Monthly Archives: February 2011

An Open Letter To Lance Armstrong

Similar to McSweeney’s “OPEN LETTERS TO PEOPLE OR ENTITIES WHO ARE UNLIKELY TO RESPOND.”

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Dear Lance,

Cycling season is underway, but seeing as how you are getting old—sorry, but let’s call it what it is—and you are constantly getting hounded with all those doping allegations—which is, let’s also call it what it is: bullshit—I wanted to offer my services as the new phenom of professional cycling, even though I am not technically a professional… yet. Hear me out:

When I ride my bike, I can just feel the fat melting off me.  I mean I can really fucking feel it! All those “big c” Calories just liquefying inside my insides. Just liquefying and then, bam! fucking eliminated!  See ya!  When I’m riding, you can’t even call the whole process liquification anymore based on what I’m doing to it. Nope. More like lique-faction, which is what happens when there’s like a shit ton of heat and rocks basically just melt like in an earthquake.  Massive energy!  Abatshit-fucking-crazy-ass-turbo-nuts-load of energy!  I learned about that shit on the Discovery Channel, those guys who used to sponsor you, remember?

Anyway…

When I get my legs pumping, I’ll pop a spoke if I’m not careful.  Massive fucking energy!  And all that fat I was talking about? I don’t even really have that much of it, any of it really.  My body fat is like one percent, which the doctors tell me isn’t healthy, but fuck them!  I’m on a “big c” Crusade against fat.  It’s my enemy.  I’m on a Crusade, a Jihad and a partaking in a fucking Inquisition when it comes to that shit!  The doctors tell me with their “healthy” nine percent body like the fat fucking fatty-fat-fats they are!  My body, my temple, bitches!, that’s what I say.

So anyway, sometimes I think I could hook a generator up to my indoor bike trainer for when it’s raining outside.  Like if the fucking lights and power went out I could just hop on my bike and power back up the fucking neighborhood because I can make big “n” Nature my bitch!  I mean I really hate rain, only second to body fat.  I hate Nature third because it pisses me off when it’s too hot or too cold outside, but I digress…

My friends tell me, Lars, calm the fuck down with all that shit, man.  Fat this, energy that.  It’s almost like you got an eating disorder!  And I say fuck you, guys!  You wouldn’t be saying this if you assholes weren’t such a bunch of fatties!  Which, basically isn’t true because all my friends ride the bike too and people are always telling them they look a little gaunt, whatever that means.  What, is it a crime to be skinny now, Lance?  They call it an eating disorder; I call it sheer adamantine mental toughness, which pisses me off if I have to say it more than once. Batshit pissed off! Like when that punk Alberto Contador totally attacked you up the mountain and you were on the same team and he was totally pissing on your Tour de France campfire. Just like that.

And so anyway, Lance, I mostly ride by myself now because basically there isn’t anyone who can keep up with me any more, and I’ll just get pissed off if I can’t drop the fucking hammer, like full tilt boogie!, whenever the mood strikes me. Racing amateur?  For pussies.  What’s the point if you’re racing for second?—which is obviously what place they’d be racing for if I was in the race.  Pussies.  If Superman was real, even he wouldn’t race me.  Even Superman has some fucking pride, Lance.

So yeah, it was pretty hard for me to decide what kind of bike to get.  You’ve seen those guys who crush empty beer cans against their heads—which is fucking stupid because of all the empty calories in the beer, but whatever.  They don’t call it a Super-Protein-Power-Shake belly, do they? No. It’s a beer belly—but you’ve seen those guys, right?  Just crush that shit up on their melon like bam!  Batshit crazy!  That’s what my fucking harbinger-of-destruction-like-quads would do to a panty-waste aluminum bike. Bam!

Steel? Same fucking thing, Lance, only more bendy.

Titanium seems more like it.  Carbon fiber is supposed to be stronger than steel but it looks like fucking plastic to me. I can’t be generating like 6 billion watts of fucking power just to have my fucking plastic toy bike snap in half.  That’s fucking just asinine.  But titanium might be the ticket.  They make tanks out of titanium which, I personally think, they create as an homage to my quads. Fucking batty!

But anyway, that’s all I got for now Lance. I hope you’ll consider. It’s your loss if you don’t. But whatever. I’m not like going to cry in my Fiber One cereal if you don’t call. Just steer clear of me at the Tour of Gila because I’ll be there. Unless you have that contract with you and you are all like, Hey Lars Friedrichstëinerson, why don’t you come ride for team Radio ShackIt’d be really fucken swell. In which case, I’ll politely accept and we can proceed to crush opposing souls. Think about it, Lance.

Sincerely,

Lars Friedrichstëinerson

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Words like an Escher painting

We need gas masks to breathe the toxic ozones, spilled chemicals mingle like singles at a mixer and you can only think about your lost pair of spectacles and some perspective. What are we doing here anyway? Are things getting too real for you? I can’t remember the last time we just talked and reminisced about things we never did. You’re goddamn right we have a problem, Houston. I’m not really here. Motion sickness Dramamine can’t fix. A light switch switched off and you can’t reach because you are sinking, ever-sinking. Why do you fight it? The mud only sucks you down faster if you struggle.

The midnight oil burns the candle at both ends because it’s too hot to do anything else. I’m panicking. Why won’t you answer my calls? Was it something I said? Cut out pictures from the newspaper and smudge the faces because you like the way the ink feels on your fingertips. Kiss the earth because you’re always better when you are grounded. Hurl yourself into full bodily contact with the manmade lagoon and watch as hope washes over you and then away. Life itself crashes and breaks over the banks of your levee, your ironclad resolve. There is a doomed sense of righteousness beading about your brow.

 

Upcoming posts alert

So I’m sort of meta-blogging today– meta, in the sense that I’m blogging about what I’m going to be blogging about– mostly so you guys don’t think I forgot about you out there!

Firstly, why aren’t more people reading literary journals? The Paris Review is relevant again, there are few if any annoying ads in most journals, and they are chock full of really great stories and essays without all of the B.S. of commercial rags.

Secondly, how does one make blogging fun again and not feel like a chore? There are so many things I want to say but when i sit down at the keyboard, many times it feels like a burden. How do people go about remedying this?

Thirdly, a list is forthcoming: Books you probably aren’t, but should be reading.

Finally, I’m having trouble with a story (http://www.fictionaut.com/stories/joseph-m-owens/mr-twitchy), more specifically, I’m having trouble finishing this story. I’m not sure what’s working and what isn’t. I’m not sure where people see the story going or ending, BUT I certainly am curious. How would you like it to end? I’m going to write up a few endings, post them here and let people choose which one they like best, how’s that sound? Here’s all I’ve got [with respect to one potential direction the story could go]:

OMG, is he back from the dead? In a word…

…Yes.

Apologies for being missing in action for like a bajillion-trillion days– though it only just seems like that; I hear I’ve been absent for like ~2 weeks. 11 days. 10 of those days I was almost certain I was awash in the swamp of the dead (for the dead are never awash in anything beautiful like valleys– regardless of what you may have heard– or meadows or even mountain springs. No, I was awash in the swamp of [near-]death).

So OK, now what? I’m back. Great. Well for starters, it means I’m reading an writing again. In theory. This is the first thing I’ve written and, consequently read, in the past 10 days so you’ll have to forgive me. It just feels great to be occupying a room other than my bedroom for a change.

And so then ANYway, in essence of stopping this whole shpiel/ramblage, take a look at what I’ve acquired via good ol’ US Postal Service over the last week!

All kinds of NEW! McSweeney's, New Yorker, Atlantic, New Millennium Writings, American Literary Review, and Jim Shepard's NEW collection of stories!

 

 

And a NEW iPhone 4 for Verizon

Tweeted literary news roundup, 02/03/2011

More on book turmoil: http://authorsguild.org/advocacy/articles/how-apple-saved-barnes–noble.html

Karen Russell on the Persistence of the Novelist http://huff.to/gWFQ1u

Broke? Tired of Joyce Carol Oates? Go to the Fake AWP! http://pulsene.ws/XGvo

Very good recs here: A Reading List for the Egypt Crisis http://nyti.ms/fE9sYs

Laura Hillenbrand’s WWII book Unbroken topped the NYT’s first nonfiction E-Book Best Seller list http://mbist.ro/gjbhZV

Looking at the Looker and the Lookie and Thinking About the Looking and the Looking – http://htmlgiant.com/?p=56965

Ben Yagoda reported on “a whole new strain of bad writing” for the Chronicle of Higher Education. http://at.pw.org/i8ogCu

Mark Twain’s autobiography is incoherent, in just the way that he thought good writing should be. http://bit.ly/eisnzu

“I remember feeling a weird, uncanny sympathy with the cockatoo riding a bicycle.” Karen Russel on ‘Swamplandia!’ – http://tpr.ly/fbvUnO

New blog posting, Ask the Author: Karen Munro – http://tinyurl.com/5u6xgnx

Bloody horrors and serene beauty: On Sarah Bakewell’s NBCC-nominated How To Live http://bit.ly/f3CQ0O

Petrushevskaya’s scary fairy tales published in Britain: http://bit.ly/eGpGBR

“Make Believe That You Got a Free Throw”: Red Auerbach on Writing – http://htmlgiant.com/?p=56957

“Fiction that creates a kind of truth.” — On Ismail Kadare’s The Three-Arched Bridge: http://bit.ly/hs8TJV

Eric Martin reviews Donald Rumsfeld’s book (without reading it): http://bit.ly/gUaN8v

Reports of Borders death “greatly exaggerated” – http://ow.ly/3PE80

Fan translates Russian Lord of the Rings rewrite, revealing bloody & unrecorded consequences: http://mbist.ro/gFHEHD

Tweeted literary news roundup 02/02/2011

Rumors swirl about impending Borders bankruptcy; WSJ sources predict 150-200 stores could close: http://mbist.ro/gkdOEE

Houston Writers Guild Conference on May 7 has five literary agents taking pitches. Learn more: http://tinyurl.com/486twm3

A former Apple designer has launched a digital book making company called Push Pop Press. http://at.pw.org/gHi9ES

“When a biographer loves his subject too much, a cautionary tale” http://slate.me/ea4Eq2 /

Share your story at @smithmag‘s (Twitter) 6-word memoir story slam on Feb. 14th & join some great readers: http://mbist.ro/gtA28T

Vaccine controversy heated up on Colbert http://huff.to/evhiu1

From: How Should a Person Be? http://bit.ly/eRY7KO

“I think young writers ought to be heretical.” – Derek Walcott http://tpr.ly/fGBABa

Need an agent? Writer’s Digest’s agent kit is here to help with 3 books, 20 interviews, a query critique, 3 webinars and more!http://ow.ly/3PaOS

The Poetry Foundation has published a helpful pamphlet titled “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Poetry”: http://at.pw.org/fGJYVF

The Strangeness of AWP: A Postmortem via Virginia Quarterly Review: http://bit.ly/bCybtu (last year)

A “novel” way to read a novel via Huffington Post: http://huff.to/e9CTjn

Check out the Tallahassee Book Festival & Writers Conference, March 18-20. Agents and editors in attendance: http://tinyurl.com/4tdujwh

News regarding all things literary, tweeted

How do you bind a book with ten thousand pages? The University of Iowa Libraries just had to find out. http://at.pw.org/frGJ9E

“Idle doodles by famous authors.” http://bit.ly/fzvdnk

Author Colson Whitehead introduces his new post apocalyptic novel on Twitter; pubs on 10/18: http://mbist.ro/ggRyAw

Introducing FICTIONAUT SELECTS, an anthology of stories & poetry guest-edited by @JHammons. Free download:http://bit.ly/hb6JzJ

“Happy with Crocodiles,” a shorty story by Jim Shepard!http://bit.ly/ftGLyW

Black Quill Award winners revealed. Read free samples of winning books–best horror stories of 2010: http://mbist.ro/gjXCeE

Can We Not Talk About What We’re Working On Again, Please? –http://htmlgiant.com/?p=56719

What’s the problem with memoirs? http://at.pw.org/hzenr4

In search of two lost J.D. Salinger stories about Holden Caulfield’s family: http://bit.ly/dYuDKo

Twitter Google & SayNow help writers in #Egypt beat Internet shutdown; listen to Egyptian stories: http://mbist.ro/e9XilT

Harper’s publisher rejects $50K in Save Harper’s Magazine pledges & ‘give[s] no ground’ on layoffs: http://mbist.ro/e0sDlD

Deb Olin Unferth wants to “dismiss the notion that the memoir is a lesser form”: http://bit.ly/eax9rl.

“Tell the story you’re terrified of getting wrong.” http://ow.ly/3O4UW

Book Review Roundup: Marriage And Death http://huff.to/gCexRd

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