Saturday, April 17, 2010

Doo-Dads and Whathaveyous

It's semi-official. Barring any fellowship news, me and the hound are moving to Seattle in June. Big time change, to be sure, but I feel as though it's time. After a lot of flux in the past year, I'm feeling pretty good about where I'm at, beginning to be more comfortable with the uncertainty, beginning to embrace it, even. All this only to say: I'm getting rid of a lot of stuff, which will be hard, but it's mostly things I picked up with the mindset that they'd be going into a house--so now, as a single-dude-headed-west, it seems ridiculous to haul it all across the country. So--couches, coffee tables, miscellaneous trinkets and doo-dads: everything must go!


Put the manuals and the how-to books away. Read the writers themselves, whose work and example are all you really need if you want to write. And wanting to write is so much more than a pose. To my mind, nothing is as important as good writing, because in literature, the walls between people and cultures are broken down, and the things that plague us most—suspicion and fear of the other, and the tendency to see whole groups of people as objects, as monoliths of one cultural stereotype or another—are defeated.

--Richard Bausch on How-To manuals


Best New Poets 2010 is open to submissions! I had a great experience with the 2008 edition and am super-stoked to see Claudia Emerson is guest editing this years. This will be the first year I'm eligible to submit again and I think I will. Why? Because I feel like people read this thing and because I met so many great poets last go-round. I'm still a bit unsure whether I'll submit stuff that's already been published (which is, as they say, copacetic) or new stuff...Anyway--you have until May 20th. Do it, poets, do it.


Overheard in the beer aisle of a grocery store ('Food City') in Independence, Virginia:

"Do you think Indians drink Miller High Life?"


Instead of a first line today, a paragraph from the incredible book I just finished, This is Just Exactly Like You by Drew Perry. Reasons you should buy this book: it's a joy to read and nearly impossible to put down (shouldn't that be enough?), it's a steal at only 10 bucks for the hardcover, and it's recently gotten lots of good press (New York Times!). I'm thinking I'll go into more detail in another post, but for now, some words.

(Background, Jack is the central character and father of Hendrick, an autistic boy)

"Jack's pretty sure that he's not that great a father, that he's not in line for any parenting awards or special commendations. He's not even sure he always tries as hard as he can. He's maybe not Living quite Strong enough. Hen is, after all, sitting next to him, having only stopped bleeding from the head about fifteen minutes ago. But what he's always liked about fatherhood, about Hendrick, is his company, his physical presence, even from the first day they brought him home from the hospital. It's what surprised him most--not the overpowering love all the books required that he feel for his child--just that he simply liked being around him. And even with the diagnosis, or even since, there's something a little joyous, alongside all the disaster, about living with Hendrick. Some feeling he gets about being in better or closer contact with the things we need, the things we want. I want to run the controls on the dump truck. I want to touch the faucet. I want to open the drawer three hundred times in a row. Because who doesn't want that from time to time? To fall deeper in? Who doesn't do it? Some mornings Jack taps his own spoon a few extra times on the rim of the cereal bowl just for the sheer pleasure of it, and then he'll wonder what the space really is, after all, between tic and illness. Where biting your fingernails falls on the spectrum. Ticking the button on the emergency break. Ordering salad dressing on the side, having a song stuck in your head, watching the ball game on mute."

-from This is Just Exactly Like You by Drew Perry
(Viking Penguin, 2010)

I'm gonna keep talking about how great it is, so you might as well buy the damn book already.


My friend and fellow Hollins MFAer (and kick-ass fiction writer) Karen Zvarych recently won a radio contest that got her a spot dancing on-stage with the Flaming Lips. Here's the video that did it. Two thumbs up.

Karen Zvarych Dance Video for 106.1 Flaming Lips Contest from Jason Bennett on Vimeo.


Josh said...

Great post, Luke. Forgive my ignorance, but what's prompted the move to Seattle? And thanks for the Richard Bausch excerpt. He's our visiting writer here this term, and that's the most interaction I've had with him thus far. Such is life after coursework, I guess. Good luck with this year's Best New.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Good luck with the new transition, Luke. Sorry I didn't get to meet you in person in Denver. Love the Bausch quote.

Matthew said...

Yeah Seattle! Glad you'll be out this way. We could always use another hound dog and southern accent. Looking forward to hanging out again soon.

newzoopoet said...

Seattle sounds like fun, but why did you choose it?

Lookin' fine in your Denver pic!

Caro said...

HE CHOSE IT BECAUSE I AM THE BEST HOST EVER. And because it's a sweet city that is hound dog and poet friendly.

Luke said...

@Josh and Angela:
Thanks for the happy words--I'll talk a bit more about why Seattle as it gets closer. Suffice to say, I'm not sure any reason actually holds enough weight to justify the move, but such is impetuous youth...I hope?

Sorry we missed each other, too. DC: let's make it happen!

@Matt and Caro:
Can't wait to get out there and share my hound-dog/poetry/accent with the people and places of the Pacific Northwest. That, and I'm excited about the omnipresent free wi-fi.