Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

Wednesday, March 7th

AWP 2012 Report.

Trying something new this year. All photos are from the evening festivities. All words are stray observations from the book fair.


{Doug Paul Case @ Convocation in Chicago}


9:48am – Why am I here? This might be hell. No wifi, no cell signal, no link to the outside world, just sitting here trying to engage with people who have profound social anxiety to the degree that engaging in a social way is paramount to having fingernails yanked out by needle nose pliers.

9:56am – Attempting to enter a zen state. Attempting meditation. Calm yourself. Be in the moment. It feels like people are buying books everywhere but here. Draw them in with your energy.

10:06am – Desperation condenses on the walls & ceilings of this place. It drips from the air ducts. The table across the aisle from me has a poster asking the question, “What is creative sustainability?” Whatever it is, it does not feel like it’s here.


{The esteemed host of Convocation in Chicago}

10:21am – Met Amanda Jane Smith. Handed off a bunch of post cards. I’m trying to see how long I can get people to stay at my table by talking to them.

10:35am –  Good conversation with a young Asian woman. There was a moment in the convo when it was going so well I wanted to cut ties before I could fuck it up. Work past that.

10:45am –  Met Juked editor. Cool guy, talked shop about conference. 1-2 min convo. Talking is different w/ males. Need to entertain or appeal to their benefit.


{Chris Newgent @ Convocation in Chicago}

11:14am – Smattering of interactions. People aren’t going to talk to you if they don’t want to. No matter how much you engage them.

12:06pm –  Met a submitter I rejected. We had a good dialogue. Talked about creating a mark of quality.

12:19pm – Met Liz Wykoff and her friend from American Short Fiction. I feel an overwhelming sense of wanting to read more of ASF. An almost savage desire to get all their back catalog and devour it in a day. I don’t mention this to them. I think it shows on my face though.


{Tim Jones-Yelvington @ Convocation in Chicago}

12:31pm – Keep accidentally dissing Bryan Furuness. Totally not intentional, just keep having bad timing when he comes up to talk.

12:55pm – Lesser men have been broken by running a book table at AWP.

3:30pm – Thinking about Wu-Tang. This quote pops into my head “You gotta have love in your heart.’ – The RZA


{Literary Karaoke fake Elvis following Convocation in Chicago}


8:50am – When I lived here in Chicago I was lost, confused, angry, afraid, ignorant, obsessive, cloistered and immature. What kind of a city fosters that kind of behavior? Most cities foster that kind of behavior.

9:06am – Walking past Columbia I read a promotional poster for the school that said “Live what you love.” I am part of a generation sold this trajectory that getting paid for doing what you love is the ultimate goal. What’s unspoken is that making a living doing what you love is an incredible display of privilege. And most people do not have the means or privilege to attempt this ideal.

9:28am – It is a struggle to stay present. Maintain.


{Kurt Kennedy and a big hammered dude @ Neutron Bomb #8}

9:39am –  Thinking about how I got here, to AWP. What road lead me to sitting at this book fair table? I was raised in a place of illusion, an artificial culture. It felt wrong, inauthentic, a fake life. I searched for things that felt real. Books felt real. But books proffer their own illusions. And the truth is, everything has an authentic and artificial side.

9:45am – What is creative sustainability? Being fearless of the future.

10:01am – Met Barry Grass. Fucked up the spelling of his name on the postcard I made excerpting his essay. Felt shitty. Make a new run of cards and send him a stack.


{I read something @ Neutron Bomb #8}

10:15am – Be aware of peoples inclination to just want to say “hi” and nothing else. Let them move on and don’t take it personal. You’ve got no idea where they’re coming from.

{If you are planning on giving a reading in the future, put those plans on hold until you watch Scott McClanahan read. This is the bar. You are instructed to either meet it or exceed it.}

Friday, March 2nd

TONIGHT: Neutron Bomb #8


Hey Chicagoans: I’m going to be here tonight. Come see me read something about Wu Tang. I miss you.

Wednesday, February 29th

Come See us at AWP!


Hey Chicago folks! We’ll be setting up our AWP book fair table tomorrow afternoon. Please come by table H18 in the Southwest hall to outfit yourself with some of our new postcards and maybe a magazine or two (or twelve).

Words and images excerpted from Annalemma Issue Eight: Creation. These are also free with any purchase from our store.


An asymmetrical configuration for the nonconformist in your life:


Hope to see you there!

p.s. Come to our reading we’re hosting with [PANK] and MLP, Convocation in Chicago. Will post more details tomorrow.

Friday, January 6th

Best of 2011 – Books


I didn’t do one of these lists at the end of last year. I didn’t do a lot of stuff on this site. It’s been pretty quiet around here. I got a new job and that pretty much abducted my time. I’m trying to slowly trying to remedy that. I’m slowly trying to regain the joy I’ve felt in the past that comes when connecting with the small press/writing community. I got bogged down in the logistics of running Anna to appreciate the rewards. But that’s for another post.

This is a bunch of stuff that pumped my nads last year and continue to pump my nads. I’m gonna spread these out over a few posts. I was supposed to do this for Big Other, but, job stuff, you know. Sorry John. Here’s some books that opened up a bunch of new neural pathways in my brain, even solidified a few into place:

Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hays –  It’s been a pretty political year. I got involved with a giving circle project that caused me to analyze societal issues in a very aggressive way. This book was the spark that lit the fuse for me. Hayes talks a lot about social change starting within the home, a lot about how the industrial food system and consumer culture is wrecking not just the planet but our relationships and how we interact with each other. She proposes the antidote is making decisions within the home that subvert these systems, everything from choosing to purchase food from local sources, manufacturing your own clothes, houshold products, entertainment, growing your own vegetables, cultivating your own livestock, etc. The most interesting thing was how she tracked the history of the American home maker to the beginning of the industrial revolution when men traditionally had to leave the home to work and how the resulting circumstances lead to a cultural epidemic of “Housewife Syndrome” in the 1950’s, which was a catch-all term for depression and a loss of sense-of-purpose of house wives who’d been reduced to consumers and chouffers rather than the beating hearts of the home.


The People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn – I don’t understand how anyone can read this book and not become radicalized. You’d probably need to be immursed in a deep level of denial or have a substantial amount of emotional and capital investment in promiting imperialism, colonialism, and irresponsible captitalism (or some combination of these things) to not be swayed in a radical direction by the steadfast and unwavering American tradition of opression, subjugation, genocide and unchecked cruelty in the name of stealing resources and hoarding wealth that Zinn plainly lays out.

I couldn’t be more behind the curve with this one. It’s kind of like saying, “Have you tried eating honey? Holy shit, honey is fantastic! I need to spread the word about honey!” But whatever. A good book is a good book whenever you read it.

Thursday, December 22nd

Student Writing Contest!


Hey folks. It’s been kind of quiet on this front for a little bit now because we’ve been hard at work developing this project with Page 15 that I’m very excited about: An Orlando public school student writing contest! If the text in the above flyer is a bit too small go ahead and check this out:


Flip open the newspaper on any given day and it’s pretty clear, there’s a lot of problems out there in the world. The good news is you can’t be blamed for most of them. The bad news is, someone can, and most times the people to blame are adults.

Page 15 and Annalemma Magazine are putting together an anthology of student writing on this topic: What do adults do wrong and how you would do it right?

Wars, dictatorships, financial disasters, environmental crises, reality television…It doesn’t even have to be a worldwide problem. You deal with adults every day—teachers, parents, bosses—who have a direct effect on your life.  Adults have got a lot to be held accountable for and we want to hear what you have to say about it.

Tell us in an essay or a short story: How do adults tend to mess everything up? What’s wrong with how the world (your world) works? What needs to be done to make it better? Get thinking. Get mad. But most importantly, get creative!


You must be enrolled in a high school in Orange County.

1 submission per student.

Write up to 1500 words.


All writers whose work is accepted will receive a $50 gift card to Barnes & Noble and your writing will appear in a nationally distributed print publication. You’ll also be invited to an exclusive book release party for you, your friends, family and the community.

Deadline is MARCH 1st.


1. Email with your name, grade, school, a parent’s name, email and phone # in the body of the email. Attach your submission in .doc, .docx or rtf.

2. Mail your submission to:

Page 15 Writing Contest

625 E. Central Blvd.

Orlando, F 32801

Include a cover page with your name, grade, school, a parent’s name, email, and phone #.

Stay tuned for more details or go here to see the exact same information.

Tuesday, November 29th

Congrats to Jim Ruland!


Big ups to Issue Six contributor Jim Ruland for winning the grand prize in the Reader’s Digest “Your Life” contest! A few weeks back I posted up a blog about voting for Jim and his story of a wandering sailor who eventually found his way. Jim got enough votes and he won. Thanks to everyone who found out about Jim here and clicked on over to vote for him. It’s great to see the community coming out and supporting a great writer like Jim. And be sure to check out his story collection, Big Lonesome, which I interviewed him about here.

Well done, Jim!

Monday, November 28th

Check Out: TRNSFR.


If you’re digging what we’re doing here with the pretty print stuff, you might want to do yourself a favor and check out TRNSFR, a lit mag/print artifact out of Grand Rapids Michigan. The mailman brought me a few copies last week and I’ve been rubbing them against my face.


I love TRNSFR’s format of whole-heartedly embracing the idea of doing things in print you can’t do online: a pullout cover, post card stock inserts, flip book movies on the margins, all the things that make print lovers like me drool with delight.


Not to mention they publish some of my favorite writers including Brandi Wells, Amber Sparks, Roxne Gay, Catherine Lacy, J.A. Tyler, Blake butler, Ryan Bradley, Matthew Simmons, Shya Scanlon and on and on.


These lo res camera phone photos don’t do it justice, it’s really a sharp mag with some very cool experimental print things happening alongside some vital writing.


Big thanks to editor Alban Fischer for sending me these. Go check TRNSFR out!

Monday, November 21st

Check Out: 300KS.

Screen shot 2011-11-21 at 10.26.37 AM

If you’re like me, a surge of happiness washes over you like a floodlight every time you come across a beautiful book cover. If you’re like me, you’re going to love 300KS, a collection of stunning book covers writer Dev Aujla has collected from his travels to used bookstores all over the world. Prepare to get lost in the wonder.

Monday, October 17th

Bacon! The Experience.


Orlando creative stalwart Doug Rhodehamel‘s new project was a show all about bacon. Found objects, sculptures, portraits, interactive installations, drinks. All bacon.


Here we have used paper towels from a local coffee shop that resemble bacons.


An interactive piece where the viewer is encouraged to manipulate the sand to best create a bacon-like image, the sand representing the marbled fat of a piece of bacon.


Bacon bits made of cardboard. The viewer is encouraged to take one and bring the experience home. In the US, bacon usually comes from pork belly, often cured then cut into strips and pan fried. Bacon has garnered a lot of attention in American culture lately in what many have deemed “bacon mania” leading to an influx of bacon related and flavored products.


Bacon sculptures hanging from rafters. Due to bacon’s high fat and salt content, the meat is considered very tasty. However, it should be noted that high consumption of bacon could lead to a variety of health problems including, but not limited to, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

I had some bacon flavored vodka at this show. My girlfriend is a vegetarian. She smelled my breath after I took a few sips. She advised that if I wanted to kiss her in the future it would be in my best interests to discontinue use of the bacon flavored vodka. It kind of smelled like artificially flavored bacon that is often used for pet foods. I made the decision to put the drink down.

Monday, September 19th

An Interview with Walter Green.

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{Image by Walter Green, excerpted from the story “Golem” appearing in Annalemma Issue Eight: Creation}

Out of the blue, I got an email from Walter Green earlier this year requesting to work with Annalemma. I clicked over to his site to check out his work and immediately recognized some of the images. His work has made an impact as of late in our world of literary small press publishing, most notably at The Rumpus, McSweeneys (where he works as a designer) and the new food quarterly, Lucky Peach. I dig the overall vibe of enthusiasm, delight and unpretentious excitement permeating Walter’s work.

I had a chance to speak with Walter over Gchat about his work, where he gleans inspiration from and the perils of working in an office with x-acto knives and water coolers.

Annalemma: So how’s your day going? Can you talk about what you’re working on?

Walter Green: Sure, my day’s going well! I’m a designer at Mcsweeney’s publishing in San Francisco, and there are a lot of little branches that go along with that and a lot of different hats to wear, etc. So today, I’m working on designs for a few of our magazine/quarterly type projects, mainly this thing called Lucky Peach, which is our new food quarterly with David Chang. Besides that, I do interior design of books, book covers sometimes, book ads, press releases, and lots of little things. But today, mostly editorial design for this food magazine. Also, I am the DJ.

A: That’s amazing. So how’d you land this job?

WG: Well, I interned there a while ago, and never really did a lot of design stuff. I had the desire to do design but no experience really. So I did some things for free for my friend’s bands or their business ideas and what have you, and kind of amassed a little portfolio. Then I moved to New York for a while and helped out at a small but fertile design studio and made my portfolio a little stronger. And when I eventually moved back to San Francisco, I started doing some freelance design and that seemed to work out okay for us all. So after a while they asked me to be a junior designer and I quickly said yes!

A: That’s rad, I have to say I’m really jealous.

WG: Well, it’s fun but often really tough and exhausting.

A: About five years ago I was obsessed with McSweeneys.

WG: Then what happened!

A: I started getting more and more involved with the publishing world, started digging deeper, seeing what was out there, seeing all the presses that were doing cool stuff. I still love what y’all do, but my focus is spread out so far now.

WG: Sure, of course!

A: I thought McSweeneys was the only game in town worth a shit, for a long time.

WG: How long has Annalemma been going on for?

A: We’ve been putting stuff out for four years. But I always looked to McSweeneys for design inspiration, so when I heard you were a designer there I was immediately curious about what that’s like.

WG: Well, it’s fun and exhausting as I said. It’s a two-person design team, essentially. There’s me (I think I’ve dropped the junior from my title now) and an amazing art director named Brian Mcmullen. So we do the bulk of the work, with other people helping out when they need to. Everyone here has some idea of how to work indesign/photoshop/what-have-you.

A: I’ve always been blown away by the ambition and scope of the design work. Where does the driving force come from to make things look so good?

WG: Well, I can’t say for sure for everybody else here. We’ve never sat down and had a real conversation about why we make things look the way we look. Why not put some effort in to make something look good if you can? I guess you could also say that we like to make our things look the way they do in hopes that people will buy them, read them, keep them, etc.

Also, just on a personal level, I think we’re all very interested in trying out new things and new ways to present content, just to keep things fun for us. By the way, the design of your magazine is incredible. The clarity of design is really inspiring. KUDOS, is all!

A: Thanks man, I wish I could take credit for that, it’s all my designer Jen O’Malley, she’s really talented. She comes up with a lot of the ideas, I’m more of the philosophy guy in the background trying to make sure that nothing looks like it’s a part of disposable culture, trying to make it something that people will want to keep around for a long time.

But enough about me, how long have you been drawing?

WG: Since I was a small child, I guess. Though there are always long periods of inactivity–even today–when I don’t draw for the longest time and end up sort of completely forgetting how it’s supposed to be done.

Yeah, it’s tough to talk about drawing. I’m not very good at it, but it’s somehow become a part of what I do, just because I’m so interested in it. I wish I could be the kind of person where my brain and my hand are totally connected and I can draw whatever I can imagine. But it’s probably just not in the cards for me, so in my illustrations that I work on today, I don’t rely on the regular stuff that actual talented artists use. I’m kind of just grabbing whatever is around and throwing it all together and hoping that something sticks I’d say I’m more of a DESIGNER-ILLUSTRATOR than a straight-up-drawing-dude.

A: I like how you incorporate your drawings into your design work though. I’m cruising around on your site here and all your work at first glance just looks like it’s a lot of fun. Like fun to read, fun to work on.

WG: Yeah, I guess being even slightly talented at illustration is a huge boon to the kind of design work that I want to do, so I’m able to fill in holes where necessary in my design and it’s good to not have to rely on an illustrator.

A: What are some design resources that pump you up? What are the daily places you go to that are doing good work?

WG: Hey, hold on a second!!! “BRB”

A: k

WG: SORRY! people are looking for x-acto knives.

A: No problem.

WG: I like to visit that site for a lot of incredible vintage/classic/bizarre/whatever design work. I like to visit the sites of other designers I like. but mostly I like going into Dog Eared Books near my office here and obnoxiously browsing their covers! And a lot of inspiration comes from the people I worked with/have worked with/the work they’ve done.

A: Who are the designers you’re a fan of?

WG: I’ll forget people but some of my favorites are: Paul Sahre, Leanne Shapton, Rodrigo Corral, Paul Buckley, John Gall, and the aforementioned Brian McMullen.

There are a lot more who have sites that I’ll check out, but it probably means something that those are the first names I think of when asked about designers I like.

A: Yeah, first impulses are usually the best. Like I was saying before, I’m really digging the work on your site cause it all looks fun, how do you maintain that attitude? My designer and I can work on something for days and weeks and sometimes it can be hard to keep fresh eyes about it. I guess I’m asking what drives you, what do you want the audience to feel most of the time?


WG: Hey sorry I was absent, I was changing the water cooler

A: Sounds busy there today : )

WG: I guess as a designer/illustrator I am going on a project-by-project basis. Some things that are, you know, more light-hearted and fun can be appropriate for some silly colorful hand-lettering, while other projects call for a more serious illustration/type treatment/design treatment/what- have-you.

Mostly, I’m hoping that the design can reflect the content in some way. That’s when it comes to editorial design/cover design/illustration and stuff. As for, how to maintain a happy and fun feeling while designing, I’m not sure that it’s possible all the time.

There’s definitely a large part of what you were saying earlier in what I do, where I’ll start a project and think it’s the greatest thing in the world. You know, ten weeks later, it’s hell. And I hate the whole thing, and I still have to carry on the fun feeling.

A: Haha, yeah when the excitement wears off.

WG: Yeah, definitely. But, I guess I’m lucky in that the littlest things are able to bring me design-excitement, something as simple as just changing one color to a design I’m “tired” of can make me love the project all over again, sometimes. And it’s also good that at my job, I have a wide range of things I can work on, so I can put projects down, and pick them up later and my hatred for them has died down.

A: Haha

WG: And I start to remember them fondly. And even miss them a little bit.

A: I hear that, I keep trying to do that, look at things from a different perspective in order to see it in a new way. I do that a lot with writing, like a story might not be working at all and it’s complete shit in my mind but something will click, like I need to change the perspective from third to first and everything will come together. I love it when those breakthroughs happen.

WG: Yeah, of course, little things like that that bring a clarity to the whole thing and can sort of show you the light at the end of the tunnel are the greatest.

A: So what’s the next release we should look out for? What’s good on the McSweeneys roster?

WG: Welp, I’ve been doing a little more editorial illustration work for a few different clients and that’s been fun. I do a weekly illustrated column for the bay citizen (a nice journalistic website focusing on the bay area) where I review different events that happen. So tomorrow I’ll be going to some sort of yard sale and then drawing the people I see there.

Beyond that, I’m mostly focusing on this food quarterly thing here that is shaping up to be great. This is the second issue, so we’re gonna be able to tighten up everything a bit from the slightly loose style we established in the first issue. And that’s fun because I’m able to do hand-lettering, or type design, or chalk drawings, or vector illustrations–just whatever the articles call for.

A: That’s cool.

WG: Yeah, beyond that, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to give the secret scoop on whatever stuff Mcsweeney’s is doing. But I can say that whatever it is, we’ll be trying to make it look nice!

A: Awesome, well, I can’t wait to see it whatever it is. Thanks for talking to me, Walter.

WG:  Hey thanks for thanks for letting me do some work for your recent issue! I loved that story.

A: I’ll get that mag out to you soon, I spilled a big cup of water on a stack of personalized thank-you letters to contributors I was sending out with mags and I’ve been putting off rewriting them so I think that’s why you haven’t got yours yet.

WG: Gotta hate those big cups of water! No worriez!

A: Cool man, well thanks again and I’ll be in touch.

WG: NICE! Talk to you later bud! We’re CHAT-PALS NOW!

A: Haha, indeed we are, talk to you soon.

Click here to check out Walter’s work appearing in Annalemma Issue Eight: Creation.

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