Fiction student Eileen Shields has a new creative nonfiction piece — see, this is why we’re multi-disciplinary here — in the latest issue of Fiction Attic. Here’s a snippet of “The Barbershop Quartet”:
The barbershop quartet had been my idea.
My mother-in-law lives in an elder care home located on a quiet, tree-lined street in a Northern California suburb. Her constant complaint is that she is bored. I feel sorry for her because she is a widow with three sons and no daughters. Whether through love or guilt or decades of female submission, daughters generally make more reliable caretakers than sons. For example, a daughter probably would not, as Jean’s sons do, point out that the reason she is bored is that she is disagreeable and grouchy and therefore has no friends. Granted, the boy’s opinion is hard to debate—even her own grandchildren refer to Grandma Jean as Grandma Mean.
The boys’ solution for Jean’s boredom was to hire a paid companion, a middle-aged redheaded woman who takes her on outings and then dutifully sends us photos of these excursions—to the museum, to the aquarium, and once, shockingly, on a helicopter ride with a helmeted and goggled Jean posing at the controls. When my husband asks Jean about her adventures, she does not remember them. The fact is, these days Jean does not remember much, but she does remember she has three sons, and wants nothing more than to spend time with them, because she is bored.
Read the rest here.
…or at least quite a few books. This week, she reviews two new books in the Rumpus, Fridays at Enrico’s by Don Carpenter and Inside Madeline by Paula Bomer.
Don’t write about writing. That gets said a lot. But like any absolute about what not to do, it’s only true until someone does it well. Such is the case with Don Carpenter’s Fridays at Enrico’s, his final novel, finished by Jonathan Lethem after Carpenter’s death. The novel follows a small group of novelists up and down the west coast as they pursue publication from the late 1950s to the 1970s. The story of Fridays at Enrico’s publication is compelling, itself; Carpenter’s work, especially Hard Rain Falling, garnered him praise and a devout following. His final novel–though a finished manuscript–went unpublished. Lethem, champion of Carpenter’s work, readied the manuscript for publication.
She also appeared on the latest episode of Literary Disco, talking about teaching The Stranger to high school kids…and a few adults, it turns out, too.
UCR-Palm Desert MFA Gallagher Lawson’s THE PAPERMADE MAN, an allegorical tale of a naive young man made of papier-mache who struggles to survive in an oceanside city on the verge of revolution, to Olivia Taylor-Smith at Unnamed Press, for publication in February 2015, by Dara Hyde at the Frederick Hill Nadell Agency (NA).
We’re pleased to announce the great writers, agents, editors, and industry professionals who’ll be joining us this June for our Spring Residency:
Kate Anger’s work has appeared at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, the Stella Adler Theatre, and Ensemble Studio Theatre. Her most recent play, Sumi’s House, kicked off the season at the season at UCR with a successful 12 night run. Ms. Anger has also published both fiction and nonfiction and is an accomplished actress, appearing in numerous stage production, and teaches playwriting at UCR.
Molly Bendall is the author of four collections of poetry, After Estrangement, Dark Summer, Ariadne’s Island, and most recently Under the Quick (Parlor Press). Her poems, reviews, and translations of the French surrealist poet Joyce Mansour have appeared in Paris Review, Poetry, Lana Turner, New American Writing, Volt, Denver Quarterly, Pool, and many other journals. She has received the Eunice Tietjens Prize from Poetry Magazine, the Lynda Hull Award from Denver Quarterly and two Pushcart Prizes. Her poems have appeared In anthologies: American Hybrid: The Norton Anthology of the New Poem, American Poetry: The Next Generation, The Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative Poetry, and Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House. She has also co-authored with Gail Wronsky Bling & Fringe from What Books. She teaches at the University of Southern California.
Francesca Lia Block (www.francescaliablock.com) is the author of more than twenty-five books of fiction, non-fiction, short stories and poetry. She received the Spectrum Award, the Phoenix Award, the ALA Rainbow Award and the 2005 Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as other citations from the American Library Association and from the New York Times Book Review, School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly. Her work has been translated into Italian, French, German Japanese, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Portuguese. Francesca has also published stories, poems, essays and interviews in The Los Angeles Times, The L.A. Review of Books, Spin, Nylon, Black Clock and Rattle among others. In addition to writing, she teaches fiction workshops at UCLA Extension, Antioch University, and privately in Los Angeles where she was born, raised and currently still lives.
Lucas Carter: Before joining Intrigue in October 2010, Lucas was the Vice President of Production and Development for the Weinstein Company where he worked directly under co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. During his tenure at TWC, Lucas was a credited studio executive on ALEX RIDER: OPERATION STORMBREAKER, based on the best-selling novels, starring Alex Pettyfer, and I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, based on the novel by Allison Pearson. Lucas worked as an executive for The Weinstein Company on NINE directed by Rob Marshall, SHANGHAI directed by Mikael Hafstrom (1408), and THE GREAT DEBATORS starring and directed by Denzel Washington, and produced by Oprah Winfrey. For Weinstein Television, Lucas was an executive on MOB WIVES, which he helped set up at VH1 with Ben Silverman. Additionally, with Harvey Weinstein, he developed and set up a MARCO POLO series pilot at Starz, with John Fusco (YOUNG GUNS) writing.
Jennie Dunham (AAR and SCBWI member) represents literary fiction and nonfiction for adults and children’s books for all ages. She prefers literary, character-driven writing rather than mass-market, commercial styles. Jennie Dunham does not represent poetry, horror, romance, or individual short stories and articles. Her clients include Tod Goldberg, Reeve Lindbergh, Fred Chappell, Robert Sabuda, Nick Bruel, Margaret McMullan, and Leslie Connor. Please see www.dunhamlit.com for more information.
Tony DuShane is the author of “Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk” (Soft Skull Press) and writes for The San Francisco Chronicle, Penthouse, Mother Jones, The Rumpus and other publications. He hosts the radio show Drinks with Tony interviewing authors, filmmakers, bands and more since 2002. He adapted his first novel to a screenplay and the film is currently in post production.
Rachel Fershleiser heads author and publisher outreach at Tumblr. Previously she was the Community Manager at Bookish and the Director of Public Programs at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, where she now serves on the board of directors. She is also the co-creator of Six-Word Memoirs and co-editor of the New York Times Bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning and three other books.
Janet Fitch is the author of the Los Angeles novels Paint It Black and White Oleander. Her short stories essays have appeared in such anthologies and journals as Black Clock, Room of One’s Own, Los Angeles Noir, the Los Angeles Times, Vogue and Los Angeles Review of Books.. She has taught and lectured on aspects of fiction writing in programs including the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, UCLA Writers Program, Antioch University Los Angeles, and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. She is currently finishing an novel set during the Russian Revolution. She maintains a blog where she posts writing tips, rants, meditations and short-shorts at www.janetfitchwrites.wordpress.com.
Wendy Hammond’s plays have been produced by New York City theatres (Soho Rep, Second Stage, Home for Contemporary Theatre and Art), by regional theatres (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Long Wharf, S.L.A.C., Charlotte Rep, Purple Rose), and in London, Tel Aviv, Milan and Rome. Her works include Julie Johnson (published by Dramatists Play Service and in an anthology by Smith & Kraus), Family Life: 3 Brutal Comedies (published by Broadway Play Publishing), Jersey City, and The Hole at the Purple Rose Theatre, which was nominated by the American Theatre Critics Association for best new American play, and Road Rage: A Love Story which was commissioned by the Purple Rose developed at the O’Neill Center, and in a workshop process at Steppenwolf Theatre starring Jeff Perry and Amy Morton. Ms. Hammond wrote the screenplay for Julie Johnson, produced by Shooting Gallery Films, co-written by director Bob Gosse, starring Lili Taylor, Courtney Love and Spalding Gray. The film premiered in the Sundance Film Festival and played in film festivals all over the world winning many awards including Best Feature in the Barcelona Film Festival and an Audience Award in Berlin. She wrote the screenplay for A Beautiful Life produced by Calla productions, starring Jesse Garcia, Angela Sarafyan, Bai Ling, and Dana Delany. Ms. Hammond wrote and directed the short film, Lehi’s Wife, through AFI’s Directors Workshop for Women, now in post-production. James Greene and Kathryn Joosten star in the film. Ms. Hammond is a recipient of an NEA grant, an NYFA grant, a McNight Fellowship and a Drama League Award. She has been invited twice to the Sundance Play Unit, twice to the O’Neill Center, five times to New River Dramatists and is New Dramatists alumnus. She holds an MFA from New York University’s Dramatic Writing Program, an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, and worked in the Chesterfield Writers Project. She has taught playwriting and screenwriting courses in several universities including Brown University, Connecticut College. She has also taught in the Sewannee Writers Conference, the Writers at Work Conference, and in the prison ward of Bellevue Hospital. For five years she served on the faculty of the University of Michigan. Currently she is working on a play, Ecstacy: The Enigma of Joseph Smith, an historical fantasy of the wild life of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church.
Tara Ison is the author of the novels Rockaway, The List, and A Child out of Alcatraz, and the forthcoming short story collection Ball. Her short fiction, essays, poetry and book reviews have appeared in Tin House, The Kenyon Review, The Rumpus, Nerve.com, Black Clock, TriQuarterly, PMS: poemmemoirstory, Publisher’s Weekly, The Week magazine, The Mississippi Review, LA Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, the San Jose Mercury News, and numerous anthologies. She is also the co-writer of the cult movie Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead. She is the recipient of a 2008 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship and a 2008 COLA Individual Artist Grant, as well as multiple Yaddo fellowships, a Rotary Foundation Scholarship for International Study, a Brandeis National Women’s Committee Award, a Thurber House Fiction Writer-in-Residence Fellowship, the Simon Blattner Fellowship from Northwestern University, and a California Arts Council Artists’ Fellowship Award. Ison received her MFA in Fiction & Literature from Bennington College. She has taught creative writing at Washington University in St. Louis, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Goddard College, Antioch University Los Angeles, and UC Riverside Palm Desert’s MFA in Creative Writing program. She is currently Assistant Professor of Fiction at Arizona State University.
Jim JenneweinNow in his 23rd year as a working Hollywood screenwriter, Jim Jennewein has co-written and sold 21 feature screenplays to all the major film studios. He has survived hundreds of Hollywood pitch meetings and worked on assignment for such companies as Touchstone, Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century-Fox, Fox 2000, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Interscope, Columbia Pictures, Regency, Morgan Creek, Largo Entertainment, NBC, among others. His produced film credits include THE FLINTSTONES, RICHIE RICH, MAJOR LEAGUE II, GETTING EVEN WITH DAD and STAY TUNED. Jim adapted the Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea as an animated feature film for Disney and also sold an original TV sitcom pilot to NBC. His TV pilot script, “Lawless,” won first prize in the One Hour TV Pilot category in the Table Read My Screenplay script contest in 2013. Jim is currently Chair of the Screenwriting Department on the Burbank campus of the New York Film Academy, and has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in screenwriting at California State University, Northridge, and at the Malibu campus of Pepperdine University. He is a published author as well, having co-authored the RuneWarriors trilogy, a comedy-fantasy series of young adult novels published by HarperCollins. Jim holds a BFA from the University Of Notre Dame, and an MFA from the Graduate Program in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts at University Of California, Riverside. He has been a member of the Writers Guild of America since 1990.
Dinah Lenney grew up on the East Coast, outside Boston and New York City, and graduated from a small public high school just north of Manhattan. She earned her Bachelor’s at Yale and a Certificate of Acting from the Neighborhood Playhouse School, eventually moving to Los Angeles where, among other roles, she landed the long-recurring part of Nurse Shirley on NBC’s critically acclaimed series, ER. Dinah’s continued to work on stage, in film, and on television, playing a wide range of roles in theatre and musical theatre, and guest-starring on series too many to mention, among them Law and Order, Without a Trace, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Sons of Anarchy. She’s taught in acting programs at Universities all over the country, and is the co-author, with Mary Lou Belli, of Acting for Young Actors (Random House). Dinah’s memoir, Bigger than Life, was published in the American Lives Series at the University of Nebraska Press, and excerpted for the “Lives” column in The New York Times Sunday Magazine. A full time Assistant Professor in the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California, Dinah also serves as core faculty for the Bennington Writing Seminars (where she took an MFA in Creative Nonfiction in 2003), and for the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. She’s written essays and reviews for literary journals, anthologies, and newspapers, print and online, and was especially mentioned in the Pushcart Anthology XXXIV. She regularly blogs about reading and writing at http://dornsife.usc.edu/thegamut/. Dinah lives, with her husband and children, in Echo Park, close enough to Dodger Stadium to hear the roar of the crowd. Her latest book, The Object Parade has just been released.
Brian Lipson is a partner in the Los Angeles based literary management company Intellectual Property Group (IPG). Brian specializes in selling the motion picture/television rights of literary material. For 15 years he has represented such notable authors as Stephen E. Ambrose, Jared Diamond, Eric Garcia, Joe Lansdale, Brad Meltzer, Joyce Carol Oates, Rex Pickett and Mark Haskell Smith. Brian also represents the literary estates of Mark Twain and Jim Thompson. Some of the motion picture and television projects he sold include Band of Brothers, Boardwalk Empire, Ike: Countdown to D-Day, Sideways, Matchstick Men, Repo Men, Pain & Gain and The Departed. Additionally, Brian also markets non-fiction books to publishers. Some of the authors he has sold books for include Stephen Ambrose, Hugh Ambrose, the Osbournes, Alexandra Pelosi, Amber Tamblyn, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sharon Rocha (Laci Peterson’s mother), Scout Productions (the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), Aisha Tyler, Bob Newhart, Burt Bacharach and Roger Ebert. Prior to joining IPG, Brian ran the book division at Endeavor from 1999 until the merger with the William Morris Agency in 2009. Before Endeavor, Brian was an agent and assistant at the Renaissance Agency, where he trained under his current partner, Joel Gotler.
Attica Locke is the 2013 winner of the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for her second novel, The Cutting Season, published by Dennis Lehane books. A national bestseller, The Cutting Season was also named an Honor Book by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and long-listed for the Chautauqua Prize. Her first novel, Black Water Rising, was nominated for a 2010 Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, as well as a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was short-listed for the prestigious Orange Prize in the UK (now the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction). A graduate of Northwestern University, Locke was a fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmakers Lab. She spent many years as a screenwriter, writing scripts for Paramount, Warner Bros, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, HBO, and Dreamworks. She is a member of the academy for the Folio Prize in the UK and is also on the board of directors for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. A native of Houston, Texas, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.
D. P. Lyle, MD is the Macavity Award winning and Edgar® Award nominated author of the non-fiction books, MURDER & MAYHEM, FORENSICS FOR DUMMIES, FORENSICS & FICTION, and HOWDUNNIT: FORENSICS as well as theSAMANTHA CODY and DUB WALKER thriller series and the ROYAL PAINS media tie-in novels. His essay on Jules Verne’s THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND appears in THRILLERS: 100 MUST READS and his short story “Even Steven” in ITW’s anthology THRILLER 3: LOVE IS MURDER.He has worked with many novelists and with the writers of popular television shows such as Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Diagnosis Murder, Monk, Judging Amy, Peacemakers, Cold Case, House, Medium, Women’s Murder Club, 1-800-Missing, The Glades, and Pretty Little Liars. He was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama where his childhood interests revolved around football, baseball, and building rockets in his backyard. The latter pursuit was common in Huntsville during the 1950’s and 60’s due to the nearby NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. After leaving Huntsville, he attended college, medical school, and served an internship at the University of Alabama; followed by a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Texas at Houston; then a Fellowship in Cardiology at The Texas Heart Institute, also in Houston. For the past 35 years, he has practiced Cardiology in Orange County, California. He is the co-host, along with Jan Burke, of CRIME AND SCIENCE RADIO, a twice-monthly program on SUSPENSE RADIO.
James Meetze is the author of I Have Designed This for You and Dayglo, which was selected by Terrance Hayes as winner of the 2010 Sawtooth Poetry Prize and published by Ahsahta Press. He is editor, with Simon Pettet, of Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems by James Schuyler. Winner of the 2001 Poet Laureate Award from the University of California, Meetze’s poems have recently appeared inWitness, New Orleans Review, Free Verse, South Dakota Review, and The Rattling Wall among others. James is assistant professor of English at Ashford University and lives in San Diego. He currently serves as a mentor in the PEN Center USA’s Emerging Voices Fellowship program and is Poetry Editor of Manor House, a magazine of art and literature. A new chapbook, Dark Art I-XII, was published in December and his book Phantom Hour is forthcoming from Ahsahta Press in January, 2016.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden is the manager of the science fiction and fantasy line at Tor Books. Authors he has edited at Tor include Poul Anderson, Emma Bull, Arthur C. Clarke, Glen Cook, Robert Holdstock, Damon Knight, Jonathan Lethem, Ken MacLeod, George R. R. Martin, Harry Turtledove, David Weber, Terri Windling, and Jack Womack, among many others; in addition, he has been responsible for publishing many notable first novels, including those of Maureen F. McHugh, Susan Palwick, Cory Doctorow, Jo Walton, and John Scalzi. He has also edited or co-edited several anthologies; the most recent of those is Twenty-First Century Science Fiction (Tor, 2013), co-edited with David G. Hartwell. In 1997, the first volume of his Starlight original anthology series won a World Fantasy Award, and in the past decade he has been the recipient of three Hugo Awards for his work as a book editor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and editorial collaborator Teresa Nielsen Hayden.
Eric Obenauf co-founded and is editorial director of Two Dollar Radio, a family-run boutique publisher and film producer based in Columbus, Ohio. Their publications have been honored by the National Book Foundation, finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Editors’ Choice selections at the New York Times Book Review. His writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, The Millions, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, and others. In 2008, at the age of 26, Eric was included in Publishers Weekly’s ’50 Under 40′ list, which spotlighted 50 individuals under age 40 working in publishing worth watching.
Dani Shapiro is the bestselling author of the memoirs Devotion and Slow Motion, and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, and has been widely anthologized. She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, The New School and Wesleyan University, and she is co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. She is a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure. She lives with her family in Litchfield County, Connecticut. Her new book, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, was published on October 1.
Mitchel Steinruns The Stein Agency, a literary agency representing screenwriters, producers and directors. Previously, he was a partner is Shapiro-Lichtman-Stein, which he left in 2000 to start his own firm.
Jamison Stoltz is a senior editor at Grove/Atlantic. He edits nonfiction—recent titles include Paradise Lust by Brook Wilensky-Lanford, Harlem by Jonathan Gill, and Mint Condition by Dave Jamieson—and mysteries and thrillers, including Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti series and the novels of Deon Meyer, Mike Lawson, and Mark Haskell Smith. Before joining Grove/Atlantic, he worked at the William Morris Agency in London and New York, and in publicity at Houghton Mifflin in New York.
Andrew Wineris the author of the novels The Marriage Artist and The Color Midnight Made. A recipient of a NEA Fellowship in Fiction, he occasionally writers about artists, composer, thinkers and other writers. He is working on a new novel about religion and politics. He is the Chair of the Creative Writing department at the University of California, Riverside.
Matt Witten is the author of four novels, Breakfast at Madeline’s, winner of the Malice Domestic Award, Grand Delusion, Strange Bedfellows, and The Killing Bee. He’s served as a writer/producer on The Glades, Medium, Women’s Murder Club, Supernatural, House MD, JAG, CSI:Miami, and written episodes of Pretty Little Liars, Law & Order, Judging Amy, Homicide and many other shows. His plays include The Deal, Washington Square Moves, and The Ties That Bind. His film Drones, directed by Rick Rosenthal and starring Matt O’Leary and Eloise Mumford, premiered in October and November of 2013 at the London Film Festival; the Austin Film Festival; and the AFI Fest. The movie is scheduled for general release in 2014.
Matthew Zapruder is Writer-in-Residence. He is the author of four collections of poetry: “American Linden,” “The Pajamaist,” and “Come On All You Ghosts”, and “Sun Bear” as well as co-translator from Romanian, along with historian Radu Ioanid, of “Secret Weapon: Selected Late Poems of Eugen Jebeleanu.” He has received a William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, a May Sarton Award from the Academy of American Arts and Sciences, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship. His poems, essays and translations have appeared in many publications, including Open City, Bomb, Harvard Review, Paris Review, The New Republic, The Boston Review, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, The Believer and The Los Angeles Times. His work has appeared in many anthologies, including “Third Rail: The Poetry of Rock and Roll,” “Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century,” “Best American Poetry 2009,” and “Seriously Funny: Poems about Love, Death, Religion, Art, Politics, Sex, and Everything.” An editor for Wave Books and previously a member of the core faculty in the low residency M.F.A. program at UC Riverside Palm Desert, Matthew lives in Oakland, CA where he is now a professor at St. Mary’s.
Congratulations to Debbie Graber, who has a hysterical new story, “New Directions,”” in the latest Harper’s:
There is a matter of some importance that the executives would like to share with you. As leaders of a company that was voted one of the 500 most transparent companies in the San Fernando Valley (Westways Magazine, September 2009), we pride ourselves on addressing any type of situation.
As most of you know, the software department has been busy prepping for the first-quarter release of MPM 3.0, the newest iteration of Production Solutions’ continuing quest for better payroll-processing software. MPM 3.0 will be a game-changer, providing our clients with sleeker ways to process payroll than ever before.
But when Vice President of Products Mary Margaret Spencer went down to the second floor last Friday for her regular meeting with our programmers, she found the department empty. She checked the kitchen and the patio, then asked Martin from Facilities to check the restrooms on each floor. No software personnel were on the premises. Vice President Spencer says that she didn’t find this altogether strange, given that the developers sometimes keep odd hours. She was, however, “weirded out” by the silence, so she sent what she describes as a “forceful” email to Product Manager Jim Smalley.
Last year, the Obama Administration announced a plan to assess schools on how well they serve their students, based on metrics like graduation rate, tuition, and the percentage of students who receive Pell Grants, the federally funded scholarships for low-income families. For a system that has yet to be put in place, the White House’s college ratings have created a great deal of panic.
To see how those ratings might play out, TIME gathered data for 2,500 college and universities and ranked them according to the proposed metrics.
An excellent new story from Cynthia Romanowski in The Nervous Breakdown:
We were both eighteen but Rebecca was hopelessly naïve. She talked about her crush, Brother Matthew, with an unbridled enthusiasm I hadn’t seen since middle school. The first time he flirted with her, she told me the story like her life was never going to be the same.
When he was “babysitting” Rebecca and her brother one night, Matthew opted to join her on the couch instead of sitting alone on the love seat. The babysitting thing was pretty ridiculous considering that Rebecca was old enough to menstruate, drive and even vote, though as a Jehovah’s Witness, she never would.
Rebecca positioned herself so that Matthew would have to prop her feet in his lap in order to sit down but he was the one to initiate further contact.
“Major contact,” Rebecca said.
I tried to look excited about her story.
“And then, this is kind of weird but he kissed my foot.” She reenacted the kiss on my foot. It seemed like something that could have been brotherly, parental even but I didn’t tell her that.
Stephen Graham Jones knows a thing or two about titles…he’s published something like 1000 books. In this essay about his novel The Least of My Scars, he breaks down just how he ended up with this particular title:
All my The Least of My Scars drafts and notes have, until a few months ago, been in a directory called “doors.” All the early drafts are that: “doors,” “doors2,” “doors21,” “doors21b,” and on and on, a whole stack of versions and tries and misfires. My original idea was to build every chapter on a knock-knock joke somehow. And calling the novel “Doors” was supposed to play into that. We’re talking eight weeks in 2008, I think it was. I’d just written a draft of The Gospel of Z, which failed and failed hard, and was pretty sure I’d just been fooling myself I was a writer.
Some of the other titles that tried to happen:
- This House of Rest
- The Wrong End of the Night (is this a Springsteen lyric?)
- The Girl with the Unbreakable Heart
- Dashboard Mary (I thought this was a song. Is it?)
- Hell is Full of People
- These Cheshire Arms
- Here Come the Jesters (flying my BadCo flag)
- Every Little Crack
- Pale Young Four Toes
A great new review from literary critic (and esteemed alum) Heather Partington in the Los Angeles Review of Books, this time on More Than Conquerors by Megan Hustad and City of God by Sara Miles:
ONE HAS ONLY to turn on the news to see that there are those determined to fit American faith into a neat arc — conflict, resolution, redemption — so that they may repurpose and repackage the forefathers as biblical superheroes. As long as man has been saying, this is what I believe,he’s been going out into the world to practice, bless, convert, and judge, but even true believers would have to admit: there is more to life than good versus bad. We are a nation that has been influenced by faith, yet needs to acknowledge the difficult truths of American history, the plurality of the American experience, the fact that we, as a nation and as people, quite often fall short of our own ideals. Our faith story is abstruse.
A little something from the wayback machine, as poetry professor Anthony McCann reads from his collection I <Heart> Your Fate: