Requiem for a Journalist

Who Town by Susan Kirschbaum (Self-Published) 

I first learned english dissertation about Susan Kirschbaum at a panel of independently published authors at Spoonbill & Sugartown bookstore in Williamsburg. She spoke alongside three other such authors about the decision to publish independently. For Kirschbaum, the generic cialis 10mg decision came directly from her experience as a journalist in the commercial publishing and print world, and from a realization about the kind of stories not being published commercially. 

photoWho Town, a black and white, pamphlet sized novel by New York culture journalist Susan Kirschbaum, begins with an inscription that reads “R.I.P. the media as we know it. Dedicated to the Afflicted.”

I expected to be confronted with a tell-all expose of life as a New York celebrity journalist.

What I read, however, exposed something else entirely.

The novel read, ultimately, as a reckoning and requiem for the clownish, grotesque carnival ride of celebrity story and façade that Kirschbaum experienced in her fifteen years as a journalist. Continue reading Requiem for a Journalist

Rock ‘n Roll Poetry

One Night Only: A Poetry Showcase
@ The Echo on 3/23/13 

In my first week in LA I checked out a reading at The Echo, recommended to me by Mariana, a former Angelino and now New York resident and contributor to the old LW. That’s Litwrap for those of you just recently in the know.  Thanks M, and send me some more tips soon!

Turns out poets and rockers share a love of self deprecation and the stage.  I learned this at The Echo last Friday night, when five artists took to the black box to do a music / stand-up and performance combos that these days count as a reading.  Goodbye to smokey room, tables lit by candles and black turtlenecks.  Welcome to a red spot lights, beers on tap and audience members standing up close. Continue reading Rock ‘n Roll Poetry

How Close Can We Get to Each Other?

This Close
Jessica Francis Kane (Graywolf Press, 2013)

In the first paragraph of “Lucky Boy” –  the opening story of Jessica Francis Kane’s “This Close” – the narrator relates an anecdote about seeing a tourist in a New York City shoe store decline to take his old shoes with him. “‘I’m going to wear my New York shoes right out that door.’ New York shoes, indeed. He seemed ready for a fight.”

The narrator, a recent graduate named Henry, has a voice that is witty and smart and direct. Through Henry, Kane examines, in a nuanced way, the strained closeness of privileged New Yorkers to those who do service work. Henry gets roped into a weekly, one-sided game of catch in Central Park with the son of his Korean laundress. Each week he feels guilty about cutting the bonding time short. He debates moving to another cleaner. Eventually he marries and changes neighborhoods. He loses touch with the boy, and feels bad. But what else could have happened? “Was I going to put Owen through college? Attend his wedding? Tell people he was the boy of my dry cleaner – he’s been waiting to dry clean my daughter’s wedding dress for years? I can’t tell those stories and I don’t know any others.”

Closeness, or lack thereof, is the thread that runs through the short stories in Kane’s second book. What do we owe each other? Continue reading How Close Can We Get to Each Other?

A Very Happy Ending

Wednesday Night At the Southern Writers Reading Series

Every second Wednesday of the month, a host of Southern writers can be found at Happy Ending Lounge in the Lower East Side.

A former day spa turned bar, Happy Ending retains just the right amount of architectural elements from its spa days to confuse the hell out of you upon entering. The lighting is dim and pink-ish, making it hard for the eyes to see what lies down the long corridor. I kept walking down the tiled hall last Wednesday night, only to find a cozy lounge/bar with a huddle of writers, drinking whisky and cocktails, and laughing. Continue reading A Very Happy Ending

The Grammarian, by Annapurna Potluri

Throughout reading The Grammarian by Annapurna Potluri, I jotted some notes on a flash card as I customarily do, and by the middle of the book I realized I’d written a version of the same thought over and over again—The Grammarian is a work about the prerequisite of youth and beauty within rigid systems of ritualistic womanhood.

But it’s also about much more. Continue reading The Grammarian, by Annapurna Potluri

On Writing The Real

Tips from Karen Bender, author of A Town Of Empty Rooms (Counterpoint Press, 2013).

photoKaren Bender’s second novel, A Town of Empty Rooms, came easier than the first.  She prefers the short story form and her first book, the novel Like Normal People, was spiraling in its first draft. She had thought that writing a novel was the same as writing pages. So she had many many pages with no narrative arch. She found herself asking: what is it that my character wants?

By book two she had learned to write only the scenes she needed to tell the story. Have a core question that you are aiming to answer, and write to that.  Some examples are – is he going to get the girl? Or will he find his way home? Reduce the story to one question to find out what’s necessary to include. Continue reading On Writing The Real

A Rainy Night Pick Me Up

Jonathan Dee Reads from his new novel A Thousand Pardons
@ Bookcourt, Tuesday Night

Last night at Bookcourt the buy cialis 20mg masterful Jonathan Dee graced us with his presence and a passage from his very newly research papers for sale published novel (and by that I mean the publishing date was, in fact, yesterday) A Thousand Pardons. Despite the fog and the downpour, a few faithful fans gathered to hear the celebrated author. “So I’m just going to read briefly from the beginning of the novel, it should need no introduction,” Dee began, to which a woman in the audience pleaded, “Does it have to be brief?”  Brief though it was, the passage was rich with economy, intrigue, and skill that far surpassed its length. Continue reading A Rainy Night Pick Me Up