.

Do I look tan?

Do I look tan in this picture? Be honest, cause someone said I did and I can't tell if they were kidding or not. I don't think I do but why would they say that then? I love how creamy I am and I'm not ashamed to say that. I am like pure plain yogurt. And that is the ONLY time you will hear the word PLAIN associated with my appearance. That green is a good color on me. Isn't it? But does it make me look tan? Why would they say that!? My hair is pretty shimmery and blond....maybe that's what they mean. And my teeth are BLINDINGLY white. But, tan?
Do you like my pose? I feel casual-cool. I think that's what the photographer told me to convey and I NAILED IT! HA! Casual--BAM! Cooooool---Voila.
My decolletage is my best feature hands down and this photo like totally features it. This is an awesome pic. My collarbones could win prizes if they gave out prizes for they? I think I'll Google search after this and see if there are contests and shit for collarbones. I would KILL!!! I wonder how much I could win. Like a thousand or two, maybe? Maybe more! Why didn't I think of this before? I've had awesome collarbones since like eighth grade. I would've probably made a MINT by now! Live and learn huh? Live and learn.
I just don't age. I look 22 tops........
Why do you think that person said I look tan?! I don't, do I? Tan?????? I try to stay OUT of the sun. It ages you and I do NOT look AGED! Why would they say that?!!!
Whatever. It doesn't bother me. They don't know what they are talking about. I'm gonna just Google collarbone contests and forget about it. So....just let me know what you think.....creamy, probably.

Police Beat

I love the "Police Beat" section in "Inside," the paper that serves Chicago's North Side neighborhoods. Particularly, I love the headlines.

Here are some of my favorites from this issue:

Male nurse stabbed in face
Phone loan leads to punch in the face
Man attacks with fists, car

Oh, and the piece de resistance: Pulled-over woman with bat calls officer white devil, attacks.

Abby and I remember reading "Police Beat" when we were staying in a hostel on our first day in Chicago nine years ago. We were terrified. Now we just take super-important lessons from it, like don't leave your effing key in the safe.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

rumor control: lindsay lohan not getting married to me at Dollywood this summer

I would just like to deny rumours that Lindsay Lohan and I are getting married at Dollywood this summer. She is reportedly getting married to a different woman whose tooth gap is not nearly as cool as mine. I think Lohan's like 21 though, so she will be mine in time for her third marriage, and then I won't have to star on Dateline's To Catch a Predator. Are there any young ladies out there who want some Mike's Hard Lemonade? Ok, I'm going to go watch the director's commentary on Mean Girls for the 17th time.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Whoa. What if I'm Jon Arbuckle?

I did not believe this could be awesome, so when I heard buzzings about this Garfield Minus Garfield thing a couple of months ago, I was all like "whatevs," because almost nothing is as good as people say it is, but then my good pal in Philly showed me the site. And Jon spoke to me.

Jon's existence is lonely sans kitty, and he often gets hand cramps and does laundry (just like you! And probably Jim Davis!). He talks to himself. He puts on costumes. He yells at the world, and at you, The Reader. And at invisible things. In short, he becomes mentally ill in a totally accessible way. You should check them out. They will make you feel sad, and then you will laugh again.

Also, there is no Odie, or Nermal, who were both clearly annoying and needed to be excised from Garfield anyway.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Meeting this Friday


Let's get together and pretend to talk about Matthew Rohrer this Friday evening. Afterwards we can get Venom Literati tattoos and write a collaborative heartfelt poem.

Everybody in?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

exciting life important for poets

Newsflash: poets should all do something scandalous or they will become even more obscure. If you need any help, poets, I will sell you biographical information at the rate of $10 per anecdote. Most of them will be lies, such as the fact that I was partially eaten by wolves in 1988. It was entirely eaten, and by bears. Also, watch for the upcoming, competing made-for-tv movies starring Drew Barrymore and Alyssa Milano.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Suck it, ComEd

I have no electricity at my new apartment for up to 72 hours. Tonight, I will have to do everything by candlelight, and these are the expensive pear-scented candles that are normally reserved for impressing ladies. I should never have yelled at the ComEd representative and demanded to be transferred to a polite person in India who would actually help me. Apparently, not every job in this country is outsourced.