Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)

Directors Notes

As Luca Dipierro says, Directors Notes is the best podcast for independent filmmaking, which is nice because they posted an interview with Luca and me, where we talk at length about I WILL SMASH YOU and about our next project 60 WRITERS/60 PLACES. You can listen to it directly on the website or save it on your computer and listen to it whenever you want.

First Screening of I WILL SMASH YOU

We had the first screening of I WILL SMASH YOU at the PPOW Gallery and here are a few photos to prove it. We'll also be screening 60 Writers / 60 Places at the PPOW Gallery on December 12. Thank you, Jamie Sterns.

If you're interested in setting up a screening of I WILL SMASH YOU in your city, leave a comment or email me and I'll send you a DVD.

#62 Micah Ling: Outside of Time

Micah Ling’s name has always given her problems. She is not Asian or a man. She is Native American (mostly) and a woman (completely). Micah has a twin brother, but she was born first (by about 45 seconds), and her twin likes to say that she ditched him (which she would never do). She loves her family and thinks of her parents as her best friends. She started writing her mother little poems when she was about 7 years old. Her father drives a motorcycle and she started running with him when she was 10 years old. When she was 11 years old, she became a vegetarian after seeing how the turkey was killed on Thanksgiving. It made her sad, especially since she gives a name to every animal that she sees. Micah ran through high school and through college. Running is her meditation and she can think about things while she’s running without getting overwhelmed. Micah went to Indiana University for her MFA in poetry and MA in literature—and met her future husband, Nate, there in Bloomington. Nate drove a motorcycle and she would ask him to give her a ride on his bike every time she saw him. After about a year of asking, he did and that was the beginning of them. It is years later and she continues to live on his endless supply of kindness and forgiveness. It is years later and Micah is still running, but her feet are full of pains these days. In college, she ran the national race with a broken foot that still comes back on her. She wishes that she had never raced. She would rather just run outside of time or competition. Now she has the best job she could have, teaching writing and literature. And she still writes poems, often formal poems, so that she can break all the rules.

[Update #1: Micah Ling and Nate Jackson married.]

[Update #2: Micah Ling just published her first full-length collection, Three Islands.]

Barrelhouse Mixtape: Indie Lit in Charm City

Barrelhouse Magazine just put up its first Mixtape, which focuses on indie lit in Baltimore. I talk with them about Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard), kind of the long version of the NPR interview. There's also Publishing Genius, Adam Robinson, on IsReads. Plus, there's a Josh Maday poem and there's Mike Ingram reading the postcard life story of Barrelhouse Magazine, which is also here. Nice.

#215 Barrelhouse Magazine Is All About Great Writing, Pop Culture, and Cuddling

Barrelhouse Magazine had 4 fathers—Dave Housley, Joe Killiany, Mike Ingram, Aaron Pease—and no mother, which some people say is impossible but it’s not. Barrelhouse is proof of that. The fathers were in a writing class together and they kept getting together after the class for beers and writerly talk (which tended to devolve into random pop-culture talk—Snoop Dogg, David Lee Roth v. Sammy Hagar, etc.). One of those beer nights, Dave started talking about starting a journal and they were all into it. That’s how Barrelhouse was born in 2004 in Washington, D.C. Barrelhouse’s first words were “We worship power chords” (Matt Kirkpatrick) and it hasn’t stopped talking since. Now Barrelhouse is 5 years old, but if you ask Barrelhouse its age, it will probably tell you it’s #7 and soon to be #8. Barrelhouse ages irregularly. Also, Barrelhouse’s childhood was a bit drunken, but that didn’t seem to hinder its development. Early on, Barrelhouse had to ask writers for their words, but now Barrelhouse mostly relies on the slush pile (and it likes it that way). Early on, Barrelhouse had a thing for dodgeball, which was way before the movie and way before everybody started playing the game in a semi-ironic fashion. Sometimes, Barrelhouse wonders about its ink, thinks about the tattoos of its fathers—Matt’s tattoo of Pennsylvania on the inside of his wrist, say, or Dave’s Grateful Dead tattoo. For a while, Barrelhouse was all about Patrick Swayze, which was a strange time for Barrelhouse. Also, the time that Barrelhouse had those four poems in it about giving Ed Asner a spongebath, that felt a little weird. A while back, Barrelhouse’s parents were excited about the pieces that were chosen for one of those “Best” anthologies—an essay from Lee Klein on Barry Bonds and those poems about Ed Asner. Gradually, Barrelhouse staked out a voice in fiction, but it’s its nonfiction that sets it apart, especially the way it all relates to pop culture. Also, Barrelhouse always tries to maintain a sense of humor. Barrelhouse has a refreshing lack of pretense. They would, for instance, probably publish a 7K-word essay on Bring It On if somebody sent it to them. One thing you should know: None of Barrelhouse’s parents ride fixed-gear bikes or wear skinny jeans. They aren’t hipsters. They’re semi-cool, at best, but, once, one of Barrelhouse’s fathers (Aaron) got into an AWP dance-off with one of OneStory’s mothers that was pretty amazing. Aaron is the Justin Timberlake of Barrelhouse. Barrelhouse isn’t married, but it is interested in other magazines, especially if they’re about great writing, pop culture and cuddling—also if they play guitar or sing or maybe paint. All that stuff is totally hot. But, really, Barrelhouse is just proud to still be alive. Most magazines die young. Also, Barrelhouse is proud of everybody that it has ever had inside it. Writers are great. One of the best things that happens to Barrelhouse is when they meet one of the writers and the writer says, "I wrote this crazy thing about [insert crazy thing], but nobody would take it, and then I sent it to you, and, man, you guys seemed to really love it." Barrelhouse loves that. Barrelhouse hopes that keeps happening.

More Barrelhouse

A Ribbon of Language: Blake Butler and Michael Kimball Talk About Acoustics

Blake Butler and I talk about acoustics--how we think about acoustics, how we use acoustics, and where we feel acoustics. We called the talk A Ribbon of Language. It originally appeared in Unsaid #4. Now it's posted in my interview column at The Faster Times, along with a Gary Lutz interview.

Full of Crow Interview Series

The good Peter Schwartz interviewed me for the Full of Crow Interview Series. We talk about other people, their stories, things to do with sledgehammers, and being honest. Thanks, Peter.
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Baltimore Book Festival & Baltimore Hostel

I have two readings this weekend. The first is a 510 Reading on Saturday, the 26th. It's from 5-630pm in the CityLit Tent at the Baltimore Book Festival (near east side of the monument). And I'm reading with an great bunch of writers: Terese Svoboda, Dan Fesperman, Shanthi Sekaran, John Dermot Woods, Justin Sirois, Savannah Schroll Guz, and Jen Michalski. There is a lot more information here.

The second reading is Last Sunday, Last Rites. That's Sunday, the 27th, at 7pm at the Baltimore Hostel. There I'm reading with Sarah Miller, Joseph Crespo, & Emily Peterson. There is a little more info here.

I hope to see you there or there.

I WILL SMASH YOU @ PPOW GALLERY in NYC September 24--Doors @ 630--Screening @ 730

The first screening of I WILL SMASH YOU is September 24th at the PPOW Gallery in New York City. If you're interested in setting up a screening of I WILL SMASH YOU in your city, leave a comment or email me and I'll send you a DVD. We have screenings set up in NYC, Baltimore, Toronto, and are working out dates for Detroit and Los Angeles. There's more info, as well as stills and trailers, at the new website for Little Burn Films.


City Paper's Best Literary Agent of Change

Every year, City Paper hands out the Best of Baltimore (BoB) awards. And sometimes they make up a category like Best Literary Agent of Change just so they can give somebody like me a BoB. City Paper can be so sweet sometimes.
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#214 How Jenny-Anne Dexter and Dave Hobbs Came to Be Married

Jenny-Anne Dexter and Dave Hobbs might not have met in 2006 if they hadn’t both been working at Norden Farm, an arts center where Jenny-Anne ran the marketing and Dave ran the restaurant. Jenny-Anne remembers a giant walking into her office—headfirst because he had to bend down to get through the door. The giant turned out to be Dave and Jenny-Anne definitely thinks it is a plus that he is so huge. Dave remembers that Jenny-Anne was wearing a low-cut top, and he also thought she was funny and friendly, but he didn’t realize that until later. For their first date, they were supposed to go to a shady boxing match somewhere in East London, but the police got there first, so Jenny-Anne and Dave drove around most of the night before ending up at a lap dancing club. Their second date was in Newbury—at a hotel that Jenny-Anne was supposed to be reviewing; Dave came along and ordered a bottle of champagne for them, which was against the review rules, but they got away with it, and that made their relationship feel inevitable. Jenny-Anne knew that she was in love with Dave when he organized a party for his parents and made it perfect for them. That’s how Jenny-Anne knew that Dave was much more than just a big bloke with an attitude. Dave knew that Jenny-Anne was the one for him when he realized that she likes his crap sense of humor. But Dave was the first one to say, “I love you.” It happened one night when Jenny-Anne was sitting on him and Dave waited for her to say thank you, but she said it back instead. Dave loves how violent Jenny-Anne is—that she loves boxing, MMA, and martial arts even more than he does—and Jenny-Anne thinks that Dave makes a pretty good punching bag. One of the things that makes them such a good couple is that Jenny-Anne makes Dave get out more and Dave makes it tempting to stay in sometimes. They balance each other. Also, Dave does as he’s told. And Dave does things that Jenny-Anne loves—like the time that he put together a massive food fight for her birthday. Jenny-Anne gave up her job to move in with Dave, but she didn’t like her job or her home. Besides, there are times when life should come before job. They are going to get married abroad, on a little lake in Northern Italy, which was the only way they could ignore everybody else's wedding ideas. And they will honeymoon in Rutland in Leicestershire, which will complete their plan to visit a unique hotel in every county in the UK. Only two things will change after Jenny-Anne and Dave get married on September 5, 2009: (1) they will get a puppy and (2) they will find ways to like each other even more than they already do. Then, Jenny-Anne and Dave plan to grow old together slowly and with as little fuss as possible.


#212 Now She Is Rebecca Lin

Jamie Lin’s grandmother was sold to her grandfather’s family when she was 8 and she worked until she was old enough to be a bride (16yo). Jamie was born in China and her family moved to NYC when she was 8. The biggest difference was the snow. Jamie did not see her dad much and her mom worked at the sweat factory—where Jamie used to play, thinking it a magical place. Once, her dad told her to do the dishes, but she didn’t because she didn’t know him that well. Sometimes, she still feels bad about that. Her dad is the sweetest person. At first, Jamie was oblivious to American culture and she didn’t have friends outside of her ESL class. At 10, Jamie’s family relocated to the suburbs of New York. The first apartment they lived in had one bedroom, a storage room where Jamie slept, and a living room where her brother slept. She read lots of books and her favorites were The Boxcar Children where the kids controlled their own lives. After middle school, her English got a lot better and she joined the high school newspaper and literary magazine (she started out writing supernatural novels). At the time, she was infatuated with a Russian boy with a mischievous smile, but he was shorter than her so she never expressed her feelings. Jamie had body image issues. For two years, she wore the same two vests over and over again to cover her bulge. Her mom would tell her that she needed to lose weight and she would tell herself that her nose was too big for her face. Jamie did not feel invincible when she was a teenager. During high school, her two closest friends were white and Jamie learned to become more American from them. Now people can hardy distinguish her from other Americans, just a slight Chinese accent. In 2005, Jamie was introduced to Zoetrope and the online literary community—and everything changed. She learned about flash fiction and how to write stories that didn’t suck. Jamie thought she would become a completely different person once she got to college, but she didn’t. She was quite depressed during her first year, but was comforted by the idea of starting over. Now at almost 20, Jamie has found her two passions—writing and promoting social justice. She is deliriously happy, for once in her life, to be different from everybody else. She weighs more than she did in high school, but she has never felt so perfect and so proud to be exactly who she is.

[Update #1: She is returning back to her former college in Georgia to major in political science.]

[Update #2. She is legally changing her name to Rebecca J. Lin. She has always wanted a long first name, a meaningful middle name, and a chance to start over.]

[Update #3: She adopted a two-year-old pit bull and named her Madison (Maddie). Maddie is the first member of Rebecca's very own family.]

[Update #4: She has been accurately diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, though she is still unconvinced that she is not borderline.]

[Update #5: She was involved in a disastrous fling that made her realize that she has to take care of herself and know what her limits are.]

Rebecca Lin's website, with lots of links to her writing.
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