Along with fifteen other debuts, UNDERSTORIES competed on Thursday, September 19th in Late Night Library’s Second Annual Battle of the Books, hosted by Adam Wilson. The writer Rebecca Schiff read for me, and the dynamic duo of Schiff/Understories made it to the FINAL FOUR! Fellow Bellevue Literary Press book GHOST MOTH, by Michèle Forbes, was also in the FF, and eventually Hannah Gamble’s YOUR INVITATION TO A MODEST BREAKFAST was the Last Book Standing. Can’t thank Rebecca enough for donning the literary gloves and going for the glory.
I’m thrilled to have an excerpt from my ongoing work-in-progress, The Desert of Maine, in the latest issue of Western Humanities Review, which is themed “Historiography,” alongside work by Robert Coover, Shelley Jackson, Michael Martone, Danielle Dutton, and many others. Read the brilliant editor’s note here, and if you want a sneak peek of the opening of the story being read live in the “desert,” that would be here.
In a busy summer, one of the highlights for me was a visit to the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, my second, this time for their summer program. During a workshop session, we played around with style and listened to what felt like a slew of versions of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” including a dub-step one that, to my surprise, brought on faces I’d only seen in “Calvin and Hobbes” when Calvin learns that he can make his face permanently really grotesque if he holds an expression long enough. In the evening I read from the thing I don’t know what to call (short story which is now in the land of Novella, which a friend and I like to pronounce as if it is a magical, sun-gilded Italian village perched on the Mediterranean in which people speak only in animated bursts of 10,000-30,000 words. Eventually, it’s looking as though Novella will turn into Novel). While at Walnut Hill, I got to sit down with alumna Evangaline Delgado, and she threw some great questions at me about Understories and the writing life. http://walnuthillarts.org/alumniblog/unearthing-hidden-stories/
Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is one of my favorite books of 2013 thus far. In “That Relentless Complicator of Lives,” I wrote a response to how it gleefully ignores and plays with genre boundaries for the fabulous website Late Night Library.