Archive for the ‘FYI’ Category

Thursday, June 21st

Office Girl.

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Hey folks. We’re slowly coming out of a hiatus over here. I hope to be posting more frequently in the coming weeks and basically shaking off the dust. I wanted to let y’all know about a new project that will be going live on the site next week.

I’m a Joe Meno fan. One of the highlights of my time spent pursuing the idea of creative writing was taking a class with Joe. Until that point I hadn’t spent any extended period of time with anyone who’d focused so heavily on the process of storytelling than Joe, nor had I spent time with anyone who’d executed their writing so successfully. Joe lives storytelling. He has breakthroughs with the frequency that most people have sneezes. He’s constantly finding new ways to show moments of tenderness, honesty, hilarity, despair, charm, fear and connection to an audience of folks trying to make sense of the world and the people in it.

At the end of the month Joe will be releasing a new novel called Office Girl. Because Joe is a great guy, he reached out to me to see if I wanted to help promote his book. I said yes before he could finish his sentence.

In the next four weeks we’ll be serializing the first section of Office Girl here on the Annalemma site accompanied by original images from four different artists. I’m really excited about this project, Joe’s writing has the tendency to stick with me like an old friend and the section he’s sharing with us is no exception. In the mean time, click on over to the Akashic Books site for more info and give a look-see at these here blurbs:

Publishers Weekly pick of the week:

In Joe Meno’s new novel, set in the last year of the 20th century, art school dropout Odile Neff and amateur sound artist Jack Blevins work deadening office jobs; gush about indie rock, French film, and obscure comic book artists; and gradually start a relationship that doubles as an art movement. They are, in other words, the 20-something doyens of pop culture and their tale of promiscuous roommates, on-again/off-again exes, and awkward sex is punctuated on the page by cute little doodles, black and white photographs (of, say, a topless woman in a Stormtrooper mask), and monologues that could easily pass for Belle & Sebastian lyrics (“It doesn’t pay to be a dreamer because all they really want you to do is answer the phone”).

Booklist (starred review):

Meno has constructed a snow-flake delicate inquiry into alienation and longing. Illustrated with drawings and photographs and shaped by tender empathy, buoyant imagination, and bittersweet wit, this wistful, provocative, off-kilter love story affirms the bonds forged by art and story.

Kirkus Reviews:

The talented Chicago-based Meno has composed a gorgeous little indie romance, circa 1999…A sweetheart of a novel, complete with a hazy ending.

Marie Claire:

Cultural cred: Along with PBRs, flannels, and thick-framed glasses, this Millennial Franny and  Zooey is an instant hipster staple. Plot notes: It’s 1999 and Odile and Jack are partying like it was…well, you know. Meno’s alternate titles help give the gist: Bohemians or Young People on Bicycles Doing Troubling Things. Cross-media: Drawings and Polaroids provide a playful, quirky element.

Michigan Avenue Magazine:

While Office Girl features illustrations by artist Cody Hudson and photographs by Todd Baxter, its real substance lies in the story itself. Set in Chicago right before the new millennium, Meno, a Chicagoan, explores the start of an art movement through the eyes of two twenty-something dreamers in this novel.

The Stranger, Seattle:

Office Girl might be Joe Meno’s breakthrough novel. Set in 1999, Office Girl tells the story of a pair of young, intelligent drifters who decide to start their own art movement. It’s a stripped-down experience of a novel which means Meno’s crystalline prose has a chance to shine.

Philadelphia City Paper:

Office Girl is a relatively simple love story: You know most of the beats and understand from the beginning how the story needs to end; the pleasure comes from the way Meno hits those beats, how he manages his characters and moments. And some of those moments are really excellent: Jack and Odile’s drift toward a first kiss, for instance, or their lovers’ conspiracy, mirrored in Cody Hudson’s naive drawings. And the heavier ideas that Meno stuffs into the corners around his self-consciously slight characters — like an ongoing struggle with sound and music that’s part of the last-act climax — give the book weight.

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Thursday, May 3rd

Wars Are Dumb.

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Hey Orlando: if you’re around on May 18th, head on down to Urban ReThink to celebrate the release of Wars Are Dumb: Orlando High Schoolers Write the Wrongs of Adults.

A few months back Page 15 put the call out to Orlando Public High School students to answer, in the form of story or essay, the questions, “What do adults do wrong? How would you do it right?” We got a slew submissions and whittled them down to 15 pieces about politics, environmental issues, family, war, love, fear, death, music, art, sickness, health, and basically the core elements of life itself. It’s a bit mind blowing. Those pieces were collected and given to Brandon Rapert, who illustrated them, then given to Jen O’Malley who laid everything out real nice. We sent to the printers and printed up in to a fancy book which will be on sale at the release party, all proceeds of which will be going directly to Page 15.

Come on out to the party! There’s going to be free food and live author readings and signings from the contributors and a good time to be had by all. Head on over to Page15.org for more details.

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Tuesday, April 17th

What Happened?

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From commenter “Sam”:

what happened to this site? isn’t it supposed to be a monthly (or was it weekly) magazine?  you haven’t updated the stories in months.

Thanks for your interest, Sam. You’re right. Something has happened here. Or rather, not happened. I left the rudder for a little while. Here’s the explanation. But first lemme start by saying that I hate blog posts that start “Sorry I haven’t updated in a while,” or “I feel really bad I haven’t posted on this blog in a while.” My philosophy with blogging is if you have something good to share, great. If you don’t, then don’t. The last thing the internet needs is content for the sake of content. So I’ve been sparing myself the dirge of churning out blog posts and updates if my heart isn’t in it. I don’t want to make excuses,  you don’t want to hear excuses, we’re all better off. But it’s a different situation when someone asks for an explanation like Sam here. So. On to the explanation…

I got a new job. I’m managing a chocolate factory. Seriously. I helped a buddy start a chocolate factory cause he’s good at it and I had access to investors who’d be interested in such a thing. I believed in the business so I decided to devote my time and resources to it.

But this new job was acquired after I had a mild nervous breakdown/existential/identity crisis at the end of 2010 that caused me to drastically reassess and change the course of my life. I’m not ready to write about that yet. But it is one of the reasons why this site has been slowing down on posts.

I also got involved doing organizing and volunteer work with a group called Resource Generation. It’s timely, relevant work work I believe in. This has also been taking time away from me reading submissions and posting new stories and essays on the site.

So much has changed from the days I was able to devote hours upon hours of my time to doing this magazine, a rad thing I started with what seemed like a limitless surplus of energy and focus. Now it seems like I’ve reached capacity. So what’s all this mean for the future?

For submitters: I’m really sorry we’re so backed up with submissions. Some of you haven’t had your submissions read in a year. That sucks, I know the feeling. If it’s any consolation, it’s not personal. I don’t think you’re undeserving of eyes on your words. If anything, I’ve broken my end of the bargain and I apologize for that. I’m trying to find a situation where you’ll get your submission read and I have time to do the things I need to do.

For print subscribers: I’m also trying to find the time in my schedule for putting together two print issues a year. Things may undergo a restructuring regarding subscriptions and when/if they do, you’ll be the first to know.

For the India Issue: It’s 80% done and should be of to the printers by the end of May at the latest.

For Annalemma Magazine in general: I honestly don’t know right now. I want to keep it going but it’s a lot of work for very little reward. I love connecting with readers, I love being involved in the editorial process, I love working with artists. But making this thing sustainable financially has and always will be hard and will never be easy. And with all the responsibilities listed above I’m struggling to find the time to make it work. The good news is I want to and desire is the root of action.

Thanks for your patience and support through all this. I know it’s going to make an interesting story one day if I can ever wrap my head around it.

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Monday, March 26th

Cataclysm Baby Trailer.

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We made this shadow show for a Matt Bell story published in Issue Six and performed it at the release party. A couple years later Matt releases the story as part of a larger work called Cataclysm Baby. So we thought it might be a good idea to put it down onto film. Mr. Bell came into Brooklyn for an evening and we got weird in the studio space. Hope you enjoy. And check out Cataclysm Baby, available April 15th, 2012 from Mud Luscious Press.

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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.

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{Doug Paul Case @ Convocation in Chicago}

AWP CHICAGO BOOKFAIR 3.1.12 - TABLE H18

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.

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{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.

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{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.

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{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

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{Literary Karaoke fake Elvis following Convocation in Chicago}

3.2.12

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.

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{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.

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{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.}

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Friday, March 2nd

TONIGHT: Neutron Bomb #8

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

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Thursday, March 1st

TONIGHT: Convocation in Chicago.

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Hey Chicagoans: Come to Beauty Bar tonight and see some wild humans ejaculate perfection from their mouths. People found out how much fun this was last year. Expectations are high this year. Will they be met? Come and see, come and see.

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Wednesday, February 29th

Come See us at AWP!

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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.

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An asymmetrical configuration for the nonconformist in your life:

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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.

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Tuesday, February 28th

Issue Nine: India – Roster

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Behold, the roster for Annalemma Issue Nine: India. I’m very excited about this issue, some incredible writing form all over the world, specifically India, but a few western writers too. Click the links below to get yourself aquainted with these fine writers and artists.

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Swans

Essay: Arvind Dilawar

Images: Topher MacDonald

The Eye of God

Essay: Linda Kobert

Image: Andrea Manica

Light

Essay: Mira Desai

Images: David Lemm

Of Linking Road

Essay: Parul Sharma

Images: Mark Lev

Cricket

Essay: Paul Kavanagh

Images: Laura Wood

FICTION

After Five Years in India

Story: Patrick Bryson

Images: TBD

Mister Security Guard

Story: Tanuj Solanki

Images: Shawn Kuruneru

The Woman Who Climbed Trees

Story: Smriti Jaiswal

Images: Karolin Schnoor

The Mochi’s Wife

Story: Murzban F. Schroff

Image: Sergio Membrillas

Interview with Dr. Ana Steele, president, Dalit Freedom Network

Images: Aimee van Drimmelen

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Friday, January 6th

Best of 2011 – Books

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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.

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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.

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