Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Monday, March 5th

Interview: Indira Chandrasekhar

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Out of Print is an Indian online lit journal dedicated to providing a platform for writers of short fiction with a connection to the subcontinent. While doing research and outreach for Annalemma Issue Nine: India, I had the chance to speak with the founding editor Indira Chandrasekhar about the climate of Indian literature, important Indian writers and common themes in Indian literature.

How did you get started with your publication?

The relative dearth of English language outlets for short fiction when I started looking to place my own writing was what got me started. After that, it was conversations – with our marvellous editors, Mira Brunner and Samhita Arni, our web consultants, Resource Design in Bangalore, our designer, Yamuna Mukherjee of Kiri Design, and of course, our sponsor, Brothers Twain, that brought Out of Print together.

What’s the most important thing Western readers should know about Indian literature?

I hesitate to be prescriptive, particularly when talking about ‘Indian’ literature, which, I believe is as complex and diverse and sophisticated and hard to define as India or, dare I say, the subcontinent itself. Every region is multi-layered and has its language, every language its own subtle cultural voice and context which translates into the written word be it in English or otherwise. And yet, there is in my opinion, an undeniable commonality of perspective and understanding. Does that come from our shared geography, history and politics, how do the nuances of the urban subculture define our contemporary space? It is those questions, particularly with the growing strength and confidence of the Indian writer in English and the emergence of a strong presence outside of the diasporic angst, which we at Out of Print are curious to explore.

What are some commonalities you see in fledgling Indian writers?

Well, our editor Samhita, who is of the generation of new writers has this to say: because of the economic boom, and the growth of the publishing and affiliated (e.g. media, journalism) industries, it’s possible for a writer of my generation to live in India, and eke out a living as a writer. So I think there are also more journalists who also write fiction and conversely, aspiring novelists who supplement their income with journalistic assignments – and thus some amount of the new literature coming out seems to reflect that ‘journalistic’ world view. Being a writer is now starting to have acceptance as a viable career option.
I would hesitate to see too many commonalities of style. There are various ‘groups’ emerging. For example, there is a whole school of fiction writers from the business, engineering and technical fields who address a commercial mainstream market. There is a growing readership – books aren’t luxury items anymore, and writers are addressing this new readership – many of them reading books for the first time.

I think there’s also a greater engagement or at least awareness, even among IWE (Indian Writers in English) writers, with vernacular, regional language traditions and literature. Salman Rushdie once spoke scathingly of Indian writing in languages other than English (I suspect he meant contemporary writing, because Haroun and The Sea of Stories draws on ancient, storytelling traditions) – I don’t think any writer could make such a remark today.

How do you see Indian literature influencing the global literary landscape?

Aha, when worthy magazines such as Annalemma run an India issue, it seems to me we have the answer!

Who are some writers Americans need to be reading?

With increasing accessibility of translated literature, writers who write in languages other than English such as U.R. Ananthamurthy who appears in our September 2011 issue. And the wide and interesting range of writers – Kuzhali Manickavel, Anjum Hasan, Murzban Shroff, K R Usha, Altaf Tyrewala, Annam Manthiram, Chandrahas Choudhury, and the many others whom we feature on Out of Print.

Indira Chandrasekhar

{photo: Mira Brunner}

Thursday, March 17th



I was in Orlando for a thing that ended up not happening so I went to see my friend Jason Gregory who runs a wildly successful leather goods company called MAKR.


He’s been doing well, so he had to bust down the wall of the space next to him and expand into this tasty realm.


Jason was actually the inspiration for the creation issue. He sent me a text that said, “You should do an issue of Annalemma that’s all about making things.” I texted him back, “That’s a great idea.” And here we are.


I’m jealous of Jason’s wild success with his brand and his beautiful space with his antique mid-century furniture.


But whenever I get jealous I remember a scene from Seven Years in Tibet where Lhakpa Tsamchoe’s character says to Brad Pitt’s character, “A friend’s good fortune is a blessing. I’m sorry you resent ours.”


The workshop.


The bookshelf. Well, well, well. What do we have on the bottom shelf


Jason will need something, like a coat hook, and make a design, get it a limited run manufactured and then sell them all. Once they’re sold, they’re gone, never to be made again.


Enough gushing, you get the idea. The dude makes rad stuff. We had an editorial meeting and it went well, gave us a lot of focus and I’m very excited about the direction of all this. It’s making me feel real good inside.


The man and his big ass desk.


Unrealted: new Brice at Stardust. Thanks, Orlando, for being rad.

Thursday, March 10th

Scene Report: Bright Eyes @ Radio City.


Last month an old friend from the Florida days came into town and stayed with us for a weekend. To say thanks, he bought us tickets to see Bright Eyes at Radio City. This was a totally unnecessary move on his part, but nonetheless very much appreciated.


My buddy is the biggest Bright Eyes fan I’ve ever met. He’s seen them probably a hundred times. It was a shame that he wasn’t there with us this night. Radio City is an incredible building and it would have freaked him out.


I couldn’t get over this mural in the lobby. It’s called the Fountain of Youth. Here’s something interesting.


Ezra Winter painted it in 1932. It’s one he’s most known for. He was an incredibly talented muralist who demanded high prices for his work. His story took a tragic turn when he fell off a high scaffolding while working and broke his back. He never recovered his ability to keep his hand steady enough to paint with and eventually committed suicide in 1949 at the age of 63. I bring this up because Bright Eyes songs mention death and dying quite a bit. But their songs have the tendency to be somewhat hopeful too. I’m sure what’s hopeful about Winter’s story. Maybe what’s hopeful is “The Fountain of Youth” still exists and still has the power to move people like myself to think and write about it.


The place was sold out. I don’t know why that’s always surprising to me to imagine that so many people are into this band.


Man, I love art deco. The 30’s and 40’s may be my favorite period in American architecture. I like the idea that “bathroom” or “restroom” or “water closet” sounded too crass or rudimentary, that it didn’t cultivate a feeling of rest at all. You know what word does help you relax enough to have a urinary or bowel movement? The word “lounge.”


Never a fish-eye around when you need it. Notice the glow of the smart phones in the crowd. When I first heard this band I only knew a couple people who’s phones had color screens, much less unadulterated internet access. That was, what, maybe six years ago?


Rad set pieces. I couldn’t stop thinking of Conor Oberst’s appearance in Freedom.


And that made me realize I was wearing flannel and tortoise shell glasses. And at that moment I became aware of how I was very much a white man participating in a very white person activity.


I don’t know what that means, it’s just been on my mind lately. But no one really cares about that.

Was it a good show? You bet your ass. Thank you, Thomas, for the amazing experience.

Thursday, February 17th

Annalemma @ AWP – Day 2.


{pics courtesy Tim Schreier}

A lot of people think AWP is a fun and good spirited chance to commune with writers and find out about new places to publish. Nothing could be further from the truth. AWP a ritualistic bloodsport activity, a kill-or-be-killed, knock-down-drag-out, fighting-by-tooth-and-nail, backstabbing, betrayal-riddled hell mouth. This is the gaping maw that consumes the hopes and dreams of all who dare to attend. Abandon all hope ye who enter.


Gaze upon the chaotic bloodlust that consumes the eyes of the attendees: writers, professors and students all looking for the slightest hint of your weakness. Once the weakness has been exposed, it is doomed to be exploited.


Feast your eyes on the hellacious blood orgy of organizational networking.


There in the distance, among the rabble and static, shines a dark beacon of demonic power known as the Hobart table.


The horror… the horror!


Tucked in the blackest corner of this hoary underworld resides these perverted minds peddling seeds of evil to corrupt the minds of innocents.


Beware this twisted carnival of soulless ghouls. Beware.

Thursday, February 10th

Annalemma @ AWP – Day 1.


Peace out, New York. We took the Bolt Bus. I will gladly shill for the Bolt Bus if they want to advertise with us. $25 or less and you get a comfortable, swift ride from NY to DC. Free Wifi, free electronic outlets, free beautiful scenery. There were other AWP’ers on this particular Bolt Bus. They will back me up on this.


DC’s public trans is ominous and monolithic. The escalators are poorly oiled and they groan like wounded animals. Inspiring and unsettling at the same time.


Here is the floor of the book fair. We were next to Salt Hill which was real cool fortune. The floor is very quiet on Thursday. Sometimes you get the feeling that there is more people sitting at tables than there is people walking around and visiting the tables…


Here is Matt Siegle. He is nine feet tall and must adjust the microphone to accommodate this fact. We threw a reading with PANK and Mud Luscious and called it Divination in DC. About 50 writers descended on an Irish pub with about four families trying to have a nice dinner on a Thursday night. They were unprepared for what was about to happen to them.

Steve Himmer riffs on the Chuck Norris jokes that were oh-so-popular at the end of the aughts and ramps up the pathos on them.

Mathias Svalina read a poem about the end of the world and its relation to the television show Cheers.

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz smoked everyone with this poem about a drunk boyfriend at a poetry reading. The first second got cut off. The piece starts with the words “The drunk boyfriend at the bar, he groans…” I really love this one a lot.

And then she read some transcripts from porno movies. She is my new favorite poet. Thanks Cristin.

Friday, January 14th


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Working on point-of-purchase stuff for AWP.

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None of this stuff actually helps us sell anything. We usually sell out of books at AWP because of good old fashioned hand selling and friendly customer service.

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Still, it’s fun to make this stuff and cool to give people something to walk away with. Are you going to be there? I hope so. I like meeting people who know/read the magazine. Feels good to make those connections. AWP is good for that reason alone: To hang with the people who are electronic ghosts the rest of the year. Start warming your palms up for the slew of hi fives.

Thursday, November 4th

Issue Seven Roundup.


Looks like Annalemma Issue Seven: Endurance has been popping up around the internet. Lots of very attractive and intelligent people seem to be enjoying it, which is fantastic news.

Zachary Zezima

Dark Sky Mag

Amber Sparks

Where the Sea Meets the Sky

Have you got your copy yet? Let’s see some pics!

Thursday, October 28th

Issue Seven Preview: Roxane Gay and Nina Hartmann.


Roxane Gay’s writing deals with sex, love, death, and the powerful conflicts that arise from those concepts. She’s published in roughly a bazillion print and online journals and her first collection, Ayiti, is coming out next year.  Nina Hartmann’s photography tells stories about young people living and loving within an inch of their lives. She is currently pursueing her BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where other photography students no doubt try to copy her style. Nina and Roxane’s forces were combined in Annalemma Issue Seven: Endurance. This interview was conducted via Gmail chat.

A:‪ ‬ ‪Everyone here?‬

‪Roxane Gay: ‬ ‪Yes‬.

‪Nina Hartmann: ‬ ‪Yup‬.

A:‪ ‬ ‪Roxane meet Nina. ‬Nina, Roxane

RG‪: ‬ ‪Hi, Nina‬.

NH:‪ ‬ ‪Hey.

A: ‬ ‪Thanks to the both of you for taking time to do this‬. ‪I’ll start off with a few questions and we’ll go from there, if you have to take off just say so‬.

RG:‪ ‬ ‪I’m in my office grading so the only way I will take off is if some freak of nature accident happens and the Hand of God reaches into my office and takes me away.‬

A: ‪I really hope that doesn’t happen‬.

‪RG: ‬ ‪Me too.

A: ‬ ‪Or if it does at least someone is there to see it‬. ‪I thought the two of you were a good fit because you have this element to your style that sort of lulls an audience in then blindsides them with a powerful or frightening image. Nina, what sort of images take your attention?‬

NH:‪ ‬ ‪I try to take pictures of things that are beautiful to me but still have something off or strange about them. Redefining what beauty has been thought of throughout art history is something I try to personally address. Capturing strangeness or a relatable feeling is my main inspiration, I guess.‬

A:‪ ‬ ‪That’s interesting, I think the same things about Roxane’s work, a strangeness to your situations, but an ultimately relatable feeling because the characters are very human. What sorts of things take your attention when you begin writing, Roxane?‬

RG:‪ ‬ ‪I love to work from emotion. I like to find a moment of joy or pain or sorry and amplify those moments through exposition by just telling and telling and telling a story until it feels so claustrophobic I can’t bear it.‬

A: H‪aha, is that when you know it’s good?‬

RG‪: ‬ ‪Yes, when I start to think, this might be too much, that’s when I know I’ve just about got it right.‬

A: ‪Nina, are there ever moments like that for you, where you know something may be a good opportunity for a photo but you’re scared or apprehensive?‬

NH:‪ ‬ ‪Yeah for sure, but being uncomfortable is fleeting and a good picture is something that will be there forever so I usually try to just go for it. Most of my photos are photographer-subject relationship based so the amount the subject lets me in is usually based on how close we are‬.

A:‪ ‬ ‪I can really tell that from the photos on your site, there’s these two that come to mind of two young women at a spring, I think those were the first two images of yours I ever saw at a photo show in Florida. Something about capturing people in nature seems to open up a natural state, can you talk about that a bit?

NH:‪ ‬ ‪I’m definitely inclined to take photos outdoors. There’s more information available photographically and it is always a perfect backdrop for the subject. Living in Chicago has been a challenge since I have to stay inside most of the time.‬


A:‪ ‬ ‪Roxane, it feels like this is a theme that runs in the stories of yours that we’ve published, the characters continually escaping to nature, or maybe just escaping‬.

RG:‪ ‬ ‪My characters are often escaping because they find themselves in impossible situations. I spent the past five years living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula which is all about nature and my boyfriend is Mr. Nature while I am decidedly more interested in the pleasures of the indoors. A lot of my writing in the past couple years has been about learning about the solace nature can provide when you’re in mourning or in pain and you don’t want to feel boxed in by a room or the reminders that can be found in rooms.‬

A: ‪That’s really cool‬. I just realized you’re both recent IL transplants.

RG‪: ‬ ‪Oh? I moved here in July. It has been… interesting.‬

NH:‪ ‬ ‪Hahaha, yes interesting is a good word for it‬.

A: ‪Nina, have you experienced a Midwestern winter yet?‬

NH‪: ‬ ‪Yes, I’ve lived here for a year and a half almost now‬. It was rough, I really learned what depression was when i moved here, haha.

RG: It’s funny that people in IL think they have winters. The U.P. taught me about winter.

A:‪ ‬ ‪that is true, I could imagine U.P. winters are something along the lines of a metaphysical level of cold and isolation.‬

RG: ‪The first two years made me question, ironically enough, the limits of my endurance.‬

A: ‪Well, you made it, I think that speaks highly of your limits‬. ‪How did you like the images we placed with your story, Roxane? I know it’s a bit different than what we’ve paired you with before‬.

RG: ‪They are really interesting.‬ I love how the colors feel muted and the images gave me the sense of, I’m not sure how to explain it, but I thought they were a really interesting complement to the story. It was like there was a distance there, but also an intimacy.

A: ‪Yeah, I kind of felt the same way, they weirded me out on first glance but then made me feel good, like comforted almost‬. Nina, can you talk a little bit about how you came up for the idea and what the shooting process was like?

NH‪: ‬ ‪I haven’t read the story in months, but I remember relating to parts of it in remembering feelings of dependency but the comfort that comes from it as well. Kind of wanted to create a “hand that feeds you” type situation. I shot it of my roommate and good friend, Sandra. I use her for a lot of photos, she lets me do whatever and is really interesting looking‬.

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A: Her‪ expression is so placid, but there’s this sort of vulnerability to her, I don’t know, to me the images say a lot about what it means to trust someone‬.

RG: ‪I really like that vulnerability because I think the woman in my story is hard but not as hard as she thinks and she’s vulnerable in so many ways as the story unfolds.‬

A:‪ ‬ ‪Exactly, I’m always interested in people like that. The one’s who put up the hardest veneer are often the ones who are the softest inside‬.

RG‪: ‬ ‪I love writing about women like that. I write the same story over and over and I’m so comfortable with that.‬

A‪: ‬ ‪That’s a good place to be. A lot of artists are worried about repeating themselves. Do you ever worry about that sort of thing, Nina? Or maybe about worry that something may be interesting to you but not to others?‬

NH‪: ‬ ‪I’ve always told myself sincerity is the only way to make art, so I try to take photos of what is important to me at the time and nothing else. If people like it, thats fine, but I ideally would like to secure myself in a place where I don’t have to depend on what people think of my photos to make a living so I can continue taking photos in the most honest way I can.‬

A:‪ ‬ ‪Yeah, that would be the ideal place to be, it’s very hard to get there though. Society doesn’t really value fine art photography like it should. I’ve noticed that in your photos that a lot of your subjects seem to be living on the outskirts of society, is this something that interests you or is this the default mode of someone pursuing creative work?‬

NH:‪ ‬ ‪I guess its just always been the type of person I’ve been drawn to.  I don’t really know how it happened but I love photographing people who are true individuals and don’t buy into trends or scenes. I try not to get overly involved in the contemporary art world because it is more shallow then I could ever have imagined. It’s good to keep a distance and photograph your life uninfluenced by trying to make it in the art world‬.

A: ‪I agree, that would make for a much more interesting arc of a life as well. ‬ ‪Nina, did you go train hopping?‬

NH‪: ‬ ‪Yeah, I did when I first graduated from high school when i was 18‬.

A:‪ ‬ ‪What was it like?‬

NH‪: ‬ ‪It was a great time in my life, everything was easy and beautiful.‬

A: ‪That sounds like a dream‬, like a lot of peoples lives at 18.

RG: ‪I wouldn’t mind trying that‬

A: ‪Go for it, Roxane‬. If there aren’t any more questions I think this is a good a place as any to wrap it up.

RG‪: ‬ ‪Nina answered the question I would have asked!‬

NH:‪ ‬ ‪Haha‬.

A: ‪All told then. Thanks again for taking part and I hope the both of you have a good evening‬.

NH: ‪Night everyone!‬

RG‪: ‬ ‪Thank you for having me, Chris!‬

A: ‪Thanks Nina, I’ll be in touch‬.

RG: ‪Or interviewing me, I reckon.‬

A: ‪My pleasure, I’ll speak to you soon, I’m sure‬. Bye yall!



Wednesday, October 6th

Issue Seven Update.


Got an email from the printer representative this morning, a lovely gentleman by the name Marteinn Jónasson, saying that 50 copies of Annalemma Issue Seven: Endurance have been express shipped from the plant and should be here tomorrow. A few of these copies will go to staff members and press outlets but the majority of them will be available Oct. 17th at Bruar Falls when and us throw our dual release party, Enduring Freaks. The bulk of the shipment should arrive by boat sometime at the end of the month. Yeah, by boat. Why? Because it’s coming from Iceland.

Why Iceland? Because that’s where Oddi Printing calls home. Reykjavík, to be precise. Love saying that word, Reykjavík. (It means Bay of Smoke. How cool is that?) Why Oddi? Because they are able to offer high quality printing at extremely competitive prices. Iceland felt the crush of the global financial crisis of 2008 greater than most countries, but things are looking promising.

Issue Seven ships November 1st to stores and the intelligent, attractive people who have pre-ordered online. Are you intelligent and attractive? Of course you are. Pre-order here.

Monday, September 13th

Protesting Books.


Walked down to the financial district on Saturday. People were protesting the building of a mosque at ground zero.


Others were protesting the protesters.



Captian America was on hand in case anything got out of control.


This was the unity contingent, protesting hate and bigotry. Much more attractive people in this crowd.





This guy had a bigger flag than anyone.


This is the proposed site of the Cordoba house, a Muslim community center which has plans to contain a mosque. It is located at 45 Park Place, two and a half blocks north of ground zero, 686 feet from an pre-existing mosque.


The street was blocked from entry at both sides of the block.


Enough heavy stuff. The Brooklyn Book Festival took place the next day and was totally rained out. Didn’t stop book folk from coming out in big numbers.


Didn’t stop store owners from selling babies for really darn cheap. Considering.


Didn’t stop me from taking a major stalker-y photo of Sarah Silverman and David Rakoff.