Approximately 7 out of 5 people snore and/or suffer from sleep apnea and do not purchase enough consumer products in order to remedy their condition. Any products at all: artificial lemon juice, silver helium balloons, Drunken Scratch My Ass Elmo, warm winter mittens, perforated garden hose, etc.
Issue 6 of Keyhole, guest-edited by William Walsh, author of Without Wax and Questionstruck, is now printed and posted. I love the cover for this issue. It is based on Matt Bell's story entitled "Hold On To Your Vacuum", which I had the chance to read on Zoetrope and it is excellent. It secretes a special aura for me, since I recognized the story as taking place in Matt's and my hometown, at our school, specifically, and, most of all, the creeped out feeling I get from both of those places, the feeling of one of those dreams where you keep trying to escape something that will stop at nothing to hunt you down and always seems to find you in whatever crevasse you can manage to hide in, and you always have that one object/person you must absolutely maintain possession of (your vacuum, in this story) that is "bulky, as heavy as a ten-year-old" and slows you down, holds you back. I'm looking forward to reading Matt's story again, as well as the rest of the line-up including Blake Butler, Kim Chinquee, Peter Conners, Brooklyn Copeland, Renee D'Aoust, Darcie Dennigan, John Domini, Cooper Esteban, Sherrie Flick, Margaret Funkhouser, Amelia Gray, Steve Katz, Gillian Kiley, Michael Kimball, Samuel Ligon, Paul Long, Michael Martone, Noam Mor, Davis Schneiderman, Jason Stumpf, and Samuel White. Here is the opening paragraph of "Hold On To Your Vacuum":
According to Teacher, there is only one rule, and it is this: No matter what happens, hold on to your vacuum. We have each been given one, each a different shape and size according to our needs. My vacuum is bright red and bulky, as heavy as a ten-year-old, its thick black cord worn down so that the wires show through in places. Holding it in my hand, the cord feels like the tail of a rodent, thick and rubbery and slightly repugnant. The cord reel is broken off, forcing me to loop the cord around my arms and the vacuum itself, making the whole contraption much harder to carry than seems necessary. I start to complain, but Teacher holds up a hand and silences me. He says, "This is the vacuum that was assigned to you, and the only one you’ll be allowed to play with."
You can order Keyhole 6 and pre-order William Walsh's Questionstruck, both for $20. Meanwhile, check out the new web content with work by Peter Conners, Davis Schneiderman, Gillian Kiley, Samuel White, Noam Mor, Blake Butler, Steve Katz, Paul Long, Sherrie Flick, and new work by me (fiction? poem?) entitled "Parallelogical Circuit". Here are some words contained therein:
"wires" "robot" "lewd" "hard" "dark" "malleable" "powerless" "tickle" "I" "meaningless" "amps"
Yet another outstanding part of Keyhole 6 is that all of the author bios in the print edition were written by Michael Kimball as part of his series of Michael Kimball writes your life story (on a postcard). I don't know what kind of radioactive material that Kimball has driving him, but, man, he gets a lot of good work done. This issue deserves some kind of an award.
Here is a trailer for Adam Robinson and Other Poems. Michael Kimball directed/produced/etc. I am excited for Adam Robinson's poetry book. It is out from Narrow House in June of aught-9. Oh snap.
Blake Butler is making a remix contest to promote his forthcoming novel/story collection SCORCH ATLAS (Featherproof 09/09/09), which has one of my favorite covers ever. Here's the deal as Blake says it:
Basically, we're asking anyone and everyone to download a piece from the book, 'Tour of the Drowned Neighborhood,' in its .doc form, and do whatever you want to it. Scramble it, eat it death, insert a whole other line of story, insert pictures of your mother's anus, throw up into a file and mail it, insert characters, insert symbolist logic, insert fun, eat characters, insert sentences from anywhere, write a whole new story out of the title alone, make it into a nice calm piece about an expatriate who is obsessed with John Irving and loves backrubs, etc. Anything. All ideas are go.
Two winning entries, chosen by myself, will be published in SCORCH ATLAS Remixed, which will be published as an ebook and available on the Featherproof site. The stories will appear alongside some wild other contributions from some very exciting and powerful writers (who will remain a surprise for now, but if it works out as we're hoping, dang), so you will be in good company, etc.
The contest is free to enter, and the two winners will receive publication, plus copies of the actual SCORCH ATLAS. The first place winner will also receive a two year subscription to Paper Egg Books (which equates to four books over those 2 years = awesome).
You can enter as many remixes of 'Tour' as you like, under any title, any word length, etc. It is a fairly open and ambient story, so the gates are guns. Do some wildness. Have some fun. I'm really excited to see what mangling and electrifying can be made. Deadline is May 1.
For full info on the contest, plus where to send your entry electronically, and to download the file containing the text you are to rape, visit the Featherproof contest announcement.
This via Sean Lovelace: Here's a kind of online lit mag that I've never seen before: Second Run runs previously published work, work that you may have had published in what was an excellent print magazine that has gone belly up or a still-excellent print magazine that has published many issues since your work appeared and is now buried in the archives no one will ever find except by accident (I've found many stories by now-big names in old issues of STORY that have been tucked in my library for years, but it was all an accident). Second Run is on its first issue, which includes poetry by Patricia Smith, Ted Kooser, Matt Mason, Heather Knowles, Jim Moore, Deborah Keenan, Ada Limon, Bryonn Bain, plays by Murray Wolfe, Jim Fenn, fiction by Sheryl St. Germain, John Domini, and Michael Martone's fictions entitled "Achilles Speaks of His Deception in the Court of Lykomedes" and "The Sex Life of the Fantastic Four", which I had the pleasure of hearing Martone read a few years ago in Grand Rapids. Part of the submission process is that you tell where the submitted work was previously published and where you were at in life when you wrote them; I wish Martone's pieces came with those tidbits, but then that info would of course change the fictions by becoming part of them. I'm going to find my copy of Martone's book on writing, Unconventions, and eat some. I would sacrifice genitalia to be able to work with Martone.
Um, also, I got the Kindle 2, and it is awesome.
The thing that kept me from even considering buying one for so long is, first, probably the price. But at least as important as the price is that I had never actually seen one, held one, read from one. Sure, the videos and commercials on Amazon are nice, but it's not the same. I know that every photo of a person reading a Kindle on their couch with pretentious foreign pottery on a table in the background and smiling with self-satisfaction is supposed to show me how happy having a kindle makes people, but that stupid fake smile is just not the same as actually being able to see and use one in real life. So, after finally getting a look at one and holding it in my own hands (Matt Bell let me oogle his Kindle; thanks, Matt), I saw that it is nice on the eyes and handles well. So far, I'm happy with my Kindle 2. Converting the files is pretty easy. The only problem I've had is with file sizes that are too large to email to have them converted. Overall, it's worth it. I don't know about the original, but this version also plays MP3's and audio books and can read the text to you (which I have not tried yet). Also, unlike the first version, Kindle 2 does not have a drive for an extra memory card, but it connects to your computer with a USB cable (I'm not sure if the original connects with USB or not). It converts pdf, doc, txt, html, and some other extensions, so, everyone, please email me books and stories and things to read. joshmaday at gmail.com