Here are Some Stories!

Posted in Reviews and Recs on 05/23/2011 by Tim

There are some good moments in this story by Katrina Denza. The narrative follows the mother of a family on a French vacation, coming in close but sometimes backing off to a nice distance.

I also enjoyed “Roman Road” in matchbook. A mother and father drive their daughters a long way off, stopping in family restaurants and rest stops on the way, until the father gets out to start a new life. Author Trent England’s accompanying thoughts on the story are also worth reading.

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Poetry Vending Machine

Posted in Uncategorized on 05/19/2011 by Tim

Tonight from eight to midnight I’ll be at the Poetry Vending Machine table at the Orlando Fringe Festival. I have never attended a fringe theater festival, here or anywhere, but I have a friend in Des Moines who designed puppets for a show in one, so . . . there’s that flimsy connection. Also I narrated a college play once, from a sound booth. Anyway, if you’re in the city, you can come by the PVM and donate five dollars to the festival and I or someone else will knock out a poem to your specifications. I feel a bit nervous about this, as I don’t write a lot of poetry. If this was a flash thing I’d be impervious, ready to kick over chairs and throw beer bottles with bravado, but now I’m just hoping some good lines come to me.

I’ll be there a few other nights over the next several days, and other, more poet-y poets will be there throughout. We did a practice run a couple weeks ago in a bar and Brendan O’Halloran absolutely exceeded any reasonable expectations for poetry made in twenty minutes and built around key words provided by people bent over their beer glasses.

My unemployed life is going well. This morning I woke to a missed call from the school, which turned out to have come from the librarian, who last week gave me the parting gift of a bag of coffee beans. Also job opportunities are popping up everywhere. My artist friend Dave forwarded me this one just this afternoon:

Our Company is  investment consulting company   announce  the new vacancy  of a Profit Center Assistant.

Corporation  provides wealthy individuals, family offices, and institutional clients with investment advice, asset allocation strategies and portfolio construction recommendations.

We successfully  work  on the investment market since 2004 and  achieved  a  position  of  decent  and serious  firm .

Alamut

Posted in Uncategorized on 05/17/2011 by Tim

A while ago, Kyle Minor shared a Youtube-based music playlist he’d made for late-night noveling, and last night I figured out it was pretty useful for late-night nonfictioning as well. I don’t love all of it–some of the mashups grate quickly–but enjoyed enough parts, and their juxtaposition with each other, that I’m listening to it again today.

At Uncanny Valley‘s blog, I just posted a consideration of the stories in Jim Shepard’s newest collection, You Think That’s Bad. Go check it out at least for the nice and old illustration of a siege at Alamut. Here’s the summary: a lot of Shepard’s stories follow a recognizable formula, but are still pretty great! It takes great skill, I think, to hang the same skeleton with new muscles and features, so I’m willing to forgive knowing where a story’s going when I start reading it as long as I know I’ll be surprised on the way there.

There is No Good Title for a Post About Moving

Posted in Uncategorized on 05/15/2011 by Tim

Okay, Sunday, now, yes, and I have been unemployed for nine days. These days have been both relaxing and terrifying. It’s been good to sleep more but strange to have the entire apartment empty around me for long stretches of afternoon. It’s been good to develop new plans and then annoying to discard them.

I interviewed over the phone with a company in Minneapolis about a position there, which would be great, perfect, as we’re planning to move there at the end of June, if not sooner. We’ve uncovered great things and people in Orlando, but I will look forward to being close to our friends in the Midwest again, and to our families. Also there is a grocery chain in the Twin Cities that sells delicious bakery items that I have obsessed about nearly to the point of fetishization.

There are parts of Minneapolis I remember very fondly and, more interestingly, many I didn’t get to explore when we were last there.

But there is snow, and cold strong enough to rip the heat out of you through layers of clothes. I used to feel pretty impervious to low temperatures, but now we’ve spent three years in a place where we could leave the windows open in winter, where, this last year, we walked downtown in shirtsleeves on Christmas Eve.

And there’s the mechanical challenge of even getting there, of emptying this apartment, which is great, which I love, which, if it were a woman, I would swoon over, heartsick, and of moving everything, including a Siamese cat, several states north. Yesterday I decided To hell with it, I’d rent a truck, fill it up, haul it all, but now I’m back to the original plan, selling as much as possible and shoving the rest in the car. That’s how we got here, but we landed in a furnished apartment, whereas now we’ll be aiming for an empty box and would then move in with an inflatable mattress and an office chair. And there are books to think of. They’re so deceptive, individually tiny but collectively mountainous, heavy and awkward. We’ve got far fewer than we used to, after I sold off several boxes in Iowa in 2008, but now we still have too many, and the too many are the ones I loved well enough to bring here, and the ones I wanted enough to buy once we got here. I will probably read none of them again, but I like having them around in case, and I like seeing the spines and remembering the insides.

The real problem, though, isn’t persuading myself to get rid of them, but figuring out how to do so. I’ve sold some online but the process is slow and annoying, necessitating wrapping and shipping and waiting, and I’ve sold them in person before but that process carries its own annoyances, its waiting at the desk of some dank used bookshop, and I’ve given them away but slowly, individually, you’ll like this, etc.

I’ve considered mailing them, but I’d need a destination address I didn’t want to burden with boxes of my things, and anyway books get heavy, expensive, when slapped together. I don’t know what do with them. We’ll maybe tie them together in bundles and leave them on the sidewalk, or spread them individually in a Pac-Man line for some reader to scoop up as she walks. Maybe I’ll drive back to the school and sneak it to leave them on the barren book rack in the break room. Really I’m sure I’ll cram them into my car, into the spaces between boxes and bags, open an issue of the Believer so the cat can sit on its pages the way she likes, all the way to Minnesota.

#200: Dragon Teeth

Posted in Story Every Day with tags , , on 05/12/2011 by Tim

#199: Vibration

Posted in Story Every Day with tags , on 05/11/2011 by Tim

While my father was in surgery my family, seemingly all of it, flowed around the waiting area, from the vending machines to a set of chairs, to a cluster of couches when it opened up, to a set of tables when someone took a deck of cards from her purse. I went to the little kitchen to pour water into a foam cup, and my cousin followed.

“Coffee?” he said. There were little packets in a box, and he took one and shook it.

“It’s late.”

“Could be a long night,” he said. “Just sayin.”

“Hopefully not.”

“But if it.” He tore the plastic and the smell filled the space between us. “If it doesn’t go well.”

“Well,” I said, then took a cup while he loaded the machine, as if we’d drink as much coffee as we could if my father died, like we’d want to pour caffeine into ourselves, hot water, so much that we’d shake, vibrate. Like we’d lean there on the counters while our family wept and spoke into their cell phones. Then I thought maybe we would. Maybe we’d just keep pouring it into ourselves until something inside us stopped working or started working, either way.

Wednesday Ham Roundup

Posted in Uncategorized on 05/11/2011 by Tim