Thursday, May 29, 2008

Subverting Boolean Logic and Other Stories

Here's an attempt at borrowing the Friday reins, for one Friday only:

• Although not-so-distantly-former-GMU prof Richard Bausch, in his "Letter to a Young Writer," advises to eschew politics, I couldn't resist posting Michael Kinsley's WaPost op/ed. For anyone struggling whether to tell a story from the first person, or . . . the first person. (Kind of "Malkovich Malkovich," no?)
• Speaking of jaded, see this piece in this month's Atlantic. Eloquent, with bright spots in defense of reading, but pseudonymous "Professor X" doesn't give us much hope for poor overworked untenured English instructors. You think? Well, there are other options for writers, says Keith Gessen at n plus 1. All very cheery stuff.
• So if you are looking for a very brief break from the workaday doldrums, or several very brief breaks, or one very brief break today, and another . . . anyway, go see Baltimorean Joe Young's very small dogs. They are certain not to disappoint. (Thanks to Ryan.)
• For a longer break, see this modest summer reading list (click on "Complete List"), or celebrate June as Reading the World month. Whichever. (Thanks to Cliff for this.)
• Or maybe you'd like to see what my former coworker Jeff Deck, on his Typo Hunt Across America, is up to.

And remember, the Internet goes on semester break too. If you don't see it, it can't see you, or something like that . . .

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Well Done, Ryan

In case some people read this blog but haven't seen Ryan's and, like me, don't actually see people in live contexts: The University of Houston offered Mr. Call a two-year fellowship to teach and, well, write things. So he'll work near the likes of Antonya Nelson and Chitra Divakaruni as he communes with Houston-haunting Donald Barthelme's ghost. Meanwhile, a little thing called the Sewannee Writer's Conference has invited him as a Tennessee Williams Scholar this summer. Good job, Ryan, and good luck.

Some More Links

Okay, some Friday links to entertain the few people who read this. Some are serious and some are a little silly (the links, I mean). Otherwise, good work to everyone on finishing up the semester.

  • Scott Garson, editor of the online journal Wigleaf, has begun a new award series: The Wigleaf Top 50 (very) Short Fictions. He's posted the selections for 2008 at the Wigleaf website. For those interested in online fiction, especially the really short form, this should be a good introduction to what's going on in that part of the writing world. Read his foreward to the award for an explanation and an interview over at The Elegant Variation (thanks Cliff and Matt for the news on this).
  • 'Industry' blogs (courtesy of Ron Hogan at Galleycat) talk a lot about what's going in that odd world. Take, for example, this post at Editorial Ass on the state of the publishing industry. But, these blogs are mostly written anonymously, so, yeah. Anyhow, one blogger critiques query letters at The Query Shark. Another blog tracks lit agent news. And we've mentioned before the now inactive blog, Miss Snark.
  • For Elizabeth: Erika Dreifus has updated another one of her e-guides. This one is a guide to book review markets (paying).
  • Harper's and The New Yorker have started their own litblogs, finally. Right now, critic Wyatt Mason, has a serialized essay at the Harper's blog about contemporary literary criticism that's worth a read ("An Egg In Return").
Alright. I'm done. Now what?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Congratulations to Rion

Recent fiction graduate, Rion Scott, just had a story place 2nd runner-up in the Pan African Literary Forum's Special Contest for emerging writers of Africa and the Diaspora. It looks like they haven't yet updated the website, but it looks like Rion's story's placing in the contest will earn him a free trip to Africa to participate in the conference.

You can find info about the Forum here. To give you an idea, Helon Habila is listed on the faculty page for this year's Forum, along with Yusef Komunyakaa.

If you know Rion, send him an email. If you don't know Rion, maybe visit his site and leave a nice comment.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Congratulations, graduates!

Who can break from the snares of the world
And sit with me among the white clouds?

Here's a big shout of congratulations to our graduates and those who are soon to be. If you haven't already, take time to bid them a job well done for pushing those ox carts to the summit, laden with good things for people to read in the next valley. And of course we're all going to put our shoulders into it and help carry this precious cargo down, when the time comes, aren't we? But one thing at a time. (And please, let me know if I have missed anyone.)

Becky Bikowski
Ryan Call
Jennifer Hall
Sara Hov
Twila Johnson
Rion Scott

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Five Star Literary Stories

This post courtesy of Clifford Garstang, whose blog I often check for good things to link to.

The latest good thing (since I've been posting about online journals recently) comes from TJ Forrester, who has started the site Five Star Literary Stories. The site, in his words, "combines three integral facets of the writing life: publisher, story, and reviewer. Each story is editor-nominated and considered one of the best the mag has published."

If you're interested in checking out good online fiction, visit Forrester's site every now and then to see what's going on.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

'Barf-O': VQR Blogs About Rejected Subs

Over at the Virginia Quarterly Review blog, they've posted a list of comments from their submission readers about particularly 'bad' submissions. I read the post and as I read it my mind was blank. I smiled once or twice. Read the post if you'd like. I do not know why I posted this link, actually. I just turned in my thesis and I am now bored.

Here's an example of what one of their submission readers said:

"This guy has either the best or the worst cover letter ever. As for the poem, barf-o."

For more(?), go here.