Friday, April 29, 2011

pelicans rearrange

I got some good feedback on the unpublished, "My Old Man," and that got me back into the general area of "remembering Dad"--something I'm sure that many of us are prone to engage in--and so, I ordered a new copy of Joe Kudera's two minutes of VHS fame. I should say I purchased a "like new" copy, for under five dollars total, which when it came, did play in my old VCR just fine.

So the poet Joseph Robert Kudera is depicted as a very calm and happy person, and although the poetry is in no danger of ever finding itself confined within the walls of an anthology or textbook edition, his words sound somewhat spiritual, somewhat philosophical, and well, just encouraging if you are trying to find a way to flee your own office environment or find your peace by the shore. You can hear him briefly in the beginning and briefly at the end, and then also, for a couple minutes, just after the St. Augustine segment.

It looks like dozens of small libraries around the country have the VHS tape available for lending, and I just stumbled upon Tower's offer of a brand new copy at $18.98. In these hard times, I'd advise against purchasing new unless you recognize that the wisdom of Jay Roberts (or the aged beauty of A1A's coastal region?) is worth that much.

Yiyi has enjoyed watching "Grandpa" although as soon as the first man in the program appeared, she smiled and said, "It's Grandpa!" But I've since informed her that not every filmed male Floridian in the 60 minute PBS show would be her grandfather.

She particularly likes the pelicans that are filmed as Joe reads his poems off the screen and then walks with Maria Conchita Alonso onto the deck.

Please pardon me while I frag: the green and brown shoes from our meeting in England, 1989; blue sweater; some blonde and white hair fighting it out for last follicle standing; a laid off, downsized, or otherwise unemployed guy who looks rested and at peace, at least for the two-minute segment.

It's almost amazing how affordable studio apartments by the ocean were in 1996--not many places, perhaps, but Joseph still found one for under $500 in northern Florida. And then he found a job at the Gate Station where the public-television people found him.

Friday, April 22, 2011

submitting to mixed media

Here's a nifty new location for all of your mixed-media needs as well as an invitation to submit your own work:

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/notes/matt-mullins/call-for-submissions-of-electronic-literature/2011294479678

Note: to the best of my knowledge, i do not mix media when i write, and i certainly don't film it or call my films "writing" or film myself writing, and i only daydream about the movies a little bit during the course of my normal daydreams during fits of writing; furthermore, i do not necessarily condone the people or the work associated with this whole "mixed media" business, but that should not be understood to mean that i fail to castigate them either.

But as the "blind guy" in Carver's "Cathedral"  put it, "When I drink whiskey . . . "

2nd note: And don't expect anything that shows up at Atticus Review to possess even half the genius of Fight for Your Long Day!

Hah!

Whoa!

Ouch!

I've been hit. I'm down.

(No, it's not too bad. It'll be okay. I'll be alright, folks.)

Have a good friday and an even better saturday, but please take it easy on the you-know-what on sunday.

peace.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

and july in philly

I'll be back in Philly for the steamiest month of them all and ready and willing to rock, read, or collapse at any venue in your jurisdiction. The Chestnut Hill Book Festival and Faber Books in 30th Street Station are stuck with me on July 9 and 8, but other dates around then are open if you need me. The Fees, Monsieur Finder and his lovely wife Madam Appearance have in fact strayed from my social circle, so I'm sure it won't be difficult for you and I to agree on a lovely moment together should such an opportunity present itself.

Here's the fully updated schedule for May through July:

April 30, Saturday, 1 to 3 p.m. (signing only), Books-A-Million, Anderson Shopping Mall, Anderson, SC

May 6, Friday, 7 p.m., City Lights Bookstore, Sylva, NC

May 7, Saturday, 3 p.m., Blue Ridge Books, Waynesville, NC

May 14, Saturday, 1 to 3 p.m. (signing only), Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

July 6, Wednesday, 6 p.m., Lucien E. Blackwell Regional Library, 52nd and Sansom, Phila., PA

July 8, Friday, 4 to 6 p.m. (signing only), Faber Books, 30th Street Station

(Faber has sold 29 copies of Fight for Your Long Day, emphatically crushing the competition and supporting John McNally's point that books are often best sold in locales where they take place. Alas, I can only dream that one day they'll have a book-trading annex in the men's room on the opposite side of the station.)

Chesnut Hill Book Festival
July 9, Saturday, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., The Stagecrafters, 8130 Germantown Avenue

All of these, of course, are free and open to the public.

Thanks so much if one of them finds its way into your schedule.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

spoken words

This is the first audio book review of Fight for Your Long Day, courtesy of  Author Exposure; the reviewer used CinchCast to deliver the spoken goods. Meanwhile, the first European reviewer, with my encouragement, posted on amazon.fr and amazon.de and responded quite favorably.

Last night, the novel got trashed on American amazon by someone who reduced the whole effort to "Bush bashing"; I found this "review" particularly questionable because there is so much satire in the novel of people and ideas that one would associate with opposing our last Bush and his views and actions (such as unions, academics, "guilty liberals," urban mayors, universities, therapists, Afrocentrists, etc.). An irony here is that at least a couple favorable reviews suggested there should have been more directed and consistent "Bush bashing," which I suppose, is just another reason it's all hopeless.

But right after finding that negative review, no doubt lurking late at night to make me feel the full misery of an exhausted sleeplessness, I then chanced upon John McNally's "advice from an unrepentant novelist" on how to treat negative reviews on amazon. Perfect timing, John; thanks! In a nutshell, he advises not to reply to reviews at all, but to encourage more friends who enjoyed the book to post positive reviews so that casual amazon browsers will see many more positive than negative reviews. His idea seems based upon the good sense that, alas, many of us, even when we are looking for something that will take some time to read, will quickly move on if we don't like the very first thing we see.

OK, following McNally's advice, friends (and why not throw in "and fellow countrymen"), if you're reading, and I haven't recently bugged you about some sales shit you could do to support my novel, not yours, please do take a moment to give Fight for Your Long Day that extra star on amazon. Or goodreads. Or shelfari. Or that groovy library thing you do. Or.

Good. Accomplished, John. Thanks for the tip. Me enjoying your self-help for novelists, as impossible as you know that sounds, and in particular the section where I read that you were at one time an adjunct even more unfavorably employed and poorly paid than Cyrus Duffleman. Well, "enjoy" isn't the right word. And I didn't enjoy the part where you tell us that despite the largely rotten deal you've gotten from life from undergrad to age 35, you still have six published books. You're supposed to be encouraging us, not making us feel like lazy incompentents who have wasted too much of our time on public-speaking and freshman-comp course overloads!

But back to spoken news, word on the street is that an audio book of Fight for Your Long Day is at least agreed to in principle by all who might agree to such.

So I guess that's it. We won't make you read ever again.

Monday, April 11, 2011

southern leg

The Southern leg of the Fight for Your Long Day tour kicks off in sunny Anderson, South Carolina at the most fashionable Books-A-Million in the Anderson Shopping Center. On Saturday, April 30 I'll sign copies there from 1 to 3 p.m. and then sprint to the discount sneaker store to sign autographed pairs of aged Jordans and preowned Answers, all in support of my tired, old man sneaker charity, a specialty program designed to support fallen arches and sore ankles from sea to shining sea. Get your bucket of saltwater ready!

After Anderson, we're taking the show a bit further up the road to scenic southwestern North Carolina, where our version of the home-and-home series means readings Friday May 6 at 7 p.m. at City Lights in the beautiful downtown of Sylva, North Carolina and then on Saturday a trip up the winding highway to a May 7 3 p.m. reading at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville, North Carolina. These two Indy stores both have a spectacular selection, particularly relative to their square footage, and the Blue Ridge even has a full service coffee shop where you can get caffeinated, sandwiched up, and ready to rock and be read to all afternoon.

But that's not all!

(I imagine some of you are now expecting a stainless-steel fridge offer; alas, it is not to be.)

The following weekend, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina plays host to Cyrus Duffleman with a Saturday, May 14 signing event from 1 to 3 p.m. Word on the street is that the Duffler plans to shake it old school and the authorities are closely monitoring the scene!

To recap:

April 30, Saturday, 1 to 3 p.m. (signing only), Books-A-Million, Anderson Shopping Mall, Anderson, SC

May 6, Friday, 7 p.m., City Lights Bookstore, Sylva, NC

May 7, Saturday, 3 p.m., Blue Ridge Books, Waynesville, NC

May 14, Saturday, 1 to 3 p.m. (signing only), Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

But for now, back to April 11.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

fast food fiction

It was good to see the immortal Kentucky Fried Chicken making an appearance by Dave Newman's "She Throws Herself Forward to Stop the Fall," published on the Atticus Books website. This was on the same week that I made my at least annual pilgrimmage through Ha Jin's "After Cowboy Chicken Came to Town," my favorite fast food tale of all. It's a story I've taught for at least the past ten years.

I wouldn't want to minimize the brilliance of either Mr. Soul (as in De La) or Mr. Jin (as in Ha) when I fondly also recall my favorite fast food rap, De La Soul's "Bitties in the BK Lounge" and its deconstructive approach to gender and counter service. But of course, all of us in on the true know of all knows realize that a paltry hymn about whoppers and fries could never compare to Jin's ample paragraphs about fleshy fried white and dark meat and the transcontinental, globalized angst such grease could generate.

Years ago, inspired by my days of bussing of dishes, I wrote a meager tale called, "Waiters of the World Unite," but alas, it's either trapped in the lowest, least favorable spot in my storage space or else, sadly, it is gone for good.

Well, the world will go on, and that wasn't a true tale of fast food anyway. In fact, I was working at a middling but decidedly table-service restaurant.

Dinner?