Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Challenge 28.

Day 01 – The best book you read this year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 03 – Your favorite series

Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
Day 20 – Favorite romance book
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood
Day 22 – Favorite book you own
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 – Favorite title

Day 28.

Three, in order of how badly they are envied:

1. the Bell Jar
2. As I Lay Dying
3. the Odyssey

Thanks to a prolonged and intense encounter with the Canadian half-hour fantasy-adventure that ran between 1992-95 of the same name, whenever people were like, "you mean the epic poem by Homer?" I was like, "what are you talking about." For years and years. Clear until college.

Ashleigh Aston Moore! Devon Sawa! It's less obscure than I thought it was, but even more batshit than I remember:
In the coma, Jay finds himself in a fantasy world where no one reaches the age of 16. Not having heard of adults, the children here have shaped society in their own ways, forming mostly tribal clans in the form of Clubs, such as the Pool Club and the Library Club. The biggest and most powerful Club, however, is The Tower, a brutal despotic police state run by the oldest kids, with Brad as the absolute ruler because he is 15, and "knows everything".
Also: "A turning point is reached when Jay's father appears to him as he is regaining consciousness, which Jay is forced to keep as a secret from his mother. As Jay struggles to reorient himself in the waking world and the many changes that have occurred, he finds that he is still dealing with issues through the world from his subconscious." Freud would be proud.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book Challenge 27.

Day 01 – The best book you read this year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 03 – Your favorite series

Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
Day 20 – Favorite romance book
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood
Day 22 – Favorite book you own
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending

Day 27.

I managed to stay totally ignorant to Rebecca from beginning to end until I read it the summer after I graduated from college. I went crazy for it and had more fun reading it than with almost any other book I can think of. Surprising in a different way - I always think about this when anyone mentions "plot twist" - was my reading of Heavier Than Heaven, the Kurt Cobain biography, when I was in high school. My allegiance was/remains with Hole, but I heard it was a very good book, and when the scene of his suicide came - which I knew was coming anyway and was not unmentioned throughout the rest of the text - I cried torrentially. I also cried recently when I told my mom the plot of the finale of Six Feet Under which I have not seen now in over a year. It doesn't need a twist in order to sock me in the gullet - I have a bad track record with endings in general.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Challenge 26.

Day 01 – The best book you read this year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times

Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
Day 20 – Favorite romance book
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood
Day 22 – Favorite book you own
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something

Day 26.

Moby Dick changed my theretofore firmly held conviction that, in as far as I liked reading, the only books I liked were perverted. Actually, never mind.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Moist with nuance.


NEW FROM ISMS PRESS!
riding the lace barometer by j/j hastain

It has been my pleasure to work on this marvelously substantial chapbook by j/j hastain since the end of the summer, and it's roaring to life within the coming month. This experience has taught me a lot about the agony of Mac vs. Windows and the ecstasy of working with a marvelous author (j/j) and editor (Rachel Kendall), both of whom were patient and sincere throughout a montage of PDF abortions.

I am readying some storefront for electronic transactions, but there is nothing wrong with emailing me (use the fun one: deathsleeptraveler at gmail) for information on where to send a check. Domestic orders are $3 plus shipping and fulfilled by myself and can be obtained through j/j as well; UK orders are £2 plus shipping and fulfilled by Rachel. Pre-orders are in effect!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another odd feature of the parallel universe.

1.

I have passed what used to be Eckles' Pharmacy and is presently Olde Towne Books & Brew an improbably high number of times. I finally went in a few weeks ago.


These image are from their Facebook and website. I tried to take pictures. I went through a brief phase in the last of my teens when I practiced regularly taking pictures. I also got fixed on the idea that if I never let anyone take my picture - which was the case and persists in being - when I was old I wouldn't remember what I looked like. So I took pictures of myself almost every day, and that was enough. I'm barren of the desire to photograph.

The significance of this place, besides being authentically period and stunning, is that this is where a cast member in Girl, Interrupted screamed "peppermint clit." Girl, Interrupted was filmed all over the Harrisburg area because, until the wee aughts, we had an authentically period psychiatric facility once known as the Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital as well as - more euphemistically - the City on the Hill. Harrisburg State Hospital (which is its proper, search engine optimized name) is a Kirkbride building, the plan of which is affectionately explained in Session 9, not filmed in Harrisburg but in another Kirkbride building in Danvers, Massachusetts. All places should be so stately. From what I understand Harrisburg is on the fence about what to do with it. Since the Scholar is expanding, I think that would be the next logical place to pump full of culture.

2.

I want to shout it from the rooftops: Sadie Stein is blogging! She is someone I admire intensely for having used platforms like Jezebel to address - in a way that isn't heavyhanded - factors like depression within the context of girls having lives. Also, I love the tension inspired by print versus digital publishing. Not only does the Paris Review, where she is the Deputy Editor, capitalize on this in the best way - their issues send me to their site for want of more material; their blog sates ably but keeps me ravenous for the coming issue - but Ms. Stein's contributions in particular make me pine to the marrow for a strapping, gilded-and-bound volume of her adventures and observations. I am grateful in the meantime that so much of her memoirishness - Ways and Means, Dressings, a Week in Culture, Fair Game, and My Manticore - is right here on the internet.

3.


MY BIRTHDAY. But seriously. In May, Moonrise Kingdom premieres at Cannes, and will probably not come around here until late summer, if that. My birthday is also in May, and I will still celebrate this release like the tremendous gift that it seems to be. I am not all about Wes Anderson but this looks stunning to me.


4.

My review of Tiny Furniture was PULLED from the Rumpus. The managing editor did not like my tone. It was profoundly frustrating for that to be the manner in which I was rejected - I welcome being left out on the doorstep - because Anisse Gross, who also alerted me very graciously and in a timely fashion, was kind and accommodating and incredible to work with, and we spent all day the Friday before last polishing it. I'm disappointed that her time was taken like that. I'm going to continue shaping the review and I have her to thank for its development as a legible piece of criticism.

This is the second situation I've experienced like this with the Rumpus - an acceptance and then a rejection. The previous time I was not even told the piece I'd submitted was axed - I had to inquire after a long silence post-acceptance. I have never had this experience anywhere else. I wonder if this has been anyone else's experience there, or if anyone has had this experience elsewhere.

5.

I can't be dour. My family got some amazing news last week, and my new job has turned my quality of life to eleven. Today was a personal triumph: I have shown my boss the light and we are getting Adobe products! Someday, maybe, in the glimmering distance: Macs. The office is all Windows right now and my job is very design-intense. Everything looks so grim, almost as bad as the Gateway I had as a teenager. No wonder I used to be so depressed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Challenge 25.

Day 01 – The best book you read this year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times

Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
Day 20 – Favorite romance book
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood
Day 22 – Favorite book you own
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most

Day 25.

I answered this question in a survey once and I was horrified to realize the only answer I could come up with was Sara Goldfarb. I was probably sixteen at the time. That answer is not applicable anymore, which is good, but now it would have to be all first-person narrators in Anna Kavan's oeuvre, which is barely better.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Incantare.

I will be reading - my first post-school reading - on July 8th at 7 pm with Chris Pusateri and Michelle Naka Pierce at the Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, as part of the Jubilant Thicket Literary Series. I think by 7 pm on July 8th I will finally be fully awake.


Because this has been me (spiritually) since I started my new job, which is madly rewarding and freeing and fun and taxing and crazy, mostly because I am not used to it - I am still getting the rhythm down and still feel like dead weight, but since I was hired to do things I can do all ready and can do very well - that is new, and that is great, and it feels fluid and thrilling.

My slim prose stunt "Van's Friend in the City" is ALIVE at the great Anomalous Press! I am so proud. Anomalous is just one year old and they've all ready reanimated the corpse of literature. And they have an excellent chapbook contest in effect right now. You can listen to me read the story on the site - please do, and check out how uncomfortable I am pronouncing the French for "opera cake."

I am also overwhelmingly honored to be featured today on ReadySoup! Scott Mitchell is one of my very best friends and he writes this comic with his best friend, John, who, because I have never seen him, I enjoy believing is a floating head in a jar. Having Scott, who is the greatest editor and funniest person I've ever met, call me majestic is a significant achievement, and I am so happy to be featured in this week's all-guest edition. My strip is the most truthful thing I've ever committed to words (and I come up with occasions to tell this story daily, multiple times, so now I have spared many who will henceforth be directed to this comic). The doodle of myself is from remedial math class in community college, and it should be on my state ID, it is so exactly what I am like.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A seriousness of ladies.

Wherein I propose a new collective noun.


Perhaps you've heard tell in your internet travels of a new online literary magazine called Two Serious Ladies, after the overpoweringly excellent Jane Bowles novel. Perhaps this tell came by way of contributors Kate Zambreno, Jac Jemc, or Roxane Gay, or via HTMLGIANT, the Poetry Foundation, or the Paris Review. You're going to hear it again, now. Lauren Spohrer is a gracious and gorgeous editrix and Two Serious Ladies is poised to take overpoweringly excellent to a new level. Also I've got something coming up in it, a story I am very proud to have finally coaxed into the right form that now has the perfect home. Some riveting changes are on the Serious horizon! Keep abreast! Check it out!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Book Challenge 24.

Day 01 – The best book you read this year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
Day 20 – Favorite romance book
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood
Day 22 – Favorite book you own
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read

Day 24.

Geek Love has not been read by everybody like it should be. I wish more people around me would have read anything by Clarice Lispector so they could have made me read her work much faster than I did. This seems like a weird issue to force and I keep going back to the fact that I wish more people would read, end of story.