Tag Archives: portland mercury

This and This and This Is Between Us

Psssst. My new book snuck* into stores a few days ago and peoples be talking about it! Here are some of the fun places to read up about it…

*A cool interview with Los Angeles arts blog, Yay! LA. This was a phone interview and I spoke with Daniel for about an hour while doing while walking around the SE Hawthorne neighborhoods of Portland. I felt self-conscious whenever people walked by and I was saying something like, “I want all 234 pages to feel like they’re stuck to your skin.”


*A really thoughtful review on Bustle. I like how the reviewer focuses on the aspect of loneliness and imperfection in the book.

*HTMLGIANT’s 25 Points takes on TIBU, written by the fantastic Nicolle Elizabeth, who says the book is “upsetting” once and “comforting” twice. So I think “comforting” wins!!

My mom and me at Powell's this past week.

My mom and me at Powell’s this past week.

*I talked about sex writing and sexy words with the sexy PDXX Collective. (“I used to have a friend who had sex with a lot of her friends because she said it made her feel less guarded with them, closer and intimate. In a weird hippie-ish free love kind of way, I can see where she’s coming from. Sex is an ice-breaker in real life and in books.”)

*A really cool review of the book that breaks it down by each of the five year sections. The reviewer says “You will feel grateful for the brutal honesty and lovely secrets that you were allowed to know.”

*The Portland Mercury ran some excerpts (with a very nice intro) of the book. The illustrations are super cool and kind of hot (they move!!).

My name is on the cover, with naked butts!!

My name is on the cover, with naked butts!!

One of the other exciting things for me is seeing people taking photos with the book covers. Every day there seems to be a new one on Facebook or Instagram. I love seeing those lips on other people!

And I sure hope to see everyone next Friday for the Portland reading of the book, at Powell’s at 7:30pm (after-party at Bunk Bar on SE Water Avenue!).

Dena Rash Guzman and the TIBU lips

Dena Rash Guzman and the TIBU lips

Holly from Tin House and the TIBU lips, out in nature!

Holly from Tin House and the TIBU lips, out in nature!

*when I say “snuck” I mean that the official release date is 11/12/13, a very numerically pleasing date. I’m probably still going to celebrate that day, maybe with a trip to Fire On the Mountain for some drinks and a barbecue chicken sandwich.

Long Lost Eel

So, gosh. I was just looking through my files for a particular story and I came across this interview I did with Mark Oliver Everett about three whole years ago. Although he’s mainly known for his musical endeavors as the rock band, Eels, he’s also the author of a really great memoir, Things the Grandchildren Should Know. 

This interview was done for the Portland Mercury, but it was shortened for print. Here’s the slightly longer version.

Mark Oliver Everett


Inspiration For Clueless Kids:

The Mark Oliver Everett Interview


Mark Oliver Everett has released a bunch of critically acclaimed albums with his band, Eels. I don’t really know much about his band and I’ve never been that interested to tell you the truth. I always thought they were just some one-hit wonder (“Novacaine For the Soul”) ready to die off any second.

But hey—I’m wrong. After reading Everett’s memoir, Things The Grandchildren Should Know, I sort of have a man-crush on the guy. Not only does the book convincingly depict an awkward childhood and his adult struggles to become the artist he is today, but it also has a staggering death toll. It starts when Everett’s famous physicist dad, Hugh, dies without warning (learn more about Hugh’s legacy by searching “Parallel Universes, Parallel Lives” on Youtube). Shortly after that, his sister commits suicide, his mom passes away, bandmates die, neighbors die. The guy may as well become a funeral director. But somehow Everett has written an inspiring and funny personal history.

And it turns out that Eels are a pretty interesting band with a devout following. Who knew?


Was there a certain event that compelled you to write this book?


My friend Anthony, who I grew up with and has been around for all of it, periodically would tell me that my life would make an interesting book, but I never took the idea seriously. Then I finished an EELS tour that had a 7-piece band and suddenly the idea of doing something by myself appealed to me. I naively thought that writing a book by myself every day would be easier than worrying about the day to day dealings of a 7-piece band on the road. It turns out that writing a book is one of the hardest things you can do.


Harder than making an album?


Yes. Every time I branch out and try something other than music, I always come running back to music with my tail between my legs. Writing a book was the hardest project I’ve ever worked on, and I don’t recommend it. But I had to do it. I had to tell the story once I realized that it could maybe be inspirational for some clueless kid to see that this clueless kid made it through OK.

Were there any books that inspired you?


Yes, just one. Ray Charles’ autobiography, Brother Ray. I read it when I was a teenager and it made a huge impact on me, mostly because it felt like he was sitting there with you, telling you his story in a very straightforward, unpretentious way. I’m not a fan of flowery writing.


Do you think the book would have been much different if you would have filmed the BBC special about your dad before you started writing?


Yes. I would have known a lot more about my father, but I think it’s good that I didn’t know much about him when I wrote the book because it’s an accurate reflection of what it was like in my house at the time. He was a mystery.


You have one chapter about your Russian ex-wife, Anna in your book, but it was obviously a long and important part of your life. Do you think you’ll explore those years more in your next memoir? Will there be a next memoir?


Indeed, I could write a whole other book just about that part of my life, and maybe I will someday, but I’m not in a hurry to write any more books. I would like to do a sequel in forty years that is the most boring book anyone has ever read — because I can’t take any more drama!


Do you go to certain bookstores while you’re on tour? What sort of reading material would one find on an Eels tour bus?


When I tour I travel on a bus with the band and crew. There’s little time for book shopping and the reading material laying around the bus is the usual rock band fare: music magazines, porn, and, of course, the Motley Crue biography, The Dirt.



The Essay You’ve All Been Waiting For

Well, at least I’ve been waiting for it. I wrote it earlier this year and now it’s out. Snip Tuck: A Simple Vasectomy Goes Wrong is in this week’s Portland Mercury, which means all sorts of people in the town I live in will be reading it for free and then pointing at me and laughing. Yeah, yeah, verrry funny, people. And if you don’t live in Portland, you can of course read it on their web site.

In other news, I’m very excited that A Common Pornography is on the PNBA award shortlist. I’ve never been up for a literary award before, so this is very cool–and my competition is pretty serious.

I’ve been writing as much as I can on my novel-in-progress and there are parts of it you can see already. The Writers’ Dojo put up one chapter (the chapters are all really short, so they’re quick reads) and they’re putting another one up soon. Go here for that. The new issue of Fugue (from the University of Idaho) is out and there are several tiny chapters in that as well, not to mention work by David Shields and an interview with George Saunders.

Fugue #39

I also wanted to tell you that I’m reading at a cool reading series here in Portland called 1.000 Words on December 2nd. Go to the Facebook events page or their web site for more info. Melissa Favara is the host and readers include my friends Amy Temple Harper and Laura Moulton. This is an Oulipo-inspired reading where all the readers had to write short pieces using the same prompts and a set of pre-chosen words. Should be a weird and interesting night.

Hope to see you all there!

When it rains, it pours

A great smattering of stuff about A Common Pornography lately. Like…

pg 57 of the new Poets & Writers Magazine!

A sweet review on Blog Critics!

The cover of The Portland Mercury! (they excerpted a part of the book) (I had no idea they were going to put my name right on the cover, but that’s cool)

I had some dirty haiku published in this magazine (NSFW!) under a pen name. (Note: I know this is cheesy, but a good friend was an editor there until recently) (Yes, they edit) (Yes, you’ll have to buy the issue to see the haiku)

And on top of that stuff, I also have a new story up on this weird e-book thing. It’s a little ditty about Mary Gaitskill and her cupcakes. Please Note: It is fiction! She did not really live in Portland and hang out at open mics!

Awkwardness alert: I am hosting Mary Gaitskill at Powell’s later this spring! And yes–she is one of my favorite authors.