Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)

Zachary German on 60 WRITERS/60 PLACES

Zachary German has a nice, descriptive write-up of 60 WRITERS/60 PLACES at Moby Lives. It is, as they say, "good."

Shanti Perez Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard): #233 Michael Baker

Michael George Baker, the youngest of three brothers, was born to Michael and Zinda, in Spokane, in Washington, in July 1989, on a day when the high temperature was 89 °F, and had to undergo surgery as an infant because he could not swallow food. His mother didn’t really care what he did or didn’t do, so he kept pets, and he has always had the impulse to wander. His father, who is reputed to have been a good cook at the Davenport Hotel long ago, beat Michael’s mother when she was pregnant with him and has been in and out of prison all of Michael’s life, so he hasn’t spent much time with him. Michael knows his father is famous in Spokane for his association with methamphetamines. Since he and his father have the same name, Michael has to sometimes inform people that he’s not ‘that’ Michael Baker. Michael does strange things, such as in third grade when he ate a green caterpillar, which reminded him of jelly candy. He uses dermestid beetles to clean the flesh off of animals that have died natural deaths and then he reconstructs their skeletons. In school, he was fascinated with the Russian language and studied horticulture and livestock. His love of animals led him to a fascination with poultry genetics, which he thinks is the best decision he’s ever made—though he describes it as an addiction. Michael does not like to have regrets. When he was seven years old he was attacked and bitten by a dog, which left a scar, but he persevered—he now works in a pet store and it’s the most fun job he’s ever had. During his days off, he enjoys reading and thinking about poultry genetics. Right now, he doesn’t have a spouse or kids, and he doesn’t feel he needs them like most people do. Instead, his companions are a trio of Saxony ducks and saltwater fish, which he keeps in a tank in his bedroom. Michael has a rare condition known as triorchidism that some of his friends and family do not know about. He is most proud of the way he turned out, because left to his own devices most of the time, he could have gotten into drugs. The biggest plan he has, in keeping with his childhood impulse to wander, is to see the world and also save money and move to a state like Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, or Kentucky, though he doesn’t know why he’s chosen these places. In his spare time, he plans to develop new color varieties of chickens, perhaps a landrace and a blue egg layer that yields high egg production. He doesn’t want to be a doctor, lawyer, or fireman. He enjoys the simple things in life.

Michael Baker on Facebook

[Note: You can read Shanti Perez's amazing life story here.]

Dear Michael Kimball

The good John Madera has an incredibly thoughtful review of DEAR EVERYBODY, disguised as a letter to Michael Kimball, up at the always wonderful Word Riot. The review asks many smart questions, among them: "How do I get rid of your voice in my head?"

Adam Robinson Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard): #219 Cubicle Wall

At about three o'clock Central time, the cubicle wall was born at average height. The cubicle wall was happy about this, but before long he was laid flat and wrapped in cardboard. He was stacked somewhere. (He didn't know where because he couldn't see on account of the box he was in and also because he didn't have eyes or a brain.) He stayed there for several long days. He started to cry through his fabric. Then, earless, he heard a truck and felt himself lifted onto it. There was a rumbling. In the truck he traveled until the truck stopped, whereupon the cubicle wall was unloaded. He was elated when the box was peeled away and he was fastened to some other beige cubicle walls in the form of a box. Together with a computer and some pens they became a community. A phone came along and joined the group. The computer was friendly, but the pens were often short. The phone had a whiney ring. One day, and then repeatedly every weekday for three years, a good looking young man came and sat in front of the beige cubicle wall. He touched the computer, the phone and the pens. He rarely touched the cubicle wall except, occasionally, to stick some sheet of paper to it with a pin. The puncture didn't hurt nearly as bad as the feeling of being ignored. The young man seemed not to care about the cubicle wall. It was even as if the cubicle wall represented something hateful to the young man, or if not hateful, at least unbearably mundane. But the cubicle wall was resolute. He would be there for the young man tomorrow, too, and the next day, and the day after that. Oh yes, the cubicle wall would remain a presence in that young man’s life for many long years.

[Note: Adam Robinson's postcard life story is here.]
Comments (1)

A Kind of Planned Awkwardness

I have an interview with Joseph Young up at The Faster Times. We talk about his new book, Easter Rabbit, by way of his microfiction, "Eleven"--of which I ask questions that address each of the 30 words in the piece.

More interviews @ The Faster Times:
I Am Not a Camera: Gary Lutz
A Ribbon of Language: Blake Butler
What People Do When No One is Watching: Rachel Sherman
Justify Every Sentence: Laura van den Berg
Most Violence Is Intimate: Ben Tanzer
I'm Not Trying to Trick the Reader: Brian Evenson
Where Commas Ordinarily Go: Robert Lopez
My Narrative Mind: Joanna Howard
Details Are My Weakness: Dylan Landis

Matt Bell's Best Of What I Learned About Writing from Interviews Written by Michael Kimball

I really like this: Matt Bell has posted the Best Of What I Learned About Writing from Interviews Written by Michael Kimball at Big Other, which is "arranged into a short collage essay on sound and language in fiction."
Comments (1)

60 Writers/60 Places, Some Thank Yous

That photo is Luca and me introducing 60 Writers/60 Places at the PPOW Gallery. Thank you to Nelly Reifler for setting up Pratt. Thank you to Jamie Sterns for setting up the PPOW Gallery. Thank you to the nice people who said nice things about the film.

"innovative ... striking ... poignant ... humorous"
--Chris Schonberger, Time Out New York

"brilliant premise"
--Lincoln Michel, The Faster Times

The films of Michael Kimball and Luca Dipierro have at the forefront a concern with the way space is altered and engaged with when people enter the picture. When people enter the picture and sometimes say and do startling things.
--Rozalia Jovanovic, The Rumpus

#35 Joseph Young: A Tiny Story

Joseph Young has traveled back and forth between Kalamazoo and San Francisco and San Francisco and Baltimore for most of his life. This wanderlust has always been a part of Joe’s life. He is most at home not being at home—that is, he is most at home being somewhere else. This sense of home has driven Joe to hitchhike across the country and to drive drive-away cars to anywhere. Once, he died on the railroad tracks in Mexico, though the significance of this event is obscure. Now he is alive again and becoming more comfortable with being at home, as well as becoming more comfortable with himself. While at home, he writes about art and writes what he describes as tiny stories that pop out of his head with no preconceived notion attached to them. He likes the sustained, intense concentration that the tiny stories require and the white space that contains the tiny stories. He likes the miles that he has traveled and the way that that distance surrounds his life.

[Update: Joseph Young's first book, Easter Rabbit, a book of microfictions, is now out with Publishing Genius. ]

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.]

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.
Comments (2)

60 Writers/60 Places in NYC

There is a nice little write-up of 60 WRITERS/60 PLACES, a film I made with Luca Dipierro, in the Notable New York section of The Rumpus. Among other things, the good Rozalia Jovanovic writes: "The films of Michael Kimball and Luca Dipierro have at the forefront a concern with the way space is altered and engaged with when people enter the picture. When people enter the picture and sometimes say and do startling things."

60 WRITERS/60 PLACES will premiere this week in New York City. There are two screenings: Friday, December 11 at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and Saturday, December 12 at PPOW Gallery in Chelsea. There is more info, plus stills and trailers, at Little Burn Films.

#231 The Arrival of Peter Wolfgang

Peter Wolfgang was born and raised in the small town of Coshocton, Ohio, which is good for learning how to play football, taking piano lessons, and exploring the woods. When Peter was a kid, things were confusing and he didn’t know what to rely on. His parents split up when he was 2 and then got back together when he was 5—and then his little brother Daniel was born right after that. It was difficult to understand his parents liking each other again after all the yelling and fighting. Mostly though, Peter remembers the woods behind his house where he often played alone. When Peter was 9, his brother Andrew was born and the family moved into a house with no woods behind it, so he started playing sports with the neighborhood kids, which was sort of embarrassing because he never had the cool tennis shoes. Peter loves his two brothers so much, especially how comfortable they are with themselves; the way they look up to him makes him want to be a better person. In high school, Peter discovered pot when he smoked it with Tommy, and that was sort of a revelation in self-awareness. Peter also achieved a lot in high school–won awards for good grades and playing the piano, lettered in soccer, won a scholarship to college. Unfortunately, Peter took no pride in these things. It was easy to be the smart guy in a small town where many people ended up working for a local factory that made rubber floor mats for cars. Eventually, Peter got bored with Coshocton and tired of feeling un-cool, like he didn't fit in. Peter wanted to move to a big city and left for NYC when NYU offered him a scholarship. This change opened up lots of possibilities, both good and bad, but the bad possibilities were more prominent and Peter made a serious effort to do himself in. He never thought more than a few days ahead, and he decided to study philosophy, mostly because thinking that way was easy for him and he could get by with cramming. Then Peter met Heather, who is beautiful and super-smart; she is really put together and confident and she helped Peter realize that a person can be interesting and creative and not self-destructive. After Peter met Heather, he actually started trying for the first time. He got serious about his career. He went to Columbia for his MBA and that opened up so many new possibilities for him. And he only ever thought to try for it because he wanted to make a future for Heather and with Heather. They have been married for over a year now and now Peter feels like he is finally able to take advantage of all the possibilities in New York City. It’s as if Peter is just now arriving for the first time.

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