Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Thought

From Against the Wind by Dorothee Soelle:

"When I learned Greek, the concept kalonkagathon became very dear to my heart. In my seventeen-year-old unintelligence, I wondered how the Greeks could take two words that for us have nothing to do with each other, and turn them into the one word: beauty-good. Where on earth would one find aesthetics and ethics in the same dish? My amazement was deepened even more when I found out that medieval theology taught that God touches us through beauty, changes us, and draws us Godward." (page 151)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Regarding Art Stimulates Lit and the Psalms Project

I don't know how many people check this blog, but I thought I should at least put out there some information on two calls for work that I put out last fall.

First, the "psalms project," which is being edited by Jill Alexander Essbaum, Anne McCrady, and Alan Berecka. They have been going through the many submissions and are working on getting a final list of work to be included in the final book. There have been some delays due to everyone's full schedules (including, in one case, a trans-Atlantic move), but the project is moving ahead and I project we'll be sending out notifications regarding acceptance and rejection (what an ugly word, but there it is) in early fall. Maybe sooner.

The Art Stimulates Lit project is a little stickier. I'm trying to read through the submissions this summer and see if I have a book. I'm not sure that I do, yet. I'm hoping that in September, I can start emailing authors with firm status of their work. That's a long wait for some of you who submitted with the first call I put out. I've closed the call for now, but may reopen it if I don't have enough material. Stay tuned.

It's all rather embarrassing to admit, but I bit off more than I could chew this year. It seems everything has been delayed (remember when the just released Necropolis was announced for an April release?) and things snowball. I'm very sorry. Until I get some of the things I've committed to cleared off the plate, I won't be looking at any new projects, possibly for up to a year.

In the meantime, all of you who submitted stories for Art Stimulates Lit, I encourage you to continue to send your work around, if it's not previously published. Because this is an anthology, I don't mind using previously published work, and there's no need for you to wait around for me to play catch up with my schedule. Even if I find I have enough material for a book this fall, the very earliest it would be published is fall of 2009, and a more realistic time frame is early 2010. (yikes! That looks so very much like The Future, doesn't it?)

If you have any questions about either of these projects, please feel free to email me at neo (at), but there's not much more to tell you than what's above. Again, very sorry for the delays. I'm still trying to figure out these entrepreneurial endeavors.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Exquisite Corpses

Last weekend, about a half dozen writers gathered together for another Writing Marathon at the Montrose Library branch, here in Houston, and as near as I can tell, a good time was had by all.

One of the things we do between writing prompts is we play a round of Exquisite Corpse. If you're not familiar with this Surrealist game, go here to read more. (See? I learned a new skill. Thanks again, Didi!)

I thought I'd share a few of the surreal sentences we created as we played our rounds.

A pretty mermaid stroked the awful tree.

The gracious watchman carries a big boat.

The crumpling bagpipe writes a colored boat.

An extraordinary chair dreamed of the hot situation.

A bearded vision receives a strong sky. (I like the idea of receiving a strong sky. And I am bearded. Whether or not I'm a vision is highly subjective.)

The frivolous juniper tree whips a timeless fish.

The extraordinary woman guzzles a slippery bottle. (Perhaps to latter sit in an extraordinary chair and fulfill dreams of a hot situation?)

The enchanted bartender crashed into the blazing peanut.

The playful grasshopper recognizes the musical giraffe. (I want this to be from an African fairy tale.)

The impertinent lion attacked an extraordinary fairy. (I may ban the adjective "extraordinary" next time.)

The angry orangutan smashed the sneaky gypsy. (Edited for spelling--which doesn't matter in the game. Also, this one makes me think of Poe's "Murders in Rue Morgue" taking place in eastern Europe.)

The discombobulated zoo plays an awesome game.

And those are just the ones that make sense!

Maybe none of them have the same ring as "The exquisite corpse drinks the new wine," but there are a few images in there that animates my imagination. I hope they do the same for you.

If you're in the Houston area, I'll just go ahead and say mark your calendar for the next Writing Marathon: October 25.

In the meantime---Check out Necropolis by Jill Alexander Essbaum. It's available on all the major bookselling sites and available for order through your local bookstore. You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Necropolis. You Know You Want It.

Necropolis has now gone live on I really need to learn how to work this internet thing so I can do the link thing without giving the full URL, but until I actually enter the 21st Century, here's the link in all it's wrapping glory:

This is a good book. Really. You'll read it over and over. You'll reference it in conversations. You'll find it sneaking into your consciousness when you least expect it. It's that kind of book. And you need it. Your neighbor needs it, too, so you may as well buy 2.

Okay, perhaps I overstate things. Well, no I don't. But you get the point. I hope you will check it out.

I should note the cover illustration is by Misha Penton, created from photos taken by Dave Nickerson. Isn't it lovely? It'll look better if you hold a copy of the book in your hand. It's true.

Okay, on to other places to push this book. Hopefully, more soon. (Or at least sooner than a month and half.)

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