Thursday, December 27, 2007

So Very Handsome!

The first issue contains work by:

Lily Brown, Sommer Browning, Paula Cisewski, Adam Clay, John Colburn, Jeff Downey, Julie Doxsee, Sarah Fox, Kate Greenstreet, Sarah Goldstein, Joshua Harmon, Annaliese Jakimides, Rauan Klassnik, Gabriella Klein Lindsey, Greg Koehler, Marcia LeBeau, Michael Macklin, Adam Peterson, Joshua Poteat, Mary Ruefle, Tomaz Salamun, Marisa Siegel, Brandon Shimoda, Peter Jay Shippy, Mathias Svalina, Jocko Weyland, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Barbara Yien and Jake Adam York

You can get your very own copy here.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I have been tagged, I shall tag

Kate Harding has been so kind as to tag me in a roar for powerful words meme. Also, she was so kind as to say some words that leave me blushing with thanks.

The rules as I understand them are as follows: Say 3 things that you think make for strong writing and then tag five more folks.

I am thrilled to participate -- it feels like getting asked to the prom. I will have no problem tagging five writers (except in limiting myself to 5), but I've been thinking since yesterday about how to verbalize what I think makes for powerful writing. I'll do my best.

It's good to need to think about, though. These last months have been active. Writing and thinking about writing have been put on hold to the point where I'm just plain pissed off. Perhaps I can use this as a step back in.

Here goes:

Figure out who you are. Write stuff you'd never show anybody. Talk to yourself. Develop echolalia. Travel. Burn the musty journals that the old you wrote. Find your comfort zone and overstep it.

Get over yourself. Yes, our stories are particular and important, but if you approach something as though it is beyond precious and you are the only one in the world who's ever had such a deep experience, nobody's going to believe you, and nobody's going to want in. Because it's not true that you are the only one who's had such a deep experience. Nearly everybody feels un-understandable like that. That's why good writing works.

Crap. I only have two.

Here's who I tag:

1. Kate Greenstreet
2. David Dodd Lee
3. John Gallaher
4. Kristi Maxwell
5. Matt Hart

The work of all five of these folks astounds me, and they will no doubt have wise and helpful insights to this discussion.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Detachment from the past, which we characterized as the main feature of the post-Christian era, culminates in one way or another with detachment from the earth –“this earth…these oaks,” to recall Vico’s words about the giants who established the first human dwellings. For reasons that remain altogether obscure, Western civilization has decided to promote institutions of dislocation in every dimension of social and cultural existence. The international hegemony of these institutions – metropolis, economy, media, ideology -- has led to an aggravated confusion about what it means to dwell on the earth. This confusion, in turn, veils itself in oblivion. If the “end of history” means anything at all, it means that we now dwell in oblivion – in oblivion of the meaning of dwelling. To some extent this oblivion is only natural, for dwelling does not preserve its meaning by making an explicit issue of itself; it embeds itself in habit, ritual and repetition; but when its meaning has disintegrated or lost its basis, that is to say when it has suffered fundamental traumas, then oblivion becomes a force of destruction rather than of preservation.

--Robert Pogue Harrison, from Forests: the Shadow of Civilization

This is exactly what my new manuscript is about. And now I know that.

I wish my digital camera worked still. I'd like to post a photo of the view from my desk window: Three snow-covered rooftops, and more snow falling. Some treetops and one giant old tree. Occassional flight of the hawk who lives in that tree, and of her new mate. Dusk.

I feel like I know more about dwelling when it snows.