Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)

A Sentence of Mystery

I have an interview with Matt Bell up at The Faster Times. We start with the ways in which Matt begins a fiction, talk about working with ideas and working with language, and then finish with the way a fiction ends.

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, Adam Robinson,Kevin Sampsell, Gina Frangello, Evan Lavender-Smith, Ken Sparling.

The Andy Devine Tour

The Andy Devine Tour kicked off in Baltimore, made its way to NYC (attached), and will move on to dates in Muncie, Indiana -- Portland, Oregon -- Nashville, Tennessee -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania -- back to Baltimore, Maryland -- Ann Arbor, Michigan -- Brooklyn, New York -- et cetera. Even if you don't live in any of those place, you can still read WORDS to yourself.

So Meta

The good Ellen Moynihan has written the postcard life story of Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard). It's at The Dirty Durty Diary.

CityLit and UBaltimore: Wednesday, 7pm, the New Barnes & Noble Bookstore


The Baltimore Book Festival

The Baltimore Book Festival starts in a few hours and, for the first time in years, it isn't going to rain. The 5ive:Ten Readings will be doing a special date in the CityLit tent on Saturday, 5pm. The lineup is Paula Bomer, Aryn Kyle, Jen Michalski, Justin Kramon, Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch (whose reading will be a kind of duet or dialogue), and I'll be reading something brand new. I hope to see you there.
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60 WRITERS/60 PLACES @ The New School

There's a screening of 60 WRITERS/60 PLACES at The New School in NYC on Wednesday, September 22 at 6pm. Time Out New York calls the film "innovative ... striking ... poignant ... humorous." The Los Angeles Times says: "The idea is so beautiful." It's free and open to the public. I won't be there, but Luca Dipierro, who co-directed, will be, along with a bunch of the writers in the film. Click on the pic for more info.

#171 Hayley West: The Build Up

Hayley Jolene West was born in Melbourne, Australia to English-immigrant parents. Her last name, West, is new; her middle name, Jolene, she took from her sister. Hayley has some horse-whispering heritage, has broken wild horses, and loves the feeling of galloping on a horse. When she has 5, Hayley’s little sister died in a friend's swimming pool—after which, Hayley and her brother were forced to learn to swim like fish. But most of her childhood was fantastic. Her parents used to party at their friends’ houses, so she often got to stay up late with other kids. At first, Hayley was a rat-bag in primary school, cheated a lot, ran away every other weekend. Then she was sent to a different high school and became a straight-A student, at least for a while. Hayley’s first two years of University were spent drinking, seeing bands, and protesting. After that, she changed her major from languages and did an associate degree in furniture technology. At the same time, she was working three part-time jobs and saving, saving, saving. At 21, Hayley traveled Europe for a year with a friend and ran riot. Hayley’s loud laugh makes Hayley particularly Hayley. At 22, Hayley returned to Australia and lived in Hobart, Tasmania where she studied furniture design for a year—before moving back to Melbourne to be with her father who was dying of cancer. After he died, Hayley didn’t do much for a year. Eventually, she went back to school and studied sculpture at RMIT. Over the years, Hayley has worked lots of different jobs, including a few in the adult industry—a dodgy dating agency, a chat-line operator, a sex shop assistant. It is fascinating. After all that, Hayley left a boyfriend and left Melbourne. She moved far away to Darwin where she had never lived before and then things really changed for her. It is one of the best decisions she has ever made. She began to flourish as an artist and she met a man named Tobias at an art gallery where she worked. He is also an artist and would visit the gallery once a week. Hayley was always excited when he showed up. Over 2 years ago, Hayley’s mother died, also of cancer, and becoming an orphan as an adult changed how she feels about her self and family. In 2007, Tobias proposed to Hayley in Venice. In 2008, they got married on leap day and then honeymooned at an arts residency. They've been together 4 years now and Tobias calms Hayley down, especially in the build-up—a humid, grey-sky part of the year with no rain—when she can go a bit troppo (everybody goes slightly mad during this time—more suicides, more babies conceived, more angry emails). Hayley is so happy to have found Tobias and can’t wait to spend the rest of their lives being artists together.

[Update: On March 18, 2010, Hayley West gave birth to a beautiful baby girl --Ramona Billie Lola Richardson. This winter, Hayley canceled her arts residency in the Philippines when her mother-in-law became very ill. She died just a month ago and everybody is still devastated. Their old dog Lassie, an Aboriginal camp dog, was about 11 years old when she died in the garden next to Buddha. Hayley loved that old smelly dog. Hayley will soon begin another arts residency in London—with Ramona. Tobias will be on his arts residency at the same time in Paris. She can't wait to get out of Darwin where everybody is already going troppo. Hayley is looking forward to re-evaluating her arts practice in London. It's been quite hard being creative while pregnant, but she’s loving motherhood more than she ever imagined.]

#131: Tao Lin Will Never Get Another Real Job for the Rest of His Life

Tao Lin was born in Flagstaff, Arizona. He had a very busy childhood that involved practicing the piano a lot. When he was 5, Tao remembers writing little books and selling them to his mother for $0.50. When Tao was small, his neighbor had a rabbit farm and sold them for money. Being near that changed Tao, and, because of it, he talks less shit about people publicly and makes fewer grand pronouncements. Growing up, Tao played kickball and baseball and basketball in the neighborhood, but not at school. When he was 10, he was playing poker with his neighbor and bet his entire coin collection. The neighbor won and Tao picked up his coin collection and ran back to his house and locked the door. The neighbor knocked a lot and said things like this: "Just give me half. I won't be angry." Tao kept practicing the piano until he no longer owned a piano that worked. Then, at New York University, he studied journalism, but he would have studied creative writing if there had been a program. His sophomore year, he broke up with his girlfriend and it was after that that he decided to focus really hard on writing. After that, Tao wrote and published you are a little bit happier than I am (poetry), Bed (stories), Eeeee Eee Eeee (novel), and cognitive-behavioral therapy (poetry). As Tao has noted in interviews, his writing expresses crippling loneliness, severe depression, and the arbitrary nature of the universe. Also, Tao enjoys repeatedly looking at statcounter, salesrankexpress, facebook, myspace, gmail, and bloglines. When a number changes, he feels like something has happened. His job is to promote himself to ensure that money will come to him 2-3 years from now, and then even after that. Everything is just some thing that Tao does. It can be either good or bad depending on the way he thinks about it. Once, Tao thought about peeing in an empty FYXX energy drink bottle and selling it on eBay. Another time, after he ran out of money, Tao sold 10% shares of his second novel, Richard Yates (2010), to six different people for $2,000 per share. But he has not sold shares for Shoplifting from American Apparel (2009). He will never get another real job for the rest of his life.

[Update: Tao Lin just published a new novel, Richard Yates.

What Is Andy Devine's Words?

There's a very nice write up of Andy Devine's Words by the good Thomas Baughman in which he asks this smart question: "Is this a fine example of avante-garde writing or a brilliant parody of postmodern pastiche and reader-response criticism?" Can the answer be yes to all parts of that question?

The 5ive:Ten Readings

Sure, we took the summer off from The 5ive:Ten Readings, but we want you to know that we missed you and that nothing has changed between us. The first episode of the Fall 510 is going to feature readers from Unsaid Magazine, one of the greatest literary magazines ever published. The September line-up features Michael Kimball, Kim Calder, Kate Wyer, and Andy Devine. That's Saturday, September 18th, 5pm at the Minas Gallery. There are some good looking photos and bios at the link.

The Saturday after that, the 25th, The 5ive:Ten Readings will be at the Baltimore Book Festival in the CityLit Tent at 5pm with Paula Bomer, Aryn Kyle, Jen Michalski, Michael Kimball, Justin Kramon, and the writing duo of Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch.

I'm going to be reading brand new work. I hope to see you there or there.

I Will Smash You and 60 Writers/60 Places

There's a screening of I Will Smash You at the Minas Gallery (scroll down for more info) on Thursday, September 16, 7pm. There's a rave review in the City Paper. Bret McCabe says some really nice things, including this: "What's disarming about the entire process is not the clever, collateral entertainment damage that comes from staged violence; what emerges from these brief snippets are miniature personality portraits of human beings."

Or, if you happen to live near Bay City instead of Baltimore, then a few segments from I Will Smash You will be screened as part of the Clean Shorts Film Festival. That's September 17, 7:30pm (doors at 6:30pm). In case you're wondering, the film festival is mom-approved. Click on the pic for more info.

Or, if you'd rather see 60 WRITERS/60 PLACES, there's a screening at The New School in NYC on Wednesday, September 22 at 6pm. Time Out New York calls the film "innovative ... striking ... poignant ... humorous." The Los Angeles Times says: "The idea is so beautiful." I won't be there, but Luca Dipierro, who co-directed, will be. Click on the pic for more info.


I'm very excited to be a part of Meowpolis, a show of cat art, as is Moose. The show will go up at Baltimore's Whole Gallery on October 19th. Thanks to Rahne Alexander and Freda Mohr for putting it together.
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