In the Classroom

  • Train Dreams: A Novella
    Train Dreams: A Novella
    by Denis Johnson
  • Bluets
    by Maggie Nelson
  • We the Animals: A novel
    We the Animals: A novel
    by Justin Torres

Elizabeth Ellen

Dan Wickett has gotten word from Kevin Sampsell that Future Tense Books is going to publish a chapbook of Elizabeth Ellen's work.

I am currently not allowing myself to buy books, but thankfully the thing won't come out until December, by which time my self-imposed no-book-buying ban will be lifted.

For now, go check out Elizabeth's website and read a few of her stories.

And while you're at it...

I found out via Dave Clapper's blog that SmokeLong Quarterly is now posting reviews of flash fiction. And the first review, written by Dave himself, is of Elizabeth Ellen's "Blood," first published in elimae, and a story I actually taught in my comp class this past spring.

I only added that last detail because it didn't involve my linking to anything.


Half-Naked Thursday

Since I participated in Poetry Thursday, I figured I might as well get half-naked as well. So here it is, my half-naked office:

If you're wondering in what way my office is half-naked, I'll tell you. For a long time I wanted that proverbial room of my own, and last year I got it, a wonderful little office space in the basement of the house we rent. I have spent a lot of time hanging out in the office, but when I really want to get down to the business of writing, I go to a coffee shop in town.

I ran into a colleague there recently, and when I told him I was writing, he responded that he needed "darkness and silence" to get work done. In my little office, I can have all the darkness and silence I want, but the truth is, I generally end up finding ways to distract myself. At the coffee shop the distractions of others, oddly, tend to help keep me focused. So my office has been for a while now, and shall remain, half-naked.


Poetry Thursday--Paul Guest

I do write poetry on occasion, but I want to use the opportunity that is Poetry Thursday to recommend poets I love.

Up first is Paul Guest. Full disclosure: Paul received his M.F.A. from the same school I attended, but we were there at different times. I did meet him once when he came to read, and another time at AWP. But I’m not giving him props here because he’s a good and decent human being. I’m putting his name out there because he’s a great poet.

He has a blog which is riveting this week. Well, there’s a little mystery going on, anyway: his second book has been accepted for publication but he can’t yet say who’s going to publish it. An announcement is rumored to come by Friday. Also, he has a cool poem up today. Go check it out.

And when you’re done, you can find a few more poems by Paul here:

As the featured guest at The Adirondack Review

At Verse Daily

Donald Duck’s Lament

That’ll get you started. Once you've finished those, just Google the guy; he’s everywhere and always worth reading.


Reading Slump

About a month ago, I read three novels in one week, and about six over the course of three weeks. Since then, I've started reading several books but I haven't finished a single one. (I know this is the ultimate sin for some of you--it used to be to me, when I read much more reverentially--but the books I quit reading, I just wasn't that into them).

Now, it's true, I did order cable about a month ago, and since I read my last book I watched the sixth season of The Sopranos and the second season of Entourage (thanks, HBO On Demand) but I haven't spent that much time in front of the tube. I'm certain I've spent more time online than I have watching SportsCenter or Veronica Mars.

But, the good news: I started reading Charles D'Ambrosio's The Dead Fish Museum yesterday, and I think that's going to be the book to break the slump. I'll write more about this guy later. For now, does everyone else go through reading slumps? How do they come about? How do you break them? And, I suppose, if you want to chastise me for not finishing a few books, go ahead and do so. I'm curious to hear why you feel you have the obligation to keep reading, even when you don't necessarily want to.


The Next Day

Just a note to say that the soreness I mentioned at the end of Down in a Hole is much less exhilarating--and much more painful--the day after all that work.

Which, I suppose, is a little like revisiting yesterday's drafts, which thrilled you while you were composing them, and the next day make you want to erase and erase until the rubber tears through the page, turns all those words to paper snow.