Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)

Lily Hoang on Us @ Htmlgiant


I have always felt grateful whenever I have received a good review. I have always felt grateful when it seems as if somebody gets what I have written. But I feel something beyond that after reading Lily Hoang's piece, A letter to Michael Kimball--a moving and beautiful reading of Us. I can still feel what she says in the middle of my chest. Thank you, Lily.
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Elliot Feels His Feelings

This htmlgiant interview may be the most fun that I've ever had on the interviewee side of the interview. The wonderful Matthew Simmons and I talked back and forth about Us as he read it over the course of a few weeks. We talked about the different ways that hearts can break, E.T., blowback, and a bunch of other stuff. Among other things, Matthew says this of Us: ‎"... disarmingly simple, gorgeously structured, and as achingly sad a book as I have ever read. I had to stop a couple of times. I really did. The book’s elderly couple—so painfully aware of the fact that one of them is living the last parts of her life—are drawn so concisely, and the situation is so precisely rendered, it was hard not to spend all my time living in it even when I wasn’t reading the book."
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Literary Fundraising

There's a great post about literary fundraising (and other kinds of fundraising) and kickstarter by Rebekah Silverman over at htmlgiant. It mentions The Understanding Campaign, which is making its last push for funding. There's also Ampersand's re:Telling anthology, in which the postcard life story project is part of the $100 premium.
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Dear Everybody @ HtmlGiant



Dear Everybody and Zombies
at HtmlGiant.
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Giant Lecture #6: Acoustics

Lecture #1 is about openings. Lecture #2 is about ways to keep the fiction moving forward. Lecture #3 is about some ways to get yourself to sit in the chair and write. Lecture #4 is about story and plot. Lecture #5 is about language and sentences. Lecture #6 is about acoustics.
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Live Giants

I'm doing Live Giants tonight at 9PM at HTMLGIANT -- with special guest Andy Devine.
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Live HTMLGIANT Reading

I'm doing a live reading at HTMLGIANT on Thursday, April 29th, at 9pm. Andy Devine will be opening for me.
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Roxane Gay on Good Stories

The good Roxane Gay has a very thoughtful post about good stories up at HTMLGIANT in which she discusses Little House on the Prairie books, Dylan Landis' Normal People Don't Live Here, and Dear Everybody, of which she says, in part, this: "Dear Everybody is one of the finest, most heartbreaking books I’ve ever read ... Kimball writes his characters with a tenderness that moves me profoundly ... The complexity in Dear Everybody builds subtly, but by the end of the book the immensity of the story that has been told is staggering." Thank you, Roxane.
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Giant Lecture #5: Language and Sentences

Lecture #1 is about openings. Lecture #2 is about ways to keep the fiction moving forward. Lecture #3 is about some ways to get yourself to sit in the chair and write. Lecture #4 is about story and plot. Lecture #5 is about language and sentences.
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Kevin Sampsell Week @ HTMLGIANT

I interviewed Kevin Sampsell for Kevin Sampsell Week at HTMLGIANT.
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Giant Lecture #4: Story and Plot

Lecture #1 is about openings. Lecture #2 is about ways to keep the fiction moving forward. Lecture #3 is about some ways to get yourself to sit in the chair and write. Lecture #4 is about story and plot.
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Giant Lecture Series #3: The Rough Parts

Lecture #1 is about openings. Lecture #2 is about ways to keep the fiction moving forward. Lecture #3 is about some ways to get yourself to sit in the chair and write.
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Guest Lecture Series #2: Keeping Going

Lecture #1 is about openings. Lecture #2 is about ways to keep the fiction moving forward. Thank you, HTMLGIANT for letting me be your guest.
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Guest Lecture Series @ HTMLGIANT

I'm doing a talk-thing at a free writing conference and the talk is going to be called something like “The One-Hour Crash Course in Fiction Writing.” I’m going to try to cover ways to think about beginnings, language, syntax, details, voice, character, plot, story, revising, endings, etc. I had the idea because it has always been little bits of advice, something that I could hold in my head -- whether from a teacher, from something I read, or from another writer -- that were the most useful thing to me as I tried to figure out what I wanted to do as a writer. So this post on openings @ HTMLGIANT will be the first in a series of guest posts about some of the elements of fiction. Feel free to join in.
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#182 The Myth of Scott McClanahan

Scott McClanahan was born in West Virginia and regularly used the bathroom in a johnny house (johnny houses have been a seminal event in many writers lives, including Jean Genet). Scott’s childhood was spent in Rainelle, West Virginia—a town full of lumberjacks, severed arms, coal miners, and old mountains. The town specializes in teenage pregnancy and prescription drug abuse. When Scott was five, he watched some older boys set a forest on fire, which the West Virginia National Guard had to put out. When Scott was 7, his grandmother Ruby had her gallstones removed, then brought all 15 of them home and asked Scott to put them in her flowerbed. During the blizzard of ’93, Scott started writing. Scott’s teenage years were spent reading Isak Dinesen and watching professional wrestling. He will not rest until Ric Flair is recognized as a great artist by this culture. In high school, he played quarterback, which is how he ended up with a compound fracture of his left arm. In college, Scott’s roommate was a great friend from Rainelle who suffered from OCD, which meant that he also always kept the room clean. Scott worked at the same grocery store his father did and was a substitute teacher at the same school where his mother taught. It was for 7 years that Scott chased a woman named Sarah before she went out on a real date with him, but now they are married. Sarah is a nurse and each night he sits and listens to her talk about patients dying, the way eyes look when the last moment of oxygen is escaping from a brain. Sarah has a magnificent heart and Scott will fight the man who doesn’t believe in true love (seriously, send him your address and he’ll come fight you). Scott cries every other day over something, which he considers a good thing. A couple of months ago, Sarah brought home a 13-year-old blind dog. Now Scott goes home each day and watches it bump from wall to wall. The blind dog has become a metaphor for Scott’s life and Scott is training his other dog to become a seeing-eye dog. Now Scott lives in southern West Virginia, an hour from where he grew up. He has stayed because it's one of the last places with myths (John Henry is from there). Scott does not plan for the future if it can be avoided—he understands that within 3 months the shroud could be his garment—but he knows that he will be buried on Backus Mountain. And he wants “I regret” written on his tombstone—along with “I told you I was sick.”

[Update: Scott McClanahan's second book, Stories II, is just out from Six Gallery Press. There is a nice write-up of it by Sam Pink at HTMLGIANT. This is Scott's first book, Stories.]
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DEAR EVERYBODY: 25 Important Books of the 00s

DEAR EVERYBODY was named one of the "25 Important Books of the 00s" at the wonderful HTMLGIANT.

Thank you, Blake Butler.

Thank you, HTMLGIANT.
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Dear Michael Kimball

I did an interview with the wonderful Susan Tomaselli -- she asked really smart questions -- for the wonderful Dogmatika. And then Susan Tomaselli did something amazing with the questions and answers. In the spirit of DEAR EVERYBODY, she spliced that interview with photos and reviews and postcards and trailers and her own notes. Plus, she mentions a connection to Oulipo, the first person to make that true obversation. Plus, the piece mentions that HTMLGIANT named me the International King of Postcards. Thank you, Susan Tomaselli.
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I Love HTMLGIANT

Be a Secret Santa with books.
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