Sunday, July 27, 2014

These Books Will Change Your Life - The Olive Stain and Rampart & Toulouse by the Kristin Fouquet.

There is travel and read, planes and trains, hotels, and couches and coffee and run. There is also place, Philadelphia and Hartford, and New Orleans, both in person, just months ago, and now in the work of Kristin Fouquet, in this case The Olive Stain and Rampart & Toulouse, collections of stories about place, and people, and New Orleans, always, and abundantly, in all its sweaty, fetid, alcohol drenched glory. There are collections and writers we love. Writers of place and time, Raymond Carver, Junot Diaz, Drown certainly, Elizabeth Crane with The Messenger is Hot, Faulkner and the stories of Yoknapatawpha, and the wonderful and recently consumed Every Kiss A War by Leesa Cross-Smith. These are works that hang together, and that is what Fouquet does, and is, the voice of the jazz singer, the lost priest, moist apartments, Absinthe, rotting mansions, languid lovers, madness, and heat. It is the idea we have about New Orleans when we think about it, and the experience we have of it when when we go there and try to take it all in. Still, we can never hope to capture any of this quite like Fouquet does. She doesn't merely live it and breathe it. For her New Orleans is Oxygen and DNA, and she captures its rhythms and colors in the way only someone who lives there can do. Like a portrait, or a shadow, live, indelibly burned onto the page, and sure to change lives.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

This Book Will Change Your Life - Man of Clay by the CL Bledsoe.

There is the Bledsoe and Man of Clay from the Main Street Rag and it is all pre-order and we have read it and blurbed it and we are happy to report that it changed our lives and we believe it may just change your life as well, so please do hit it, like now, well done, thank you.

"With Man of Clay, CL Bledsoe crafts a lyrically soaring fable rooted in creation myths and the questions that underlie them: what is man, how do we know truth, and why is power abused when it can be used for good?"

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New joint. Caught Off Guard. At the Literary Orphans. Thankful we are.

Truth. There is Caught Off Guard. It is Literary Orphans and it is stellar line-up. So many thanks to the Mike Joyce and the whole Orphans crew for that. It is also Four Fathers excerpt. Which is nice. Excerpt? Word.

"There is a flash of red hair like fire, or cinnamon, and it shakes you out of the world you were completely lost in just moments before.

You are writing, well, you were writing.

It is Sunday morning, the children are asleep, and so this is when it must be done.

It is peaceful, the sunlight forcing its way through the cracks in the blinds, the dust jumping from sunbeam to sunbeam, the occasional car on the streets below, or the flush of a toilet somewhere in the building, the only sounds permeating the otherwise quiet room.

Still, it has to end, it always does. Someone has to wake-up. Lately it has been the little one, the one who sleeps in long T-shirts and tiny briefs, the Angry Birds displayed across his behind.

He is like a donut, his caramel skin so soft to the touch, and you want to consume him, always, and endlessly.

He drifts out into the living room like a small wave, and as he arrives one part of the day ends, and another begins.

Today is different though."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This Podcast Will Change Your Life, Episode Eighty-Eight - Stars Are Made, starring the Joanna MacKenzie.

We are so totally podcast. We are also quite Joanna MacKenzie, not to mention Browne & Miller Literary Associates, pitching books, the state of publishing in Chicago and beyond, The Parlor, Tipper Gore, sort of, Gillian Flynn, and so very much more. So do hit it. It just might change your life.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

This Book Will Change Your Life - Conquistador of the Useless by the Joshua Isard.

We suppose there must be something out there called "Dick Lit." Said lit would be the spawn of High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, who can legitimately be called out for exposing state secrets, and might be described as literature about men as boys not quite wanting to be men. Said lit is also required to touch on music, sometimes books, and lists, girls, escape, if not outright quest, outsiderness as cool, and the idea that John Cusack, bless his heart, is all we need to know or aspire to. Post-Dick Lit, there is the nebulous next stage in life, as well as, lit manhood, and books such as Fathermucker by the Greg Olear, which neatly, and brilliantly, capture this world. These books retain the same touchstones, but are a sort of coming of age tale for those who have already come of age, have found some kind of adult groove, are now faced with what comes next, and how any of it can possibly work out. Conquistador of the Useless by the Joshua Isard falls into this latter group, and in doing so, is rich in both detail and humor, and is not only hits the touchstones, music, lists, quests, etc., but fluidly creates a whole suburban world of marriage, office, neighbors, and aging, though not aged, parents. What's needed for these books to truly work though, is two-fold. First, there must be a new take on the old wrinkles, and in this, Isard is not only successful, but possibly prescient, in creating a protagonist who is all about work, and yet is comfortably striving for nothing more than happiness and contentment. Work is work, and necessity, certainly, but it is not life, nor intended to be anything greater than what we do day to day so we can do everything else, assuming we know what that is. Secondly, and harder to capture, the story must be authentic, or at least have moments that are so authentic, or real, that they elevate the tale beyond good writing and storytelling. Olear wrote several such scenes, including one in which the protagonist fulfills his quest after such a bad day of fathering that he, and we, are utterly amazed, and moved, he could do so. It is a scene that feels so real, it indeed elevates an already terrific book. Isard accomplishes this as well, and there is one scene that resonated with us in particular. The protagonist has made a connection with a young, female neighbor, actions that will always feel suspect, because they are always suspect, and then tells his wife that this young woman will someday be hot, something which is ultimately no different than saying she already is. When his wife calls him on this, he pleads ignorance, though there's no point in doing so. Like Hornby's best characters, he has spoken the unspoken, something men think, but shouldn't say, much less imply: in this case, the idea that really young women won't always be so young and men are all to aware of that. It is in speaking the unspoken where literature has the chance to take off, moving from good to great, and changing lives, even if only briefly at that.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The new edition of This Zine Will Change Your Life is live. All Green. And full of Fisk.

The new edition of This Zine Will Change Your Life is live, and we are thrilled to have new poem(s), The Green Woman Poems, by old friend Jason Fisk, and (almost) as always, photo action from Adam Lawrence, music curation from Jason Behrends and nothing politically humorous or ironic at the moment prose love from Pete Anderson. We hope you enjoy this edition and we appreciate all shout-outs and links. Finally, please note, we are hoping more of you will submit comix, and music, novel excerpts, and art, and video, yes, video, and combinations there of. And most finally, Snowpiercer, bam.