I had the opportunity to speak with poet Terence Hayes yesterday. He informed me that the University of Massachusetts only accepts "experimental" writing. What that translates to is this: Young, immature, undisciplined wanna-be writers who have nothing significant to write about. I had been told that Brown is the same. Unfortunately, I learned that after I wasted the time and money applying to their program. As expected, I got the rejection from Brown today. I didn't really think an elitist institution like Brown would ever accept a shit-kicking hellraiser from the rustbelt like myself. I guess in that specific case, my application was more like a middle-finger (which I still proudly hoist in the face of both UMass and Brown).
Let's be honest-- American fiction is NARRATIVE fiction. The great experiments of Henry Miller and then later the beatniks and finally the god-awful "work" of John Barth and David Foster Wallace have thoroughly exhausted the possibilities of "experimental" writing. The truth is, the experiment is now within narrative. The radical writers are all narrative writers and, I would argue, genre writers.
Genre fiction has ALWAYS been the most important. Is there any novel in the history of the western civilization more important than Frankenstein? Open your ears over the next week and count how many times, in how many different circumstances, you hear a reference, overt or otherwise, to Mary Shelley's book. Can anyone argue, successfully, that 1984 is not the most important book of the last hundred years? Of course not.
I wish the children and immature professors at the University of Massachusetts and Brown the best of luck. They're going to need it. Nobody in the real world wants to read your attempts to surrealize your diaries...
Let's start with the negative-- The pompous jackasses at the University of Massachusetts have the dubious honor of being the first of the six schools I applied to for an MFA to respond. They turned me down. Apparently, two feature motion pictures, twenty years of publishing, ghost work on script rewrites and almost a decade's worth of teaching writing does not, in their book, qualify one to attend their hoity-toity program. Fuck 'em. Who the hell wants to go to Massachusetts anyway? I just wish they'd give me my seventy bucks back for the application fee and the hours I spent working on that stupid "personal statement." Massachusetts, you are officially on my SHITLIST.
Now, the good news! A literary journal called Fast Forward just sent me notice that they are publishing my flash fiction piece "Presently Tense," which is about a writer who writes fiction in the present tense. Fast Forward is published once a year and their first issue won an award, so it's a nice way to end an otherwise almost completely shitty day.
On a much lighter note, the day actually started OK when I got word from Jimmy Callaway that he had posted my review of the x-rated version of Alice in Wonderland at his exploitation blog, Let's Fuck Everybody. This is an adult-oriented review of an adult-oriented film, so readers beware. In other words, don't let your kids see it!
Check out Chuck Tyrell's Line Rider at this week's Beat to a Pulp. Very authentic, old-west language and almost surreal attention to detail make for a great read. Photograph borrowed from naturefocused.com
My short story "A Moral Majority," which is about hypocrisy, has been accepted at Paraphernalia Quarterly. This story got a pretty cold reception from another editor at a different publication and I'm guessing she missed the point, thinking that it was an attack on religion. It's not. It's an attack on hypocrisy and if you use your thinkin' cap while you read it, it's pretty damn obvious. My thanks to Yossarian at PQ for taking a chance on this piece.
This month at All Due Respect, a short piece of fiction by Mark Joseph Kiewlak titled Slay Ride. It's a rather timely tale of a ride across a snowy landscape with some bad guys and some lesser bad guys.