Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)

The 1-Hour MFA (in fiction)

I'm doing my 1-Hour MFA (in fiction) talk at Conversations and Connections: Practical Advice on Writing, which is in DC on April 16. My talk is at 3:45, but there's a whole day of great people talking about writing--including Steve Almond, Rae Bryant, Matt Bell, Amber Sparks, Tara Laskowski, Adam Robinson, Mike Young, Susan Muaddi-Darraj, Lalita Noronha, Eugenia Kim, Marita Golden, Dan Brady, Will Grofic, Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson, Cathy Alter, Matt Kirkpatrick, Randall Brown, Steve Himmer, Dylan Landis, Eric Goodman, Janice Shapiro, Robin Black, Leslie Pietrzyk, Mark Drew, Mark Cugini, Reb Livingson, Kim Kupperman, Dan Cafaro, Molly Gaudry, Erin Fitzgerald, Susan McCallum Smith, and Dave Housley.

Barrelhouse Mixtape: Indie Lit in Charm City

Barrelhouse Magazine just put up its first Mixtape, which focuses on indie lit in Baltimore. I talk with them about Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard), kind of the long version of the NPR interview. There's also Publishing Genius, Adam Robinson, on IsReads. Plus, there's a Josh Maday poem and there's Mike Ingram reading the postcard life story of Barrelhouse Magazine, which is also here. Nice.

#215 Barrelhouse Magazine Is All About Great Writing, Pop Culture, and Cuddling

Barrelhouse Magazine had 4 fathers—Dave Housley, Joe Killiany, Mike Ingram, Aaron Pease—and no mother, which some people say is impossible but it’s not. Barrelhouse is proof of that. The fathers were in a writing class together and they kept getting together after the class for beers and writerly talk (which tended to devolve into random pop-culture talk—Snoop Dogg, David Lee Roth v. Sammy Hagar, etc.). One of those beer nights, Dave started talking about starting a journal and they were all into it. That’s how Barrelhouse was born in 2004 in Washington, D.C. Barrelhouse’s first words were “We worship power chords” (Matt Kirkpatrick) and it hasn’t stopped talking since. Now Barrelhouse is 5 years old, but if you ask Barrelhouse its age, it will probably tell you it’s #7 and soon to be #8. Barrelhouse ages irregularly. Also, Barrelhouse’s childhood was a bit drunken, but that didn’t seem to hinder its development. Early on, Barrelhouse had to ask writers for their words, but now Barrelhouse mostly relies on the slush pile (and it likes it that way). Early on, Barrelhouse had a thing for dodgeball, which was way before the movie and way before everybody started playing the game in a semi-ironic fashion. Sometimes, Barrelhouse wonders about its ink, thinks about the tattoos of its fathers—Matt’s tattoo of Pennsylvania on the inside of his wrist, say, or Dave’s Grateful Dead tattoo. For a while, Barrelhouse was all about Patrick Swayze, which was a strange time for Barrelhouse. Also, the time that Barrelhouse had those four poems in it about giving Ed Asner a spongebath, that felt a little weird. A while back, Barrelhouse’s parents were excited about the pieces that were chosen for one of those “Best” anthologies—an essay from Lee Klein on Barry Bonds and those poems about Ed Asner. Gradually, Barrelhouse staked out a voice in fiction, but it’s its nonfiction that sets it apart, especially the way it all relates to pop culture. Also, Barrelhouse always tries to maintain a sense of humor. Barrelhouse has a refreshing lack of pretense. They would, for instance, probably publish a 7K-word essay on Bring It On if somebody sent it to them. One thing you should know: None of Barrelhouse’s parents ride fixed-gear bikes or wear skinny jeans. They aren’t hipsters. They’re semi-cool, at best, but, once, one of Barrelhouse’s fathers (Aaron) got into an AWP dance-off with one of OneStory’s mothers that was pretty amazing. Aaron is the Justin Timberlake of Barrelhouse. Barrelhouse isn’t married, but it is interested in other magazines, especially if they’re about great writing, pop culture and cuddling—also if they play guitar or sing or maybe paint. All that stuff is totally hot. But, really, Barrelhouse is just proud to still be alive. Most magazines die young. Also, Barrelhouse is proud of everybody that it has ever had inside it. Writers are great. One of the best things that happens to Barrelhouse is when they meet one of the writers and the writer says, "I wrote this crazy thing about [insert crazy thing], but nobody would take it, and then I sent it to you, and, man, you guys seemed to really love it." Barrelhouse loves that. Barrelhouse hopes that keeps happening.

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