Wednesday, September 2, 2015

"Equal doses of tenderness and brutal honesty." The New York Stories is Verbicide Magazine. And big thanks to the Gabino Iglesias for that.

Most lovely it is. All of it. Excerpt? Word.

"The beauty of Ben Tanzer’s short stories is that they contain all the great elements that make short fiction a pleasure to read: nice pacing, relatable and believable characters, solid dialogue, and a strange, ineffable quality that makes them linger in the heart and brain long after the last page has been turned. In The New York Stories, Tanzer takes his toolbox and uses everything in it to explore love, youth, growing up, pain, parenthood, and even the way natural catastrophes affect us. The result is a collection that beautifully displays a very talented author at the top of his game while exploring what it means to be human with equal doses of tenderness and brutal honesty."

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

This Podcast Will Change Your Life, Episode One Hundred and Sixteen - Don't Be An Asshole, starring the Jen Pastiloff.

We are so podcast. Quite Pastiloff. And so not assholes. We are also making shit happen, Wayne Dyer, Emily Rapp, manifestation, both The Manifest-Station, and otherwise, Lidia Yuknavitch, depression, beauty hunting, breaking the rules and much, much more. So do hit it, it just might change your life.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

In which we talk grieving, loss, anxiety and ball-peens with the Jonathan Travelstead at The Rumpus.

And why do we this? Because despite doing a podcast with him, the world will always need more Travelstead. Excerpt? Word.

Rumpus: This reminds me of the time I was on a long run and a PSA came on the radio with Phil Jackson talking about breast cancer and I thought about my mom—who is a survivor—and I started crying profusely. But that’s not a question; my question is about anxiety and whether you think there are any benefits to struggling with anxiety when you’re a writer or artist?

Travelstead: In my case, absolutely. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I try to borrow the same motivations from my career as a firefighter and consider the writing process as seriously as I do entering a house with black smoke puffing from its eaves. In a poem any unconsidered line, word, or break can have toxic consequences to the speaker’s authenticity, or intent. Which is not to say I emerge from writing in the same state as I do after a structure fire—I just may feel like it, emotionally.

With any craft, or work in which someone takes pride and makes a living, I can’t imagine anxiety not being a functional tool for producing their best work. However, I consider it to be the best tool only when confined to the final stages of the writing process, and stifling in the early, creative stages to the point of analysis paralysis—that condition where the writer smothers the poem by over-thinking it, or planning too much. As a work is revisited and crafted I find anxiety to be helpful, necessary even.

I write for an imaginary audience that has ADD but that is also shrewd and discerning, and whose attention I will lose if it intuits a writer’s lack of authenticity—both in terms of my own struggle with the underlying tensions, and also of the speaker’s within the narrative.
 As writers, if we’re minding our craft—and a little lucky—then that struggle is passed along to the reader. It’s not only a motivator, it’s also a defense mechanism for combing out a word choice or movement that can throw off a poem’s voice, or identifying whether a risky line inches too far towards sentimentality.

Friday, August 28, 2015

This Book Will Change Your Life - Kinda Sorta American Dream by the Steve Karas.

There is the Karas and the Kinda Sorta American Dream from the Tailwinds Press 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 when it is available to be hit, well done, thank you.

“What Steve Karas so authoritatively illustrates in this far-reaching debut collection is that the journey to achieving the American Dream may take many paths, but it doesn’t come without pain, fear or loss. Assuming it comes at all. And yet despite this, in Karas’ empathic hands, this journey is still one filled with vivid characters, a sense of hope and the joy of discovering an author at the start of something new and wonderful.” 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

In which we talk The New York Stories with the Christopher Bowen at Burning River and we just can't thank him enough for doing so.

We really can't. The Bowen is good people and we are most appreciative. Excerpt? Word.

C: I found a lot of humor in your writing, especially when exposing hidden faults in the people from the fictional town Two Rivers. Some of the more serious themes included a lot about neighborhood cheating husbands, domestic violence, even accidental homicides and statutory rapes. How has your work as a social worker or even just a human being prepared you to talk and write about Two Rivers or even about the past or fiction as ‘fiction?’

B: You’re killing it with these questions man and to unpack this question, first humor. I am drawn to people’s general fucked-upedness, and so I consider it important to balance what are very real incidents that we encounter, engage in or hear about, with humor whether it serves as a balm, or a means to allow the reader to catch their breath. That’s not always conscious though, nor do the reactions to some of the pieces always make sense to me. When “No Nothing” got accepted, the editor said it was the favorite humor piece they had read that day. I know I purposely added some humor, but not that much. Or take “Longing,” the first time I read it out loud, everyone stopped moving and seemed a little weirded out. But then the second time I read it, people were laughing more than seemed appropriate. Maybe I did something different. Or they were a different crowd and the laughing was because they were even more uncomfortable. I don’t know. What’s also not conscious, is how much being a social worker plays a role in any of this. What I know is that I am social worker in part because I was raised by activists and my mom was a therapist, and in part because I was always observing people’s behavior. This too started with my parents, and what my mom has said was my need to make sense of the chaos I grew-up around. Still, I always watch people’s reactions to what’s going on, and listen to how they speak – word choice, when they stammer – and on and on. This has made me a better social worker and facilitator, once I had some practice anyway, and it certainly informs my characters too.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"Like slamming into a brick wall of incredulous love and wonder." Some quite kind, and most appreciated, Four Fathers love at Atticus Review.

Quite kind. Most appreciated. Excerpt? Word.

"The rhythmic, poignant sections of Tanzer’s prose pack overwhelming punches. Each moment is different, evocative: the thrill of running with one child, the humor of another in puberty growing “penis hair,” the inevitable sting of rejection when the kid snubs his father’s music, the intimacy of a pretend parent-teacher conference. The full force of these moments hits the speaker, the craziness of fatherhood; even the reader can feel it like a wave, or like slamming into a brick wall of incredulous love and wonder."

Sunday, August 23, 2015