Friday, April 30, 2010

This Furniture

The great Luca Dipierro made a wonderful one-minute animation based on a single sentence from Dear Everybody.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Live Giants

I'm doing Live Giants tonight at 9PM at HTMLGIANT -- with special guest Andy Devine.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Each Moment of It Is Magical

The good Brian Allen Carr wrote a a great review of Dear Everybody that's up at Dark Sky Magazine. He says a ton of nice things. Here are three of them:
(1) "Each moment of it is magical."
(2) "Using smooth rhythms, polished tones and humorous observations, Kimball gives us a monster of a family that somehow the reader needs to know."
(3) "The explicit humanity rendered throughout, make Dear Everybody a truly great read. That Kimball is able to polish each element–each entry–in the collection to a high sheen evidences a talent not often seen."

#260 Shawn Theron: SOGH

Shawn Theron was born in 1972 in Baltimore, MD. He grew up in one of those modular homes that are trucked to the lot in halves. There was a huge backyard and Shawn played in the woods with his sister and his best friends, Jenny and Erin. They had their own Twisted Pine Nature Trail that they built together. When Shawn did go inside, he had to deal with his mother, a severe alcoholic, which was not fantastic. Long nights dealing with his mother meant that Shawn didn’t quite have the bandwidth for school. He always felt exhausted and teachers’ advice just seemed like criticism. Once, Shawn brought home a report card with grades that spelled D-E-A-D (the A was in art). When Shawn was 16, his mother and father divorced. After that, Shawn moved in with his paternal grandmother, Red (he named her this when he was 10 because she lived in a red house, drove a red car, and wore her red hair in a beehive). With Red, life became more normal and Shawn could finally breathe. Shawn loved their impromptu road trips (like going crabbing in Annapolis, which, with all the Navy guys around, was amazing for a super young gay guy) and how much fun it was to get lost together. He loved their late night conversations at the dining table while the quiet of the world wrapped itself around them. Red became Shawn’s mother and his best friend and his own personal movie star. Shawn finished high school, but only managed a semester at the local community college. Shawn suspects he has learning issues, but the schools didn’t really test for that then. After that, Shawn started working in Baltimore restaurants—everything from bartending to waiting tables to managing, eventually winding up at Joy America Cafe, which used to be in the penthouse of the Visionary Art Museum. This brought Shawn close to art, but he hadn't started painting yet. In 2003, Red died, cancer. Before she passed, Red told Shawn to do big and great things with his life. She also gave him the word SOGH. Shawn didn’t know what the word meant, but, in the beginning, SOGH was Shawn’s computer and his camera, which recorded the most profound moments of his life. About 3 years later, Shawn moved back into Red’s house, which had these huge shelving units that he dismantled and started painting. Those shelving planks were the first SOGH paintings. Not long after that, Shawn went public with SOGH. Shawn’s friend Rebecca (the visionary behind the Visionary) was a huge source of encouragement and his friend Ted offered him wall space at the museum store at the Visionary Art Museum. 30 minutes after the paintings were hung on the wall, 2 paintings sold (61 the first month, 1357 the first year). Shawn feels spectacularly blessed. Painting is his whole life and, to help, Shawn’s father spent his nights and weekends (for almost 2 years) building a studio so that Shawn could make even more paintings (just one way his father has been there for him). Now Shawn’s mission is to get SOGH to every city around the world. So far, over 10,000 paintings are circulating the globe—including Afghanistan, the South Pole, and one at the Eiffel tower. SOGH has changed Shawn’s life. SOGH is something meaningful that everybody can be a part of. No matter where it hangs, SOGH comes from the past and places a message in the future.

[Note: See, get, spread the SOGH.]

Monday, April 26, 2010

Live HTMLGIANT Reading

I'm doing a live reading at HTMLGIANT on Thursday, April 29th, at 9pm. Andy Devine will be opening for me.

The PRISM Index Is Coming to Town

The PRISM Index is coming to town and the show will be on Sunday, May 2, at 9pm, at Rocket to Venus. I'll be reading from the paperback of Dear Everybody and showing a couple of shorts from Little Burn Films. There will also be musical performances by David Heumann (Arbouretum) and Robinson Lee Earle, plus live painting troupe Root 222.

If you can't make the show, Issue #1 is now available. It's 80 pages/88 min DVD/72 min CD and has a huge list of contributors, including me: Belly Boat, Jeffrey Bowers, Jeffrey Brown, Jeff Brush, Castanets (Ray Raposa), Diane Cluck, William Fowler Collins, Josh Cotter, Jay Duplass, Jeremy Bradley Earl, Robert Earle, Theo Ellsworth, Steve Emmons, Fantastic Magic, Grant Falardeau, Chema Garcia, Golden Ghost (Laura Goetz), Lisa Hanawalt, Chadd Harbold, Trent Harris, David Heumann, Brent Hoff, Michael Hurley, Azazel Jacobs, Hermann Karlsson, Michael Kimball, Mike Kuchar, Michael Langan, Robbie Lee, Julia Marino, Daniel Martinico, Charlie McArthur, Colin McDonald, Gavin McInnes, Brian McMullen, Carson Mell, Mi and L’au, Adam “Meadows” Mitchell, Mr. Leg, Louis Munroe, Annelies Monsere, Ormo, Parker Paul, Bill Plympton, Bhob Rainey, Brett Eugene Ralph, Luke Ramsey, Dan Reeder, Jay Rosenblatt, Mick Rossi, Chris Schlarb, Chriss Sutherland, Justin Taylor, Thee More Shallows (Dee Kesler), Dustin Thompson, James Jackson Toth, Schon Wanner, Sarah Warda, Virgil Widrich, Women & Children (Kevin Lasting), David Zellner, Nathan Zellner.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Andy Devine Week (6)

There's an incredible interview with Andy Devine at the always incredible elimae. I couldn't have written the Afterword to WORDS without Devine's answers to Josh Maday's brilliant questions.

This concludes Andy Devine Week.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Andy Devine Week (5)

There's an Andy Devine Sampler sprinkled around the internet machine. Besides pieces like Top Ten Implicit or Explicit Writing Tips and Plots, which have already been a part of Andy Devine Week, there is the chapbook As Day Same That the the Was Year at Chapbook Genius. There is also a small selection from Words That Should Not Be Used in Fiction and a small selection of Words That Should Not Be Used in Fiction at Unsaid 4, one of the single best issues of a literary magazine ever published. Plus, there is a lot more in the whole copies of WORDS at Publishing Genius. Plus, there is more from Andy Devine coming in New York Tyrant #8 and Unsaid #5. Thank you for reading this and being a part of Andy Devine Week.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Poets & Writers: Beyond Words

I have a little Writers Recommend piece at Poets & Writers. Also, there is now a link to the Poets & Writers article about writers who practice other arts, Beyond Words, in which I talk about painting (and Michelle Wildgen talks about cooking and Jesse Ball talks about drawing).

Andy Devine Week (4)

#255: The Alphabetical Andy Devine
Andy Devine was born in Flagstaff, Arizona and it is probably significant that his first name begins with the letter A. From an early age, Andy loved to play with his wooden letter blocks and as he got older he would alphabetize them into walls of letters. In kindergarten, he was mesmerized by the alphabet that hung over the chalkboard—both the uppercase and the lowercase. Andy did not talk much, though, so it was a while before his parents realized that he had a speech impediment, a kind of stutter (which some have sited this as a possible explanation for his conceptual fictions). When he was 8, there was a terrible incident concerning the family’s baby being killed, though it is unclear how and who killed the baby. It is known, however, that Devine was sent to live with his maternal grandparents in Toms River, New Jersey after this and worked in the family grocery store growing up there. He spent a lot of the daytime in the backyard where he taught himself to sit so still that birds would land on him and squirrels would crawl over him. In middle school, Andy started reading a lot of books, his favorites being dictionaries, encyclopedias, and thesauruses—anything that arranged the material alphabetically. In high school, Andy was a small forward on the basketball team and a middle-distance runner on the track team. He began to notice girls and fell in love with girl after girl whose names started with the letter A—Abby, Alice, Amy, Angie, Ann, Anna, Audrey (in that order). The first girl he ever kissed was named Birdy. In college, Andy played in a punk band called Babylonia that only played covers of songs that were written in languages they didn’t understand. And Andy studied library science and, after graduating, worked for a time at the main branch of the New York Public Library, but he eventually became disenchanted with the Dewey decimal system as an organizational system. While living in NYC, Andy developed a hatred for actors and a taste for a thoughtfully constructed indexes. In his late 20s, his girlfriend Zooey broke up with him and she was the last woman that he ever loved. Andy tried to read novels to console himself, but he felt as if novelists were choosing the wrong words. In response, Andy started creating lists of words that should and shouldn’t be used in fiction, works that became implicit critiques of contemporary writing and publishing. In spring 2010, Publishing Genius will bring out his first book, WORDS. Other acknowledgments of his remarkable work are the fact that Andy Devine Avenue (in Flagstaff, Arizona) is named after him and his mention in a Frank Zappa song (“Andy”). Someday, there will probably be a bridge or maybe a mountain that is named after him.

[Get Words by Andy Devine.]

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Andy Devine Week (3)

The good Dylan Landis posted a great write-up of Andy Devine's book WORDS. After noting that Andy Devine is "an invented genius," Dylan says this: "I am amazed to find myself joyful over the whole thing." And then: "This feels like getting my brain rubbed right through the dura mater." And then: "The book made me bizarrely happy."

And the good J.A. Tyler has a nice review (and reading) of WORDS up The Rumble. Among the many thoughtful things J.A. says, he calls WORDS "a kind of life-raft for the literary weary."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Andy Devine Week (2)

Andy Devine's first book, WORDS. The best place to get copies is at Publishing Genius. As part of the celebration, Andy wrote a piece on the origins of WORDS over at JMWW, which discusses disgust with contemporary fiction. If you scroll down from there, there's also a piece of Devine fiction, "Plots."

Plus, here's the beautiful and haunting trailer that the great Luca Dipierro made for WORDS.

Monday, April 19, 2010

#259 Martha Vancour: The Happiest She's Ever Been

Martha Vancour was born in 1983 on Martha's Vineyard. She is of Portuguese decent (so stubborn and loyal) and a Gemini (so she can’t make up my mind and wants to please everybody). Growing up, Martha ran around barefoot and picked blueberries. In 1st grade, she was held back and after that she never did very well in school, except with writing in English. As a girl, Martha loved being outdoors and riding horses. She loved the smell of horses, dirt, leather, sweat, and hay. Martha loved going swimming with the horses (they are excellent swimmers). She loved coming home dirty at the end of the day. Martha didn't have a lot of friends her last year of high school so she spent all of her time at the barn with Abby, her quiet little bay quarter horse. May 13, 2002 was the hardest day of Martha’s life. Abby got sick (colic) and Martha had to get her off the island to get her help. The people in charge of the ferry denied them passage until the next morning and by then it was too late. Abby was so sweet to everybody, especially children (there was a 2-year-old girl who used to sit in Abby’s food dish and hand-feed her), and she didn’t deserve to die like that. After that, it was never the same. Martha gained 50 pounds and it was 5 years before she got another horse. After high school, Martha worked as a farm hand, then as a receptionist at an insurance agency. After 2 years, Martha tried college—first as an Equine Science major, then as an English major—but dropped out. The insurance company took her back, but the situation there became so bad that Martha knew she couldn’t do that for the rest of her life. One thing Martha regrets is buying her last horse, Sabina. Martha realizes now that her love of horses was over when Abby died. Martha stayed in a job that she hated to support Sabina, but eventually sold her. She isn't sure if she will ever own another horse. 4 years ago, Martha met Brenden by accident at her cousin’s birthday dinner. Brenden is a charming Midwestern guy who came to work on the Vineyard one summer and never left. He’s awesome and hilarious and he stayed with Martha when she was at her worst, so she’s pretty happy about their relationship now that she’s doing so well. Part of the reason that she’s doing so well is that 2 years ago, Martha broke away from her human doormat persona. This meant losing her best friend, but it had to happen, and now Martha has reached a place where she can help her friends without losing herself. Martha comes across as a short, nice, quiet girl, but she has 6 tattoos, and can’t show all of them to you. Another reason that Martha is doing so well is that she went back to school and is now studying environmental management, which is a good fit. Besides school 2 days a week, Martha works at an Insurance agency the rest of the week. On Saturdays, she works as a data collector for an interactive mapping program. On Sundays, she does paperwork for the insurance agency. Martha likes to keep busy. She falls apart if she doesn’t have lots of things going. She gives herself 1 day off a month. In her spare time, she restores a 1964 Ford Mustang. Now Martha and Brenden live together and even though she’s the busiest she has ever been, she is also the happiest.

Andy Devine Week (1)

The official publication date for WORDS is tomorrow, April 20th, so I've decided to make it Andy Devine Week. To start us off, there's a nice review of WORDS at the good Nik Perring's blog. Plus, there's a thing from Devine called Top Ten Implicit or Explicit Writing Tips. WORDS is still in pre-orders for one more day over at Publishing Genius.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mud Luscious Eleven

There's a great issue of Mud Luscious (#11) up with incredible work by Amelia Gray, Rachel Glaser, Peter Markus, Robert Lopez, Scott Garson, Joanna Ruocco, Alissa Nutting, Ken Sparling, Roy Kesey, Lily Hoang, Aaron Burch, Jac Jemc, James Kaelan, Adam Robinson, James Chapman, Ted Pelton, and Dawn Raffel. My piece is from How Much of Us There Was, which comes out later this fall with Tyrant Books.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

DEAR EVERYBODY @ American Chronicle

William Hughes wrote a wonderful and personal review of DEAR EVERYBODY at American Chronicle. The review begins with this sentence: "Michael Kimball's third book, DEAR EVERYBODY, will kick you hard in the ass!" And then William thoughtfully breaks down the many perspectives in the novel--while also weaving in bits from Eckhart Tolle, Albert Camus, and about his own brother.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Way the Family Got Away

There's a great descriptive review of The Way the Family Got Away at The Collagist. The good and smart John Madera says all kinds of thoughtful things here.

The Way the Family Got Away was published 10 years ago this month.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

#72 Cheering for Karen Hood

Karen Hood’s family moved eight different times while she was growing up and she thought her family was destitute. Everybody else’s house seemed bigger than hers until they moved from New Jersey to Michigan. Karen brought her big hair and bright-colored clothes with her and the other kids at Waverly High School thought she was a rich kid. Karen used her beautiful voice to sing in the school choirs and to be a cheerleader. She has always liked the idea of helping other people to do better. After high school, Karen went to the University of Tennessee and majored in journalism. She started acting in TV commercials and do voiceover work on the radio. After college, she drove the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile around the country for a year. She was in lots of parades and tried to get in traffic jams (so they would mention her vehicle on the traffic reports). Karen had a series of jobs in marketing and public relations, but mostly stayed in Tennessee—in part because of the many early moves, but also because her mother was diagnosed with cancer and she wanted to spend as much time with her as she could. Her mother struggled with cancer for almost five years before passing away. After this, Karen hung onto other relationships to the very end. She was afraid of losing everybody. Years later, Karen struggled with her own difficult illness and she wished that her mother could have taken care of her (Karen’s mother was her cheerleader). Still, Karen found great comfort in the forty different friends who took turns staying with her for weeks after her surgery. Coming through all of this, Karen found a new kind of confidence and became her own cheerleader. Now she is finishing her Ph.D in marketing and will be moving to wherever her first academic job takes her. Everybody is cheering for this job to be wherever Karen wants it to be.

[Update: Karen finished her Ph.D in Marketing and took a job as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas—Little Rock. She loves her new town, her new little old house, and her students. Karen’s life doesn’t look like she once expected, but it’s a great life and she feels so blessed.]

[Note: Karen and I went to high school together. It was great to get to know her again all these years later and now our 25-year high school reunion is coming up in a few months.]

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How Much of Us There Was

The good Nik Perring put up a great little post about How Much of Us There Was, which gets its US later this year with Tyrant Books. Along with some other nice things, Nik says: "How Much of Us There Was broke my heart. ... It is ... utterly brilliant and incredibly affecting."

I Don't Actually Mention Michael Jackson

I have an interview with Adam Robinson up at The Faster Times. We talk about his new book, Adam Robison and Other Poems, dopplegangers, consciousness, Judas Priest, and the index.

More interviews @ The Faster Times: Gary Lutz, Blake Butler, Rachel Sherman, Laura van den Berg, Ben Tanzer, Brian Evenson, Robert Lopez, Samuel Ligon, Dylan Landis, Joseph Young, Andrew Porter, Padgett Powell, Zachary German, Christopher Higgs, Sam Lipsyte, Dawn Raffel.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

WORDS by Andy Devine by Luca Dipierro

The great Luca Dipierro made a beautiful and haunting trailer for Andy Devine's WORDS, which is still in pre-orders at Publishing Genius.