3.24.2011

oatmeal helps reduce cholesterol, new england helps reduce spring

1) Over at the Powells blog, for their Small Press Conversation series, Jamie Iredell and I talk volcanoes, M-40s shoved into apples, Black Bart, peaks made of quartz, burly soufflés, Cormac McCarthy, belt loops in the crosswalk, and other tongue wagglers and heart glops. Many thanks to Kevin Sampsell for inviting us to yak.

2) Our radio show reading from San Jose with JP Dancing Bear is up and podcasted. Check it out here: http://outofourminds.posterous.com/. You can listen to us talk about what colors which flowers are. Thanks due to JP Dancing Bear for his cool name and radio-voiced generosity.

3) In a stunning novelty juke, I talked to the very smart and curious Frances Dinger over GMAIL CHAT. Maybe you have heard of it. It's this new thing. It's like bottled water or something. Frances has been talking to a lot of people about the internet and literature thereon.

4) Barry Hannah in Tuscaloosa, bombers in Detroit ("It was the cheapest flight"; I know how that feels!), Steven Segal helps police capture a bunch of chickens with a tank.

5) I read at the Soda Series last Sunday. It was fun and the couches were soft as promised. Now I have a standing invitation to Chilean food, which is exciting. Thanks to everybody involved with Soda, and especially John Dermot Woods for his really kind intro in which he elected to talk about all of my better qualities and none of my bad ones, keeping the intro nice and short.

3.16.2011

did i find this tabasco or did someone leave it for me

A smattering of cool things from around the web:

1) You can listen to the reading from Skylight Books on their podcast: check it out. Jamie wins the crowd with his smack talk, and if you want to hear my Lemurian lager story [again], well, it's in there.

2) Tommy Pico and the awesome Birdsong zine asked me five questions. I talk about heroin addict advice, kimchi edit wars, and fantasy worlds on the back of multiplication table tests.

3) I bought an iPod from Bryan Coffelt. I am frightened. What will it do to me? I plan mostly to not use it and to stare reproachfully at it as it follows me around and learns my habits and waits for me outside the shower and one night kills me and redecorates my skull.

4) Matthew Simmons is doing this gracious wonderful thing where he writes about each story from Look! Look! Feathers on HTMLGIANT. He's kicked things off with the first story about canned peaches and violent malaise. Thanks, Matthew.

4.5) If I had an agent, they would tell me to ask you to write Amazon reviews for LLF. Some people don't even need agents for this kind of asking; they have agents inside themselves, already, whispering gurgles of energy that slowly push these people toward mirrors and things that could pass for mirrors. Maybe you could write Amazon reviews for LLF or you could write messages to me in the form of Amazon reviews, since I am always looking on my Amazon page anyway. Probably there isn't anything you want to send me a message about, so maybe you could just write recaps of exciting sports events you've seen and post them as Amazon reviews.

5) Totally stoked to send out galleys for Ofelia Hunt's forthcoming (May) novel Today & Tomorrow. Gonna write up a press release and get the show on the road.

6) What about you? What is your new thing? What did I miss while I was on the Best Coast? Has anyone conceived of a good miniature nuclear reactor suicide method yet? Have you seen Trash Humpers? Even if I'm not a girl, can I do that thing where my shirt droops at one of its shoulders? I feel like that is the sexiest thing in the history.

3.15.2011

world of litcraft part 3

Well, it's all done. Jamie has done a great job recapping the final bits of the tour HERE and HERE. And I have nothing substantive to add, except to echo Jamie's gratitude to everyone who hosted us and came out to see us. And thanks to Matt and Nicole for rescuing me for a few hours from LAX, taking me whale watching and skeeball tossing. Also worth noting is that Jamie's first book, Prose. Poems. A Novel, which is great and which NOÖ reviewed, is now available as an e-book, with a portion of the proceeds going to Global Giving's Japanese tsunami relief fund. Jamie is a slam of a writer and a really solid dude. I feel lucky to have had so much experience and antipasto with him.

Now it's off to New York next Sunday for SODA Series #6. Also you can read two new poems in BOMB: "America Is America's Most Prominent Homosexual Sci-Fi Author" & "Keystroke Your Face." Thanks to Peter Moysaenko for putting those up. Meanwhile the nuclear reactors are melting and the vans are being swept against the bridges and everything is fucked. Have a good one.

3.10.2011

world of litcraft part 2

What I've got in my dead ahead is a windmill, tiny, outside, rooted among a very well landscaped delight of Central California garden paraphernalia. We're at Jamie's parents' house down near Monterrey. The last time I checked in, we'd just checked out of Ashland, where I was so stoked to eat the best omelet in the history of the form. At Morning Glory, which would be funny if that were the only thing I linked in this tour blog, but I'm sticking to a strict too-lazy-to-link policy. The omelet in question had Applewood smoked bacon, Fontina cheese, and caramelized red onions. Yeah. Yeah.

After Ashland, we drove south through the Siskiyous, peppered by snow, beautiful, Shasta strange and looming as ever. I told Jamie about Lemurians and people who have emotional attitudes one way or another about the mountain. Mr. Mountain, you have to call it. It's a high school principal of a volcano. We managed to make it to San Francisco in 5 1/2 hours because the Sac Valley is a warp zone. In SoMa we read about homeless people who have opinions about the internet. The place where the reading was, Rancho Parnassus, made a great turkey pesto sandwich. It was awesome to read with Patrick Duggan, who read some poems about walking around. Jamie and I have been talking the whole tour about a philosophy of overarching aesthetic and ideology, in which nothing anyone does doesn't factor into everything they are. Patrick's an inclusive, generous, democratic poet: ipso imp pasta, he's those things as a person. It was great to see him and great to see Elliot Harmon, who put on the reading and was as tall and gregarious and warmhearted as ever. Plus other Bay friends: Chelsea & Ian, Jimmy C, bearded Jesus. I read the tiny baby story and some advice for babies. Jamie read about San Franciscans, dreadlocks, and other thicknesses of hair. Afterwards, we tried to eat at a laundromat, but all they had was detergent, so we went to a diner, and then we drove uphill very fast with Jamie's friend Todd.

We backtracked from San Francisco to Davis, hanging out with Jamie's bro Bryan and Bryan's fam in Elk Grove. Bryan and his wife Julie have very cute kids. The daughter, Torie, invented a new kind of baseball with lemons. Dylan, the baby, has a zen language of grunting. Jamie and I waved and said we'd meet up with them later and then had dinner with my parents at an Italian restaurant. We talked about celery pills and Russia and tenant trials. It was very kind and supportive of them to drive down and listen to us read. We read at a gallery with a lot of great art up, like a man wearing his shirt for a turban and doing a still life Watusi. Jamie did his best reading yet, I think—he really nailed it and railed on hippies—and I read the beginning of a long sad story about dead wives and R/V roaming. Afterwards, we found out that Davis doesn't really have any bars, just pizza places that serve liquor. Jeremy Spencer, of Scrambler Books, is like some shining polar cherub of niceness. He is a really fucking nice guy. If the world were full of Jeremy Spencer, nobody in the NCAA would make officiating mistakes.

After Davis we drove down to the home of Jamie's uncle and aunt (we're both from Nor Cal, so this is very much the family tour) who were totally ridiculously cool and fed us cake. No joke. Jamie's Uncle Dave talked about engineering and all the history he knows, which is a lot, and Jamie's Aunt Liz was hilarious and kind and made a really great joke at the end about all of us living together in a compound when the apocalypse comes. She made a finger gun joke, which is one of my favorite kinds of jokes. Also their house looked like a mission.

Then it was off to do a radio show with JP Dancing Bear. He talked about consulting with many countries on how to superconduct. Jamie and I read poems, and Bear was very kind and even had poems pre-picked he wanted us to read. I read about not owning a door, and Jamie read about orange carnations. Bear said it would be up as a podcast at some point, so I will link to that when it's live. Beer Run Bobby, a sign let us know, is not allowed in the KKUP station.

Last night we stayed with Jamie's parents, I saw some embarrassing childhood photos, and this morning we ate delicious artichoke omelets. The tour of omelets. Tonight it's off to Cal Poly and craft talking, and then sunny Los Angeles to sun-set ourselves. Jamie and I just washed our clothes together. What a trek, what a grandfather clock, what a beautiful way to eat so much trail mix.

3.07.2011

world of litcraft

Right now I'm on a sleeping bag in Ashland, Oregon, and there's a giant blue exercise ball before me. Or after me, if I roll it. Outside is Valentino, the neighbor's very fat cat who climbs your face when you're considered company.

Three stops down in this tour. Going really lovely so far. Lots of great faces and kind movement. Flew into Seattle on Friday, read at Pilot Books. We read in the middle of a circle. I read the tiny baby story and did the love play. Jamie read about football announcers and blurbs. Great folks, some who also recognized Jamie's shirt as looking like a throwback Dale Earnhardt pit crew shirt. After the reading I ate a sandwich called "Spicoli's." People talked about Boise rest stops and other experiences of showstopping. Some other notable things about Seattle include fish on the floor of the airport and smooth countertops made out of salvaged bowling alley wood. Seattle, you're a good kid.

Then Jamie and I and wingman Matthew Simmons drove down to Portland, where we got to hang out at Kevin & B Frayn Masters's wedding reception. Lovely music and deviled eggs and banana peanut butter cupcakes and a giant mural of Harry Dean Staunton keeping a lovelorn but compassionate flock-watch over all of us. Afternoon was Powell's pilgrimage. Then we read at Ampersand Vintage, which was an amazing place, and we read to an amazing crowd, who totally packed the joint. I read the immature gym coach story, and Jamie read about not parking on the sagebrush. People hooted and snickered and drank free beer (thanks Ampersand!). Later people bought a lot of books and I asked them where they were from. Later still I ate pasta salad. (As with most of my day-to-day reckoning, this tour update is basically a food diary). Some people were from Colombia and some asked me to draw a duck in their copy of LLF. It was great to meet a few internet friends in person and to hang out with old friends from SOU who'd migrated to "the couch of America." Deep thanks to everyone, especially Kevin Sampsell (of Future Tense) and Michael Schaub (of Bookslut) and Bryan Coffelt (of Bryan and Caroline and Felix). Portland has now officially won a piece of my heart the size of those oversized black ear studs people wear there.

One bummer was that Jamie hit a bout of insomnia in Portland, but he's feeling better now. We switched off the driving duties halfway to Ashland, and I pulled into my college town in the droopy-eyed rain I definitely remember. Had some fusion Brazilian food with his Kaseyness the Kaseinator, and then we had a cozy, chatful reading at the library. Retired to the Kasey Residence and mapped out an exciting new way to understand the road novel. Kids seem to be alive and well in Ashland. Good work, everybody. Keep the dream alive. Dream team. One day you will be on the basketball team of whatever nationality you think of yourself as, whether it's the nation of smooth operators or the nation of people-who-dance-very-well-wearing-only-socks.

Right now we're getting ready to visit Morning Glory, which is my favorite ______ (<--- everything). San Francisco tonight. How insane to be privy to this much kindness and intelligence from so many people. So much thanks to friends new and old. And to Jamie for proving to be a tour partner even cooler than his very cool beard tufts. What is there to do but hug this giant blue exercise ball?