Monday, December 27, 2010

Cat in a bag, and, unrelatedly, Stieg Larsson

I'm working on an essay about Stieg Larsson, posted on Fictionaut that has proved controversial for its allegedly unflattering portrayal of the IKEA food court.

Also, here's a cat in a bag!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

squeak mew squeak mew squeak mew

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Can Get On Board With This

I can't blog these days because kittens are my only inspiration. But now I CAN blog! Yay!  Have you seen this one?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sarah Eaton, Interviewed!

I interviewed Sarah Eaton over here about her book Tough Skin.  Sarah could totally make a living doing interviews: she says all the things you want to say but won't.  If you want to know what you really think about everything, read it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Moth Moon by Matt Jasper, a not-review

Writing reviews is not my forte; therefore, this is a not-review. Behold below, two poems by me and a hybrid-y thingie by Megan Martin, inspired by Moth Moon by Matt Jasper.

Purdy Group Home Van, Flat Tire

Hurdling through a human steeplechase of
Ditchwater, weed, and dirt to what
End

Who’s got the joy gun, and the jack
Cutting through rust and the whipping whipping
Wind of the road

Tire’s skin split like
Dry lips and here we are with insufficient
Supervision and handfuls of atomic
Fireballs and one wheelchair to every
Five people

None of the other tires fit.
Donuts and tubes and filling and
Looking at the sparkles in the dirt.

Purdy Group Home Theatrical Exploration

A man who is not a famous sexual
predator mumbles in a
corner and everyone applauds as far
as teeth-grinding can be
considered applause.
A man who is not a famous artist
steals a screwdriver from his
therapist and secretes
it on his person.
A woman who is not a
murderer does not
like vegetables and keeps
her lips to
herself. A person in
charge is the person
in charge, doing the
things one would expect.

The staff who had contact get sent home early.
It is never the therapist’s fault.

Moths Describe The Moon

1.
His skin like is fly paper candy. Her skin is the cuddliest kitten. Its skin is a scrubbed universe in our mouths. Later, overfed, we vomit our moon on the floor and furry wet sparkles light up our carpets.


2.
Anastasia arrived today. She sticks to the moon like something splattered, sucking.


3.
My hands said I would never find the moon, but then I was inside it swimming and it held me up and my hands weren’t leaves anymore and my hands were webs of light that didn’t fall apart in wind.


4.
I shook my head against the pillow until a bald patch appeared. I shook my head until it bled onto the pillow but nobody noticed. I shook my head until my head was an oozing black strawberry in a dead forest where the moon stood guard.


5.
My body was ashes I was falling into the cracking center of. It’s scary to fall like that, but at the center of the noose is the moon and it’s good to be in the center of something.


6.
Anastasia says things are not very interesting on the moon. The ladykiller was more interesting, she says. I abhor the green yards of suburbs. But it’s easy for her to say that from here.


7.
There is no place for God on the moon because the moon replaces God and is way better.


8.
Anastasia says Pleased to meet you, moon, but really she is plotting a murder. She wants the moon to know what it’s like to wake up with rotten teeth to a room of ladykillers, to ovens of the dead. The moon don’t know shit, she says.

Monday, August 23, 2010

repulsion

Incorporating another Venom Literati theme into Hate Week (which, is it two weeks now?), I would like to ruminate on a celebrity that I hate, but may actually love. That celebrity is Scott Disick.

First of all, his name is hilarious. Clearly I have an immature sense of humor, but come on. Disick. Hehehe. Second, he is a Kardashian baby daddy. Third, he is a snappy dresser. Fourth, his eyes are completely blank all of the time. Fifth, he does awful things regularly, like trying to shove a $100 bill down a waiter's throat, or...actually I can't think of anything else too bad, but Khloe sure seems to hate him, and I'm usually on Khloe's side.

Aside: How did Rob, the Kardashian brother, escape the "K" curse? Is his real name Krob?

Let's concentrate on my third point for a moment. He is a snappy dresser. He is dapper. I look at pictures of him in magazines, and then the looking turns into staring. He wears things like pale pink tailored pants with a lavender and white striped button-down. He looks like American Psycho. He often has a sweater knotted around his shoulders. He is...magnetic. I think he could be a cult leader if he tried. Case in point: Abby also cannot stop staring at Scott Disick once she starts. We arrived at this conclusion separately. Just look at that jacket! That stance! Oh, Scott Disick, how I love to hate you.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Listing of hatred

I hate that when you return from vacation you have so much to do that it instantly wipes away any residual relaxation you might have been hoping to carry over into real life.

I hate that soy milk isn't available as a pour-it-yourself-like-creamer option at coffee shops.

I hate that students don't believe sexism still exists. (Silently wipes away tear, burns bra)

I hate taking over-the-counter medicines. Like, for instance, if I have terrible heartburn and I can't sleep, I will wait for up to three hours before dragging myself out of bed to take some pepto bismol rather than just doing it right away. I also hate taking tylenol/ibuprofen/whatever for headaches.

I hate yoga. Recently I talked to a friend who has to call it "stretching" in order to do it. I am going to adopt this practice, too.

I hate that you have to stay at work for eight hours, even if you are really, really efficient and get tons of stuff done in three hours. It punishes the quick.

I hate it when people leave voice mails just asking you to call them back and not telling you why they are calling. It makes me nervous.

I think I could continue this forever. I hate a lot of things.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

hate week: the telling off stories

in celebration of hate week, here is an email correspondence about the virtues of going ape shit. this particular conversation is about a person and situation that must remain mysterious. but the themes are universal.

tell us your telling off stories!

Megan:  i really want someone to tell him off. kathy, have you told anyone off before?  sarah, have you? i have told garrison off at the top of my lungs several thousand times. tell me telling-off stories. i just told gato off for prowling around in my garden and trying to eat my pepper plants which bugs are already eating.

Sarah: Bugs are eating my pepper plants, too.  But I am going to have soooo much zuchinni. The most major telling-off I've ever done was with one of my partners at Brainstorm.  We were full-on yelling at each other, and he kept getting closer and closer to me, and when it was all over, my calves were killing me because I was standing on my tippy-tippy toes so I could be on eye-level with him.  I think I need to re-access my anger.  This is the moral. Tell him off!  Tell him off! Also, all of my gmail ads are about nightgowns, now.  Are yours?

Megan: There are ads for nightgowns? I never want you to go off on me. You'd grow taller and taller with anger like the Incredible Hulk except you wouldn't get more muscle-y. You might not even need to talk: you could just grow and stare through me with that serial-killer face and I would shrink into the carpet like in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Kathy, if you go off on him I want you to wear a wire. I need to hear it live.

Kathryn: i feel like i did tell him off but i did it in a really calm, gentle voice. so maybe that is not a real telling off. i think the last person i told off was vinnie, and it was when he worked at betuitive, and it was for something like turning the air conditioner off when i wanted it on. i read that self-control is exhaustible. they did a study where they let one group of people eat as many cookies as they wanted and they made the other group eat vegetables while looking at the cookies. they could see the cookies but they weren't allowed to eat them. the vegetable group could do nothing else for the rest of their day because they had exhausted all their energy not eating the cookies. i think i exhaust all my energy being nice, and that if i didn't use my energy on that, i could use it all on not eating cookies. or writing poems. this could be the next diet craze. the fly into a rage diet. "scream at people all day, and watch the pounds melt away!" remember the incan child sacrifice diet? the tag line was "no meat, no maize."

Sarah: I love your diet crazes, Kathy.  I'm going to fly into a rage on the next person who walks into my office and then skip lunch.

Monday, August 16, 2010

hate week

i am filled with hate and depression today. coffee hasn't transformed me. you know what would help? if you guys were all in my apartment when i got home. with a million cigarettes. but that scenario belongs to another universe, so instead, let's have hate week! this is where we all talk about things we hate, and in doing so, we experience solidarity. and friendship. i'll start:

i hate when i have a load of work to do and my office mates are having a champagne/pizza party and blasting madonna music and stomping around in the loudest high heels in the world.

i also hate it when hipsters talk about "obese people" on their blog, like they're making some kind of progressive observation by saying they saw an obese person. hey hipster, you're just being an ass hat.

i also hate it when men in bars call you sweetheart and grope you. next time that happens someone's head's gonna get knocked off.

now, you go!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

isreads 7 is ridiculously good looking

isReads 7, the haiku issue, is now live! it stars venom literati hotties sarah eaton and megan martin, honorary venom literati hottie, della watson, and stephanie barber, colin bassett, dan brady, jimmy chen, fred ecenrode, molly gaudry, jamie iredell, chris killen, tao lin, sam pink, audri sousa and bianca stone (all ridiculously good looking).

this issue was posted around baltimore, chicago, indianapolis, minneapolis, pittsburgh, and providence. thanks to christopher newgent, stephen pemberton, adam atkinson and shannon eddy, our fantastic contributing editors!



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Critically-acclaimed violent Northern European films

That's my new favorite Netflix category.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ch. 27: Dolorous hostelry: Circle Two

“No intercourse at The Pinch Punch.” So read the note safety-pinned to my felt and satin bedspread upon arrival. For me, this was no problem. Asexual by nature, attractive by countenance, I had grown accustomed to spurning advances from animal and vegetable alike.

But here a hot wind blows and stirs my loins. But here this Charming Man is charmed by wraiths in shredded robes of cobwebs.

To have never been truly punished by desire and then get beaned by its full force: I shuddered and sought the nearest cavern with my groin. The unfortunate lusty ghosts traced icy fingertips across the sensitive pits of my knees. And then I saw them and knew that I must have them.

The whining, the wailing, the beauty: I sought to enter and get swept up on their aimless blowabout. A threesome I propose, and their hearts leap. No really, I can see their hearts pulsing above their garments; that’s one of those things about the concupiscent yearners. Every clichĂ© has a source.

Two illicit lovers, separated for eternity, now offered the chance to reunite, and—bonus!—I’m part of the bargain: clean as a fish and just as supple and muscular, innocent as a believer, horny as myth—and theirs. I approach gingerly, my tongue at the ready.

They ignore me completely, slobbering the saliva of death, clutching and shrieking and pounding away. I bid the wind drive them apart again, and forever.

Ch. 1 here
Ch. 2 here
Ch. 3 here
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Ch. 5 here
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Ch. 7 here
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Ch. 16 here
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Ch. 18 here
Ch. 19 here
Ch. 20 here
Ch. 21 here
Ch. 22 here
Ch. 23 here
Ch.24 here
Ch. 25 here
Ch. 26 here

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ch. 26: The Stairs Between Limbo and Lust

Prying people out of limbo takes more than a crowbar. You need skills, and a Crave Case of Slyders to toss like goals down the circular staircase. The plus-sized models are the first to extricate themselves from Ovid’s hot tub, nostrils to the increasingly heated igneous metamorphic.

“I’m so glad these stairs are going down,” the models remark to one another as they pass me. Every single one of them says it as if it is an original remark. I smack the last one on the bottom with my striped cane. Something is coming over me like a pink cloud that smells of aging cheese.

TYRA is the last to leave. She decided to try out her charitable debate skills on Plato in preparation for the inevitable talk show showdown. Looking at the flickering shadow of a Slyder is not nearly as delicious as sinking your teeth into one. Join the others! You might become something you never imagined.

I’m paraphrasing here. She went on and on about fear, and also loving yourself, and realizing that you are not the center of the universe. He rolled his eyes throughout. But she seemed to feel good about it.

She also looks good. Her weave shines becomingly in the firelight, her mouth pursed in determination. I stifle an urge to stand on tiptoe to kiss her danger space.

Ch. 1 here
Ch. 2 here
Ch. 3 here
Ch. 4 here
Ch. 5 here
Ch. 6 here
Ch. 7 here
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Ch. 12 here
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Ch. 15 here
Ch. 16 here
Ch. 17 here
Ch. 18 here
Ch. 19 here
Ch. 20 here
Ch. 21 here
Ch. 22 here
Ch. 23 here
Ch.24 here
Ch. 25 here

Monday, June 14, 2010

The squirrel

Sometime in the fall of this year, we came home to find a dead squirrel in the street in front of our house. We buried it by the tree. Winter came, the ground shifted, and its little red claw emerged, like it was about to escape from the grave.

Spring came, the ground thawed, and it did escape--hopefully with the aid of some other animal. And it was on our sidewalk. And it smelled bad. And we scootched it as close to the grass patch by the road as possible to avoid stepping on it. And we did not re-bury it. Perhaps because it didn't really work the first time? Or maybe we just thought we had done our duty by the squirrel. Or maybe it became a science experiment.

Many things followed, practically on a daily basis. The squirrel stopped smelling. Our next door neighbor stepped in it. The mummified claw detached from the rest of the body. Bones began to show. Dogs sniffed it. Sometimes it disappeared for a few days, but it always came back. And then the torrential rains came.

The squirrel is gone now. Probably down the street somewhere. But his claw remains.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

RIP David Markson

Venom Literati favorite David Markson died on Friday.

In memoriam, our former posts that mentioned him:

It all started with Wayne Koestenbaum.
And then we bought The Last Novel.
And then we loved it.
And then we loved it some more.
And then we invited him to our meeting.
And then he didn't come.
And then he set us free.

A walk down Venom Literati memory lane. We'll miss you, David Markson.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ch. 25: First Circle, Limbo, as narrated by Kashmir

At the edge of the suburban-green field, inside the White Castle, Socrates and Plato hold either end of the broom. Ovid bends nearly in half but it isn’t flexible enough to squeak under without bumping his manboobs.

“Too many Slyders!!!” the philosophers cry out in unison, and double over in hysterical laughter.

“I, Kashmir, am not impressed. I shall slip under easy-breezy as a miracle.”

And I do! Of course I do! I am about to inherit the Oprah Show! I am Kashmir, free and gorgeous as a nineteen-year old named Kashmir! I float under as if levitating inches above the ground!

Really I don’t feel gorgeous at all. TYRA will have nothing to do with me now that she’s on this mission, which has made me fall hard in love with her. Also, she keeps asking the Charming Man for philosophical advice, which really irks me, because he keeps saying things like “We’ve all had our buttons pushed to the point where we feel like we need to stab people in the face, but in the end the buttons belong to us: we are the ones who must deal with and take ownership of them. The more we take responsibility for our own buttons, the more we sew them tightly onto our stylish pea coats instead of letting them be pushed, the less tender they will be.”

“Exactly,” Kathy says. “That’s it exactly. That’s like, totally the philosophy behind my Animalfits™.”

“What the fuck? What the fuck does that mean? Kathy, explain to me in your own words what that means.”

“Oh Kashmir, it’s beyond words. Duh. You have to be…connected with the Universe to get it.”

Tyra nods in a faux-intelligent way, but it’s clearly just a front for lust.
She wanders off and shoves her face in in a to-go box of Slyders like it’s a trough, fighting off the plus-sized models with flailing backhands. Why can’t she see that she’s just like me, insecure and desperate; why can’t she see that we are twins? All she’s got on her mind is gorging. It’s part of our “Oprah destruction training.” We’ve stopped at every Burger King along the way. Her ass is getting beyond plus-sized.

puddin’ asks if she can please have an iceburg salad please, no dressing.

TYRA says: “Nu-uhh, Girlfriend. You’ll eat another cheeseburger and orgasm all over it. And you won’t vomit it up this time. We’re marching toward my dream, Girlfriend. Do you understand?”

puddin’ slinks off into the corner, bitching into her voice recorder; Caravaggio and a wave of tiny animals following in her wake.

“Sorry pud, It’s Slyders or nothing,” says Plato. “This is the awesome thing that happens to geniuses who are totally too smart to believe in God. We get to hang out at White Castle, talk existentialism, and eat Slyders all our lives! And Slyders are like crack! And existentialism is like crack!”

“God is not like crack—I don’t get how people get so addicted. He’s more like that Pinch-Punch thing you just gave me: mean and vile. We are totally not grieving our separation from Him like we’re supposed to,” says Socrates. “How can one grieve when there are Slyders everywhere you turn, just waiting to be thrown in the microwave?”

“Limbo, however, is the least joyous pastime on earth,” says Ovid. “Plus it just makes me feel old and fat. That’s the only part of the deal that sucks.”

“People, people, shut the fuck up; it’s mandatory viewing time.”

I put on the MANAGER nametag and the MANAGER hat and tell everybody to sit their bitch asses down while I set up the projector. Two hundred hours and six boxes of Slyders later, Ovid says:

“I like the part where Caravaggio tears out all of his hair while he’s flying the kite. But the rest is crap. Plus the sex scenes are nasty. What’s going on with his balls?”

“It’s all crap because it’s art,” says Plato. “Art is not life. Art is so fucking lowly. I’m going back to my cave now to gorge myself on Slyders until I fall into a restless, pornographic sleep. I’m dreaming of Bette Midler rubbing Slyders all over her frontside tonight. Slyders are all I dream about.”

TYRA says: “I totally know how you feel; me, too,” and her eyes bulge with empathy like plus-sized marbles.

TYRA has never said that to me. But she will, oh, she will.

Ch. 1 here
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Ch. 17 here
Ch. 18 here
Ch. 19 here
Ch. 20 here
Ch. 21 here
Ch. 22 here
Ch. 23 here
Ch.24 here

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

chris killen has done another funny thing

chris killen is my favorite internet comedian. i found a new funny thing that he did today: BEST WEBSITE EVER.COM

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tyra's writing about the Pinch Punch

Probably. It's called Modelland. On her website it says: "pronounced Model Land."

We should review this. Tyra update!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pinch Punch Ch. 24: Everybody, Observe and Mimic the Charming Man in his Steadfast Confidence!

Nobody knows where he got the striped walking stick to pump up and down as he do-si-dos in place by the impenetrable steel door. It can’t have been his item of questionable existence. It is a stick. It can’t have fit in his rollerboard. Maybe it’s collapsible.

The Charming Man simply waits for us to join him in his vigil. So confident, so certain that TYRA will emerge with the skeleton key at the witching hour and spring us. It’s infectious, this hope. The howling girl has placed her head at his feet, gently massaging the bicep on his pumping arm.

Time elapses; hope is eclipsed.

We gauge expression and calculate at what point it will be rude for us to return to our rooms. I ready my feet to slink off to go sew neckties for the tiny monkeys, but I catch sight of a doe-eyed young woman with a prominent forehead standing barefoot among us. She looks like a catalog model, face de-lacquered and free of lines.

It is she, brimming with as much faith as any of us, traces of evil shooting around her head like electrons. Our attention is drawn to her naturally, and any misgivings any of us possessed wisp away. She is TYRA, inheritor of all things tangible and intangible, our savior, our guide, our one and only. We would follow her into hell. And we do.

Ch. 1 here
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Ch. 18 here
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Ch. 20 here
Ch. 21 here
Ch. 22 here
Ch. 23 here

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Blog


You should check out this new blog, McCarty's blog. I don't know why I'm posting a picture of the puppet bike, because it has nothing to do with her new blog, which I'm pretty sure is not about puppets.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pinch Punch Ch. 23: A Subliminal Revolt

The rumblings started at the animal level. Tiny monkeys whispered revolution to the martens who whispered it to the piglets and the chain began. They told me I was the first human to hear them speak, and I chose to believe them. The second floor, Sunday morning—revolt? TYRA will know. Kashmir is her little bitch, and the piglets trust everyone.

Kashmir is the only one TYRA would ever listen to, but only subconsciously, only in mid-dream. Caravaggio is the only one Kashmir would ever listen to, also only subconsciously, also only in mid-dream.

Caravaggio wants out more than anybody. I bribe him with a fourth color of fingerpaint and four switchblades. I hand him the subliminal message-lies the tiny monkeys have written to imbed in Kashmir’s miniseries:

You are better than TYRA. You are better than TYRA. You are waaaay fuckin’ better than TYRA, and definitely more voluptous. Plus you want Kathy to become waaay famous for her Animalfits. Way more famous than you. Plus you want Caravaggio to earn his redemption from the Pope. (He will even give you the saucy red shoes you’ve been lusting after!) And we have to get out of here to do any of that. You hate the effin’ Pinch Punch and its vats of despair. You must lure TYRA out into the forest and over to Oprah’s studio where we will all stab the tits off Oprah and also stab TYRA to death; then you can take over not only TYRA’s show, but also Oprah’s, and make a miniseries about their lives of sin. But first you must record a subliminal message, in your sexy, rascally voice, and play it to her in her sleep, for she will listen only to you.

Two hundred hours later, after reel one of the miniseries, Kashmir disappears under the floorboards, emerges in TYRA’s room with a brilliant idea, and whispers in her ears all night long.

TYRA, TYRA love. TYRA baby. You are better than that. You are God—do you know you are God? You are absolutely GOD. Oprah is not God, as you may have been deluded into believing, just as the rest of us have. God is you. You are God. You are this. This is you. G-O-D is spelled T-Y-R-A. Plus you want Kathy to become waaay famous for her Animalfits. Way more famous than you. Plus you want Caravaggio to earn his redemption, and for I, Kashmir, to take over alongside you until I stab your tits and Oprah’s tits, at which point I will take over the world—wait, I didn’t just tell you that. Erase that part. Anyway, Sunday morning you will unlock the front gate of the Pinch Punch, and we shall all escape together, in one clump, and cartwheel across the lawn on our way to murder Oprah and all of her cronies. Sunday morning 3 am you will unlock the gate and we shall flee the Pinch Punch and its self-esteem-destroying liquers.

Ch. 1 here
Ch. 2 here
Ch. 3 here
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Ch. 18 here
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Ch. 20 here
Ch. 21 here
Ch. 22 here">here

Friday, April 9, 2010

Barbaric yAWP and Venom Literati Present Deborah Brandon

The wonderful Deborah Brandon reads "bloom-ing."

bloom-ing (for venom literati) from on Vimeo.

deborah brandon lives in tucson. by day, she helps her toddler form, from a previously unintelligible mash of sound, words such as 'potty' and 'elbow.' deborah reverts into her own intricate gibberish, sometimes writing it down, after everyone else is fast asleep.

more yAWP! "Cars" by Meghan Austin

Click here to listen to Meghan Austin reading her short story "Cars". You really need to listen to it. There's a soundtrack involved, with beats from crunchywhite.com. It is amazing.

Meghan Austin is a writer trying to escape Chicago.

yAWP continues - Miki Howald and John Heckman Wright


Miki Howald, reading two poems recently published in Ariel journal:




Miki Howald writes nonfiction essays and prose poems. Her work has been published in Gulf Coast, Like Water Burning, swap/concessions #4, Ariel, and in several online journals and zines. She has performed her work at the 2009 AWP Conference, Reconstruction Room, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the First Friday Reading Series in Anchorage, AK, and the Quiet Storm café in Pittsburgh, PA. Miki was a semi-finalist in the 2009 and 2006 Guild Complex of Chicago's non-fiction prose contests. She is a former co-organizer, webmaster, and blog writer of the Reconstruction Room reading series in Chicago. Miki earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage and a BA from the University of Pittsburgh.


John Heckman Wright, reading from his novel in progress:



John Heckman Wright is a writer, bedroom DJ, and outdoor enthusiast who lives in Portland, Oregon. His website is at http://www.johnheckmanwright.com/.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

And now we read: yAWP!

The ladies of Venom Literati pawned our diamond ring collections and invested in webcams. Listen to us read. Watch our lips as they form words:





What did people do before the internet?

I should be able to remember this. It was not around for my whole life. I learned to type on a typewriter. A nun taught me.

James Sturm is quitting. I feel like quitting, too. The internet, that is.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Entry Day II: Kathy’s POV

A new resident has brought in a unicycle as his item of questionable existence, and the plus-sized models are a-flurry with excitement. TYRA convinced them they can learn fluid movement by cycling down the staircases, but so far it has resulted only in carbuncles and exposed bits of skull. Caravaggio takes advantage of their unconsciousness to paint them, re-arranging their arms and legs to relive stabbings in his past.

I whisper down the hallway, “A little to the left,” but puddin’ fixes me with a hairy eyeball. I raise my blue glass bead to thwart her ill intentions. I used to want a muse so bad. Now I want to muse so bad.

I feel feverish, and the roof of my mouth tastes of zinc. I don’t know why I wanted a muse in the first place anyway: I do not want anyone to tell me what to do ever again.

There is a Charming Man guesting at The Pinch Punch. He isn’t much of a stabber, but his anecdotes are amusing as all get out. The howling girl’s cries have turned to giggles, and she enlists the martens to comb out her hair each morning. Is this the start of harmony? Is charm the great equalizer?

I refuse to believe that anyone is better than me. But even the small pets snub me at evening prayer.

Ch. 1 here
Ch. 2 here
Ch. 3 here
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Ch. 18 here
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Ch. 20 here
Ch. 21 here

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Poetry Market Crash

I have a lot of sadness regarding the internets lately. And because of it I am going to write a cranky post that is actually about writing and not about celebrities, which I will probably later regret.

Today I would like to blame the internets for everything mentioned in the article, "The New Math of Poetry," which everyone has probably already read except for me because I have been trying to avoid the internets as much as possible, out of sadness.

This article basically says how everyone on the planet, including my cats, can now a) have their work published in journals and b) have a book out because there are so many journals and presses. It also says that way more people are writing and publishing books than are actually reading them. It's sort of like the credit market crash: every writer gets offered a book just like every financially defunct human (including myself) could get a credit card in 2005. The result being that there's a glut of sucky books out there, and an excess of writers who think they're famous even though no one is actually reading their books - there are just all of these books floating around out there unread! And allegedly good books aren't being read either, because there's so much clutter that nobody even knows what's good anymore - because they can't find it.

I have wondered about this for a long time - especially lately with the excess of online "journals." Do we really need more journals? And why does every writer feel entitled to start one? Well, now someone else has said it, in this unnecessarily long and overwhelming article that has confirmed my suspicions that the internet is just a gross place where people create press for themselves, regardless of the quality of their work. Then we "network" by telling other people about our press (which we actually created ourselves) and they publish our books, even though really our press (and maybe our work) is bullshit.

Of course I'm all for there being more good books in the world, and that's why I like little presses, which is not what this article talks about at all - all the little presses that create books that are beautiful and strange and that I love. So of course there's this cuter and fluffier and more positive flipside.

Really this is just another example of me being cranky about living now instead of in the woods near Walden Pond...

Puddin’, Audiodiary #3

I had a muse once, although I did not know it at the time. Her name was Lucy. She was a fairy tiny and light as a mosquito, but badass, with bangin' hair, and kung fu moves that she demonstrated on the teacup piglets--whacking them into the side of the barn so their brains fell out. She threatened to remove my mother from my periphery; after all, she was a muse; this is what muses do. She glistened and glittered, as muses should. She was my alter-ego, as muses should be.

She adored me; she adorned my shoulder at all hours of the day, so that I noticed her only in the rarest moments, usually at daybreak, when she was whacking the teacup piglets into the barn. Or making me perfect coffees, and cakes that tasted like the world I’d never seen: Argentina, South Pacific, Pakistan. I liked the taste of the arctic cakes best: pure as wind, they blew through my whole body, they exhilarated my insides. Her mixing bowl must have been so tiny. Her cakes were the size of a thimble.

I did not tell her how I loved those cakes best of all, but she knew. She was my muse.
She gave me maps of the icecaps, handdrew them on the inside of my mind like wallpaper. What she whispered to me at all hours was: flee.

I did not understand that we shared a language. I could barely hear her at all, except in rare moments, at daybreak. I could not picture the icecaps--what existed there? After arriving, who would I become? None of this mattered; I knew.

I didn’t know she was my muse. I did not choose her. I did not feel it when she left. I only noticed years later, brown and lumpen, that she wasn't there, that I hadn't tasted her cakes in decades.

This is how one falls through the skylight into new life: by chasing what doesn’t exist.


Ch. 1 here
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Ch. 18 here
Ch. 19 here
Ch. 20 here

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Whose muse? The Plus-sized Models Flaunt It

Caravaggio begs us to pose, granting us access to his extensive selection of wigs and swimwear. We swagger the hallways in his trunks, our breasts swaying, tiny monkeys clinging to our nipples to preserve our dignity.

We cannot sit still long enough for him to paint. We are meant to be captured in the present, to prolong a single moment by means of flashing light and electric sensors. Photography is so much more efficient.

He pops around corners, menacing us with knives. We submit, and he embraces another medium, sculpting us, removing ears and eyebrows, but no inner light emerges.

Ch. 1 here
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Ch. 18 here
Ch. 19 here

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

arrogant russian nostalgia

you guys, i feel nostalgic for men's figure skating, even though i only watched it one night and i was on the computer the whole time. i keep turning the olympics on to see evgeni, but he's not there anymore. now it's always those weird skiers that look like flying squirrels. so boring.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Need I say more?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Celebrity Crush: Yevgeny Plushenko

Oh, Yevgeny, you returned to thwart your enemies. My heart is not your enemy. I'm so pleased you did not bother to shave. It seems like maybe someone punched you in the nose since the last time I saw you, and it makes you look dangerous. I'm strangely pissed off at Dick Button for not understanding your frenetic footwork. (Not all art has to be fluid, Dick.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

my cats only love me because i feed them

Have you guys read Fugue State yet? I just returned it to the library. I guarantee that I will only remember the bleeding eyes when it comes time to meet again. And playing ponies. Except maybe that I'm not sure if that was the same book. But that's okay, right? I'll just be like the surly undergrad in the insane clown posse tee. You will appreciate me for my commitment to character. Maybe I'll check it out again.

I wish there were some way to see who else/how many other people had checked out books before you now that the little stampy pages are gone. I wish that the internet actually let us spy on people more. Maybe we should all mount webcams around our houses. We can be the girls of Venom Literati. Gross.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weather Enticement




I would like to announce, for Literati who may be considering moving eastward, that tomorrow it will be 48 degrees here and sunny. Weather is important to mental health. This is a public service announcement, brought to you by Venom Literati - Cincinnati Branch.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Okay, you got me. I like plot.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how I read, which means I am a 'uge nerd. More particularly, I have been thinking about how I read vs. how I watch TV or movies. When I watch TV, I am willing to subject myself to the lowest, most banal, most repugnant things, and what's more, I enjoy it. I am not ashamed to admit I like the Bad Girls Club, for example, and all they do is shout nonsense at each other in a repetitive way. I can pretend to think intellectual things about it, but really it just fascinate me because of what it is. And then afterwards I feel sort of gross and overexposed. So why am I such a snob about reading, or more accurately, closeted about occasionally reading things that are not also, like, art?

Confession part two: I really like plot.

I read both "Fugue State" by Brian Evenson and "The Dolphin People" by Torsten Krol over the weekend. I liked both of them immensely. "Fugue State" seems like literary horror, which is one of my favorite things, and reading "The Dolphin People" was very much like watching an adventure movie in my brain. I hope I am not discouraging you from reading "Fugue State," Kathy. The words in it are really very good, too. It's not a plot-only book.

The moral of this post is that I'm going to watch less TV and read more like I watch TV. More widely and less ashamedly. I am going to reject things that don't interest me partway through, like flipping the channel, and sometimes I'll read things that verge on chick lit. As long as they're funny. And well-written enough. I'll still read poetry. I'll still read lots of stuff from small presses. It's unlikely that I'll start reading celebrity autobiographies to substitute for the E! network, but I'm probably going to read some other terrible things. And tell you all about them. So there.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

So...what's our next book?

I watched a Dr. Phil episode sometime during the last week, and it turns out that teens are having sex. America is outraged. Dr. Phil cannot believe it either.

I am reading something called "Fugue State" and something else called "The Dolphin People." I am not sure either of those is appropriate for us.

Kathy wants us to read Robert Lopez. I have not discussed this with her. I can just sense it.

Wait, I just started looking things up and discovered everyone loves "Fugue State." I've barely begun it. I've only read "Fugue." Maybe that should be our book. What do you think? Here it is:http://brianevenson.com/fugue.html. It's hallucinatory and darkly comic. That sounds like us.