Exhibit 1.9.9

New Short Shorts




I have three short shorts online in the new issue of The Atlas Review which is up right here. They are mostly notable for, in order:

“Romance, with Still Life”: Having what I recall being dinosaurs in it, but I can’t actually confirm that so don’t take this as some kind of explicit dino promise.

“The First Ghost”: Having no dinosaurs but one ghost who–[SPOILER ALERT]–is kind of an asshole.

“Diagnosis Stabbing”: Having no dinosaurs, no ghosts, but one character named Doctor Murder who leads a gang named after the “gang” from my hometown North “Platte”, Nebraska.

Comment / Posted in Dinosaurs, Fiction, Journals

Exhibit 1.9.8

New Story




My short story “The First Woman on Earth, or: DENISE” is in the new Epoch. It’s mostly notable for causing me to read a lot about Pleistocene-era mammals. In short: they were basically all lionbears.

Comment / Posted in Fiction, First, Journals

Exhibit 1.9.2

New Story




I’ve got a story in the summer issue of The Kenyon Review, and you can read the opening here. It’s mostly notable for being about a comedian (which I’m not). But the rest of the issue is great. Including a short credo by the great George Saunders. Pick up a copy maybe.

O, and I answered some questions about it (and other things) here.

Comment / Posted in Fiction, Journals, Reviews

Exhibit 1.8.19



* I’m told the new Third Coast is out in which I’ve got a couple of short shorts – “The Affair Ends Badly” and “An Emissary Visits the King” which are mostly notable for being very different from each other to the point of this more or less being my Twins. A lot of good names there so go pick it up. Which I’ll do whenever it catches up to me.


* A couple weeks back I had two pieces from my Sire Lines series up at the always excellent poetry journal Similar Peaks here. It’s been really cool seeing these pop up online the last couple of years and grateful to all the new journals I’ve got to be a part of while spreading these malicious lies about historical figures. These two are Henry Ford and George Armstrong Custer. They’re both sort of jerks. That part is probably true.

Comment / Posted in Georges, Henry, Journals

Exhibit 1.8.2



So, I neglected to mention this last week, but I have my first short short of the fellowship up at Smokelong alongside a bunch of other great work. My piece is mostly notable for being–maybe–my only short short based on something that actually happened. Which you can read about in the accompanying interview here. And then read more of me talking about the fellowship here. The interviews are mostly notable for containing all of my words. I’m out…now.


Comment / Posted in Fiction, Journals, Recess

Exhibit 1.7.26




The new Versal is so awesome it broke the mail. It’s a seriously beautiful journal full of seriously great stuff, including a short thing by me which is mostly notable for making “graverobber” one word which I think it totally is. Otherwise these business cards are all wrong.

Go get it.

Comment / Posted in Fiction, Fish, Journals

Exhibit 1.6.20

Hayden’s Ferry Review



Came home from the semester break to the new issue of Hayden’s Ferry Review, a favorite journal and one I’ve been sending to since I was a little writer with smaller glasses and bigger opinions on the National Book Awards. The issue’s theme is “In the Dark” which so far in my reading around has yielded lights out stuff from Léone Hampton, Colleen Coyne, and Caitlin Horrocks.

Lights out? Get it? Darkness. The joke is darkness.

My story is called “The Autopsy” and is mostly notable for not being sponsored by Sprite even though it should be sponsored by Sprite.


Sprite: Put it in you.

1 Comment / Posted in Fiction, Haydens, Journals

Exhibit 1.6.10

New Morning


I just so happened to get contributor’s copies of two beautiful new journals on the same day and took some pictures in the morning sunlight as I read them and drank coffee. I can honestly say these are among the best designed journals out there–may in fact be the best designed journals out there–but it’s all the awesome stuff inside that should make you order them.


Paper Darts



So much incredible art and writing in this thing already. Plus, every page looks like that. A bit, from Brandi Wells’s “Letters Between Tortoise and Hare”:

Dear Hare,

We can go away together. Just the two of us. To the beach, to the ocean. I will teach you how to swim. I want to draw you into a place of familiarity, map the familiar on your body so that your body becomes a body more like my own…



The Normal School



This issue, a promised “Film and Music Spectacular,” seems to be chocked full of smart essays that I’m only beginning to read through but Elena Passarello’s “Communication Breakdown” has already stood out:

Let us not forget, too, that the most celebrated rock screams came from bodies that belong to the same subgeneration as our recent front-runners (and their most moneyed supporters). Sammy Hagar was born the same year as Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton. Rick Perry is seven months older than Tom Petty…


Grateful to the editors for including my things which, I can only hope, aren’t uglying it all up.

Comment / Posted in Fiction, Journals, School

Exhibit 1.4.20


* There’s a new NOÖ Weekly available right here edited by Laura Eve Engel. I have a thing in it about being pope or something. It’s unclear. But it’s a fantastic issue anyway which you should check out.

* There’s also a cool prose poem made out of lines from all the pieces at the NOÖ blog here.

* So these YouTube “Hitler reacts to ____________” things are more than a little tired at this point, but I have to give it up to the Royals fan who put this one together about the Royals signing Jonathan Broxton. It’s really funny, all the more so if you’re a Royals fan who enjoys jokes about those hydraulic adaptor commercials that blanket all the radio broadcasts.

* If you’re not that–and statistically the odds of you being that are quite small–it’s still got plenty of that nutty Hitler.

* I also have a couple of Sire (on)Lines in the new Jet Fuel Review. These are about the internet and Wal-Mart which, as you might imagine, put them in the latter portions of the manuscript despite my initial intention to call the project Sam Walton: Made in America and have it sold for $8.88 at over 7,000 retail locations worldwide.

2 Comments / Posted in Journals, Links, Things

Exhibit 1.4.16


* So, um, it’s been awhile. How about that.

* I had a long post on the Penn State scandal written up, but I decided not to post it. There is absolutely nothing else to say about that.

* Literally, the only thing to say is that it’s terrible and then shut up.

* Check out the new Wigleaf for some amazing stamp stories, including one from me that’s about, I don’t know, pilgrims or something. Who knows. What I do know is that the others are awesome and that I’m very happy to be there among them.

* Anyway, it’s a very cool issue and a very cool concept. You should definitely buy the book from Mud Luscious here. Do it.

* This new Drake album is The Weeknd’s best album ever.

* Maybe I like the Childish Gambino album better, but nothing on there is as good as “Freaks and Geeks.”

* Fantasy football update: The Cal Drogo and Mike Kafkaesque are both in 2nd place.

* Grading update: I’m not doing it. I’m doing this.

* I’m barely doing this.

Comment / Posted in Journals, Links, Things

Exhibit 1.4.7


* You definitely need to check out the new The Literary Review which is really beautiful and full of great work and also a couple of [SPOILER ALERT]s. You can actually read those online, but then you’d be missing out on the rest of the fantastic stuff and that would make you, I hate to say it, some kind of idiot. Don’t be an idiot.

* There are also some [SPOILER ALERT]s in the new Copper Nickel which–and this isn’t just talk–is also beautiful. Seriously. I don’t get it. We feel very lucky to have the pieces in two very cool journals. Or at least I do. I don’t know how Laura Eve feels. Let’s go ask her.

* I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel good about my thoughts on Rick Perry so quickly proving themselves accurate. Or maybe that’s not what happened. I don’t know. The important thing is that everyone seems to have realized he’s an idiot (probably because he didn’t read all the way through his literary journals). Bush overcame it. Can Perry? Something tells me he can’t. Romney it is (which is actually maybe scary though the John Kerry parallels would be both eery and reassuring).

* “Hey, that final baseball day sure was crazy, wasn’t it?” – everyone.

* And yes, yes it was. Look for more Royals thoughts soon in the rare SPM-other blog crossover. And by rare I mean it’s never happened and I’m surprised anyone asked.

Comment / Posted in Baseball, Journals, Politics

Exhibit 1.4.3


One of the first stories I ever published is now online as part of the new Madison Review website. And from the same Spring 2008 issue you can also read a poem by Adam Day. Apparently we were journal buddies before we shared an office.

Adam is also an editor at Catch Up, a new journal of literature and comics. Check it out here.

Comment / Posted in Fiction, Journals, Madisons

Exhibit 1.3.26

Things, Promotional and Otherwise

* A friend of mine decided to move the party to Doha and is writing a phenomenal–and phenomenally titled–blog called It’s Pronounced Qatar. Or maybe that’s only phenomenal if you actually know how to pronounce Qatar which, it turns out, I didn’t (it rhymes with “butter”). I’m considering his experience there practice for the upcoming World Cup. Also, pronouncing butter.

* Brief thoughts on the Obama speech kerfuffle: O Jesus Christ, really?

* The Cupboard needs you to like it. Harder. Please help us by liking our page here and telling your friends to do so, too. We’re terrible about this stuff.

* Brief Dolphins thoughts: Vegas has them at 7.5 wins. I’d probably still bet the under (or at least that’s the smart bet), but for some reason (likely the Orton debacle) people who don’t know the team keep saying they’ll be lucky to win 4. This makes no sense to me. I think Vegas is begging you to take the under not realizing the Dolphins are going to finish with a top-3 defense.

* NewPages wrote a really nice review of the new Camera Obscura which says such embarrassingly nice things about my story that I sort of want to punch them. I too love this journal, and everyone should. Subscribe, submit, spread the word.

* O, and there’s this Mark Sanchez is not (yet) better than Chad Henne. Anyone who has the Jets winning the Super Bowl should probably be aware of that. Sorry. That was more Dolphins thoughts. I should have warned you.

* In more journal pimping news, a friend of mine started a new online journal called Owl Eye Review which is up and accepting submissions and watching you. The first issue is great, and I expect even greater things in the future. I mean, if we can trust owls which, I don’t know, it might be time to.

* What I’m saying is, the Jets got worse this offseason, the Dolphins got slightly better. Don’t get me wrong, the Jets are still a better team in all likelihood, by why are some people acting like 11 wins are a sure thing for the Jets while the Dolphins won’t get 5? The following things are true: the Dolphins defense is better, Mark Sanchez and Chad Henne are a wash, and we’re coming up on the time when Rex Ryan starts to get tuned out. Just saying. O, and that was about politics.

* Laura Eve and I have a [SPOILER ALERT] in the new DIAGRAM. This issue just launched so I haven’t had much time to read through it, but I see names I know and trust. Plus, it’s DIAGRAM. What could go wrong?

* Update: Since I first posted this, I read Bill Barnwell’s NFL preview on which includes the smartest take on the Dolphins I’ve read yet in the national media. He nails the team’s potential downfall while still realizing there’s a lot of talent on the team.

Comment / Posted in Dolphins, Journals, Links

Exhibit 1.3.18

Camera Obscura

I knew since their first issue that Camera Obscura would be one of my favorite literary journals. It’s stylish without neurosis, smart without smugness, relevant without pandering. It’s weird how easy a journal like this can make the format and how, well, obsolete it can make other journals.

It’s not the photography that makes CO seem bigger–though it certainly doesn’t hurt–but the boldness of the fiction which, much like the design, always seems to be doing several things at once without falling into any of the usual traps. Like the photographs, it’s always worldly and adroit and, damnit, just hard to look away from. Take the opening to Vincent Czyz’s “The Nameless Saint”:

It was the hour when the lamplighter, toting a ladder over his shoulder, made his tedious rounds; when workers slogged through the streets as though souls on their way to purgatory; when bones turning to dust in graveyards unexpectedly shifted like a heap of logs burning on the grate. This was not the quarter of Samirska lit by theaters and cafes, cabarets and fine restaurants–a quarter smiling like a crescent moon in the dusk–here the restaurants had bare wooden floors and for a drima offered a bowl of cabbage soup or, for a few more, greasy stew and a slice of black village bread. here, mounted gendarmes patrolled the streets in pairs or not at all.

You want to read the rest of that story and the rest of that issue.

Of course, I have a story here which you probably don’t want to read and is mostly notable for having taken its title from the repeated line in an Arthur & Yu song (“1000 Words“) that Dave turned me onto a long time back. It seems appropriate to me that the story ended up in a journal with a photography emphasis, and I’m thrilled it’s there.

Please help them out by subscribing here or by checking your local Barnes & Noble. Unless you’re in Topeka in which case I think my parents already bought them all. See, that’s how much I care. I told my parents, and they don’t even know where I live.*

*That’s probably not true.

Comment / Posted in Fiction, Journals, Owls

Exhibit 1.3.12


* Look, I was in Vermont for a month and made the very mature decision not to blog while there in order to concentrate on my Game of Thrones watching. And watched it was though somehow I still managed to post an Air Supply video and a picture of me getting–what the kids call–served. Priorities.

* I’m back now with nothing else to do this summer except learn French so expect more posts about garcons mangeing on pommes or whatever. That was three-quarters French so I’m almost there.

* You should check out my friend Angie’s new blog Childhood Relived. Angie’s hilarious and a mom and a hilarious mom. So glad I now have a venue for her pop culture musings that doesn’t involve me flying to Nebraska and scheduling a dinner party.

* I think I’m going to start writing about books again. Just because, you know, why not. French books? O yeah. I lit the livres. Right now, I’m reading Terrence Holt’s In the Valley of the Kings.

* So I’ve had some more Sire onLines out there though what you should really be interested in is the far more awesome work in these journals:

* I love Super Arrow. This is exactly what an online journal should be: everything a print journal can’t be. Especially a fan of the collaborations between Steven Karl and Angela Veronica Wong.

* The new jmww has some writers I love who I didn’t know I loved and plenty I already knew I loved, including Cupboard-er Andrew Borgstrom. Be sure to check out Gabe Blackwell’s equation-based story.

* kill author is amazing. That’s all, really. Really proud to be in there (as I am with all the others), and I especially dig Katie Jean Shinkle’s “When All You Want Doesn’t Want You.”

1 Comment / Posted in French, Journals, Things

Exhibit 1.2.12


* I have a short(er) story in the new issue of StoryQuarterly. It comes from a time when I thought 1,000 word stories were the future. Now I know that the real future is 500 word stories. It was a simpler time, 2009.

* Anyway, my thing is mostly notable for being a one-note joke about having to harvest a cowboy if you want a pair of cowboy boots. Sort of like how I had to kill that elephant to get these stylish tusks you’ve noticed me wearing. I did not, however, have to kill it with my bare hands. That I did for me. Also, to best Orwell. The pussy.

* Now I’ve made myself sad thinking about animal violence. I’m against it.

* I’m still reading through the issue–it’s fairly massive–but so far my favorite story actually has considerable animal violence (or at least animal death). Bethany Reece’s “The Dog Dies” won me over anyway. A collection of different dog deaths, it’s terribly sad but funny and touching in all the right ways. I didn’t want to like it, but I couldn’t help it, not when it includes lines about trying to slap a dog soul. It’s hard to explain why that works, but it does. I’m a fan.

* After, in penance, I stared at a picture of Brett’s dog soul for an hour:

Comment / Posted in Bretts, Fiction, Journals

Exhibit 1.2.7


You know that week everyone has where they have to read Anna Karenina, the Ramayana, the Aeneid, Wieland, Sula, and The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym? Of course you don’t. Nobody else has that week. I have that week. It’s now. Don’t bother me. Here are things:

* The Cupboard continues to hold a contest. Tell your friends to submit here.

* Speaking of The Cupboard, Dave and I are no longer alone. emily danforth has come on board as a co-editor. She cries when people don’t submit to our contest.

* Two of my Houston friends have new online journals. Be sure to submit to, eventually read, and generally appreciate Owl Eye Review and Little Grid. Hooray for doing things.

* You know what you shouldn’t read? The Aeneid. Nothing against it, just don’t.

* O, there’s a new issue of elimae, and I’m in it here. This person liked my piece and for that I’m grateful. Otherwise it’s only notable for being part of my whole Sire Lines of America thing, a project I showed the logo for way back when and then put away for a long time. It’s back. Look for more online. I’m really into online all of a sudden, mostly because I wish I could add more links to this bullet.

Comment / Posted in America, Journals, Things

Exhibit 1.1.12

Sonora Review

So since I’ve been home I’ve been reading a lot of books for an upcoming class, but my attention keeps getting pulled away by the new Sonora Review. You should go order it and read it and support them because, damnit, it’s just too awesome. I gather from the website this hand-bound model is a limited edition done by Spork Press*. I can easily say it’s as nicely put together as any literary journal I’ve ever been in.

And the work inside makes it worth it. I haven’t yet read everything, but current Cupboard author Andrew Borgstrom is in there with a great story, as is Kim Gek Lin Short whose prose poems are from the same world as her chapbook Run which I wrote about here. I’m not positive, but I think these are going to be in the book China Cowboy from Tarpaulin Sky. That’s a book you’re going to want.

Then there’s nonfiction from Brian Oliu “about” the old Nintendo game Double Dribble. I love that game, and this series (or whatever it is). Every so often I go watch the videos being made for these, especially this one:

My piece is mostly notable for featuring a character not named Miss Hampster. Once at a reading I mistakenly said this name the first time and then had to keep using it subsequently. It was hard.

* Initially I didn’t know what Sonora meant when they credited “Spork” but only because I’m an idiot. I’ve seen Spork Press stuff before and it’s always this nice looking.

Comment / Posted in Fiction, Good Ideas, Journals

Exhibit 26.11

Short Shorts

* I have a short short online here at American Short Fiction‘s website. It’s about some kind of nonsense. Snake handling? Communication majors? Business cards? I don’t know.

* I also have a short piece in the new Indiana Review and am flattered to be among a bunch of writers I admire, including Houstonite Hannah Gamble who led that great poetry roundtable I mentioned some time back.

These, I think, are two great journals to support.

1 Comment / Posted in Cards, Fiction, Journals

Exhibit 25.11


Hobart is the journal I wish I did, but at least I can still read it. Their new issue, ‘The Great Outdoors,’ is now out and it’s a good one. You should not only pick up this issue, you should plant it in the ground when you’re done reading it. Then you should water it with a hose twice a day. Wonders will bloom.

I can’t say it enough: this journal is amazing from Buffalo to Zoophilia, and you need to read it.

I have three short shorts in it which are notable for being about Boy Scouts, Claire’s, and Angelina Jolie, respectively. I realize that, at best, only one of those things occurs naturally, but I worked in enough references to birds to make the others count (i.e. Find-and-Replace ‘Earrings’ with ‘Toucan’).

You should also check out the web extras that go up here, especially more of Lucy Corin’s apocalypses. There’s a lot of other great stuff up there, too, including one of those pie crust recipes that involves ice water. I never trust those recipes, but I do trust Hobart.

I have something up called “My Eagle Scout Project: A Sidewalk: A List” which is, I suppose, a kind of essay about my Eagle Scout project. It’s true. Every pathetic word.

4 Comments / Posted in Buffalo, Journals, Nature

Exhibit 23.25


The new Open City is all kinds of awesome, and you should go out of your way to support them. Right now. The first story from Sam Lipsyte is hilarious and not just because there is a character named Vargina which–I’m surprised and ashamed to say–made me laugh almost every time I read it. There are some nice looking debut fiction pieces I’m working my way through as well though I had to put off finishing them because I kept giggling about poor Vargina.

I have a few Flasher pieces in it which are only notable for continuing to exist. He buys a painted turtle among other things. That (still) nutty Flasher.

Comment / Posted in Journals, Poetry, Turtles

Exhibit 22.22

You should check out the new Cincinnati Review which features a great poem from fellow Ulysses-class attendee Adam Day, a Malamud review from the lovely Erin McGraw, and a Tommy-inspired piece from the always incredible Kevin Wilson along with a lot of other amazing work. It’s the first journal I’ve picked up in a while and started reading at page one. It felt good. Consider supporting them.

My thing is mostly notable for being an adaptation of a 2002 Clint Eastwood movie. There’s an excerpt up on their website under Issues–>Upcoming if you want to read how I described his face. Here’s a hint: grizzled.

1 Comment / Posted in Days, Fiction, Journals

Exhibit 21.17

SpringGun Press is a great new web journal coming out of Boulder that you should read. Here’s how they describe themselves:

SpringGun is a not-for-profit web-based journal promoting all forms of previously unpublished quality contemporary writing and interdisciplinary digital art. We’re interested in the internet as a medium both for its networking potential and accessibility; we want to create a platform for newer art forms to emerge, and simultaneously pull new intelligent voices into the literary fold. We’re interested in writers who read vigorously and are invested in the continued advancement and development of poetry, fiction, video art, or screen literature. We’re looking for artists who believe that it’s important to interact with a community of ideas and artists, who believe no good art happens in isolation.

Sounds good, no? Their first issue is right here. Lots of great stuff there, including Todd Seabrook’s awesome multimedia exploration of the game Hangman.

It’s really great. I laughed. Click on that picture to check it out.

Oh, and I have some things up from that Sire Lines of America project I mentioned a long time ago. If you’re just dying to know what I wrote about Teddy Roosevelt, Germany, and Jesse Owens…

Comment / Posted in Journals, Owens, Roosevelts

Exhibit 18.27

I received the new issue of Dislocate a few days back which has great work from, among others, Nin Andrews, (Lincoln-ite) Josh Ware, and Kevin Wilson whose story collection Tunneling to the Center of the Earth I’ll be writing about soon.

It also has a short short from me which is only notable for having an absurdly sad beginning–sort of a boring middle–and absurdly happy ending. I also once got to describe it to a famous writer at the now defunct Sadie’s Saloon in Lincoln. We were drunk–well, one of us was drunk–and hitting on all the girls despite the fact we were married–well, one of us was hitting on all the girls despite the fact we were married–and generally having a good time. I’d mostly been ignoring the famous writer because he wrote one of my favorite books and I don’t know what else I’d say to him, but I got pulled into a conversation by Heather who the famous writer seemed to have taken a liking to.

[Ed note: Heather would like it pointed out that he was hitting on everyone. Adam would like it pointed out that he wasn’t hitting on Adam. Not that that would have been something Adam would have wanted, exactly, but it might have been a little flattering].

I think I was supposed to defuse the situation by my introduction, but I was also a little on the famous writer’s side. I mean, he did write [book title] and fought in [war]. I’d probably spent most of the night before that point in a pair of sweatpants trying to beat Contra.

Heather, you can correct me here, but I believe we got to have this conversation on the way home.

Heather: Ugh, he just kept hitting on me.
Me: He did write [book title].
Heather: You think that excuses it?
Me: [a little bit thinks that excuses it]
Heather: You need to stop using the laser and stick with the spread gun.
Me: I would have changed out of my sweatpants if I’d known I was going to talk to him.

Anyway, so the famous writer starts talking about stories that either out of embarrassment or shame or the use of something he knows will upset them, he doesn’t share with his loved ones until he absolutely has to. I actually have one of these stories–this one in Dislocate–and I quickly describe the premise to the famous writer.

Famous writer: Who won’t you let read that one?
Me: [pointing at the only other person in the conversation]
Famous writer: She’s hot.
Me: I think she likes you, bro.
Heather: No I don’t.
Me: Hey, did you learn anything in [war] that might help me beat Contra?
Famous writer: Yes. Yes, I did.

Things in that story which are actually true:

1. There have been wars
2. Sadie’s Saloon is gone
3. I do have a self-destructive affinity for the laser gun in Contra
4. The new issue of Dislocate is great and you should read it

Okay, maybe one or two other things. Also, the song I am listening to just had a lyric that is also the name of this writer’s most famous book (but not my favorite). So that was weird.

I’m not really sure why I told that story, and I’m pretty sure this has gone on longer than my sad, bad, happy, still mostly bad piece in Dislocate. Here, J. Ware will save me. Here’s the first line of his poem “103107” which will take us all out on a high note:

If the antiquated movements of electrons have no history, then silver-clear shadows
can cut the moon in two.

1 Comment / Posted in Fiction, Journals, Tims

Exhibit 17.18

While we’re at it, you should also pick up the new Alaska Quarterly Review which is so gigantic and beautiful I don’t quite know what to do with it. For the moment I’m mostly just playing a game of hide and seek with it around my apartment. I’ll set it on the coffee table and find it in the kitchen. I’ll move it to a bookshelf but wake up with it underneath my pillow.

It’s an issue. An issue I’ll read carefully.

My story is mostly notable because Dave Madden once criticized the opening scene as “Big Chill-esque” which would have been an insult if I’d seen The Big Chill (and if I didn’t like Tom Berenger so much, making it a sort of compliment). Also, it’s probably sort of true. As long as The Big Chill is about a guy who finds a heart in front of his house. Is that what it’s about? I’ve always assumed as much.

Slightly less notable: the family in the story’s original last name was Peterson because I couldn’t think of anything else to call them. This was awkward. I changed it.

Nobody wants to read about Petersons who aren’t murdering people. Or are they murdering people?

No, they’re not. At least I don’t think so.

So who wants to come over and watch The Big Chill? I’ll keep the lights on so we don’t get too scared.

4 Comments / Posted in Journals, Petersons, Writing

Exhibit 17.13


* Did you know The Cupboard has a blog? I’m always the last one to find out about these things. It’s right here. We’re still trying to figure out what it will be (other than awesome). I haven’t written anything for it but that’s only because Dave hasn’t told me how to post. I’m not certain, but I think he wants me to stay away lest I make everyone sad or post black-and-white photos or randomly name drop Kansas City Royals.

* I would do all of those things if given the chance. You’ve probably noticed.

* I have three Flasher pieces in the new Salt Hill which you should pick up here for reasons that have nothing to do with me and everything to do with it being a beautiful book. There’s a lot of fantastic writing, too–and then my lucky pieces which are mostly notable for coming from a manuscript I keep forgetting about. If you’re curious, in these pieces the Flasher “is asked for change,” “tries to be a nudist,” and “tells a joke.” That nutty Flasher.

* I think this is the end of the Flashers. This despite me presently recapturing my love for writing the word “Flasher.”

* Speaking of The Cupboard and flashers–okay, not really–Mathias’s volume is coming out so, so soon. Mathias would also like you to know about this.

* You want to click on that link.

* Uninteresting work note: Every so often I’ll listen to an album on a co-worker’s iTunes, usually something new that I want to check out or something I’m surprised to find (Temple of the Dog? Sure, why not). This is fine and good and why our iTunes are linked together in the first place (it is not, despite what I initially believed, a contest. If it were, I wouldn’t have had to make my own “Office’s Best iTunes” trophy).

But then these albums end and I’m at the mercy of whatever the alphabet says is next. This is a problem because it usually takes at least 20 minutes for me to figure out that I’m hearing something new.

I guess I’m trying to explain why I’m currently listening to Smash Mouth. It’s important that there be a reason for this. I need you to believe me.

Especially you, Julio Pimental. You most of all.

2 Comments / Posted in Journals, Julios, The Cupboard

Exhibit 16.1

Octopus 11 is now live right here. Read it instead of whatever else it was you were going to do this morning.

I like this by Rebecca Guyon:

  • COLD

    I like my shadow when I’m in this coat.

    I look like a Russian soldier or I’m wearing a dress.

    I need to be more friendly. I need to treat Estonians better.


I’ve also been reading the new Southeast Review. This is normally when I’d mention that I have something in it but my piece is awful and you should pick up the journal despite it. Not this time.

My piece is awesome.

Okay, that’s not true. My piece is maybe okay, but if you’ll allow me a moment, I’d like to do some avenging.

My piece, “Hope’s Dancing Fancy,” is a short short that takes its title and vampires from a longer story I wrote in graduate school. A story, I should say, that got a very odd reaction from the workshop. Honestly, it would have been better if I’d written a choose-your-own-adventure novel for class or just passed out handfuls of leaves and called it my story. Even months later I’d meet people and they’d say, “Oh, you’re the guy who writes about vampires.”

And I’d say, “Um, well, they weren’t even real vampires. They just sort of wanted to be. That’s why they had their teeth filed.”

This would not make things better.

But I persevered and you’ll be happy to know the first line of the short short is, “If we hadn’t decided to become vampires, this man wouldn’t be filing our teeth.”

I will now cease avenging.

Also in that workshop were friends and non-vampire-focused writers Dave, Chris, Mark, and Naca. That’s a good group. You should definitely watch that Naca video.

3 Comments / Posted in Journals, Poetry, Vampires

Exhibit 15.6

“The End Copy” / © 2008 Randy Thurman

The new issue of NOÖ is up right here. There’s a lot of good work to start the year with, work that is all kinds of awesome from people you like.

And me, too, though I think we all know how you feel about me at this point. Don’t let that stop you from checking out the others. I’ll just be over here thinking about football while you’re away.


Comment / Posted in Alternatively Self-Congratulatory/Pitying, Journals, Writing

Exhibit 15.2

Why not support The Los Angeles Review?

I received a copy of the new issue yesterday and it’s chock full of good work that deserves your attention and a story of mine that does not.

My story is mostly notable for not being titled “Spotty” despite the insistence of one Dave Madden. Its actual title, “The Third Time I Saw a Spot,” is possibly an even worse choice, but I’ve never had a harder time titling a story and after a certain point I just gave up. Here’s the plot: a man develops a large spot in the center of his vision that won’t go away. What does one title a story like that? Apparently not “Spotty.”

(What does one title an essay about pet taxidermy? Definitely “Stay,” right? Right.)

I wouldn’t mind retitling the story for my own sanity’s sake so if you have suggestions, feel free to pass them along. Oddly, I had the perfect title when I first thought of the story until I remembered that Mark Haddon had already used A Spot of Bother.

Oh, while I’m at it, I might as well embarrass myself with some of the other titles I tried. Off the top of my head:

“A Spot”
“The Spot”
“A Bale of Turtles”
“Daniel Tersi” (ed note: there is no one in the story named Daniel Tersi. Ugh.)
“Spot (Singular)”

Awful, just awful.

2 Comments / Posted in Journals, Titles, Writing

Exhibit 11.18

So every morning before work I like to sit down and read the local paper‘s letters to the editor section online. Mostly I do this to make sure no one is complaining about something I did. So far so good.

Recently someone wrote in with what appeared to be a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that Nascar be outlawed because it wastes gas. This proposal has since been debated over and over as if it were in any way a legitimate option. This, too, is why I read the letters.

While I read I’m often times clicking and highlighting the text. I do this while reading online, and don’t imagine it’s that uncommon of a habit. Usually this isn’t much a problem except for sites that pop up definitions to words like ‘is’ when all I really want to do is keep reading about Georgia being taken over. Fine, whatever.

But now the Journal Star has started popping up information from when you click on text. This is what I got this morning when I happened to click on ‘honestly’

Single by Stryper! Christian Metal!

Finally, the answer to the question I’ve been asking all these years.

Me: I was just about to write this comment on the Internet about how maybe we shouldn’t ban Nascar but should make them go slower and keep their tires full of air when I read this word that reminded me of a song by Stryper.
You: Who?
Me: You know, Stryper.
You: Is that pronounced like striper or stripper?
Me: I don’t know.
You: You’re pronouncing it like stripper.
Me: So do you remember their single from ’87? I think it was their biggest hit.
You: I doubt they pronounce it like stripper if they’re really Christians.
Me: It was the single between “Free” and “Always There For You.”
You: Then again, they are metal.
Me: Argh, it’s right on the tip of my tongue. I’m just going to start clicking on words.
You: Sometimes I think about where I might be if I’d married John.
Me: YES! Thanks,!

4 Comments / Posted in Journals, Stryper, Thank You

Exhibit 9.11

The new 580 Split has a lot of fantastic work in it and at least three pieces by current Lincoln residents including my good friend Tyrone. His pieces are great (as are Josh’s poems), and it’s only my story dragging down Team Nebraska. The story’s about a town that floods when a dam breaks which is something that was always promised when I was a kid but never actually happened.

I also have a story in the new Southern Indiana Review which continues my trend of appearing in journals with ‘South’ in the title. There’s also a lot of great work in this one, and it’s a really beautiful journal, too. Oddly, my story here also mentions a flood, but it’s really about chicken rearing and fire starting. Appropriately, it’s titled “The Pyromaniac’s Chickens” and is a very, very old story. Like heating up Easy Mac in a dorm room old. Like excited about a new Weezer album old. Like smuggling beer in a duffel bag old.

You probably get the idea.

You should really pick up those journals for the work of the other writers and the fine editors who put them together. I feel very lucky to have appeared in those journals at all. Like smuggling beer in a duffel bag lucky.

Comment / Posted in Fiction, Journals, Writing

Exhibit 9.9

So The Cupboard is back as a quarterly pamphlet series, and while I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot more about it in this space, I thought I’d post our call for submissions in case you didn’t see it elsewhere. Please send us your work or help us spread the word.

By the way, I think this call for submissions is the first time we’ve said who our first author is going to be. We couldn’t be more excited about it. It’s going to be a really incredible volume and we feel very lucky to get to share it.


The Cupboard is a quarterly pamphlet of creative prose published in Lincoln, Nebraska. Each volume features a body of work by a single author in a uniquely designed chapbook format. Our first volume will be out in June and features Samedi the Deafness author Jesse Ball.

We are currently looking for prose submissions of anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 words. Submissions can be composed of one piece or multiple pieces. We make no demands on content or genre with the exception of verse poetry, which we don’t publish. We read fiction and nonfiction and are happy to see collections that include both.

There is no reading fee for submissions, and simultaneous submissions are allowed. All submissions should be sent as email attachments to submit [AT] For more information, visit

Comment / Posted in Journals, The Cupboard, Writing

Exhibit 9.8

So if you care about such things, VQR got themselves in trouble–at least as much as one can get oneself in trouble in the tiny little world of literary journals–by posting snarky comments their readers had made to slushpile submissions on their blog. They’ve now been removed, but take my word for it when I say the comments were petty, smug, inane (one claimed that the inclusion of a prose poem was a personal affront), and probably a more or less acurate representation of what gets said at most literary journals swamped with submissions. The difference is, most journals have the decency not to make a public spectacle of mocking their target audience with wholly unfunny faux-revulsion written by nominally qualified undergrad/graduate students.

That’s not to say the comments themselves bothered me that much. It’s not what I would allow to be written about submissions if I edited a journal–and I obviously wouldn’t make any comments public–but in my time reading for a journal I probably said worse things to other bored, frustrated readers. In that sense, I think Mr. Genoways’s couching of his apology in the journal’s frustration at inappropriate submissions is fair enough. It’s hard to read 20 short stories in a sitting and have 5 be offensive, 5 be genre work, 5 be insanely boring, and 5 just be insane.

But pretending that the frustration about the kitten poetry and wish fulfillment stories the journal receives is actually a larger frustration with American literature is just disingenuous. He writes, “However, I do think that the comments, if not their public airing, are a fair response to many of the submissions we receive and accurately reflect the righteous indignation that we often feel as readers.” Again, it’s not my journal to run, but I find it callous to say that mocking your audience is “fair” whether or not the authors ever read it. That’s small potatoes, however, to the ultimate point of the response which seems to be that VQR and their army of undergraduate and graduate student readers are the last bastion of hope in American letters. That’s certainly overstating it, but I have a hard time believing that anything about this insensitive but very small misstep calls for a “mini-manifesto” or a dialogue about “what ails American literature.”

I like VQR. I’d probably like their staff. I hope they keep trailing the zeitgeist with issues about superheroes or robots or whatever for a very long time. I feel bad about my own smug last sentence. What I don’t like, is pretending that doing the arduous work of weeding out the 9/10 submissions that are all some level of crazy leads to frustration about the state of American literature rather than frustration over the fact that someone in prison sent in their Ninja Turtles fan fiction and there is an obligation to read it. That has nothing to do with American literature.

I read at a journal that received a large number of submissions, and in my time there I didn’t say “Yes” to single story I read. And I read a lot of stories. Probably some of the same ones that some poor soul at VQR had to read. There were some crazy ones. There were some competent but dull ones. None of it had anything to do with what “ailed” American literature and even if it did, I certainly didn’t think myself, as a graduate student, capable of being able to pinpoint the story or poem that would fix it. Which I guess is the point. If VQR is frustrated with their submissions, they should stop taking them. If they want to try to shake up literature, god bless them. I hope they do.

But those “indignant” comments weren’t trying to do that and nobody should pretend they were.

The thing Mr. Genoways doesn’t seem to get is that nobody wants the self-satisfied, juvenile writers of the mean-spirited comments to decide anything about the direction literature is headed. And, thankfully, they won’t. It’s a lot of fun to be an MFA student guarding the gate to a venerable institution, but by the time those students are submitting stories that earn curt rejections from journals, their ideas about what literature should and can be will have either changed or they’ll have stopped writing completely.

What Mr. Genoways wants in writing is out there. It may not be in every piece published by the Virginia Quarterly Review (ed note: or on my computer), but maybe he should ask himself why that is rather than fretting about the state of American letters. After all, if his readers are so prescriptive about what is good that they can’t imagine it being in the form of something like prose poetry, then VQR is fostering the problem not fighting it.

5 Comments / Posted in Journals, Turtles, Writing

Exhibit 7.16

A new DIAGRAM is up. I have a small flasher piece in it and say something absurd about my mother. Plus, a lot of other stuff you’ll like even more. For example, I think Amelia Gray’s “The Cottage Cheese Diet” is awesome. I think that either despite or because I find cottage cheese a little gross.

I’m glad we can share like this.

Comment / Posted in Cottage Cheese, Journals, Writing

Exhibit 7.15

Octopus 10.

Comment / Posted in Journals, Poetry, Tens

Exhibit 7.2

I have a short story in the new issue of CutBank which you can learn all about here. It also features work by Tomaz Salamun, Matt Hart, Dennis McFadden, and many others. Plus, cool silhouette art by Andy Smetanka. I haven’t had a chance to read it all yet, but so far it’s fantastic.

My story is titled “The Department of Calamitous Events” and is notable for being my only story inspired by Heather’s car. See, her car has a very idiosyncratic way of automatically locking the doors when you least expect, and I like to imagine what scenarios the engineers foresaw where this would be a safety feature rather than a confusing and threatening inconvenience. Of course, it is a VW and it’s possible the random locking and unlocking of doors is the number one crime prevention technique in Germany. This is probably what fahrvergnügen means.

After that thrilling description of its origins, I can’t imagine anyone will ever read that story. I’m okay with that as long as you read the rest of the issue.
Comment / Posted in Cars, Journals, Writing

Exhibit 6.18

The new La Petite Zine is available.

I have two My Untimely Deaths in it, and you should read them if you’re curious to see what they are all about. If you are interested and want to order the little book, information can be found in this post right here.

There’s some really great stuff in LPZ including this from Stefi Weisburd:

Scenes from a Little God Childhood

A little god, wrapped in popsicle sticks, feathers
and tape, is dropped from a second story
castle turret along with a dozen
eggs bundled, by little hands,
in bubble wrap, springs and letters of love.

That’s just an excerpt from the beginning, but now you understand why you should read it.

Comment / Posted in Journals, Synergy, Writing

Exhibit 6.3

Three new journals that I have work in:

I have a story titled “The Way Back” in this issue. This story is notable for being:

1) The only story I have ever written that takes place in Kansas despite my having been born and graduated high school in The Sunflower State.

2) The only story I have that takes place in 1996. Bizarrely, it doesn’t even mention Weezer.

3) The longest story I have ever published at somewhere north of 9.5k words.

The issue is fantastic (much better than my sad story), and you should be sure to check it out. I’ve always thought IR had some of the best design of any of the standard format journals, and now I’m convinced. I can vouch firsthand for how hard they work to make sure everything is perfect. They really care. It’s pretty cool.

So, they don’t actually put covers of the issues up on their website, but I figured the state seal of South Dakota would get the idea across. More great stuff here, some Midwestern themed, some not. It features Lincolnite Cody Lumpkin with a poem about squirrel metaphysics and my poet doppelgänger Allan Peterson. I hope Mr. Peterson doesn’t get confused with me all the time like I do him.

You: Are you the poet Allan Peterson?
Me: I’m the fiction writer Adam Peterson?
You: Are you not sure which one you are?
Me: No?

My story is titled “Miss Nebraska” and is notable for:

1) Having had, by some great margin, the shortest length of time between when I wrote the story, when it was accepted, and when it was actually published and in my hands. I’m actually not even sure I’ve finished it yet.

2) Taking place in North Platte, Nebraska, the town where I lived between the ages of 6 and 15. Although all place names (I think) are made up, the essence of the town is not.

3) Being the only story of mine where someone is entered into a beauty pageant. Let’s just hope this doesn’t send me off on a Sufjan Stevens-like quest to document how all 50 states select their Miss America representative.

Also notable is that the state motto of South Dakota is apparently “Under God the People Rule” which strikes me as having a ‘when the cat’s away the mice will play’ sort of logic to it. This will be explored further in my story “Miss South Dakota” which should be out circa 2034.

There’s not much I can say to demonstrate Ninth Letter‘s thorough awesomeness. It’s a fusion of design and text unlike anything else out there, and I feel lucky to be in it at all.

When the first issue came out I was opening mail for a journal and wasn’t sure what it was when I opened the copy they sent us. Flipping through it, it became clear they were doing something completely different than anyone else. Now on their 8th issue, they are still making an exciting and beautiful journal. That I am just as in awe when I see Ninth Letter as I was the first time makes me really happy.

My piece is another My Untimely Death which you can see my previous post about here or just order by specifying the title and sending $10 to this address:

Subito Press

Department of English

University of Colorado at Boulder
Hellems 101226 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0226

Notable things about my shameless self promotion:

1) I feel bad about it.

2) I wish I could give you a copy if I haven’t already.

3) It only benefits the good folks at Subito Press.

2 Comments / Posted in Journals, Shame, Writing

Exhibit 5.20

A few journals that have recently come out.

This is Handsome‘s first issue, and it’s pretty much fantastic. A large magazine style format? Check. Old-timey art? Check. Two poems that take stock of buoyancy? Check mate.

Jeff Downey:
Shortfall pulls glitter from the ground
Sort of drawstringing
An entire encore buoyant in winter
Dead marine words but fleetingly
How has it I have never been to the ocean

Julie Doxsee:
Only nylon
buoys you

I’m telling you now, you’ll want to make sure you get in on Handsome at the beginning.

This issue of Redactions contains an exceedingly well done tribute to W.S. Merwin. They even have a special font. Good stuff.

Despite the picture, this one isn’t actually tiny. In fact, it’s full of big ideas and big words. Some words from this new issue of Redivider:


I have MUtDs in all of these journals, but I’m only dragging them down.

Comment / Posted in Appaloosa, Journals, Writing

Exhibit 4.19

Heather at Diagram. Go.

Comment / Posted in Cinnamon, Journals, Poetry

Exhibit 1.8

Heather is featured in this week’s RealPoetik with an incredible poem with lines like:

  • Up, whorish daffodils!
  • The pink pill is the tear
  • When spring pushes push steam

Why aren’t you reading it now?

Comment / Posted in Journals, Poetry, Spring

Exhibit 1.1

The new issue of Octopus is online. It’s all prose about poetry.

Finally, Octopus 9 is here. The 8th was an amazing set of chapbooks and this one is an equally great collection of writing on poetry. There is a review by myself in there, though I think Ms. Dutton’s work isn’t poetry exactly. Still, click the link and check it out.

2 Comments / Posted in Cephalopods, Journals, Poetry