16 July 2006

current projects

While one of the few constraints we Now What contributors work under is the Law of No Self-Aggrandizement, I thought every now and then it might be both fun and illuminating to hear what we're up to in our aesthetic lives, and so:

What publishing or writing project are you engaged in right now that holds your greatest interest and attention?


Joe Amato said...

Lance, that would be my memoir, Up from Ellis Island, which I've been working on for nearly a decade now (a chapter appeared fall 2004 in The Iowa Review). It becomes more essayistic (and reflexive) as it moves along, inquiring into the intersection of technology, work and class issues, and were I to revise to satisfy the two "revise & resubmits" I rec'd recently (from two different presses), this would likely result in a straight-ahead father-son drama (i.e., absent what one outside reader referred to as "bells & whistles" -- my more postmodern, uhm, tics?).

I just can't bring myself to do this, at any rate, b/c I didn't write the book simply to talk about my life. I am hoping to present a fusion of realist and postmodern concerns as to narrative, and this is doubtless getting me into hot water with both "camps."

That's on the publishing end, which seems to have occupied most of my time this summer (i.e., getting my "inventory" out and under review). On the writing end, I'm having a bitch of a time at the moment with this horror screenplay, so I'm in one of those typical writerly snags, the antidote for which is usually, for me, to pull back some and see what comes to me.

Anyway, thanks for asking --



Carol Novack said...

In a rush today, as I'm leaving for Vancouver & Victoria, Seattle, PORTLAND WRITERS'EDGE & points south. Briefly,

1) Finished gathering my short fictions together to sub for a contest. The book's called "The Eating Habits of the Poor." Will now rush to post office.

2) Working on Act 2 of a play called "Ham & Hen."

3) Working on a collaborative project I initiated, called "Picnic" after the game. 4 other very talented writers, one of whom is a soldier in Iraq. Incredibly intriguing, reflecting our pressing concerns in these times of gloom and doom, and mostly lyrical & freaky as hell. LOVE IT!

pax vobiscum,


Anonymous said...

Dear Lance & co.:

I'm going to be so bold (and/or so stupid; perhaps the two are synonymous) to take this opportunity to emerge from my seemingly interminable "lurk" mode and to actually say something around here (hear?) that hopefully won't come across as being overtly crass. (I always read the blog.) I've told Carol repeatedly (via e-mail/phone) that I'd post something eventually, but simply haven't had the [insert organ of choice] to do it...until now. Well, since nobody *really* wants to hear about what this (who? sorry, never heard of him) has been doing while cloistered away in his box-like study in Denver (was Hiroshima until last month; culture shock is always worse coming back, I tell you), I'll keep this as brief and to-the-point as possible:

1. I've recently finished "final" revisions - though it never really ends, does it? - on an [anti]novel[la] started back in '04 that was originally intended as a tribute of sorts to Kobo Abe's The Box Man (Hako otoko; 1973). I am happy (happy?) to say that it is now "out of my hands," or at least for the time being, and that I am trying to move on with my life and concentrate on various other projects.

2. Though this doesn't count as a "publishing or writing project" per se, I have been readingreadingreading for inspiration/enlightenment books such as: Kathryn Davis's Hell, Marguerite Duras's Destroy, She Said, Roy Kesey's Nothing in the World (Bullfight Media Press), Brian Evenson's The Wavering Knife (second time - love it even more than the first!), Golden Handcuffs Review #7 (just discovered this journal; great stuff), Paul Verlaine's The Cursed Poets, and, next up, Gina Frangello's My Sister's Continent.

I've also just started a new novella, a bleak (of course), dystopian allegory which should reflect our increasingly chaotic, uninformed/uninterested, violent, Baudrillard'esque world. If the first novel was my "Japan" [anti]novel, then I suppose this one will be my "pseudo-American" [anti]novel. Or something like that. Does it really matter what I call it...?

3. I'm also delighted to be involved in Carol's unique collaborative effort (see #3 on Carol's list, above), and am looking forward to what it will evolve into (or out of, as the case may be...). It's an honor to be jousting - or was it picnicking? - with such fine talent.

4. Finally, and this really is a bit OT, I'm afraid, I've also recently been bemoaning the fact that I didn't sign up for the Writer's Edge workshop in Portland back in March/April when I was still living in Japan. Now that I'm Stateside again I'd love to meet the FC2 people, and to participate in the various workshops deconstructing thought/history/time, as it were. But, alas, one cannot eat one's yomogi-mochi and have it too (they'll take it away from you at customs, at any rate)...

In closing (I said a bigger mouthful than I had intended to, as always!), may I be so bold as to ask Lance what "publishing or writing project" is currently garnering his interest/attention right now? I've wanted to tell you (Lance) for the longest time that your Rebel Yell has been extremely helpful to me over the years. I read and reread that book on the JR trains so many times...

I hope to contribute something of value to this blog in future. Thank you for your time.


Lance Olsen said...

I'm going to sort of follow one of Lidia/Blonde's suggestions and pop her post down here, just so all our current projects appear in the same and easy-to-access place. --Lance


well I started typing this into the little dialogue box and nearly blew its fuse. so if it’s not kosher to stick it up mainline, lance & ted, just delete it or move it or quietly escort it from the building.

before I begin: what’s cool is the writer’s edge workshops being held for the first time ever, co-sponsored by PSU and FC2 in portland, oregon, july 28, 29, 30. i just never get tired of mentioning that.

what I’m working on:

i’m spank your ass happy to announce the release of
NORTHWEST EDGE III: the end of reality, the third in an anthology series from chiasmus press (www.chiasmusmedia.net)

this year for the first time we’ve included an experimental film dvd—in line with our mission to blur the line between visual media and the word. our release parTAY is this thursday, july 20th, at a WAY COOL warehouse in portland, oregon. and I got the VODKA DONATED. top that. editors: me, trevor dodge, and andy mingo.

writers/artists include: lance and andi olsen, rebecca brown, stacey levine, david shields, maya sonenberg, tiffany lee brown, kevin sampsell, monica drake, frayn masters, cat tyc, mike daily, nico vassilakis, alvin greenberg, jeanne heuving, lisa newman, michael kroetch, zoe trope, jay ponteri, zack wentz, lanny quarles, mia de bono, shane hinton, paula coomer, shane hinton, ryan smith, megan jones,

filmmakers include: holly andres, karl lind, morgan hobart, grace carter, jesse england, nicole linde, gideon klindt, andi olsen/trevor dodge/lance olsen, leon johnson.

so we’re pretty dang pleased with ourselves.

our next three solo author releases are: kat meads, trevor dodge, and maya sonenberg. what’s not to love? more fun than an erotic and naughty barrel of monkeys.

some of you might be interested in an imprint/small funky book series we’re starting called “little books with a big head”. first two authors are: mark amerika and lou rowan.

and then there is, well, this. i’m finishing my first anti-novel. which I have been saying for five years. only those other years I was lying. it was bravado and subterfuge. however, after six years of therapy and having a kid and living in the woods for half a decade, i think it might actually be true, or true enough.

it’s not really an anti-novel, it’s a mixed genre / multimedia monstrosity born from the corporeal reality of a woman in love with language. It has panels mixing words and paintings, words and photos, words and drawings, and a dvd with film shorts. now if there WERE A FUCKING NOVEL CATEGORY for that in this country, it would be a novel. GRRRRRRR. ha. so its publication may be, well, problematic.

in an ideal world it would look kind of like that BECK thing.


but lemme just say for the record this is the most serious, intimate, intellect-expanding, bodily juicy, ungodly fun I have had as a writer in …well, ever. except of course for shooting miles from my loins and getting to know him.

so who knows if YOU will ever see it, but I can attest to the jouissance of the experience.

thus I would highly recommend it—writing a book that defies gravity or the market--to anyone, especially women.

lastly and probably most significantly, my son miles, who is five, has produced his first quicktime film, as well as his first book. his film is a bit pornographic…lots of weenie, his current obsession. the book is made from drawings he told mamma “mattered”, and the words in the book are letters he thought “just looked cool together.”

i’m just saying.

don’t panic, I don’t do the mother guber thing. just thought you’d like to know who the upcoming artists to look for on the horizon are.

signaling through the flames,

Laird Hunt said...

Glad you asked Lance – I’m curious to read what everyone is up to. For my part: in addition to being in pre-pub mode (odd place that requires a good deal of emails and anxiousness) for The Exquisite (Sept), I have a few projects going. The first is a follow-up to my first novel called Dear Laird Hunt, Author of The Impossibly, in which a “fan” of The Impossibly writes Laird Hunt longer and stranger letters about it. This summer I’m hoping to take it closer to finished form, which is a matter of shaping, mostly: it’s a bit unwieldy at the moment. The other project is a follow-up (I’m in a sequel state of mind) to my second novel, Indiana, Indiana (actually the first one written), which takes a minor character from that book and explores her life – a look at what is peripheral in one context and central in another. It’s also an exploration, via Flaubert’s Un Coeur simple, of classic realism, a mode I realized I’d never tried in any extended way. There are a couple of other things going, including a slow but rewarding (for me) series of shorts written in response to the visual artist Rich O’Russa’s work. I figured out quite some time ago that keeping multiple balls in the air was the best way to keep excited and focused about the whole surround. So here I go juggling.

Lance Olsen said...

Thanks, Marc, and don't count yourself out with respect to The Writer's Edge conference yet. All going well, it will become a yearly event. So mark that 2007 calendar . . .

As far as my own current projects go, I'm putting the finishing touches on a novel-like-object (N.L.O.) called Anxious Pleasures, which will appear next spring. It's a critifictional rewriting—or, to use R. M. Berry's term, perhaps a kind of unwriting, or maybe, better, a polywriting—of the first book I ever fell in love with as a teenager, and by my lights still one of the most beautiful, most perfect, and most haunting novellas ever: Kafka's Metamorphosis.

I'm also in the very, very early days of working on a new N.L.O., the first to arrive on the doorstep of my imagination, not as a narrative, or a character, or a genre, or even a theoretical problem, no, but as a shape, a specific and fairly complicated architecture that I'm trying to understand how to construct and fill.

Okay, what about the rest of you, hmmmm, Ted, Davis, Timmi, Kass, Doug, John, Jeffrey, Michael, and Steve? Don't be shy now.

Kass Fleisher said...


shy? never! swamped? yeah.

for one thing, this fabulous blog is taking up some time---THANKSALOT, YOU GUYS. other more minor distractions include completing the stint editing _american book review_---please, everybody, let us know how you feel about the july/august issue (our first, in many ways, and our last). also i am story consultant on joe's horror script, which has morphed into an action script; later i'll be script doctor.

in production mode: _the adventurous_, something of a sequel to _accidental species_: a purported memoir about 2 het-married writers collaborating in life, art. my, how language distorts.

in editorial mode: a memoir requiring some revisions, i'm told. no specifics yet.

but i'm trying to get 6 pages a day on a novel about historical events that occurred in my spiritual home, south-central pennsylvania. the place has been a killing field for centuries---why is this?? i'm attempting to get at the root of violence, after spending 20 years writing around and about and through violence. whah-hoo.

in honor of marc's contribution, allow me also to say that i've been trying to get some reading done. spun through the wicked ride of tomasula's _book of portraiture_---FUCKING FANTASTIC. now there's a book i could NEVER write. i bow, genuflect, grovel, etc., before greatness (would i shit you?). also david hamilton's collected poems, _ossabaw_. wow, what a talent. there's a poem of every type and topic here---this may sound belittling, but there's something for everyone, and as a collection it flows as if from asana to asana. really nice job. i read laura mullen's new book of smashed together prose poetry nongenre, _murmur_, in galleys. foetry should get it out this fall. again, WAY ABOVE MY PAY GRADE.

naropa's summer writing program took a good bit of attention, well worth it: among other things laird hunt gave a stunning reading from _exquisite_---GOD IT WAS GOOD. I HATE HIM.

humility is good for me, right?

oh, and: getting ready to do academia again.

i'm 2 months behind on my _new yorkers_. sigh.

love yas,


Davis Schneiderman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Davis Schneiderman said...

Thanks for asking! I'm about as shy as Kass...

Mainly, I am trying to finish a thousand loose ends before a forthcoming life change (parenthood!) no doubt slows things down.

Currently, I am engaged in final edits on a long-suffering novel ScatØlØgically Yours, about a near-past-then-future where Lake Michigan empties of water (becoming an endless desert), a disenfranchised population that worships as arcane “World Worm” moves in, and a planned-community corporation gradually supplants these people with towns not unlike Celebration, Florida (Disney-run). A partisan leader working against the planned communities where she was born, Dial-Up Networking, leads a gang in activities such as spraying cotton candy over fast-food workers before releasing starving rats. [This is the first time I’ve written anything publicly about this…feels like an ice-water bath.]

Spuyten Duyvil Press is moving toward the commercial release of Multifesto: A Henri d’Mescan Reader, after the successful sandpaper-covered limited edition art-book release...and there are some edits to do and photos shoots to stage. The Library of Congress emailed me yesterday to inquire about how to catalogue the work of Multifesto’s cast of authors: d’Mescan, Henry Mescaline, and Phoenelia Yeer!

Also, for Spuyten Duyvil, another project, in utero: “Memorials to Future Catastrophes” (involving weekly recording sessions).

I’m also finishing edits on The Exquisite Corpse: Creativity, Collaboration, and The World’s Most Popular Parlor Game (with Tom Denlinger, and Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren) for U. of Nebraska Press. Contributors include Michael Joyce (artistic collaboration), Oliver Harris (Burroughs and Gysin), and Craig Saper (Jesse Reklaw’s applicant), among many excellent others.

Other assorted projects include an essay for a collection generated from the Collage as Cultural Practice conference (on Burroughs and cut-ups), a related piece for the Burroughs symposium at UNAM in Mexico City (early Sept.), a revision of an AWP presentation on the Ben Marcus/Jonathan Franzen debate, and the occasional “Male Call” column in The Chicago Tribune.

Oh yeah, riding my bike—as much as possible. And so spinning my wheels.


PS: The Book of Potraiture rocks, and like Kass, I am seriously humbled.

Kass Fleisher said...

oops, pardone em mwah, laura mullen's book is coming out on futurepoem. foetry is evil. sorry, confused my f words.

i was privileged to read davis's _multifesto_ in ms some time back and its publication will be a real shot in the arm for this tribe. can't wait!!



Timmi Duchamp said...

This is all so tantalizing. Lidia, the Northwest Edge anthology sounds fabulous. Will it be easy to find a copy of? I know I want one! & I'm practically salivating at the thought of your "critifiction," Lance. Reading about what everyone else is up to makes me wish I had time for throwing myself into a new writing project.

At the moment I'm up to my eyebrows in finishing a project-- that is, line-editing (& making scattered rewrites throughout) of the ms of "Tsunami," the third novel in my Marq'ssan Cycle, which is going to the printer in the fall. I'm also engaged in several editing projects for Aqueduct, which I can't elaborate on publicly yet.

I guess you can all see what the downside of being a publisher is...

jdeshell said...

Things I’m doing:
Trying to get rid of a nasty cold. I won’t go to my doctor cuz he loves the antibiotics last time he game me so much he compromised my liver I can compromise my liver on my own so I hack and hack waiting to get better.

Things I’m writing:
“Working” on a novel about meth labs and movies. “Working” means research not on meth labs (if you come over that smell is cuz of the dogs) but on movies which means watching and watching sometimes 2 a day some good some bad some I’ve seen before and didn’t like this time some I’ve seen before and liked a lot more this time I know we’re sick of lists but here’s a sample:

some good: Ozu Tokyo Story Ozu Late Spring Bergman The Silence Scenes from a Marriage Shame Through a Glass Darkly Winter Light etc Suzuki Gate of Flesh anything with Mitchum and/or Gloria Grahame. . .

some bad: Wertmuller Swept Away Bellochio Fists in Pocket Rosi Salvatore Guilaino Rossellini Germany Degree Zero Visconti The Damned . . .

some I’ve seen before and didn’t like this time: Meyer Faster Pussycat Kill Kill Antonioni Blow Up Antonioni L’Aventurra Wyler Jezebel . . .

some I’ve seen before and liked a lot more this time: Leone Good Bad and Ugly Leone Once Upon a Time in the West Antonioni The Passenger Passolini Oedipus Rex Bertollucci Last Tango in Paris Fellini 8 ½ Vadim And God Created Woman Wenders American Friend etc etc.

Things I’m reading:
Reading theory helps me clear a space in my head for writing. I read Blanchot’s The Infinite Conversation again, which I think is beautiful. I have this Rainer Schurman Heidegger on Being and Acting, which looks kind of interesting. I also recently finished and enjoyed these Swiss/German detective novels by Friedrich Glauser.

Does anyone know any good film criticism? Other than the Kael, Ebert, New Yorker axis? I’m trying to read the second Delueze book, but am finding it a slog. Has anyone here read it? Is it worth it? I’d appreciate any suggestions of good film criticism and/or films I should see.

To your health, Jeffrey

Raw Dog Screaming said...

Wow, glad to see everybody's so busy! And working on such a wide variety of projects, too.

Not much time here, as my son will shortly return from his grandmother's, but as others have done I'll break it down into publishing and personal...

Releasing several titles in August and September, including Matthew Warner's deeply disturbing (and humorous) Eyes Everywhere, a meditation on post-9/11 paranoia. EE was just reviewing in Publishers Weekly on Monday, and a slew of events/other reviews are looming on the horizon. Also, Steve Beard's Meat Puppet Cabaret has been getting some great advance praise from Michael Moorcock, Eckhard Gerdes, and Stuart Home. We're working overtime to promote those two books.

Other releases we're doing design work on are And Your Point Is? (Steve Aylett), Text:UR - The New Book of Masks (Forrest Aguirre, editor), and Via Dolorosa (Ronald Damien Malfi). Basically running around like a head with its chicken cut off...I'm supposed to be calling David Cronenberg's "people" regarding a possible blurb for a title next year, among other things (like contacting a dozen or so stores to see what's up with readings and such).


The Troublesome Amputee, my fourth poetry collection, was released in June so I'm working on promo for that. It's a fun book, and I'm excited to do some poetry readings again!

Gearing up for the August release of Discouraging at Best, a collection of long fiction. Final edits and layout are done (I think); waiting on forward by Kevin Dole 2. This is an old one, written in 2001, so I'm happy it's finally seeing the light of day.

Currently answering many detailed questions for an interview on another blog, regarding black horror authors. I do happen to be black...and Native American, and Caucasian, and I'm known best in the "horror" field for some reason...a fun interview so far.

Most of my time these last few weeks, however, has been devoted to a freelance editing job that fell in my lap (a humor series for one of the "big" publishers). It's interesting work because, well, I haven't worked in the "humor" field before. Also have a book proposal in with the same company...fingers are crossed.

During all of this, the thing I'm SUPPOSED to be doing with my summer is completing my experimental "erotic horror" novel-thing. I've only had a chance to do minor editing work thus far. Also have done some work on my graphic novel series, but that's really at the bottom of my priory list these days.

Okay, have a great day everyone!

Ted Pelton said...

Hi, folks. Just back from my week's vacation in New Brunswick, a locale I'd recommend to everyone -- wilderness like Wyoming, ports like New England, food in the spirit of & not much short of the accomplishment of) France... Not bad, ay? (You can't get fresh salmon with a maple glaze in Paris like you get it in Moncton.)

Now I'm scrambling to get things done around the house and to keep the press running before I head to Brooklyn tomorrow for the PP/FF reading party at Night & Day on 5th Ave. at President St., 7 pm.

Ongoing projects:

1. Keeping Starcherone going: a contest in the final judging stage, new books to put together for early 2007 by Harold Jaffe (Beyond the Techno-Cave: A Guerrilla Writer's Guide to Postmillennial Culture) and Sara Greenslit (debut novel/contest winner The Blue of Her Body); putting the finishing touches on a successful donation drive (thanks, contributors on this list -- I count three visibles, in addition to the invisibles I know are out there); arranging readings; applying for foundation money; updating the website; concluding a year of editorial reading with offers to new authors that will book us up through 2009; fulfilling orders.... Always plenty to do.

1.a. Announcements on our upcoming books will be made soon -- I've been talking to new authors on the phone as well, the lovely ending to weeks and months of painfully rejecting manuscripts, many very good but not quite for us. I have written a lot of those excruciating near-miss letters -- finally past that, as of 2 weeks ago. One only has the ultimate happy conversations on average once every 3-4 months, so they are sweet.

2. Putting the finishing touches this late Summer/early Fall on a collection of three novellas, tentative titled Responsibility. One novella, Bhang, was written in 2004 and published by the micro-press BlazeVox Books; a second novella, Bartelby, the Sportscaster, was completed last year -- it is equally a re-reading of Melville's great story, a fictive transposing of those circumstances to the life of a minor league baseball broadcaster in New Bedford, MA, and a meditation on divorce and clinical depression; now I'm finishing the third, The Responsible Managing Editor. This one takes the true story of the arrest and censorship of a Turkish editor, Isik Yurtcu, whose newspaper illegally published accounts of the persecution of the Kurds, and fictively transposes it to near-future rural Wisconsin during an uprising of the Hmong peoples who began being resettled there in the 1970s and who, in my narrative, run afoul of new provisions of the Department of Homeland Security. I plan to have the book done in October/November.

3. I have very recently begun a new book, which will be comprised of 43 short-shorts, each one based upon one of the Presidents of the United States. So far all I've done is to write down all the names of the presidents on pieces of paper and draw the names one by one out of a hat (I guess that makes me an Old School surrealist); the first was William Howard Taft, and I have done a piece on him that needs work, but isn't bad. Next is Grover Cleveland. The last, randomly selected (and this showed me the magic that still occasionally attaches itself to chance procedures), truly, will be George Washington.

4. Ethan Paquin and I have been collaborating on a play, Mullah, that seems finally about to come to fruition two years after beginning. Initially we traded numbers of lines back and forth for the course of a few weeks. Then we edited it, tried out different endings. Now Ethan has drafted a third version of the ending that looks like a winner. It's nice collaborating with someone 13 years my junior -- he doesn't want to simply leave it on the shelf for later, as I often do, and he's pushed us through to an ending. It could be available in micropress form, if we do get it together, sometime in '07.

OK, sorry, gotta go -- I hope to be more active with NowWhat in August (see today's entry above). Finally, Jeffrey's movie list makes me jealous -- all I've seen recently is Pirates of Caribbean 2 (awful), An Inconvenient Truth (scary, fucking dire, and ultimately good because smarter than one is used to seeing American discourse), and Grizzly Man (second viewing, better than the first; I am a Herzog documentary addict). Why do I end up with the lame presidents while Jeffrey gets to watch movies and think about drugs?


Anonymous said...

the jeff character in jay mcinerney's brightness falls puts it best: asking a writer what he's working on is the equivalent of asking a person with cancer about the progress of his disease.

Lance Olsen said...

Or, better yet, perhaps, and slightly less sensational, if slightly more embarrassing, how one's hemorroids are doing.

And yet the truth is, isn't it, that everyone wants to know.