Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)

Mud Luscious Eleven

There's a great issue of Mud Luscious (#11) up with incredible work by Amelia Gray, Rachel Glaser, Peter Markus, Robert Lopez, Scott Garson, Joanna Ruocco, Alissa Nutting, Ken Sparling, Roy Kesey, Lily Hoang, Aaron Burch, Jac Jemc, James Kaelan, Adam Robinson, James Chapman, Ted Pelton, and Dawn Raffel. My piece is from How Much of Us There Was, which comes out later this fall with Tyrant Books.

DEAR EVERYBODY @ American Chronicle

William Hughes wrote a wonderful and personal review of DEAR EVERYBODY at American Chronicle. The review begins with this sentence: "Michael Kimball's third book, DEAR EVERYBODY, will kick you hard in the ass!" And then William thoughtfully breaks down the many perspectives in the novel--while also weaving in bits from Eckhart Tolle, Albert Camus, and about his own brother.

The Way the Family Got Away

There's a great descriptive review of The Way the Family Got Away at The Collagist. The good and smart John Madera says all kinds of thoughtful things here.

The Way the Family Got Away was published 10 years ago this month.

#72 Cheering for Karen Hood

Karen Hood’s family moved eight different times while she was growing up and she thought her family was destitute. Everybody else’s house seemed bigger than hers until they moved from New Jersey to Michigan. Karen brought her big hair and bright-colored clothes with her and the other kids at Waverly High School thought she was a rich kid. Karen used her beautiful voice to sing in the school choirs and to be a cheerleader. She has always liked the idea of helping other people to do better. After high school, Karen went to the University of Tennessee and majored in journalism. She started acting in TV commercials and do voiceover work on the radio. After college, she drove the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile around the country for a year. She was in lots of parades and tried to get in traffic jams (so they would mention her vehicle on the traffic reports). Karen had a series of jobs in marketing and public relations, but mostly stayed in Tennessee—in part because of the many early moves, but also because her mother was diagnosed with cancer and she wanted to spend as much time with her as she could. Her mother struggled with cancer for almost five years before passing away. After this, Karen hung onto other relationships to the very end. She was afraid of losing everybody. Years later, Karen struggled with her own difficult illness and she wished that her mother could have taken care of her (Karen’s mother was her cheerleader). Still, Karen found great comfort in the forty different friends who took turns staying with her for weeks after her surgery. Coming through all of this, Karen found a new kind of confidence and became her own cheerleader. Now she is finishing her Ph.D in marketing and will be moving to wherever her first academic job takes her. Everybody is cheering for this job to be wherever Karen wants it to be.

[Update: Karen finished her Ph.D in Marketing and took a job as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas—Little Rock. She loves her new town, her new little old house, and her students. Karen’s life doesn’t look like she once expected, but it’s a great life and she feels so blessed.]

[Note: Karen and I went to high school together. It was great to get to know her again all these years later and now our 25-year high school reunion is coming up in a few months.]

How Much of Us There Was

The good Nik Perring put up a great little post about How Much of Us There Was, which gets its US later this year with Tyrant Books. Along with some other nice things, Nik says: "How Much of Us There Was broke my heart. ... It is ... utterly brilliant and incredibly affecting."

I Don't Actually Mention Michael Jackson

I have an interview with Adam Robinson up at The Faster Times. We talk about his new book, Adam Robison and Other Poems, dopplegangers, consciousness, Judas Priest, and the index.

More interviews @ The Faster Times: Gary Lutz, Blake Butler, Rachel Sherman, Laura van den Berg, Ben Tanzer, Brian Evenson, Robert Lopez, Samuel Ligon, Dylan Landis, Joseph Young, Andrew Porter, Padgett Powell, Zachary German, Christopher Higgs, Sam Lipsyte, Dawn Raffel.

WORDS by Andy Devine by Luca Dipierro

The great Luca Dipierro made a beautiful and haunting trailer for Andy Devine's WORDS, which is still in pre-orders at Publishing Genius.

Comments (1)

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.

#58 William Walsh, Private Man (Now Less So)

William Walsh is a private man and there is little public knowledge of him. We know that he was born in the 1960’s, an event that quite possibly took place in Massachusetts. Not many specifics are known of his early life, but we can be certain that certain things happened—that he fell down while learning to walk, that his parents didn’t always understand him when he first learned to talk, that his baby teeth fell out and that the Tooth Fairy visited him without him knowing it. At some point, he learned to tie both of his shoes at the same time. When he was in the first grade, he was sent home from school for whistling. That was the last time that he did anything wrong or was in any kind of trouble. He was so good that he once played hopscotch with Pope John Paul II in Vatican Square. He always did his homework. His adolescence may have been awkward and he once ate his weight in clams. Regardless, he grew up, filled in, and became quite dashing. Later, there are public records concerning his attendance of Stonehill College and then the University of New Hampshire, concerning his marriage to a woman to whom he vowed everlasting love and, following this, the birth certificates for four children (he was recently spotted playing ski-ball with one of them at Dave & Busters). Other evidence for William Walsh’s existence includes his writings—a documentary novel called Without Wax, a formally inventive work about the adult film industry. But we should not draw any conclusions about William Walsh from this novel, his short stories, or his derived texts. This would not be dependable biographical information. Little else is known about William Walsh, but he was last observed watching late night television somewhere in Massachusetts. If you go look for him, then he might still be there.

[Note: This postcard life story was written, as a kind of challenge, based on what I know of William from our emails and the once we met (that is, without an interview). However, since then, Bill has read so many great postcard stories about how people met their wife or husband or girlfriend or boyfriend that he decided to write his own addendum about meeting his wife, which he did here at The Kenyon Review.]

[Book Updates: William Walsh is the author of Without Wax and Questionstruck and Pathologies can be pre-ordered and Ampersand will bring out an anthology he edited in 2011.]

Source of Lit: At Emerging Writers Network

Emerging Writers Network, Dan Wickett and David McLendon say some really nice things about a story I published in Unsaid that is called "The Clothes that They Were Wearning, the Things that They Did." Dan calls it "sensual" and David says this: "It's as if his mother ate pages from the OED and manuals of style while Kimball was in her womb." This is part of ongoing series where Dan and David have been writing about the work of each author from Unsaid #4, one of the single best issues of a literary magazine ever published.

What We Do With Loss

I have an interview with Dawn Raffel up at The Faster Times. We talk about her new book, Further Adventures in the Restless Universe, syntax, layering, breaking off, and what a writer can do with loss.

More interviews @ The Faster Times: Gary Lutz, Blake Butler, Rachel Sherman, Laura van den Berg, Ben Tanzer, Brian Evenson, Robert Lopez, Samuel Ligon, Dylan Landis, Joseph Young, Andrew Porter, Padgett Powell, Zachary German, Christopher Higgs, Sam Lipsyte.

Fictionaut Five

This also went up while I was in Argentina, a very nice interview with the good Meg Pokrass, the Fictionaut Five. I answer questions about writing the life stories of objects and one of my pseudonyms, Andy Devine, among others.
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