Roadtrip Days 2-4

On Day 2, I headed off to Charlottesville to meet up with Mark Rock, aka Peter Markush. I stopped in the exurbs between Baltimore and DC for the first of what will probably be many Chick-fil-a sandwiches consumed on this trip. I also took the first picture with my new camera. As you can see, I was not able to refrain from consuming the sandwich before taking a picture of it.

I found my way to Random Row Books, where I was set to perform with Mark Rock and a very good guitar/cello duo called Barling and Collins. It was cold and rainy out,  so the event was sparsely attended. Barling, Collins, and we all sat in with Mark Rock, and during my set, Mark Rock accompanied me on piano as I read “The Boy Who Cried Wolves” (which, incidentally, was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize).

That afternoon, I got bad news about Poly, so I decided to drive to Richmond early in the morning and catch a flight back to NYC. By the evening of Day 3, however, we got good news from Poly’s biopsy. The tumor doesn’t appear to be malignant, so the immediate threat is not as serious as we feared. She will probably be okay.

Day 4, I shared some bacon and eggs with Poly, did some dayjob work, ran some errands, and watched TV. That night I attended Jonathan Letham’s reading in at Book Court in Brooklyn. It was pretty good, but not as good as the Big Buford sandwich I had at Checkers on the way there. After the reading, I packed my things to prepare for an early flight back to Virginia to pick up where I left off.


I Am a Literary Upstart

As a semifinalist in the L Magazine’s “Literary Upstart” contest, I was asked to read last night at the Slipper Room. There was a sizeable and enthusiastic audience and three other semifinalists reading. At the end, the four of us were critiqued by a panel of judges, American Idol style, and one reader moved on to the finals. That one reader was not me.

I wish I could tell you the names of the other readers or of the judges, but I don’t have that information easily accessible at the moment. Maybe I’ll update later to include that. In any case, the judges’ comments were mostly superficial, and they clearly had not understood one of the major points about my story–so I really couldn’t take the whole thing very seriously.

So here for your enjoyment, is my performance from last night, which one of the judges said reminded him of a “city council meeting.”

Should I Be Angry About Second Place?

I have to admit that I thought I had this one in the bag. Perhaps things have been going too well for me, and I needed a humbling experience.

You may remember that in January, I submitted my short story “The Librarians” to a web site’s monthly fiction contest. It’s not an especially well-known or well-traveled web site, and by virtue of the fact that my story got ten times the votes that other stories got, I thought I was a shoo-in. But alas, the stories are not judged on votes alone. Whoever the final judges were, they obviously thought that this story was better than mine. And there’s nothing wrong with that story–it’s a fine story.

Second place is nothing to sneeze at (though the way I’m feeling today, I’m likely to projectile-cough flegm at it). I have a long history of coming in second place at things, and it’s a sore spot for me.

Anyway, c’est la vie. If you haven’t read “the Librarians” yet, check it out. The story will be on that site indefinitely.

New Work: “The Year of Myself” in Kora Journal

Poet Zachary C. Bush started an online literary magazine earlier this year, Kora Journal. The focus is primarily on quality experimental poetry, prose poetry, and flash fiction.

The second issue, which went online today, features my newest story, “The Year of Myself.” This issue also has new work from JA Tyler, Eric Beeny, Louis E. Bourgeois, and Howie Good–all of whom are excellent writers.

Also, in case you missed it in an earlier post, you can see a video of me reading an early draft of “The Year of Myself” here.