Tag Archives: Unshod Quills

2011 is Dead. Long Live 1997.

Hey–First off, I have new little stories at Unshod Quills and Hart House Review!

And since 2011 is just about over, I thought I should post a little year-end thingamajig. A few of my favorite things:

Novels: Donald Ray Pollack’s The Devil All the Time and Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers were both pretty kick-ass rough and tumble kind of novels and both steeped in a dark Americana style.

Mr. deWitt

Short story collection: How many times do I have to tell you. Lutz is a master. Divorcer simply destroys.

Memoir: Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy. So, yeah, it was all popular like ten years ago but I just finally read it and it’s pretty awesome. Some people say the Ann Patchett book, Truth & Beauty (about her friendship with Grealy) is even better. Can’t wait to read that one. I’m sad that Grealy is not around anymore.

Poetry: Gregory Sherl is the new leading man of the drug-addled emo poetry scene. Does that make it sound bad? I hope not. Because it’s beautiful. He’s also kind of like the Rob Pollard of the lit world now too–so many books coming out (including Monogamy Songs from Future Tense, summer 2012), so many words coming out of him.

Surprise Manuscript: Chloe Caldwell sent me a query in 2010 that piqued my interest enough to have her send me more stuff in 2011. In that short amount of time, her essays became even more powerful and I signed her on for a Future Tense release in spring of 2012. Legs Get Led Astray is gonna kick your butt and give you a heartache. Helping her edit her essays the past couple of months has been a constant thrill. She’s my favorite writer of personal essays. Watch out for her!

Movies: Oh, man. Has it been a shitty stretch of years for film? It feels like the quality of movies is down lately. I did really like Drive (like everyone else, I know) and Buck was great as well. My favorite DVD release was definitely Dogtooth, the strange and brilliant Greek film about a fucked-up family in a world all their own.

TV: There are many shows that I once really liked and have lost interest in (Dexter, Weeds, maybe even American Horror Story already) but the ones that have stayed awesome are Breaking Bad and Mad Men (in other words, the usual suspects). The saddest goodbye this year was for Friday Night Lights, one of the greatest and most realistic shows about small town living and family life to ever be on TV. Luckily though, FNL writer Jason Katims also does the AWESOME show Parenthood, which has a lot of the same great qualities of FNL. I never miss it–and yeah, I have a crush on Lauren Graham. So what?

Lauren

Music: I feel like I got more and more behind on the music scene this year. I’m just not as on top of it as I used to be. I remember people would ask me, ten or fifteen years ago: How do you find out about all these cool bands that you listen to? I would usually answer that I hung out at listening stations a lot, had friends with record store jobs, and that I read a lot of music magazines (NME and Melody Maker, Copper Press, Spin, or whatever). Now my answer is: the library. I get stuff at the library all the time. Just recently, I snagged a CD by Sarah Jaffe, thinking it was my friend Sara Jaffe. It wasn’t, but now I have a new favorite singer. Also discovered this year: Ayvett Brothers, Blind Pilot, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and I got to interview The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy and Jenny Conlee for Relix Magazine, which was cool. My 17-year-old son has reached the point where he’s listening to all these weird bands I’ve never even heard of.

The Decemberists

There were a lot of other personal highlights in 2011 as well. Getting married to B. Frayn Masters in January was a beautiful moment that keeps turning into more beautiful moments.

Married Bliss Attack!

Now come on, 2012!

I’m reading at If Not For Kidnap on a special Friday night edition, January 20th. I’m joined by Bryan Coffelt, poet, designer, Future Tense co-hort, and 49ers fan. There will also be Edward Mullany, a musical guest, and a secret special surprise reader at this event. Not to mention booze. House readings: They’re the best.

Alright, folks. Have a great Christmas and New Year.

love,

Kevin

The Gray Shadow

Hey friends,

What’s been going on? I’ve had a couple of things pop up recently and I wanted to share them with you, but first–a few serious words about facial hair…

I stay fairly clean cut. I shave every other day usually. If I don’t, the grayness of my stubble threatens to overshadow my face in (what I think is) an unflattering way. But the other day, I let three whole days go by without shaving. When I saw my friend Riley at the store he was like, “Whoa! Hey, that looks cool.” 

I trust he was being honest, but still–I feel self-conscious about my “gray shadow.” What do you think?

I keep expecting some former football player to come up to me with that Just For Men darkening gel and say, “Your beard is weird.”

I don’t think I’d ever use that stuff, you know, but I’ve wondered if it would work or if I would look like that weird pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.

So, unless people tell me they want to see more of my gray shadow, I’ll be doing this on a regular basis…

Anyway, now you know what I obsess over when I’m having writer’s block (which I’ve had for the last month or so).

But before I had writer’s block (or “writer’s blah”) I did write a few things that recently popped up. Check them out. A piece of reportage for Robert Lopez’s No News Today and some fresh word collage action at the great new Unshod Quills web site.

In other news, I’m part of the advisory board for this exciting new small press community called The Lit Pub. They have good taste and the books they’ll be talking about here are going to be ones you’ll remember and love.

In upcoming event news, I’ll be part of the awesome Mortified shows happening Thursday and Friday night at the Mission Theater. If you haven’t been to one of these shows (in Portland or another city), they are a lot of fun.

Later this month, I’ll be teaming up with one of my favorite Portland musicians and reading two musical narratives at Entertainment For People at the Woods (can’t tell you who this “secret guest” is just yet because she has another show that week). Catch this rare collaboration on June 22nd in Portland and then June 24th in Seattle at Theater Off Jackson (two shows, two cities!).

I wanted to end this post with a photo that I took last year when B. Frayn and I were down in Houston. I just randomly found it still on my phone.

Thanks for riding by.