Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)

Screenings in ATL and LA

Atlanta: On Friday, May 14, at 8pm, at eyedrum, there will be a screening of 60 Writers/60 Places. There will also be readings by Zachary Schomburg and Ann Stephenson. Many thanks to the great Blake Butler for setting this up.

Los Angeles: On Thursday, May 20, at 10pm at Sunset 5 Theater, there will be a free double feature, both I Will Smash You and 60 Writers/60 Places. Many thanks to the great Ken Baumann for making this happen.

There is more information about both documentaries, plus stills and trailers, at Little Burn Films.

This Furniture

The great Luca Dipierro made a wonderful one-minute animation based on a single sentence from Dear Everybody.

Comments (3)

Live Giants

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

Each Moment of It Is Magical

The good Brian Allen Carr wrote a a great review of Dear Everybody that's up at Dark Sky Magazine. He says a ton of nice things. Here are three of them:
(1) "Each moment of it is magical."
(2) "Using smooth rhythms, polished tones and humorous observations, Kimball gives us a monster of a family that somehow the reader needs to know."
(3) "The explicit humanity rendered throughout, make Dear Everybody a truly great read. That Kimball is able to polish each element–each entry–in the collection to a high sheen evidences a talent not often seen."

#260 Shawn Theron: SOGH

Shawn Theron was born in 1972 in Baltimore, MD. He grew up in one of those modular homes that are trucked to the lot in halves. There was a huge backyard and Shawn played in the woods with his sister and his best friends, Jenny and Erin. They had their own Twisted Pine Nature Trail that they built together. When Shawn did go inside, he had to deal with his mother, a severe alcoholic, which was not fantastic. Long nights dealing with his mother meant that Shawn didn’t quite have the bandwidth for school. He always felt exhausted and teachers’ advice just seemed like criticism. Once, Shawn brought home a report card with grades that spelled D-E-A-D (the A was in art). When Shawn was 16, his mother and father divorced. After that, Shawn moved in with his paternal grandmother, Red (he named her this when he was 10 because she lived in a red house, drove a red car, and wore her red hair in a beehive). With Red, life became more normal and Shawn could finally breathe. Shawn loved their impromptu road trips (like going crabbing in Annapolis, which, with all the Navy guys around, was amazing for a super young gay guy) and how much fun it was to get lost together. He loved their late night conversations at the dining table while the quiet of the world wrapped itself around them. Red became Shawn’s mother and his best friend and his own personal movie star. Shawn finished high school, but only managed a semester at the local community college. Shawn suspects he has learning issues, but the schools didn’t really test for that then. After that, Shawn started working in Baltimore restaurants—everything from bartending to waiting tables to managing, eventually winding up at Joy America Cafe, which used to be in the penthouse of the Visionary Art Museum. This brought Shawn close to art, but he hadn't started painting yet. In 2003, Red died, cancer. Before she passed, Red told Shawn to do big and great things with his life. She also gave him the word SOGH. Shawn didn’t know what the word meant, but, in the beginning, SOGH was Shawn’s computer and his camera, which recorded the most profound moments of his life. About 3 years later, Shawn moved back into Red’s house, which had these huge shelving units that he dismantled and started painting. Those shelving planks were the first SOGH paintings. Not long after that, Shawn went public with SOGH. Shawn’s friend Rebecca (the visionary behind the Visionary) was a huge source of encouragement and his friend Ted offered him wall space at the museum store at the Visionary Art Museum. 30 minutes after the paintings were hung on the wall, 2 paintings sold (61 the first month, 1357 the first year). Shawn feels spectacularly blessed. Painting is his whole life and, to help, Shawn’s father spent his nights and weekends (for almost 2 years) building a studio so that Shawn could make even more paintings (just one way his father has been there for him). Now Shawn’s mission is to get SOGH to every city around the world. So far, over 10,000 paintings are circulating the globe—including Afghanistan, the South Pole, and one at the Eiffel tower. SOGH has changed Shawn’s life. SOGH is something meaningful that everybody can be a part of. No matter where it hangs, SOGH comes from the past and places a message in the future.

[Note: See, get, spread the SOGH.]
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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.

The PRISM Index Is Coming to Town

The PRISM Index is coming to town and the show will be on Sunday, May 2, at 9pm, at Rocket to Venus. I'll be reading from the paperback of Dear Everybody and showing a couple of shorts from Little Burn Films. There will also be musical performances by David Heumann (Arbouretum) and Robinson Lee Earle, plus live painting troupe Root 222.

If you can't make the show, Issue #1 is now available. It's 80 pages/88 min DVD/72 min CD and has a huge list of contributors, including me: Belly Boat, Jeffrey Bowers, Jeffrey Brown, Jeff Brush, Castanets (Ray Raposa), Diane Cluck, William Fowler Collins, Josh Cotter, Jay Duplass, Jeremy Bradley Earl, Robert Earle, Theo Ellsworth, Steve Emmons, Fantastic Magic, Grant Falardeau, Chema Garcia, Golden Ghost (Laura Goetz), Lisa Hanawalt, Chadd Harbold, Trent Harris, David Heumann, Brent Hoff, Michael Hurley, Azazel Jacobs, Hermann Karlsson, Michael Kimball, Mike Kuchar, Michael Langan, Robbie Lee, Julia Marino, Daniel Martinico, Charlie McArthur, Colin McDonald, Gavin McInnes, Brian McMullen, Carson Mell, Mi and L’au, Adam “Meadows” Mitchell, Mr. Leg, Louis Munroe, Annelies Monsere, Ormo, Parker Paul, Bill Plympton, Bhob Rainey, Brett Eugene Ralph, Luke Ramsey, Dan Reeder, Jay Rosenblatt, Mick Rossi, Chris Schlarb, Chriss Sutherland, Justin Taylor, Thee More Shallows (Dee Kesler), Dustin Thompson, James Jackson Toth, Schon Wanner, Sarah Warda, Virgil Widrich, Women & Children (Kevin Lasting), David Zellner, Nathan Zellner.

Andy Devine Week (6)

There's an incredible interview with Andy Devine at the always incredible elimae. I couldn't have written the Afterword to WORDS without Devine's answers to Josh Maday's brilliant questions.

This concludes Andy Devine Week.

Andy Devine Week (5)

There's an Andy Devine Sampler sprinkled around the internet machine. Besides pieces like Top Ten Implicit or Explicit Writing Tips and Plots, which have already been a part of Andy Devine Week, there is the chapbook As Day Same That the the Was Year at Chapbook Genius. There is also a small selection from Words That Should Not Be Used in Fiction and a small selection of Words That Should Not Be Used in Fiction at Unsaid 4, one of the single best issues of a literary magazine ever published. Plus, there is a lot more in the whole copies of WORDS at Publishing Genius. Plus, there is more from Andy Devine coming in New York Tyrant #8 and Unsaid #5. Thank you for reading this and being a part of Andy Devine Week.

Poets & Writers: Beyond Words

I have a little Writers Recommend piece at Poets & Writers. Also, there is now a link to the Poets & Writers article about writers who practice other arts, Beyond Words, in which I talk about painting (and Michelle Wildgen talks about cooking and Jesse Ball talks about drawing).

Andy Devine Week (4)

#255: The Alphabetical Andy Devine
Andy Devine was born in Flagstaff, Arizona and it is probably significant that his first name begins with the letter A. From an early age, Andy loved to play with his wooden letter blocks and as he got older he would alphabetize them into walls of letters. In kindergarten, he was mesmerized by the alphabet that hung over the chalkboard—both the uppercase and the lowercase. Andy did not talk much, though, so it was a while before his parents realized that he had a speech impediment, a kind of stutter (which some have sited this as a possible explanation for his conceptual fictions). When he was 8, there was a terrible incident concerning the family’s baby being killed, though it is unclear how and who killed the baby. It is known, however, that Devine was sent to live with his maternal grandparents in Toms River, New Jersey after this and worked in the family grocery store growing up there. He spent a lot of the daytime in the backyard where he taught himself to sit so still that birds would land on him and squirrels would crawl over him. In middle school, Andy started reading a lot of books, his favorites being dictionaries, encyclopedias, and thesauruses—anything that arranged the material alphabetically. In high school, Andy was a small forward on the basketball team and a middle-distance runner on the track team. He began to notice girls and fell in love with girl after girl whose names started with the letter A—Abby, Alice, Amy, Angie, Ann, Anna, Audrey (in that order). The first girl he ever kissed was named Birdy. In college, Andy played in a punk band called Babylonia that only played covers of songs that were written in languages they didn’t understand. And Andy studied library science and, after graduating, worked for a time at the main branch of the New York Public Library, but he eventually became disenchanted with the Dewey decimal system as an organizational system. While living in NYC, Andy developed a hatred for actors and a taste for a thoughtfully constructed indexes. In his late 20s, his girlfriend Zooey broke up with him and she was the last woman that he ever loved. Andy tried to read novels to console himself, but he felt as if novelists were choosing the wrong words. In response, Andy started creating lists of words that should and shouldn’t be used in fiction, works that became implicit critiques of contemporary writing and publishing. In spring 2010, Publishing Genius will bring out his first book, WORDS. Other acknowledgments of his remarkable work are the fact that Andy Devine Avenue (in Flagstaff, Arizona) is named after him and his mention in a Frank Zappa song (“Andy”). Someday, there will probably be a bridge or maybe a mountain that is named after him.

[Get Words by Andy Devine.]
Comments (1)

Andy Devine Week (3)

The good Dylan Landis posted a great write-up of Andy Devine's book WORDS. After noting that Andy Devine is "an invented genius," Dylan says this: "I am amazed to find myself joyful over the whole thing." And then: "This feels like getting my brain rubbed right through the dura mater." And then: "The book made me bizarrely happy."

And the good J.A. Tyler has a nice review (and reading) of WORDS up The Rumble. Among the many thoughtful things J.A. says, he calls WORDS "a kind of life-raft for the literary weary."
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