Everything is Green (Guest narrator: George Carr)

The voice you are about to hear is not my own, though today’s guest narrator insists his distinctive lilt can be attributed to “equal parts whisky, speed, and diction practice.” Which means that it’s probably closer to my voice than we’d think at first listen.

And so, I would appreciate no murmured speculation on rhinoplastic nasal blockage or testosterone injections on my part. For the next month or two…

Order of Insects by William H. Gass

I know, it’s been a while. I’ve been trying to Have A Summer over here, an effort thwarted by an adverse reaction to allergens purportedly getting caught up in butterfly currents on the other side of the world. Either that, or it’s the Romantic Lady Writer’s Disease, which would be fine by me, inasmuch as any anachronistic way to go down is fine by me. But I do wish it’d forestall another decade.

At the Anarchists’ Convention by John Sayles

I yanked tonight’s story from The Best of American Short Stories 1980, a volume edited by the great Stanley Elkin. If you take one look at it, you’ll see that 1980, while not considered a boon year for American fiction, perhaps should be. Donald Barthelme, Mavis Gallant, William H. Gass, Elizabeth Hardwick Grace Paley, Peter Taylor, and I’m thinking…

The Truth and All Its Ugly

Whenever an internet missive or blip crosses my screen with Kyle Minor’s name attached, I open it up in awe of his apparently continual reading and writing and thinking acutely about the finer side of the bookish life. I don’t know whether this relentless pursuit of the craft can be had without a truckload of drugs, but I also think the drugs necessary for his task probably haven’t even been concocted yet. You could get your brain into top form fast by looking closely at the right 2/3 of his legendary reading list…

First Confession

I hadn’t read Frank O’Connor’s stories in a very long time– he fell into the gutter of authors I’d studied to a point of boredom as a student, and while I’ve spent a good deal of my adult life sweeping those gutters and asking absolution from what I’ve swept up, it took a while to get to him. I’d associated it so closely, in the vast netherlands of the juvenilia of my headspace, with hackneyed Catholic guilt tropes in Comic Sans all the way through…

Letter from a Hunchback Girl to a Metalworker

Fernando Pessoa has been a long-standing point of not insignificant fixation in the writerly pursuits of Your Faithful (If Not Schedularly Published) Storyteller, for reasons that will be forehead-smackingly obvious to some of you. As for the rest of you, rather than stand around in the dark, I welcome you to take a guess.

Should you want that guess to be educated,

Killer Whales, Susan Daitch

There’s a quite decent independent bookstore in the town in which I’m staying this week, a bookstore that will be closing soon for all the usual reasons. I plan to spend a fair amount of time later this morning vulturing my way through this store, and walk out picking my teeth with unsold reading lights and hauling overstuffed bags full of firesale booty that can no way be described as “carrion” no matter how many ways I stretch the metaphor…

The Force Acting on the Displaced Body, Christopher Rowe

Are your toes frozen? I hope not. Especially if you’re as big of a pansy about the weather as I am.

Because the weather knows this about me and is a relentless jerk about this, my revenge is in the form of a seaside adventure story based largely on southern waters. Which is, admittedly, analogous to bringing double your milk money to school and handing one over freely to the big bully. But I don’t know how to kick the weather where it deserves to be kicked, so this is the…

A Woman of Properties, Jack Matthews

Well, here we are having taken yet another circumnavigatory Gregorian tour together, and I hope that you’ve put away your party hats and crackers and are back to the grind, having disregarded all the unreasonable expectations you made of yourselves for the coming months. Because I have nothing but sympathy: it’s too cold to get up and run ten miles and do the laundry and tidy the front garden and write your best auntie a letter every morning. I understand. Stay in bed. Read a good book. Listen to a good story.