10 Everywhere

Ten Everywhere: Ryan W. Bradley and Code For Failure

  

In ten words (no more, no less), describe Code for Failure?
RB: Dysfunction, excess, women, booze, sex, drugs, youth,

Promotion – With a concussion, what album would have put you in a ditch instead of getting home safely?
RB: Pretty much anything instrumental probably would have made me fall asleep at that point. I’ve had four or five concussions now, and and I’ve probably done things I shouldn’t have with each. Including driving. But a guy’s got to get home. Something loud that I can focus on by singing along to helps.

Tell me about his parallel-life when he graduated college?
RB: Sadly, he was probably destined to have a similar job. Though instead of pumping gas he’d probably have jumped straight into construction (which came later for him anyway). And construction would have meant better money which would have resulted in more booze and drugs. A construction job would have come with a different breed of females, too. Debauchery would be a part of his life either way. Without getting back into college as a goal to shoot for, it might have been a bleak few years before he found his way into something else. But you never know.

Sorry, real gas question …. Why the 9/10ths at the end of the price?
RB: You know, that’s still a mystery to me. I’ve never understood. But then again, I don’t understand why things are always priced with 99 cents instead of whole numbers. Even numbers make more sense to me, but that’s the compulsiveness speaking.

Dreams – What other things get under your skin with this kind of job?
RB: Just the monotony, you know? You’re doing the same thing day in and day out. With writing you’re always writing something new, with design work it’s always a new project, but in the everyday jobs, the blue collar stuff it’s vital work, work that someone has to do, but it’s always the same thing. It’s something that I still battle with, and probably will for a long time.

Night Off – What is the one Dead Milkmen song you should listen to softly?
RB: “Takin’ Retards to the Zoo” when you’re at work (which I DID NOT DO at work a few weeks ago), “Punk Rock Girl,” because it’s like a prayer of young punk rock men, and “Tugena” if you want it to sound mildly decent.

Names – Well, do you have a child named Pirate yet?
RB: I do, but we decided to name him Lincoln. It’d be a lie if I said we didn’t consider Pirate for probably longer than we should have.

Code Twelve – What are some other codes involving people?
RB: I don’t think I realized when I wrote the book (too far back to have a clear memory), but I recently found it funny how the title comes from the narrator seeing pumping gas as code for failure, while independently from that there’s the code system used with the oil change service. In real life the code system was probably a more frequent undercurrent to my days. Back when I was in a band we had a song called Code Twelve, too, so it was clearly something that amused me. I don’t think that answered your question at all.

Drugged – so how was that day of sleep?
RB: As someone who hasn’t and doesn’t get enough sleep in life, there are few things that are as amazing as getting a mass amount of sleep any way you can get it. I’ve had a few instances in life where I got to sleep for more than twelve hours, either artificially or after days of not sleeping at all, and as disorienting as it is to wake up after that, it’s a feeling that can’t be replicated on 4-6 hours of sleep.

Gotta know – what was the worst thing ever at the station?
RB: Honestly I can’t remember if this is in the book or not, there was an instance where a woman decided to blockade the store (literally, blocking the pumps with her car and then sitting in the doorway) because I wouldn’t sell her a carton of cigarettes, calling the cops on someone when you know they’re just reacting poorly to a shitty day sucks, but I had no other choice.

How does the Code for Success begin?
RB: That’s a good question, and one I’m still trying to figure out. The first step is definitely marrying a beautiful and kind woman who believes in you more than you believe in yourself. I’ve got that down. As for occupational success I’m still fumbling for a fit, but I have to believe it’ll happen. For the sake of my sanity.

In ten words (no more, no less), describe your next project?
RB: Many things poetic and/or fictional, hopefully finding publishers soon.

 

Ryan W. Bradley, Code For Failure, Black Coffee Press
bl pawelek, Ten Everywhere

Ten Everywhere: Frank Hinton and I Don’t Respect Female Expression

  

In 10 words (no more, no less), describe I Don’t Respect Female Expression.
FH: like a concept album, everything is spiritually connected. about lust.

I dig Brian Manley’s work – how did the cover come about?
FH: It’s a relationship Matt Debenedictis has. I was pretty thrilled to have Brian working on it. They asked me what I wanted to go with and I said that I was interested in legs. I wanted there to be legs. I think I said there are things legs reveal that other parts of the body don’t. Brian came back with the cover, which seemed perfect.

(A Starting Place) – If it starts with two slugs of clementine, what does it end with?
FH: Well, whenever I eat clementine I get acid reflux. So I suppose it ends in heartburn.

(Make a Man) – “Make a man and name him Frank” – could one call this the Genesis of, well, you?
FH: The chapbook was influenced by Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer. I think the make a man segment is my Georgie Fruit transformation. Frank is made and then in the next segment, he’s there lusting after the female lead.

(A Medium Sized Mammal Native To North America) – What if I argued that there were no objects or entities?
FH: You’d be right. It’s a matter of physics. Nothing is real in and of itself, everything is part of a greater motion, changing matter. Why attach yourself emotionally to anything when it is bound to transmogrify? You can live a wise life without those attachments. Maybe. Idk.

(All Of The People In These Pictures Are Dead Now) – Since authenticity is everything, can you tell me one authentic piece of you.
FH: I am obsessed with cribbage.

Describe your last real moment.
FH: Holding my dog, crying because of a bad guy. Getting my face licked, held by paws. Reading a bit and feeling fine.

(You Rarely See Your Dirt In The Shower) – Where does your dirt water go?
FH: Into the harbour.

(DSC00001.jpg) – I can no longer edit life experience in red anymore (horrible journalism flashbacks). Are there any other colors you would recommend?
FH: Yes. Lazuli.

(Comorbidity) – Which Frank is your favorite?
FH: I like baby Frank because he’s 2 and should be out of his crib.

(Something Pure and Good) – Tell me a couple things that are good and pure, but not yet rejected.
FH: xtx, roxane gay, richard chiem, frances dinger, alexander j allison, christopher allen. they are pure and good.

In 10 words (no more, no less), describe your next project.
FH: Right now I’m in the last stage before my novel Action, Figure is released. It’s about uh… this. 


 

Frank Hinton, I Don’t Respect Female Expression, Safety Third Enterprises
bl pawelek, Ten Everywhere

Ten Everywhere: Roxane Gay and Ayiti

  

In ten words (no more, no less), describe Ayiti.
RG: Love letter to the beautiful ugly land of my parents.

(About My Father’s Accent) – What words do you concentrate on?
RG: Anything involving vowels, especially when the vowels appear at the beginning of the word.

(Voodoo Child) – When was the last time you backed away slowly?
RG: There was this student, you see, and he had a problem with his grade.

(There is No “E” in Zombi …) – How do you save a zombi?
RG: You don’t.

(Things I Know About Fairy Tales) – What are some lessons I could learn in my no-so-fancy clothes?
RG: Any lessons would be better learned in no clothes at all.

(Cheap, Fast, Filling) – Pop quiz: What is the first ingredient listed in a typical Hot Pocket?
RG: That’s a very good question. I have actually never had a Hot Pocket. I am merely obsessed with the idea of them–food injected into a pastry, frozen, and sold for reheating and eating. The future, man.

How long have these stories been in your life?
RG: For the past ten years, at least.

(All Things Being Relative) – What other things bow their heads when passing?
RG: People with long spines, minor prophets, heavy books.

(Gracias Nicaragua, Y Lo Sentimos) – List some things you are because you do not have them.
RG: I’m every woman, it’s all in me.

I always hear about the hardest things about writing. What is the easiest thing?
RG: Writing is the only thing that comes easy to me.

(A Cool Dry Place) – Men fearing their beauty – do you see this often?
RG: Absolutely, and what a shame. There’s so much beauty in men.

In ten words (no more, no less), describe your next project.
RG: A woman wants her daughter; things stand in the way.

 

Roxane Gay, Ayiti, Artistically Declined Press
bl pawelek, Ten Everywhere

Ten Everywhere: Sarah Rose Etter and Tongue Party

  

In ten words (no more, no less), describe Tongue Party.

SRE: A crazy chapbook I wrote published by the fantastic Caketrain.

So, where did you find the cover art embroidered girdle?

SRE: Caketrain found it and sent it to me. My first thought was “What the hell is this?”

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I became obsessed with that tongue girdle, I couldn’t get the shape and texture of it out of my head for days. I remember pulling my phone out while I was driving so I could keep staring at it. And that’s when I realized exactly how genius Caketrain really is – they found something so new, something I’d never even dreamed existed, and turned it into something I couldn’t stop thinking about.

I love dedications to mothers, fathers, brothers … but Dan Driscoll, the Nantucket photographer?

SRE: Dan Driscoll is not just a Nantucket photographer!

Dan Driscoll is a professor I freaked out on at Rosemont while I was in grad school. He handed out an Amy Bloom story once that pissed me off for some reason and I spent half of a class period screaming at him about it, then stormed out of the classroom. He didn’t fail me after that Amy Bloom meltdown, and went on to become my thesis advisor while I was working on Tongue Party. He’ll deny it and say Tongue Party was all me, but he really understood what I was trying to do with those stories from the beginning and his feedback was incredible. We’re still good friends and I still scream at him often. But he is not a photographer from Nantucket. 

(Koala Tide) – What happened on the fourth day?

SRE: Probably a lot of koalas rotting, their flesh being pecked at by various sea birds.

(Cake) – Have you ever enjoyed cake, by yourself, birthday and a glass of milk?

SRE: I’m not sure I’ve ever just eaten cake solo. I don’t think I have. It’s always been at a birthday party, wedding or funeral. Cake is a pretty social thing, now that I think about it. We all have an excuse to stuff ourselves with sugar and frosting so let’s do that together to celebrate or mourn. Maybe we are marking the passing of time and acknowledging our own mortality with desserts. Maybe there’s a giant cake clock ticking somewhere, a giant, delicious, sad cake clock.

Why the distinction of two separate sections of the book?

SRE: The two sections were just a gut decision, which I know nobody wants to hear. I should say, “Oh, the stories are split like that to show Cassie’s growth as a character.” But that wasn’t my thought process. I just split it into two parts because I wanted the collection to be balanced and never thought of doing it any other way.

What is the best and worst thing about sacrifice?

SRE: I don’t even know how to open up this can of worms. There are so many varieties of sacrifice, it’s hard to even know where to start about what’s best and worst.

(Husband Feeder) – How about a list of things you would never eat?

SRE: Pickles. I hate pickles more than anything on this planet. Anything food involving pickles or pickling or being pickled repulses me. God, pickled beets. Don’t even make me think about pickled beets. I’m dry heaving. I officially hate this interview now.

I see you have a Special Thanks going to The Philadelphia Flyers. True or False: Briere is the man! (He used to be the Sabres captain).

SRE: True. Briere is great, although I almost sobbed when he missed that penalty shot during the Winter Classic. He’s always a lot of fun to watch in the playoffs. So thanks for that, Buffalo!

Take a look through your iTunes – what song best represents this book?

SRE: Probably “Secret Admirer” by Pissed Jeans. I’ve always loved “Secret Admirer” because the lyrics create such an awesome juxtaposition. The concept of being both a nice guy and a stalker is really appealing, unnerving and effective. I think there are similar juxtapositions in the book, odd pairings that hopefully evoke an emotional reaction. Also, I don’t know if any other song I’ve heard opens as strongly as that one – once you hear Matt Korvette start that howl, you can’t really get it out of your head. There’s a terrible desperation in that song and in his voice, but also a softness, a kindness. There’s something terribly romantic to me about that song. 

What is your favorite line in this book and why?

SRE: Ah, I’m not good at questions like this. I don’t sit around too much thinking about good lines I’ve written. It’s sort of like in hockey when they say you shouldn’t stand around admiring your own pass because that’s when someone is going to slam you into the boards.

In ten words (no more, no less), describe your next project?

SRE: In progress. In progress. In progress. In progress. In progress.

 

Sarah Rose Etter, Tongue Party, Caketrain
bl pawelek, Ten Everywhere

Ten Everywhere: Ethel Rohan and Hard To Say

  

In 10 words (no more, no less), please describe Hard to Say.
ER: My traitorous heart on the page for all to see.

(p8) – When was the last time you suffered from things hard to say?
ER: Minutes ago, when I again listened to the song mentioned below.

(p12) – “Every time I closed my eyes, I saw God pull Mother through a black hole in the sky” … what happened when you opened your eyes?
ER: It remained so dark I wasn’t sure my eyes had opened, but I took comfort in my sisters beside me and the ever present sense as a child that I was never alone, that God was always with me, watching over me.

(p14) – When your dad stared at the ceiling a lot, what did he see?
ER: The ceiling.

How does the cover art fit your book?
ER: The cover artist, Siolo Thompson, is a genius. The cover captures misery, unraveling, and the misshaping of a voiceless child. Note the golden and pretty pastel hues, though, they represent hope and the shiny human spirit.

(p19) – Tell me the best thing about the girl in the moon.
ER: The girl in the moon sings the world to sleep. Those who have had something essential inside broken can’t hear her anymore and don’t sleep well or feel at peace. Those are the people she sings her hardest for, her best for, out of her soul for, hoping someday they’ll heal and recover and will eventually hear her again and sleep like babes.

Are there times when guilt affects your writing?
ER: Interesting question. I’m not sure guilt has ever consciously affected my writing. Guilt sometimes censors my writing. Out of guilt and the worry I would hurt others with these stories, I almost didn’t publish Hard to Say.

These stories are like a continuing narration … do the stories still continue?
ER: Yes. Hard to Say captures the beginning in this continuing narration. Someday, I may or may not write the middle. A biographer may or may not write the end.

(p49) – What was the best thing you heard the sun say?
ER: “I’m untouchable, and that’s my tragedy.”

What song would be a best fit for this book?
ER: Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You.”

Describe your writing process. What is the best and worst parts?
ER: Writing out of me stories I didn’t know I had in me is the best part of the writing process. The worst part of the writing process is failing.

In 10 words (no more, no less), please describe your next project.
ER: A novel set in Ireland in 1980 about a creep.

Ethel Rohan, Hard To Say, Little Books
bl pawelek, Ten Everywhere

Ten Everywhere: Guy Benjamin Brookshire, artist, collage collection

  

In 10 words (no more, no less), describe your collages as a whole.
GBB: I illustrate my writing and the universe in my dreams.

What do you think about during creation?
GBB: Truth be told, not much I can verbalize. I pursue a psychological atmosphere, I try to open up a window on that dream universe. I amuse myself with the world each piece seems to describe. After the collage is coming together, I tell myself stories about the figures, but in the moment, it is the depth of the world that I fall into that I want. I feel very close to childhood, and I tend to wallow in that a bit. If there are overtly sexual elements in the collage, I often have an experience not too terribly dissimilar to what I experience when reading an erotic passage. I am a student of history and I can feel a great stirring sensation, a kind of fullness when manipulating images of historical significance. I enjoy some science fiction, particularly Borges and Lovecraft, and manipulating the horror and fantasy elements in the collage give me a similar feeling of deep, intellectual dread that I get reading them. Choice, jewel-like fragments of exploded narrative, Lowells “grand opera fixed in their veins.” That is what I am pursuing, those feelings. I want to disturb myself, to stir myself, in a good way. And hopefully other people.

Can you describe your process a bit?
GBB: I am a bibliophile. I collect books compulsively. This has gotten to be a problem. I collect hundreds of Childcraft books, old encyclopedias, time-life popular history collections, science-for-the-people collections. No yard or estate sale is safe. Year books, training manuals, cookbooks. I began cutting them up to illustrate my poetry, and the elements started to come together as collage. I was writing a book called VACATION and I began cutting images out of these books in order to find and fix in place the spaces and scenes I wanted, and some of them started becoming collages. Now I do collage for its own sake and the process is essentially sitting at a table surrounded by a junkyard of books with an exacto-knife and some glue and cutting images that I like out and pursuing a fantasy-feeling down whatever narratives start suggesting themselves. I get a perverse sense of power destroying the books, also, laying claim to the elements of the collage, de-contextualizing them to re-contextualize them. I also get lost in the fine-motor-skill elements of detail cutting.

‘Berserker’ – when I saw this, I thought of the lyric, “I spent time in the universal mind.” What are some words that describe it best?
GBB: Is that a Jim Morrison reference?
I conceived of Berserker as an illustration for the Universe War, a collage graphic novel I am working on, in which two secret societies of scientists begin to violate the basic laws of the universe in order to gain total control over Being itself. This was to illustrate one of the battles. Of course, the title ‘Berserker’ refers to the Norse warriors who would essentially suffer a psychotic break during battle and perform insane, homicidal/suicidal acts. There was a confused claim in English histories that they entered battle naked, as some Gauls did, but the image stuck with me of naked psychopaths covered in gore. When I saw this image in a wonders-of-the-human body style book, it was open next to a book about NATO air superiority. I thought, what could be more naked than to be without skin? How could you be more gory than to be exposing your own viscera? What is more homicidal than modern Air Power – what if you could defy it?

What is the first line of the ‘Song of Stars’?
GBB: “Hey! You in the skyyyyyyy . . .” Very France Gall, I imagine, but folksy.

Give odds on the donnybrook.
GBB: I never bet, I hate losing money. I also suffer under the unshakable conviction that my wagering somehow magically influences the outcome against my favor. Poe’s paradox says that the odds of rolling three twos in a row on a six-sided dice become immeasurably longer if you put money on it. I believe that. So, without getting more specific, I would bet against me. But I don’t bet.

What is the boy thinking in ‘I was Often Willfull’ (my favorite)?
GBB: I identify very, very closely with that figure. It is hard to verbalize. I suppose it is similar to the emotion that the little boy with his globe and stamps has at the beginning of Baudelaire’s “Le Voyage.” My father was a merchant marine and he had a cigar box full of coins from – literally – around the world that I would play with, and that poem means a lot to me. I loved maps and I still draw fantasy maps. I love that little boy so much – stolen from a radical protestant publication for youth from the 19th century called “The Little Gleaner” – that I want him to speak for himself. But I think he is living out the vastness of a world I caught glimpses of as a boy, to the dismay of the adults he does not care to acknowledge.

In ‘Picnic’ – are there any birds living in the tree house?
GBB: Not anymore.

‘ApostrophecasT’ – what is your favorite word that contains an A and T?
GBB: Attenborough. Do names count? If not, anastomosis. I think it accurately describes how a good collage comes together.

‘Gravelevity’ – What are the benefits of partial gravity?
GBB: As in the image, I imagine they would be mostly sexual. But “partial gravity” is a very nice phrase to isolate. I think that is how I would like people to approach the collages, serious play. To be delighted, but also to be willing to explore the ideas that arise, the implicit propositions.

‘Whiskey Beard’ – When was the last time you were quite capsized?
GBB: The last time I was reunited with my brother I put quite a dent in the whiskey supply. Concerns were raised. I believe at some point in the night he hid the bourbon in the pantry amidst the cereal flake boxes to cut me off.

In 10 words (no more, no less), describe your next project.
GBB: A novel about a war of spies across alternate universes.

Guy Benjamin Brookshire, artist
bl pawelek, Ten Everywhere

Ten Everywhere: Lavinia Ludlow and alt.punk

  

In 10 words (no more, no less), describe alt.punk.
LL: American naturalism, punk gods, and uptight suburbia collide in alt.punk

How did you come up with the title?
LL: I pulled “alt” from the word alternative, such as there are alternative forms of what each of us may consider normal or acceptable or beautiful. The term “punk” is up for debate and depends on what the reader takes away from the novel. The formatting is a series of innovative attempts (like iPod), coupled with a misinterpretation sent back by the publisher. I started with “alt. Punk” and one day the publisher wrote back “alt.punk.” Aesthetically I liked it a lot more.

If there was one punk song that describes you, what would it be?
LL: Jokingly? Attitude by the Misfits. Kind of serious? Live Fast, Die Young by the Circle Jerks. Seriously? Smash It Up by the Damned.

So, which one goes first: Hazel, Kree, Otis or Landon?
LL: Are you asking me my favorite character? Hands down, it’s Landon. He embodies a true badass. He’s confident, whip-smart and as a consequence a smart-ass, yet he’s protective, a family man (kinda), and weak in the knobby knees when it comes to his girlfriend.

(p64) – What is your favorite dinosaur compliment?
LL: Once, a guy told me he liked the feeling of my “stegosaurus” when he hugged me. I think he just couldn’t think of the right word (vertebrae), but I’d like to think he meant it in a sweet way. Yeah, underneath it all, I’m sort of a puss.

(p115) – Where is your confidence today (between vengeful beast and fearful titmouse)?
LL: We’ve all got our issues, demons, what have you. I’d say right now I’m a chinchilla. You never know what I’m thinking under all that fuzz. I may just bite your fingertip and/or other right off when you reach in to cuddle with me.

(p135) – Move forward and create new stories or go back and analyze old ones?
LL: New ones. Always new ones. Drafting is the most exhilarating. It seems though my writing process is about 98% editing, 2% drafting. It’s possible I may just need to draft slower and more responsibly.

(p164) – What do you have: not liver or a broken heart?
LL: Thankfully, I still have a functional liver and the most freakishly weirdo yet geeky boyfriend who is very sarcastic and can serve it back to me just as well as I can serve it to him. I could do without his Glee obsession and the Cheetos dust he leaves behind everywhere, but we work. Kinda.

(p192) – Do you have your three inches now?
LL: Some days I feel as if I have an infinite amount of inches, that my life is an oyster with millions of pearls. And then something miniscule happens, like I’m one quarter short for a load of laundry, and then I bipolar swing the other way and feel there’s no way out, I haven’t accomplished anything, and I’m living life in black and white. Art keeps me balanced though. I’ve found that an equilibrium of music, writing, and hard work really makes for a satisfying experience. Yeah, it took me nearly twenty-eight years to figure that out but better now then never.

What was the worst thing you have done with bleach?
LL: Unintentionally combined it with ammonia. I should have paid more attention in remedial chemistry.

How did you come up with the book’s cover?
LL: Look no further than the alt.punk’s editor, Nathan Holic. I knew there was no one closer to the text and content of the novel than he was. I asked him to draw something, and he came back with a mock up, pretty much hitting it spot on.

In 10 words (no more, no less), describe your next project.
LL: Highlighting my childhood friends and hometown in quirky contemporary fiction.

Lavinia Ludlow, alt.punk, Casperian Books
bl pawelek, Ten Everywhere

Ten Everywhere: Caleb J. Ross and the Stranger Will Tour For Strange

In 10 words (no more, no less), describe the Stranger Will Tour For Strange.
CR: 70 blog posts. No fiction. Damn, I miss writing stories.

Tell me the best and worst of this tour so far.
CR: I love reading the post comments. It’s what authors strive for more than readers; it’s the affirmation that the readers exist. The worst: dedicating a lot of time to writing a post and never getting that affirmation. Though I don’t need the verbal pat on the back, it feels good to get it. The second best part is when bloggers approach me to post at their sites. I am all about reader/writer interaction; this blog tour supports that love.

Gregory Frye site – What cartoon father are you, and what do you keep telling your cartoon child?
CR: Damn good question. Though not a father specifically, I think I’m Professor Farnsworth from Futurama. My intentions are pure, but I can’t help but circumnavigate lesson opportunities in favor of a crude joke. My kid, who is 2 ½ now, is at the age where he is absorbing all of my nonsense. So, for now I try to promote positivity (“Good news everyone”) but usually come across as the dorky father (“…you might want to read up on a condition known as wandering bladder.”)

HTML Giant site  – What is the one thing that you have written that will never be found by the Google search spiders?
CR: I wrote this amazing flash fiction piece called “the rel=”nofollow”” attribute. Good luck, Google.

Bull Men’s Fiction site – Did you send the letter to Swisher Sweets?
CR: I didn’t. The letter was originally sent to Drew Estate specifically regarding their super tasty ACID cigars (the editor of Bull Men’s Fiction thought the piece might work better as a stand-alone post if I dropped the model name). After having not heard back from Drew Estate, I was too busy crying to bother resending.

Matt Bell site – What was the last grotesque thing you have witnessed?
CR: My coworker can bend her index finger joint at a 90 degree angle. Why this creeps me out, I don’t know. I have a weird aversion to human digits. I can’t stand to have the tips of my toes touched.

Publishing Genius site – If a stranger asked you what you writing was like, what would you say?
CR: It’s like if Stephen King and James Patterson were combined…at the kidney.

Mel Bosworth’s site – From your small press world, what is your best experimental line?
CR: It’s hard to determine an experimental line without context. Though, if pulled, I’d say Shome Dasgupta’s i am here And You Are Gone offers some good ones, especially if you allow the definition of a “line” to be something as simple as a row of Os; he’s got more than a few instances of that.

NOO Journal site – “There is nothing quite as satisfying, for me, as re-writing an entire novel.” Really?
CR: Well, there are probably a few things better than re-writing an entire novel. But it is true that I find immense joy in rebuilding something that I through was so close to finished. Imagine, you are building a log cabin. Just as you are about to weave the final thatch for the roof, you realize something, an epiphany of sorts, that throws your entire ideal into question. And more than that, the epiphany is so strong that you are willing to start over from the ground up to realize your revised ideal. Persuasion that powerful just doesn’t happen often enough.

I love the cover of Stranger Will. How did it come about?
CR: Thank you. I’ve always had the idea of a lone bench and had been toying around with the image for some time before the book was even finished (I’m like a college garage band like that; naming ourselves before we even know how to play). When I happened upon Rémi Carreiro’s photo, I knew I wanted to work with it. However, the final design was actually only one of six possible covers. The publisher allowed me to leave the cover choice up to a vote. The Carreiro bench cover won.

I added the old man in the background and played with the colors a bit, but overall, the image stays true to Carreiro’s original.

In 10 words (no more, no less), describe your next project.
CR: An anti Stranger Will novel, still grotesque, that embraces parenthood.

Caleb J. Ross, Stranger Will Tour For Strange.

bl pawelek, Ten Everywhere

Ten Everywhere: Natalia Yanchak, The Dears, Degeneration Street, and Final Fridays

In 10 words (no more, no less), Describe Degeneration Street.

(NY) Journey into the cultural apocalypse we all know is coming.

Describe the path from Missiles to Degeneration Street.

(NY) The path started off clumsily enough. When we finished recording Missiles the band was at it’s lowest – and we still had to tour on it. We kept that touring period civil and brief. When it came time to make Degeneration Street it was like the clouds parted: this was a new band that wanted to write and create music together. I think this is the essence of The Dears. As I’ve said in many interviews before, these internal shifts have helped me gain this perspective. We were a band ensnarled by egos and now that that is long gone, we are blessed with focus, purity and the future.

‘Omega Dog’ – can you describe what the “it” is? Or, can you tell us what Murray is the only one of?

(NY) You should check out the History Channel series called “Armageddon.” The Omega Dog makes an appearance in that.

‘Thrones’ – the billion pieces that are left behind to share, can I have one?

(NY) Absolutely. They are for sharing.

‘Torches’ – In a few words, what is this song about?

(NY) Well, to me, it’s a sonic interpretation of an ascent into space, of floating away from the Galactic Tides and into the unknown. Holding the torch for humanity as you are cast off, into an abyss.

‘Galactic Tide’ – Assume I know nothing about space. How could a galactic tide end my life?

(NY)  Well, couldn’t it? If the moon’s gravity shifts the oceanic tides here on Earth, wouldn’t a sub-space or possibly massive gravitational shift be kind of a big deal?

‘Tiny Man’ – when I first heard this song, It seemed like the perfect response to Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road.’ Thoughts?

(NY) Hmm. Interesting. Possible.

‘Thrones’ and ‘Degeneration Street’ – So, which illustrates The Dears best, a cross or a switchblade?

(NY) For a period, this book cover was an influence.

In 10 words (no more, no less), Describe Final Fridays.

(NY) Half Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, half The Office (US).

How is writing a story like playing the piano?

(NY) Oh, I would say it they are totally unlike each other in many ways. Playing the piano, like learning Chopin “Raindrop” prelude, is an exercise in perfection, memorization and an absolute command of motor control. Similar to sports. Writing is almost the opposite. Writing is like a purging process, trying to get the ideas out and composing the thoughts with laser-like precision.

Describe your last Elton Barnes moment.

(NY) The other day I saw a man waiting at a crosswalk for the light to change. His face was tilted upwards to the sun, eyes closed, his hands held out palms up and thumbs touched to index fingers in a meditative moment. He was wearing a green army camouflage t-shirt that has the words: “You can’t see me,” printed across the chest. I imagined a passerby unflinchingly punching that guy in the stomach with all his force. The idea made me giggle, and also inspired the “SerenityBot,” a definite future adversary for Elton.

Have you ever written lyrics for music?

(NY) When I was 16, yes. I also have years of experience editing other people’s lyrics.

In 10 words (no more, no less), Describe your next project.

(NY) A sci-fi story about isolation, solitary confinement and responsibility.

bl pawelek, Ten Everywhere

Natalia Yanchak, member of The Dears, Degeneration Street, Dangerbird Records.

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.