Self-Interview at The Nervous Breakdown

One day, I told myself. One day I’d get to do one of these bad boys. The TNB self-interview. Here it is.

And an excerpt, too.

After another blackout she came to with blood under her nails that she could not explain. Norma howled in frustration. Rain chipped at the roof. Was it morning? Which morning? She lay there in a sweat, a free-floating panic squeezing the breath from her chest. A constant headache scratched at her temples. She felt the VIPr, the encoded dentata, leaking into her brain. Maybe Mommy was right. Maybe on Earth you think with your hole.

Dreadful Daughters, Nervous Breakdowns and storySouth Million Writers nom for ‘The Box.’

Couple of pieces of news. Those crazy kids from over at Juked have nominated my story, ‘The Box’ for a Million Writers award. Without editors like J.W. Wang, Zack Wentz, Cameron Pierce, John Joseph Adams, Seb Doubinsky, Deb Hoag… the list goes on and most of these people are award winning writers, poets, anthologists themselves, but they do that extra thing, they read. They lead by example. Without which this revolution, this whole movement, would not be happening. So more on that in a minute.

So The Nervous Breakdown put up ‘Speak of the Puppet.’ I mainly wrote the piece in response to that question we get asked and ask ourselves, where does it come from? My uncle asked me. An innocent question if you believe in innocent questions, which by definition, I don’t. So, that. I read what other people said about this. And I liked this answer by Neil Gaiman. Read more

My 20th Nervous Breakdown

Tin House Here is a new piece I wrote on my experiences at the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop.

“The place was crawling with babeness. I mean aside from the instructors—I’m talking Aimee Bender here, people. Antonya Nelson. But the delegates glowed too. The little memoir-writer in his white golf hat, and the tight, brittle New York poets and the sandaled Opus-luggers. They all shimmered, you know. Maybe it was gold of the river running through campus, or the green of the lawns, or the printed Tin House bags we carried. It all shimmered and it cloaked us in the dream, and in its hope. But my group, the Wells Tower group? They were the babest of the babes.”

You can read more at The Nervous Breakdown

Art Edwards at The Nervous Breakdown

Interesting stuff from Art Edwards at The Nervous Breakdown

“I’ve employed the path of self-publication twice over the past decade. I’ve made sales, read to captive audiences, received fan mail. My first novel was nominated for an award. My second novel was an award winner. And after a few bumps financially, the second edition of my first novel has been profitable. I should be the last person in the world to tell you not to extend your middle finger to traditional publishing and go it alone.”

Only don’t.

You’ve heard it a thousand times, but maybe not like this.

“By the summer of 2012, I’d received answers from every query I could reasonably expect an answer from, and the answer was still no. 122 agents. 16 indie publishers. Six contests. I’d spent six years writing this novel, almost two submitting it, and about fifteen with the novel as the primary focus of my writing life, and with the exception of one finalist slot in a contest, no one wanted anything to do with it.”

Ouch city. Place we’ve all been to.

“So, unless my protagonist suddenly grows a pair of fangs, I need to make it better…Setting your novel aside for six months separates you from your notions of it. It empties your head of all you think your book is and allows you, six months later, to see it for what it really is. There may not be a more useful book revising tool.”

Hear hear. And fangs could be good. Just saying.

Richard Blackie lives on The Nervous Breakdown.

Richard Blackie

…sometimes life falls at your feet so pre-stretched and warped that you don’t need to touch it. So broken and fragile that you fear too much handling will tear it apart. If you have the presence-of-mind to cup it in your hands, or the artist’s hardness of heart to make a note and file it under ‘material’, you do, but so often you don’t. It slips through your fingers, too beautiful (or something) to live. But it marks you, changes you.

Read more at The Nervous Breakdown

A new post up on The Nervous Breakdown…

Okay, let’s talk about rejections.

War wounds and badges of dishonor. I’ll see your bruised pride and raise you a broken spirit.

One of my favorite rejections to date came from an editor who knocked back my submission but told me by way of consolation that one of my colleagues—an enviable Irish wunderkind—got in instead, and how proud I must be. The editor went on to say that my story (which has since been published elsewhere) was ‘a little too dry, a little airless.’

‘She talking about your story,’ said a supportive friend, ‘or her vag?’

Read the full piece here.