Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)

Big Ray (the man and the book)



Jessica Anya Blau asked me some great questions about BIG RAY at the The Nervous Breakdown. We talk about the real man, the book, and why I don't forgive my father.
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Us Might Break Your Heart, But It's the Good Kind of Break


The wonderful Jessica Anya Blau interviews me about Us at The Nervous Breakdown. We talk about dying, crying, spiritualism, sadness, and tenderness. Jessica also says, "Us might break your heart, but it's a good kind of break-- the kind that reminds you how nice it is to be alive."
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A Realist Who Exaggerates a Little

I have an interview with Jessica Anya Blau up at The Faster Times. We talk about undercover cops, Christmas letters, using families for fiction, and Drinking Closer to Home, etc.

More interviews @ The Faster Times: Gary Lutz, Blake Butler, Laura van den Berg, Brian Evenson, Robert Lopez, Dylan Landis, Padgett Powell, Sam Lipsyte, Dawn Raffel, Kevin Sampsell, Gina Frangello, Evan Lavender-Smith, Ken Sparling, Matt Bell, Ingrid Burrington, and Andy Devine.
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City Sages: Baltimore

Tuesday, May 18th, 7pm. It's a City Sages reading at Barnes & Noble--Hopkins (33rd & St. Paul). Jen Michalski, Jessica Anya Blau, Madeleine Mysko, and I will be reading from the new anthology of Baltimore writers (edited by Jen Michalski). I hope to see you there.
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#99 Jessica Anya Blau and The Summer of Naked Swim Parties

At 4, Jessica Anya Blau thought that kids were strange and had no friends her own age; she didn’t want to play Butts and Vaginas with them. Her best friend was a 70-year-old widow who let Jessica play with her sock monkey. At 5, Jessica fell in love with the 5-year-old boy who lived across the street after he told her that he was 25 years old. At 7, Jessica’s father’s job moved the family from Ann Arbor to Santa Barbara and they lived in a lemon orchard. This turned Jessica into a sunny California girl and she made lots of friends. As got older, she wore a bathing suit everywhere she went and had a deep tan that made her look like one giant freckle. Jessica studied French at Berkeley and gained a lot of weight without realizing it (she thought that the Laundromat was shrinking her clothes). She met her good-looking first husband at the college pub and they lived in a mansion that he was housesitting. They got married in a park in Berkeley and Jessica bought clothes for a department store. They moved to Toronto and Jessica couldn’t work in Canada (though she did some, illegally), so she started writing. She sent one story out to one place and it was accepted. Jessica kept writing. They got a dog, but Jessica had always wanted to be a mother. Jessica felt her body change and knew that she was pregnant. Her body kept changing until she felt huge, uncomfortable, ridiculous—and then her first daughter was born. There were marriage problems and Jessica applied to graduate school. She was accepted into the writing program at Johns Hopkins University and moved to Baltimore. Her first husband stayed in Toronto and that was how their marriage ended. Jessica loved Hopkins and writing and felt liberated. She met her second husband, the unbelievably wonderful David Grossbach, at Sam’s Bagels. He looked her up in the phone book after he got home and then they got married and then Jessica’s second daughter was born. After that, Jessica wrote and then published The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and felt, after all those years of writing, that she had finally made it. And she had. And everybody was happy that she had.

[Update: Jessica Anya Blau's wonderful second novel, Drinking Closer to Home, will be published February 2011 by Harper Perennial.]

Jessica Anya Blau and The Summer of Naked Swim Parties.
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Jessica Anya Blau Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard): #232 Andy Riverbed

Andy Riverbed describes himself as “a fish with a big wide mouth.” He hates shit-talkers and sticks to his word with all his heart. Andy was born in Newark, New Jersey where he attended a privileged private black school. It was the best school experience of his life and the fact that he’s not black never seemed to be a problem for anyone there. He played baseball and futbol in high school, and got along with his younger sister, Rebecca, whom he loves very much. Andy went to college in Puerto Rico, where his parents are from, and studied English lit because he loved to read books and loved to write. He dropped out of college twice, the first time because he went insane and the second time because he got strung out on drugs. He moved to Florida, went to school there, straightened out, and started studying linguistics because he was sick of literature. He’s still studying linguistics and he’s also translating fiction and poetry from English to Spanish. His pen name is Andy y la Rivera, which means Andy Riverbed. Andy also works in a bed-and-breakfast and sings in a punk rock band. The punk rock lifestyle wasn’t productive when it drove him to run away from home to go to shows, do drugs, and fuck up in school. Now that he’s pulled his life together, he loves singing punk rock and he loves hanging out with his bandmates. Andy was in love once. He bought his girlfriend a ferret named FatBoy McPopcorn after she had an abortion, but the relationship ended badly when she left with the ferret. Andy got McPopcorn back and loves him because he’s Irish and he makes out with Andy when he has beer on his breath. Andy is happiest with the right person’s warmth against his skin. He’s happy singing in his band, too. Andy is proud that he’s still alive and hasn’t given up. He’s applying to graduate school now, trying to get a real job, and trying not to bore himself to death.

Andy Riverbed’s website // St. Dad’s website

[Note: You can read Jessica Anya Blau's postcard life story here.]
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On Book Tour

The reading last night with Jessica Anya Blau in DC was great. And tonight I'm reading at Myopic Books with Darcie Dennigan in Providence. And tomorrow, I'm reading in Boston/Cambridge with Kim Chinquee and Timothy Gager, at the Dire Reading Series. There's more information, with links here.
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#99 Jessica Anya Blau and The Summer of Naked Swim Parties

At 4, Jessica Anya Blau thought that kids were strange and had no friends her own age; she didn’t want to play Butts and Vaginas with them. Her best friend was a 70-year-old widow who let Jessica play with her sock monkey. At 5, Jessica fell in love with the 5-year-old boy who lived across the street after he told her that he was 25 years old. At 7, Jessica’s father’s job moved the family from Ann Arbor to Santa Barbara and they lived in a lemon orchard. This turned Jessica into a sunny California girl and she made lots of friends. As got older, she wore a bathing suit everywhere she went and had a deep tan that made her look like one giant freckle. Jessica studied French at Berkeley and gained a lot of weight without realizing it (she thought that the Laundromat was shrinking her clothes). She met her good-looking first husband at the college pub and they lived in a mansion that he was housesitting. They got married in a park in Berkeley and Jessica bought clothes for a department store. They moved to Toronto and Jessica couldn’t work in Canada (though she did some, illegally), so she started writing. She sent one story out to one place and it was accepted. Jessica kept writing. They got a dog, but Jessica had always wanted to be a mother. Jessica felt her body change and knew that she was pregnant. Her body kept changing until she felt huge, uncomfortable, ridiculous—and then her first daughter was born. There were marriage problems and Jessica applied to graduate school. She was accepted into the writing program at Johns Hopkins University and moved to Baltimore. Her first husband stayed in Toronto and that was how their marriage ended. Jessica loved Hopkins and writing and felt liberated. She met her second husband, the unbelievably wonderful David Grossbach, at Sam’s Bagels. He looked her up in the phone book after he got home and then they got married and then Jessica’s second daughter was born. After that, Jessica wrote and then published The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and felt, after all those years of writing, that she had finally made it. And she had. And everybody was happy that she had.

Jessica Anya Blau and The Summer of Naked Swim Parties
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Blogging about the Book Tour

Thank you to Neil Ferguson, the events manager at the Charles Village Barnes & Noble in Baltimore, for organizing a great reading. Thank you to the 130+ people (by Neil's count) who came out to hear Jessica Anya Blau and me read. Thank you to Tita for introducing. Thank you to everybody who asked questions after the reading. Thank you to Caryn and Hannah and another Hannah and Michael and Neil and Lihan and Jess and Jessica and Jill and Shelly and Rob. Thank you to everybody whose name I don't know.
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