Archive for April, 2011

Rosalynn Stovall + “The Renaissance” = MB8:

Rosalynn Stovall + “The Renaissance” = MB8:

‘The Renaissance’ strikes me in the face, a slap, particularly in its integration of casual phrasing like ‘Teacher said…’ with sexual language as in ‘…anything buxom and hirsute / Was too much magic’. This constant combination of language feels like the lynchpin of the poem, but how calculated and important was it for you when writing this piece?

I apologize for assaulting you, but I hope you are a masochist and enjoyed the abuse. I’m kidding. I couldn’t resist. The language of the piece is tremendously important to me, as I believe language should be to anyone who writes poetry. In the case of “The Renaissance,” the words and the ideas of the poem become inseparable due to its surrealistic nature – a stream of reconstructed and unrelated metaphors about art and sex. The use of “Teacher said” throughout the poem is the little bit of reality that readers can most likely relate, in that everyone has had a teacher and has been in the role of a learner. However, before the audience can fully comprehend what Teacher has said, it is too late and they are trapped in the narrator’s recollection of bizarre studies while the phrasing of words compels them to continue.

On top of this mixture of phrasing, this poem spans immense religious and historical bounds by incorporating images of Greek culture, Christianity, the Renaissance, and even black magic, yet there are so few words – was this a goal of the piece, or a pleasantly unexpected by-product of its composition?

Because I used ideas gleaned from the three art history courses I was taking, the religious and historical references are innate to the poem. I did not attempt to escape or emphasize this aspect. My focus was relating the ideas to one another in such a way that the final amalgam would mean something different than its individual parts. I have always preferred to use succinct language in my poetry. Brevity does not have to mean deficiency or banality. Some people do not realize this and they only say half of what they want to say. Others carry on and on until their metaphors fall apart. Don’t get me wrong. There are a plethora of lengthy poems that are brilliant, but I try to drop atom bombs. Then, I step back to admire the mushroom clouds.

This may seem a strange question, but I want to ask it of all the poets in MB8: Why poetry as opposed to prose? And if you write both, what compels you to exist in dual camps?

I write poetry because it allows me to explore language in a more creative way than prose, which I write because it is more accessible to wider audience. It seems that people do not even attempt to understand poetry. They see the stanza format and close their minds.  Because of this, I often write poems in paragraph format. Sometimes, I call them vignettes. They aren’t, though. They’re poems.

In your bio for MB8, you said that your senior honors thesis was a collection of short stories / vignettes with collage illustrations and that you are potentially pursuing an MFA in either Creative Writing or Sculpture. I find this focus on art intriguing – the mixture of collection (text) and collage (art) – how important is the idea of art in tandem with text to your writing style?

The relationship between writing and art is inseparable because I think both are forms of storytelling. I want to find a better way to express this relationship in my own work, for instance, creating a series based on asemic and automatic writing or continuing to do illustration and animation or delving into the world of graphic novels. I chose to make collage illustrations for my thesis because it is my favorite medium and because the technique I use to make collages is similar to my writing process. Moreover, the insular nature of the illustrations provided the perfect visual approach to connect the protagonists to the themes and motifs present within the stories.

As a lover of sculpture, where we can turn our eyes in the current art scene? Give us some recommendations (pretty please):

I am probably completely out of my loop in discussing the current art scene as it relates to sculpture. Sad, I know. However, something that really inspires me is the annual Shoebox Sculpture Exhibition (for sculptures small enough to fit inside a shoebox). There was a really awesome piece a few years ago called Blue Uhu Tea that was ceramic decorated in fish skin. And I have always loved assemblage, especially that of Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell. Also, within the last few days I’ve been increasingly intrigued by art toys and installations.

Read “The Renaissance” and 21 other great pieces in Monkeybicycle8, available here.

Steve Peacock + “Chipmunks” = MB8:

Steve Peacock + “Chipmunks” = MB8:

There is a great weight of loneliness developed in ‘Chipmunks’ particularly through images of solitude – the single oak in snow, the whipping post, a kitchenette – simple images yet those that underneath their surfaces convey the act (or art) of being alone. How important is loneliness or solitude to this poem?

The unnamed main character in “Chipmunks” indeed is a lonely individual—and although that person, by the way, is not me, some of the objects in his living/dying space are actual icons from events in my life.  For example, the lines identifying “the framed Ansel Adams photo/of a solo oak tree/in a snowy field” emerged from my memory of a poster that adorned the living room of an apartment I had many years ago. The item had been given to me at a time of great turmoil in my life. In short, I had been shot on a New York City street and suffered physical as well as emotional trauma— not so much from the two bullet holes in my body (the bullet having entered my left armpit and exited below my shoulder blade), but from the legal travesty and inner fury that followed. Suffice it to say that I was feeling quite alone and frozen in time back then, not unlike the sensation that the oak tree in the picture conveys. I simply transferred those feelings into the poem, which, again, is not autobiographical, yet reflect some visual snippets of a past, personal reality.

The ‘she’ in the picture that is hurled across a room is an undefined yet powerful moment in this poem. Who is ‘she’ and what does she mean to our narrator?

A: She (whoever ‘she’ may be) is the catalyst — at least in the mind of the suicidal character – for his desire to die. I never had in mind a specific conflict for the ex-couple, other to imply that their breakup devastated him, or, perhaps I should say, he allowed that split to devastate him. On the other hand, while crafting “Chipmunks” I knew I needed to include some sort of justification for his intended course of action, no matter how pathetic. Rather than being yet another poem that laments the perceived shortcomings of a woman, “Chipmunks” instead laments the weakness of some men. The ‘she’ in the poem remains critical to the narrative, yet remains subservient to the need to reveal the main character’s fragility. The inclusion of a ‘she’ in that accusative context is leveraged to expose a core character trait of the ‘he.’ And ‘he,’ I show the reader, is as fragile as an eggshell.

I am always fascinated by how different poets engage in space on the page – why have you slighted certain phrases to the far right of this poem and what affect do you want that to have on your readers?

The far-right positioning of key words and phrases, such as “tips back/gulps down,” “drown,” and “pain” came toward the end of the creative process, when I read aloud an early draft.  Separating them from the rest of the text stemmed from my natural and unplanned emphasis of those words as I verbalized them.  

Along those same lines, here is a question I have for all of the MB8 poets: Why poetry as opposed to prose?

Similar to my reasoning behind placing particular words and phrases away from the text, the poetic form seemed natural to the flow and pace of the narrative. The juxtaposition of words, sounds, and even ideas is of paramount concern to the poet, regardless of the type of poem. In the case of “Chipmunks,” crafting the piece as a free-verse, narrative poem was the most effective means of accentuating certain sounds and moments of the story. And although “Chipmunks” is as much a story as it is a poem, I found the piece lacking when I experimented with putting it into prose form. The lack of a fixed or predictable pattern that the final-draft, free verse version of “Chipmunks” had to offer heightened the sense of desperation that I sought to convey, and likewise enabled me to temporarily delay the reader from realizing “Chipmunks” actually is a funny poem.

And I must ask this too, morbid though it is: If you could chose, what song would you want to die to and why?

“The Court of the Crimson King” by King Crimson to me would be a fitting to exit this world, not because of the lyrics, but because of the emotions it elicits from me. Its melancholy yet powerful sounds make me feel as I am being ushered into a new realm. It gives me goosebumps. Remember the brave professor, Liviu Librescu, who saved a group of students during that horrible massacre in 2007 at Virginia Tech? Librescu held the door closed and shielded his students from harm as they escaped from the gunman, who then killed that amazing 77-year-old man. When I envision that moment of selfless sacrifice I hear the chilling melodies of “The Court of the Crimson King” in all its paradoxical combination of sadness and beauty.

Read “Chipmunks” and 21 other great pieces in Monkeybicycle8, available here.

Have we met? Blue Square Press

If you don’t know Blue Square Press, you should, & hey, right now they have a sweeeet deal in the ‘get to know you sense’: $20 for both Ben Spivey’s Flowing in the Gossamer Fold (which I reviewed for The Collagist) & Jack Boettcher’s Theater-State (pre-order info available here). $20 to get to know the first cuts from a spankin’ press is pretty damn good. Check it out.

Vincent Scarpa + “The End of Jimmy” = MB8:

Vincent Scarpa + “The End of Jimmy” = MB8:

‘The End of Jimmy’ is really a story where Jimmy doesn’t end, at least not in any traditional sense. Is this an intentional fight against our sense of narrative tradition, against our casual sensibility to expect certain plot-arcs?

I hope that’s how it works. I like stories that go against the grain in that way, stories that tell themselves in ways I’m not used to seeing. Many of my favorite stories are ones that follow the narrative tradition you mentioned, but I’m always interested in what other angles a story could be told from. I felt like this is how the narrator might’ve told it.

We might feel a bit set up in reading ‘The End of Jimmy’, where you lead us in one direction and then change towards another (and then a third or fourth before the story resolves). What result do you think this has (or do you want it to have) on readers?

The form itself has something to say about the plot, I think. What happens in “The End of Jimmy” is probably defamiliarizing to the narrator, so I hope that it makes sense to a reader that it’s told this way. My hope is that they believe it as much as the woman that the narrator imagines telling it to.

Much of ‘The End of Jimmy’ is told and then negated (or re-written / retold). How often do you play with this idea of negation in your work, or was it exclusive to this particular piece?

It’s tough to pull off, so I don’t do it often in my stories. But I was thinking a lot about Amy Hempel’s stories writing this, notably “The Harvest,” which I think is just one of the finest stories out there.

On a personal note, could you share with us some writers and/or books that inspire you, that have been a part of your writer / reader experience?

Hempel goes without saying. The stories of Pamela Painter, who I’m lucky enough to be studying with, have taught me quite a bit, too. Michelle Cheever is one to look out for too. She’s graduating from Emerson this year, and her stories are just terrific. Oh, and Kevin Miller was instrumental in workshopping this piece last year. I owe him one.

Read “The End of Jimmy” and 21 other great pieces in Monkeybicycle8, available here.

Ten Everywhere: xTx and Normally Special

In ten words (no more, no less), describe Normally Special.
xTx: A tiny, hardcore story collection of brutal, ugly and beautiful.

If you could choose a different name, what would it be?
xTx: Deathrock Jones.

Tell me how “Little Girl in Yellow in Soho” represents your stories.
I can’t get enough of this photo.  Maybe that’s what I want people to feel about my book.  It’s a fascinating photo that prompts a lot of questions, a lot of wonder.  Who is that little girl?  Why is she so all alone on a city street?  Where are her parents?  That cute yellow dress means she is so obviously loved, but yet she stands alone.  Abandoned?  The way she is framed in that huge doorway makes her appear even more tiny and vulnerable.  There is a faceless man in the foreground wearing a color that makes bulls charge.  There’s a contrast there, between him and the girl that evokes…something.  I think this cover captures a lot of the themes of Normally Special.

(Special thanks to my homeboy, Robb Todd, for capturing this moment and letting me use it for my cover. Word Lyfe)

(P7) – You can only have one best friend. So which one is it and why?
xTx: A year ago that would’ve been a hard question, now it is easy: Roxane Gay, because she is the other half of me.

(p14) – ‘Standoff’ is one of the best stories I have read lately. How much of you do you put in your stories?
xTx: While that’s not something that can be adequately measured I’d have to say it’s somewhere between all of me and most of me.

(P28) – Before the testing, what Trial brought the most tears?
xTx: The one that involved mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.

(p39) – How beautiful was the last Tinkerbell sound you heard?
xTx: It was so beautiful it made me pause.  A Tinkerbell sound from a wind chime I couldn’t see delivered to me on a summer afternoon.  There’ s a quiet place in the wind where a sound like that sound carries, where it floats, and that was equally as beautiful, the way it came to me.

(p51) – At 10 p.m. what words do you enjoy?
xTx: Mermaid, shattered, clandestine, tenuous, flotsam, scurrilous, transgendered and black.

(P71) – When do the starfish count more than 33?
xTx: Never.  They are always 33.  She doesn’t know that and even if she did, she’d still keep checking to make sure.

(p81) – What are two things you can not tell me?
xTx: 1) Who I love.  2) Who I live for.

This is a no-fat collection. Describe your editing process.
xTx: I write one of two ways: In an initial burst with relative speed throughout or one inch at a time.  Unfortunately, nine of out ten times, it’s mostly the latter; especially on any of the longer pieces I write.  The reason for this is because I am constantly editing.  I continually go over what I’ve just written until I feel it’s “right.” I have to pick exactly the right words, phrasing, tone, rhythm for each sentence and I have to make sure each sentence has the right words, phrasing, tone and rhythm for each paragraph and then I have to make sure each paragraph has the right words, phrasing, tone and rhythm for each chapter and then I have to make sure each chapter has the right words, phrasing, tone and rhythm for that story.   It’s maddening.  It’s time consuming.  It drives me nuts.  I hate it. Make it go away.  I want to write like a river.

In ten words (no more, no less), describe your next project.
xTx: A dark, mysterious, strange journey full of magic and suffering.

 

bl pawelek, Ten Everywhere
xTx, Normally Special, Tiny Hardcore Press.

Ben Nickol + “Exceptional Red Canoes” = MB8:

Ben Nickol + ‘Exceptional Red Canoes’ = MB8:

‘Exceptional Red Canoes’ pushes forward in a really interesting way, by starting with one character who lends to another who lends to another, and then looping back on itself. What is the intention behind this semi-schematic approach to the narrative?

Where this story actually starts is in Sandstone, Minnesota in the 1950’s, and where it ends is in Dennis’s living room half a century later, and so to cover that broad of a time period I had to engage in two varieties of funny business.  The first was to fold the story over itself a few times.  I began at what seems to me the central seam in all that folding, which is Hannah’s struggle to cope with the character and death of her father, and then popped it out flap-by-flap with what I hope was a mind to logic and drama.

The second kind of funny business was to zoom way out and accept, as you call it (and I think it’s well-called) a schematic approach.  To have included connective tissue in this piece would have rendered it, in my opinion, composed nearly entirely of connective tissue.

This piece also has an intricate plot of sorts, at least in its varied cast of characters and its reliance on the reader filling in a few time-gaps. Can you talk to us about how you composed this story, how it came to be from start to finish?

The early drafts of this story were not very readable, to the point where I’m not sure I would have finished it had I not tried it out with titled sections.  There’s a certain frankness about the titles, and about the relationship between the title and the section itself, that acts, I think, as both an admission of, and justification for the gaps the reader has to fill.  Without them, I don’t think the story would ever have understood itself well enough to be presentable.

Your MB8 contributor bio says that you are at work on a novel. How is it going? Can you tell us about it, give a little taste, a tiny preview?

Yes, the novel is called The Callahan Extension.  It follows a young college basketball coach through his first year at a prominent Division I program, and is about his struggle to reconcile his newly born public self with his newly born desire for a private self, and a family life, away from basketball.  It’s been a long time in coming, but I’ve got it just about where I want it.  The process of finding a home for it will begin in earnest later this year.

We are curious, readers to writer: What books have you read recently that you absolutely adored / loved / worshipped / must read again?

I’ve been very much on a Cormac McCarthy kick, which it seems like a lot of people have and God bless them for it.  Especially his early stuff, like Child of God and Suttree—people forget how funny he is, and funny without ever (or almost ever) resorting to whimsy.  I’ve been reading him and I just for the first time read Charles D’Ambrosio’s two collections, both of which will get a reread here in the next calendar year.

Read “Exceptional Red Canoes” and 21 other great pieces in Monkeybicycle8, available here.

We’ll help right?

BROOKLYN, NY – 4.8.11 – Issue Eight: Creation, will mark four years I’ve been editing and publishing this magazine and, for the most part, enjoying the hell out of it. I love meeting and working with extremely talented writers and artists, collaborating on an undeniably beautiful product and helping to foster and support a community of writers and artists I enjoy being a part of and cherish on a daily basis. What I haven’t always enjoyed is trying to sell the magazine. Creating a sustainable revenue stream (as is the case with most publishers in the literary game) is a complicated, uphill battle, requiring a lot of work for very little reward.

I started this magazine with my own money under the pretense if you create a beautiful product, people will pay for it. Then I learned people need to know about it before they can pay for it. Getting a magazine on the radar requires money. Add that on top of printing fees, contributor fees, web and print design fees, release parties, and the money dries up rather quickly. And if people aren’t buying the magazine in the numbers it needs to sustain itself then you have a problem. So last year we went nonprofit and solicited donors to help pay for the production costs to print Issue Seven. That worked out pretty well and we banked on the idea that we could print Issue Eight if we sold enough copies of Seven. Which brings us to now.

I’ve tried a lot of things. We (meaning the people I rope into helping me out with this project) have tried a lot of things. We’ve tried everything short of directly asking you to buy the book. So here we are, asking you to buy the book.

If you want to see this magazine thrive during a hard time in publishing, click here to subscribe. You’ll receive Issue Seven and, in a few months, Issue Eight, as well as some postcards, buttons and whatever free fun stuff is lying around the office.

This isn’t a plea to support a convoluted Kickstarter campaign, this isn’t a plea to give us money with nothing in return. This is good old-fashioned capitalism. This is a plea to support something you and I both enjoy. You’re paying for a beautiful product you’ll keep for a long time, a product that will enrich and add dimension to your life.

And if you subscribe right now you’ll receive $5 off the cover price.

If you want to help beyond a financial way, please post a link to this message on your facebook/blog/twitter, however you communicate with people who enjoy the things you enjoy. 

Thanks for your continued support and interest in this project. It means everything.

Chris Heavener

Our Own Shya Scanlon Reads This Saturday!

On April 16, Monkeybicycle editor, Shya Scanlon, and Dzanc Books author, Terese Svoboda (Pirate Talk and Mermalade), join Michael Stewart and Tom Drury for a night of literary excitement. If you’re in New York City, join them at 7pm at literary hot spot, KGB Bar (85 E. 4th St.). it’s going to be loads of fun!

Blake Kimzey + “Donald Mason’s City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff” = MB8

Blake Kimzey + ‘Donald Mason’s City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff’ = MB8:

In your MB8 piece ‘Donald Mason’s City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff’ Donald wants to honor his father by sticking it to the man (who is manifest in the city official ‘dinging him’ for not shoveling his snowy sidewalk), but his virulent standoff stakeout is also obsessive and borderline chaotic. Is Donald our hero, or the antagonist of this story?

I think it depends on what the reader thinks is heroic. This isn’t a choose your own adventure story but I think for everyone who starts reading this story Donald is the hero and then midway through a splinter occurs. When Donald begins his Stakeout some people are going to stay with him and others are probably not so sure they want to trust his motivations. This is not a political story at all but I was thinking about the Tea Party and the way socialism is misspelled at rallies and all that stuff when I was creating Donald Mason as a character. You know how people start off sounding normal and you’re listening to them and then all of the sudden you realize the person is crazy? Like they’ve tricked you into thinking they are rational and they’ve lulled you into listening because they are experts at replicating the cadence of normal conversation and sounding rational before what they are saying blooms into full blown crazy talk. I wanted this progression with Donald, for the reader to be on his side at the beginning, to sympathize with him, and by the end maybe you’re not so sure he has a handle on the situation. I was thinking about the way sound bites and hearsay and family ideology can influence the way you react to stuff, like a notice of violation from the city. Most of us would just shovel the sidewalk and avoid the fine. But for Donald Mason this was his big opportunity to stick it to the man, to activate the principals his father raised him on. And depending on how you think about the man and people who make it their life’s work to be in opposition to the man, I think will inform how this story resonates with you.

This story hinges on its push of irony at the end. We don’t want to give away too much of the plot here for readers who haven’t cracked open their copies of MB8 yet, but how important to you is the use of irony in your overall writing style?

I enjoy stories where the ending is not what you thought it might be, when the outcome is somewhat unexpected. Not in a M. Night Shyamalan-y way, where there is this big twist and you know it is coming and you’re just not sure what it is, but you’re looking for it. I try to be subtle. I want to be subtle. I like irony at the basic character level where there is a disconnect between reality, emotions, and action. I like writing characters that think they have a handle on things even when they are clearly delusional. We are surrounded with people like this in real life. Sitting down to write is a lot like this because here I am at the keys tapping away completely uncertain about the story or if it will ever find its way into the world and yet I keep going and maybe delusion creeps in and it is the delusion that saves me, that gets me to finish the story. This is the feeling I like to put into my work and I think most of my stories are like this. Confidence kind of morphs into uncertainty and the trajectory of the story shifts ever so slightly. I had a story called “Breeders” in the Australian journal The Lifted Brow last year and it was about these two boobs who are certain they can breed a Great Dane with a Pit Bull and create the most marketable/badass dog of all time called a Great Pit, and maybe things don’t go the way they planned. And like your previous question I like it if the role of hero/antagonist is called into question. So I guess irony is important as long as it isn’t predictable.

Another stylistic element here is the wealth of slash-jammed phrases in this piece: ‘Even if you discount/exclude the bellyaching’, ‘Whoa, coffee, water, whiskey/Coke!’, ‘And how many vacations/personal days can a guy take…’ What effect do you want this slash-phrasing to have on your readers?

George Saunders, for my money, is the father of the slash. I was reading his work and I loved what they did to the sentences and how the slash created a new monster-word or acted as glue for a series of interconnected, rapid thoughts. It was fun, too, as a reader to feel like he was getting away with some kind of bastardized punctuation. Gradually, the slashes started appearing in my stories. For me, slash-phrasing injects speed/energy into a sentence that I think could benefit from a little boost and mirror the feeling I want the reader to get. Mostly it comes when a character is thinking very quickly/has a decision to make and he is creating a mental list, however short. I also use the slashes when I can’t decided between words so I just throw them all into the mix because they all work at once, like a little concert/burst of words for the brief second you read them in the story.

Your contributor bio in MB8 says that you are at work on a ‘picaresque novel.’ What made you decide on this particular vein for your next project? Can you talk to us a little about your rogue hero and/or the trajectory of his/her plot?

I love satire. A Confederacy of Dunces is one of my favorite books along with Catch-22 and a host of other hilarious books (Absurdistan comes to mind). So I’m trying to write the kind of novel I like to read. I am actually picking up the novel where “Donald Mason’s City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff” finishes.  Donald Mason is my rogue hero and in the novel I’m exploring his inner life outside of conspiracy theories and actually taking him out into the world, to his job, and giving life to his romantic pursuit of a co-worker at Gino’s, the Italian restaurant where he works. Donald has a brother who comes to visit and they end up getting in each other’s way quite a bit. The thing I’m finding out about Donald is that he is actually well read up to a point and shops at the co-op and has all these theories about the world and how it works, it is just that he happens to be a little off and hopefully the slight variations in how he sees the world and how he reacts to it will create the satiric, picaresque vision for the book I’m writing.

It looks like you are also coordinating an upcoming reading/art event with Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa. Tell us more – we want to know/attend:

I’m really excited about this. Pete Schulte is an artist who also curates the The Times Club, which is part of the legendary independent bookstore Prairie Lights in Iowa City. Pete has brought together artwork from two brilliant artists, Deb Sokolow and Travis Head for a show called “Underneath the Bunker.” There is a real narrative quality to Deb and Travis’ work. Pete thought my story and the podcast I recorded of “Donald Mason’s City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff” would be a good “sound piece” for the show for its similar thematic elements to the artwork. So, for the entire month of April Pete will randomly play the 26 minute recording of the story 3-4 times throughout the day over the sound system at The Times Club/Prairie Lights. Later in the month I will give a live reading of the story and I think Pete is working on dates and trying to coordinate when Deb and Travis can make it to Iowa City, so the reading is TBD. But there will be copies of Monkeybicyle8 for sale at Prairie Lights and I’m really excited about that!

Read “Donald Mason’s City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff” and 21 other great pieces in Monkeybicycle8, available here.

Ten Everywhere: Mel Bosworth and Grease Stains, Kismet, and Maternal Wisdom

In ten words (no more, no less), describe “Grease Stains, Kismet, and Maternal Wisdom.”
MB: The madness and joy of young love and its excesses.

How did you come up with the cover?
MB: I love drawing stick figures, and the image of two stick figures intertwined and sharing a heart seemed perfect to me for the original cover with Aqueous Books. When I moved on to Brown Paper Publishing, I deferred completely to the super-enthusiastic Pablo D’Stair for the cover art. He loved the book and was the man who gave it a second life, so it was the least I could do. I love both covers.

p19 – Back in the parallel universe, what is happening these days?
MB: Heh heh. Well, life goes on and the memories live on. I guess I’ll leave it at that.

p23 – When was the last time you searched for M&Ms?
MB: It’s been a while since I’ve searched for M&Ms. Maybe post-Halloween when I was in the throws of a chocolate binge. Stray M&Ms beneath the fridge are just fine if you blow the dust off.

p28 – “This is normal. This is what people do.” Ok, then describe some abnormal please.
MB: Abnormal behavior for a new couple might be sheep shearing. Although, now that I think about it, that might be kind of cool. Instead of mini-golf, sheep shearing should always be a viable option.

p65 – What was the best and worst thing said in your baby voice?
MB: The best thing I’ve said in my baby voice is, “Move over, Beans.” And the worst thing I’ve said in my baby voice is, “Touch my ding dong.”

p80 – I have lost many a rose bush fight. What would you have done differently?
MB: I suppose I would’ve worn long sleeves and gloves. But maybe not. There’s something primal about going into a rose bush fight bare-armed and bare-handed.

Although I am more partial to the “Spell” line (p28), what is the best line in the book.
MB: My favorite line would have to be the closing line of chapter four: “The lampposts were jealous as we glided by.”

What is happening in your life right now that will be classified as “a spell” later in life?
MB: Final revisions for the new book. I feel like my eyes change colors and sometimes I black out. When I go back and read the words years later, I might not recognize them as my own. But my name will be there as an inked reminder that the “spell” has done its work.

If there was a song to act as soundtrack to this book, what would it be?
MB: Glory Bound by Martin Sexton (the acoustic version)

Tell me a part of this book that was not the will of Allah.
MB: Ha! Well, hm. Good question. So much of this book, from its inception to its publishers, was straight kismet. If I had to choose something that was not the will of Allah, I guess I’d have to say, “Everything was the will of Allah, and nothing was not the will of Allah.”

In ten words (no more, no less), describe your next project.
MB: Freight. Folded Word Press. Late 2011. Pure heart. Must read.

bl pawelek, Ten Everywhere
Mel Bosworth, Grease Stains, Kismet, and Maternal Wisdom. Aqueous Books and Brown Paper Publishing