Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)

Tin House: The Circumstances of My Birth


Tin House is publishing fiction online and I have a new piece there called The Circumstances of My Birth.

Many thanks to Tony Perez.
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BIG RAY


There will probably be some tweaks -- a bigger font size for the title and maybe white for my name and the placement of "a novel" might move -- but I love this cover too much to not show it to everybody already. Bloomsbury will publish BIG RAY Fall 2012.
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Matter Press: Compressed Forms

I have a new piece called Translation #1 up at Matter Press, the Journal of Compressed Arts. Many thanks to the good Randall Brown.
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LitLive @ MICA

I'm excited to be reading with my pal Justin Sirois at MICA. The event is called LitLive and it's happening this Thursday, October 13th, 5pm, at MICA, Bunting Center Room 452, 1401 Mt. Royal Avenue (Corner of Lafayette & Mt. Royal). Thanks to Dan Gutstein for setting everything up and for bringing the cupcakes. I hope to see you there.
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#299 Matty Byloos: Absolutely Everything Right Now

Matty Byloos was born in Los Angeles and raised in various parts of the San Fernando Valley (a Valley Boy, if there were such a thing). Matty’s childhood was great and his family was pretty typical of Italian-American families. There was lots of extended family around and everybody played a ton of cards. They all loved baseball and large meals. Everybody had a sarcastic sense of humor, so teasing was prevalent. Then, when Matty was 11, his grandfather, the family patriarch, died and everything fell apart. His immediate family stayed close—Matty and his sister have always been friends and his parents stayed together—but everybody else drifted away. For some reason, as a kid, Matty loved the movie Wall Street. Also, he attended an all-boys, Jesuit high school near the city center of Los Angeles, just a few miles from the LA riots that happened in 1992. The school was shut down for a while and it was like entering a warzone when they went back—entire city blocks reduced to rubble and ash, blackened and charred. That has always stuck with Matty. The other standout thing from high school time was visiting Mabel King during his community service commitment, which he did at the Motion Picture Country Home, a rest home and hospice care facility for anybody involved in show business. She was blind and dying at the time, but also so full of life—a kind of magical grandmother. After high school, Matty attended a Jesuit college where he played rugby on and off and also played bass in a punk band called Vietnun. Once, he was held up at gunpoint and almost killed. Besides that, he studied literature and creative writing and it was great. For his Masters, he studied painting and critical theory. Matty’s girlfriend is also his best friend and she knows more about what is going on in his brain at any given time than anybody else but him. She's divine and a poet. They met through mutual friends and, after some difficult middle years, sorted things out. Matty loves that she'll fight like a hellion and forgive just as fast. They don’t have kids, but do have two cats—Patchen and Parsley (who thinks Matty is her mom—most nights he wakes up with her suckling on the two cherry blossom tattoos on his forearm). Matty always wanted to see Japan and he did in 2005 when the cherry blossoms were in bloom. During the trip, Matty ate apple pie and ice cream in a tiny house after seeing the Buddha statue in Kamakura. Another time, Matty was almost killed again when he was almost hit by a car going 100mph in the wrong direction during a high-speed chase. That combined with the Jesuit life principles of treating every day like it’s your last have made him a workaholic and somebody who tries to do absolutely everything right now. Now Matty does online marketing stuff. He owns and operates a network of websites. He still paints and has been working on a large-scale drawing installation that functions like a novel in pictures—with every single page on display at the same time. Matty is feeling pretty good about writing these days, even more so than painting, which is a big shift after mostly existing in the art world. He’s working on a novel that is built out of independent flash pieces. It's about a motorcycle gang and the apocalypse and Detroit and lots of birds that wear jackets and ponder their own evolution.
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Fall for the Book


I'm excited to be reading from Us tonight at George Mason University's Fall for the Book with the wonderful Amelia Gray and Matt Bell. It's 8pm tonight in the Student Union Building, Rooms 3, 4, & 5.
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A Weird Kind of Beauty

I interview Michael Bible about the weird beauty of Simple Machines, which is just out from Awesome Machine. It's over at Htmlgiant.
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What Are Some of the Best Books of the Year?

The wonderful Penina Roth answers the question at Flavorwire and places Us on the list -- along with books by Blake Butler, Deb Olin Unferth, Emma Straub, Joshua Cohen, Karen Russell, Seth Fried, Stefan Merrill Block, and Teju Cole.
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Reading @ Rosemont College, Philadelphia

Dear Philadelphia, I'm excited to be visiting on Wednesday -- looking forward to reading in the evening, 6:15pm @ Rosemont College. Many thanks for Randall Brown for the invitation.
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The Fall 510 Readings


I just posted the Fall 510 Schedule. It's pretty good.


S17: John Brandon, Sandra Beasley, Christine Grillo, Greg Olear.
O15: Laura Ellen Scott, Mark Cugini, John Rowell, Jackie Wang.
N19: Joshua Mohr, Stephanie Barber, Ben Loory, Mike Young.
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This Was Pretty Nice

Baltimore Magazine included me on their list of Top Five Writers -- along with John Waters, Laura Lippman, Madison Smartt Bell, and Stephen Dixon. Here's the blurb: "One of the funniest guys around wrote Us, one of the saddest and most poignant books that you'll ever read."
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#298 Michael Davidson: How Dangerous He Can Be to Himself

Michael Davidson was born in Miami in 1979. At 2, his parents moved him to Houston and he had a fun childhood there. His parents weren’t over-protective, so he ran around the pool and swam a lot. He rode his bike, walked through the woods, and carved his initials into a gazebo. He climbed onto the roof and leaned against the chimney whenever he was locked out and no one was home. He didn’t read much. He stayed home from school and watched cartoons. He mostly ate grilled cheese sandwiches and mac ‘n cheese. Michael’s first hobby was collecting baseball cards, which he still has, and the stack is a personal reminder of what it means to grow historic. When Michael was 12, his parents moved the family to Barranquilla, on the coast of Colombia, where his mother is from. There, Michael played tennis on red clay courts and Ping-Pong in his sister’s room. He ate arepas and empanadas and deditos. Cheese follows Michael everywhere he goes. In high school, Michael played tennis and did yearbook, which probably helped him get into college, where he studied economics, thinking it would help him get a job. This was a misconception. So far, he hasn’t used his degree for any specific kind of employment. Michael has done remote work for Google, worked as a golf range ball picker, a residential appraiser, and a math tutor. Michael has lived with his wonderful girlfriend Bridget since 2007 and he can’t stop making her smile because he likes seeing her smile so much. Also, Bridget makes home feel like home and he likes it when she plays the piano, which makes him think about how beautiful her mind is. For a while, Michael thought that signing the mortgage to his first home was an important event, but deciding to get out from under the mortgage and start living well again, free from being indentured to the bank, was more important. Here’s a subject change: Michael can only clip his nails outside. Something else: he has a scar between his bottom lip and chin that isn’t small. He got it from the Pacific Ocean, which picked him up when he was body surfing and slammed his face into the seafloor, where he floated around underwater and thought he was going to die. When he surfaced, he felt the sun and laughed, but he couldn’t talk right and part of his mouth was collapsed. Michael didn’t know what kind of person he was until the Pacific Ocean hurt him. He sees the scar in the mirror every day: He sees people staring at the scar when he talks. It’s a reminder of how dangerous he can be to himself. In 2009, Michael’s grandfather died and he hadn’t seen him for nearly a year. He can’t remember exactly what he said or what he looked like the very last time he saw him. In 2010, shortly before his grandmother died, he held her hand in the hospital and said goodbye. This somehow lightened the weight of losing her. Recently, Michael learned how to handpress paperback novels right on his kitchen table and he named the enterprise Tiny TOE Press, which published his first novel, Austin Nights. Michael is happy and healthy and at peace with everyone around him.
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