CONGRATS to my friend, juliet escoria, whose book BLACK CLOUD is out today from CCM. buy it. steal it. read it. just don’t fucking refer to her as scott mcclanahan’s gf. lol. j/k. i think it’s ok. you can.
I no longer enjoy the game, yet I play every Sunday, trading church clothes for a uniform, exchanging a plate passed down the row with my offering for a mouthful of sunflower seeds. At ten, I could recite the height and weight of every ballplayer in the big leagues. At forty, I can’t remember the last time I even watched a full nine innings. I stand
We are writing to you because we feel that the peas illustrated on your package of frozen peas are a most unattractive color. We are referring to the 16 oz. plastic package that shows three or four pods, one of them split open, with peas rolling out near them. The peas are a dull yellow green, more the color of pea soup than fresh peas and nothing like the actual color of your peas, which are a nice bright dark green. The depicted peas are, moreover, about three times the size of the actual peas inside the package, which, together with their dull color, makes them even less appealing — they appear to be past their maturity and mealy in texture. Additionally, the color of your illustrated peas contrasts poorly with the color of the lettering and other decoration on your package, which is an almost harsh neon green. We have compared your depiction of peas to that of other frozen peas packages and yours is by far the least appealing. Most food manufacturers depict food on their packaging that is more attractive than the food inside and therefore deceptive. You are doing the opposite: you are falsely representing your peas as less attractive that they actually are. We enjoy your peas and do not want your business to suffer. Please reconsider your art.
For those among you of the poetic persuasion, here is something I wrote that is appearing today on hobartpulp; a short piece about Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who once made a spectacular catch during a charity softball game and who managed to make me cry ugly tears just the other day.
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We’ve gotten more good intern cover letters than we know what to do with. Maybe Wave is for you?
“Well, I’m not a daily writer. If I’m working on something that’s going well I write a lot, but then I’ll go a long time without writing. I’m always making notes and paying attention, but as far as working three hours a day everyday, God bless the people who can do that. I’m not of them.”—
“I guess the mass of all things you love in the world is less than or equal to the combined weight of all the hearts you’ve mishandled.”—Even Though I Don’t Miss You by Chelsea Martin (via seattlebooks)
"Drinking wine is the closest thing to not drinking that I can manage right now." -From Even Though I Don’t Miss You
It was published a little while back (November 2013), but I just recently discovered HOBART. This is my first experience with Chelsea Martin. Say don’t judge a book by its cover all you want, but this one is amazing. I didn’t even realize this girl had four arms until I really stared. I mean, who could look away from the Dairy Queen swirl of vanilla ice cream on her head in the first place?
I don’t know if this is real-life Chelsea Martin in this poem/prose/beautiful whatever. I think I read that she wrote this while going through a break-up of her own, but I could just be making this up. Either way, her brief but eloquent examination of a relationship coming together and then fading into nothing is beautifully real, whether you’ve experienced this or not.
Martin discusses those moments when you fall in love with your lover all over again while they’re doing something mundane like sewing a button on their shirt. (Or sitting on a swing next to you talking about the stars. That one I remember vividly.) She is not preoccupied with the idea of evolution, but referring to it more than once in such a short piece kind of forces the reader to notice it. She examines its role basically in making memories and having feelings. How strange is it that we’ve evolved to do something like drink a glass of water to keep ourselves from crying? Or maybe that’s just her?
All Mary Miller had to say in a blurb was “This book is giving me feelings.” You can’t really put it any better than that. Martin wrote it as though she was just sitting at her computer typing out a journal entry. It is sometimes sort of stream of consciousness, and I was forced to slow down so I could figure out just what Martin was trying to say. And when I did, I sighed a little because what else is there to do?
This book makes me hold on even tighter to my current relationship. While I was reading this, I imagined it having ended. And it’s almost as though those feelings, those feelings Martin was giving me, were familiar. Can feelings that you’ve never really had feel familiar? I can’t wait to read Martin’s back catalog. I hope she’ll have me sighing and giggling during those as well.
I could say that Mary Miller’s Big World is a wonderful collection, which it is, and that the stories in it remind me of how I feel when reading stories by Charles Baxter (or Bobbie Ann Mason), and they are all excellent because Baxter (and Mason) seems to only write excellent stories. I could say that if I taught a writing class, which is a wildly hilarious idea (the thought of me teaching anything!), I would add stories from Big World into the curriculum because they encompass everything one should want a short story to have, which is to say they are truthful, funny and sad, and many other things also. I could say a lot about this book, really, but I won’t. What I will say is that I recommend Big World to people who like reading strong writing about flawed (yet remarkably interesting) characters, and I recommend it highly because that’s how this book rolls.
“They have different game systems, and in Wynn’s brand, bowing to parental and governmental concerns, will play only a censored version of the game. No blood. No heads exploding from electrocution. Not nearly as much fun.”—
Kevin Wilson, “Mortal Kombat”
Such a perfect use of video game specifics and nostalgia used for story purposes. Makes me sad like 97% of Tumblr users are probably too young to have played through those video game days, whether you got the blood or no-blood version…
“But then I thought, Who are we to decide the fate of earth’s creatures? Who are we to cast judgment? It was the mollusks, after all, who first inhabited this earth. They roamed the land for millions and millions of years before any of us were even born.”—
Arthur Bradford, “Mollusks”
I’m rereading some of the Dogwalker stories for the first time in probably a decade, and I remembered seeing Dave Eggers introduce Bradford at a reading a decade or so ago, saying he admired how unabashedly Bradford said he was inspired by Jesus’ Son. I had trouble seeing it at the time, how dogwalkers and giant slugs were like addicts and dead bunnies, but now, damn, how Denis Johnson-y of an ending is the above? (Which I mean totally admiringly.)
“I want to say that I shrunk into my shoes and disappeared, but when somebody throws “fat guy” at you, you don’t shrink, you grow. You bloat. Your belly expands and your man-boobs stick out and your t-shirt tightens around where your belt doesn’t fit right. You stand there with your backpack on, straps on both shoulders because it’s more ergonomic that way, the backpack with the camera and the hats and the Red Sox swag you had taken your girlfriend to buy that afternoon. You’d taken her to Fenway, taken selfies on the back side of the Green Monster, on that perfect day, that day you tried to show her all of Boston, the city of your birth, in a single afternoon.”—Recommended Reading: Ray Shea’s essay at Hobart “Fat Guy.” (via millionsmillions)