WATCH & LISTEN: Parker Posey Reads Jason Napoli Brooks’ “Women at the End of the World”

Last week, director/actor/writer John Cameron Mitchell brought his Mattachine dance party to the Julius Bar in the West Village here in New York, and there was a special treat for literary fans. Actress Parker Posey performed “Women at the End of the World, Act I,” a fantastic monologue written by friend of Monkeybicycle and co-curator of one of our favorite reading series around NYC, The Enclave, Jason Napoli Brooks. If you weren’t lucky enough to attend, now the entire reading is now on YouTube, followed by a short interview with Jason. Check it out below!

AWP 2013 Dispatch: I Miss You Already

Katie Wudel

When we woke up this morning, it was already over. In line for coffee, we said a few pre-emptive goodbyes—“In case I don’t see you!” We made sure to stop by the bookfair to schmooze and snag free copies while we still could. Our Saturday panels told us to move on, move forward, move up.

My first panel was on best practices for submitting panel proposals—preparing, a full ten hours before this year’s closing keynote, to attend AWP 2014. For the erudite hopefuls among you, here’s what I gleaned:

1) Diverse participants! Gender, age, and ethnic diversity help—but think also about the geographic location of potential panelists, the stage of their careers, and whether they teach at 2-year, 4-year, or secondary programs (if they teach at all—students and amateurs are welcome!). Nobody on your panel should have the exact same thing to say.
2) Be sure to hew carefully to every single guideline. Copy edit your proposal just as you would a submission to a journal. Don’t forget to check with your participants to ensure they’re down with your idea! Phillip Lopate appeared in approximately 72 proposals this year—though even the most beloved writers can only apply for three and appear on two.
3) The justification portion of your proposal should be a bit creative and passionate, and it’s fine to be extensive. Make your case for why your panel should be included: Is this the same panel that’s at AWP every year, or is it something provocative and new? Are AWP members hungry for it?
4) They get too many poetry applications, people. And everyone wants to do a reading. But AWP doesn’t receive enough proposals for playwriting, translations, or the online sphere.

I left “Best Practices” thinking about AWPs to come, instead of this one. Though I attended a smart and generous talk about post-MFA life featuring Lori D’Angelo, Heather Frese, Sandra Marchetti, and Sarah Beth Childers, I just couldn’t cram any more knowledge into my brain. Ron Carlson moderated a discussion of flash fiction this afternoon. Ron Carlson? Flash fiction? Together? I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but I just couldn’t take another amazing panel.

Conference fatigue, man. Total bummer.

Saturday always seems like the best possible bookfair day, since you really need to spend a big chunk of time there. It’s perfect for when you’re absolutely burnt out on panels, since the bookfair’s sort of the opposite of a panel. It’s lively, tactile: You get to hold letterpressed broadsides up to the light, shake hands with today’s most vaunted editors, and munch on lots of free candy.

That is, unless it’s Saturday. At around 3:30, there were more loaded-up dollies and suitcases in the exhibition hall than books and magazines on display. By 4, the line at the convention center Fed Ex flowed out into the hall. Still, by 6, my AWP totebag had grown heavy with free copies of journals, buttons, stickers, and my most treasured purchase—a two-volume set of Ursula LeGuin’s The Unreal and the Real from Small Beer Press.

After a brief stop at a swanky reception for one of my favorite magazines—Prairie Schooner (an open bar and free earbuds!), I headed out for one last dinner with dear friends, shuffling half a mile along haphazardly salted sidewalks for tapas. It felt so good to be out of that convention center! We passed around the Spanish omelet, the chorizo, the pitcher of sangria. We gossiped. We laughed. We did what we did best: We told stories.

Earlier that day, someone had spotted a couple of burly men’s men in the hotel bar. Their unironic beards and Popeye-sized forearms led her to believe they weren’t writers, so she asked what they were here for.

“The fish conference,” they said.

Tomorrow’s the first day of the largest seafood expo in North America. They’re going to geek out for the next three days about lobsters, fishsticks, and something called the “prawnto shrimp machine.” There’re hundreds of exhibitors hawking their wares in booths, plus a variety of educational and entertaining events about prepping, serving, and distributing seafood.

The Hynes Convention Center & Sheraton Boston Hotel were never truly ours, AWP-ers. It’s time now for the fish.


Katie Wudel’s writing has appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s, Prairie Schooner, Nerve, The Rumpus,and on the Ploughshares blog, and can be heard this spring on NPR’s Snap Judgment. Katie has taught creative writing at San Francisco’s School of the Arts and the University of Nebraska-Omaha Writer’s Workshop, and has been awarded scholarships and residencies from Hedgebrook, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and Summer Literary Seminars. In 2011, her story “Tongueless,” which first appeared in Monkeybicycle, was one of Wigleaf’s Top [Very] Short Fictions.


AWP 2013 Dispatch: Battening Down the Hatches

Katie Wudel

Want to survive AWP with your sanity intact? Take a little time for yourself—no panels, no bookfair, no small talk, no pressure.

. . . Especially if you danced right on past your bedtime the night before with a bunch of other gangly nerds. (At VIDA prom, the geeks are the cool kids! Bookish teenagers, take note: It gets better. It gets so much better.) I spent much of this morning cursing Daisy Buchanan’s too-cheap rum punch, munching a cold egg sandwich from the hotel Au Bon Pain.

Right around 10:40 a.m., a bunch of good literary citizens raved on Twitter about a session called “Whales & Wenches.” I flipped through my hefty program guide and found no such panel! There was one called “Sea Change: Writing Remade Off the New England Coast.” I dashed up the escalator and found it: standing room only, of course. I can only assume the room would’ve been more crowded had it been officially titled “Whales & Wenches,” though I suspect you’re not allowed to present a panel without at least one colon in the title.

In short? This panel was the bomb. Robin Beth Schaer, Amber Dermont, Elyssa East, and Amy Brill had swabbed actual decks (still unclear on what that entails) while thinking big thoughts about class, feminism, and spinning compasses as metaphors for existential crises. Do women have the right “credentials” to discuss a life spent sailing the treacherous Straits of Magellan? Hell yes, they do!

I left the panel with some awesome temporary tattoos, longing to devour Melville, re-watch Jaws, and sign up for a real nautical crew myself. What is life if not battening down hatches and charting adventurous courses by the stars?

My next stop was “Experimental Fiction Today.” (Hey, no colon! So cutting-edge!) It was another rich discussion. We started with a definition that makes this broad topic easier to take in: Experimental fiction pre-supposes an awareness that what one is reading is a work of artifice—the reader will never entirely “escape” into the story. That doesn’t mean, however, that there’s no passion or emotion—you just need to get used to the rules of the world first.

Lily Hoang’s first MFA critique from a professor, in its entirety: “You’re smart, I’m dumb, I’m not reading any more of this.” As an instructor today, Lily tries to make a space for her students to loosen up and try new things. She gives them office supplies and says, “You must build the world of your next fifteen weeks in class. The world can look just like ours, or it can be something entirely your own.” Some students made a mini-golf world and a worm world, in which the worms worshipped an oil king. Their writing came from that.

Alissa Nutting was utterly charming and inspiring. She’s very very pregnant, and said that in this extended period of sobriety, experimental fiction was the only drug at her disposal. Why not transgress, using devices like repetition or magic to induce a literary high in your reader? Our daily lives, she said, are so mundane—we’re doing taxes or waiting for turkey slices at the deli. These kinds of ordinary experiences, she believes, are toxic. Innovative fiction cleanses us.

M. Bartley Seigel, founding editor of [PANK], was a force of nature. Tall and angry (well, angry-ish), he addressed a question from the audience—what makes him a gatekeeper? Why does he decide what’s innovative? Seigel said that sometimes, he goes with his gut and publishes something that—once the issue’s out—makes him say, “Oh, God, Matt, why did you do that?!” But as opposed to more institutional journals that are always okay, with solid (if bland) work, his magazine does sometimes get it wrong. And he’s excited about those risks he takes because sometimes, “the work is really going to blow your head off.”

The population of AWP attendees is larger than the town I grew up in. This convention center is a labyrinth of unmissable seminars and readings—a dozen or more happening at a time. So, yeah, not everything’s perfect. Nearly every panel was full today—I’d estimate that I spent at least three hours on the floor, with one appendage or another utterly asleep. Plus, Alison Bechdel was snowed in! The panel starring Terry Gross turned out to be a panel starring Terry Gross—videoconferencing in from her studio.

But hell, what fun is it if everything goes according to plan? Cancellations and over-capacity rooms mean I had some downtime to explore the bookfair. I loved The Rumpus booth, with its ubiquitous “Write Like a Motherfucker” mugs. Brian Spears, poetry editor, told me that they’re doing this really amazing iBook poetry anthology with mixed media like readings and exclusive video. They’re just giving it away!

With all the false and sweaty bodies crammed into tiny rooms with unflattering fluorescent lights, it’s easy to forget that we’re all here because we love words. We’re so passionate about this stuff that we’re a fire hazard. Pretty awesome.

Read Katie’s next AWP dispatch here.

Katie Wudel’s writing has appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s, Prairie Schooner, Nerve, The Rumpus,and on the Ploughshares blog, and can be heard this spring on NPR’s Snap Judgment. Katie has taught creative writing at San Francisco’s School of the Arts and the University of Nebraska-Omaha Writer’s Workshop, and has been awarded scholarships and residencies from Hedgebrook, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and Summer Literary Seminars. In 2011, her story “Tongueless,” which first appeared in Monkeybicycle, was one of Wigleaf’s Top [Very] Short Fictions.


AWP 2013 Dispatch: Be On Emma’s Side

Katie Wudel

The crowd filed in for that fairy tale panel, sleepy but very hungry for a discussion about why it is that The Golden Goose and its modern bastard children so endure. 20 minutes before the panel—the first of the day!—it was standing room only. From what I heard, folks crowded outside the door, tilting in their ears to hear what they could. I was lucky enough to score a seat in the front row.

Yes, that is a rubber chicken handbag.

Each of the brilliant panelists—Anjali Sachdeva, John Crowley, Jane Yolen and Kelly Link, in a fabulous pair of earrings made out of disembodied doll limbs, celebrated folklore’s grip on every story we write, even the most realistic. Everyone grew up with fairy tales and ghost stories, right? Yolen: “They’re protean and they’re protein—they fuel us.” Crowley: “You can’t not write fairy tales—they’re in our DNA.” Link particularly loved the bossy voice of fairy tales and how you can work with mythic patterns or retell old tales to create a very original story that operates on multiple levels.

Kate Bernheimer said that when she first started submitting stories, they were rejected because they weren’t logical, things needed to be fleshed out, there was no character motivation, and even that they were too imaginative. But today—as evidenced by the over-capacity crowd—it’s clear these are fundamental characteristics of a beloved and valid art form.

As the talk went on, we heard about why it’s both good and bad to sanitize the beautiful violence and sex of fairy tales for children; how tens of thousands of fairy tales remain untranslated and will never be heard; and what to do with un-PC narratives. It was a very rich and inspiring discussion, and apparently the audio will be posted on Unstuck Books’ website soon. Don’t miss it!

Another highlight of the day was a panel on literary citizenship, with Alan Heathcock, Matthew Specktor, Emma Straub, Julie Barer, and Rob Spillman. Essentially, it all comes down to having good manners and paying it forward. Buy debut novels. Subscribe to lit mags. Don’t be an asshole because people remember—the entire publishing industry is predicated on personal relationships.

The best part of the panel was when Alan Heathcock introduced himself and was promptly interrupted by a phone call. He answered. It was his mom. Into his microphone, he told her he was a little busy and would call her back. Spillman, ever witty: “A good citizen and a good son.”

I especially enjoyed the bit about using social media to network (but in a natural, not-slimy way). Spillman’s hilarious illustration: “[To the left] is Bret Easton Ellis. [To the right] is Emma Straub. Be on Emma’s side.” Emma: “And between us is a mountain of cocaine.” Some concrete take-aways just for you, Monkeybicycle friends!

1) Twitter is not a one-way street. You’ve got to engage with people. Don’t just toot your own horn—congratulate others, share things you like, and be a whole person, not just a writer person. You can talk about your cat, or Beyoncé, or even your cat named Beyoncé.

2) Be consistent with your social media use. Don’t get excited one day and do three blog posts and never do one again, or tweet about your great New York Times review once and subsequently forget your Twitter password. To be visible, try to be on the platform regularly—a good number to aim for is three to five tweets a day (or maybe even a week) so you’re not just disappearing into the ether. Though Matthew Specktor was once told by a social media consultant that a good number is 20 tweets a day! (Which, everyone agreed, is crazy.)

3) One thing the consultant seemed to get right though: Only one out of every 10 tweets should be about yourself.

I’ve dipped my toes into the bookfair, but it’s so vast I need to spend hours there. I’ve thus far encountered one awesome display: Grub Street, based right here in Boston. I’d share my literary fortune with you, but then it won’t come true.

By the way, the Beast from the East storm is more vicious every moment. We’re supposed to get 4-6 inches of “cement-like” snow. But tonight I’ve got three off-site parties to attend, including VIDA Prom—a dance and readings from Cheryl Strayed, Robert Pinsky, Pam Houston, Roxane Gay, and more. Prom attire is encouraged, but I couldn’t fit my ballgown on the bus to Beantown. At least I’ve got a more casual dress that doesn’t entirely clash with wellies. Maybe Kelly Link will lend me those sweet earrings?

Read Katie’s next AWP dispatch here.


Katie Wudel’s writing has appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s, Prairie Schooner, Nerve, The Rumpus,and on the Ploughshares blog, and can be heard this spring on NPR’s Snap Judgment. Katie has taught creative writing at San Francisco’s School of the Arts and the University of Nebraska-Omaha Writer’s Workshop, and has been awarded scholarships and residencies from Hedgebrook, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and Summer Literary Seminars. In 2011, her story “Tongueless,” which first appeared in Monkeybicycle, was one of Wigleaf’s Top [Very] Short Fictions.


AWP 2013 Dispatch: The Beast From the East

Katie Wudel

It’s dreary here in Boston. The AWP bigwigs must be partial to overcast skies, bone-chilling air—next year, we’re all headed to Seattle; the year after, Minneapolis. They’re calling this gross wintry mix “The Beast from the East.” A lot of folks who were supposed to arrive this morning have been stalled out at airports in St. Louis or Chicago for most of the day. We writers—who tend toward misanthropy even without slush pooling in our dress sneakers—are beating back the crankiness as best we can. Cocktails help. The hotel bar is already over capacity and friends, it’s still early.

(Bingo card courtesy of Daniel Nester)

I’ve kept my AWP bingo card handy today and already, I’ve got “N-G-O” (well, with the free space). Is it like this on the first day of Star Trek conventions? Comic-Con? To horribly misquote Buster Bluth: Man, it’s awkward in here. There are 11,000+ nerds in one place! Most of us are high on adrenaline and righteous anger at the TSA! We’ve prepared hand-outs for our panels and our 30-second book pitches are tight as hell. We. Are. Ready. But registration’s over—we’ve got nametags and this year’s spiffy new totebag, pre-packed with a hefty conference program that looks like—but is not—a phonebook. Now what?

Other than a few private gatherings, there’s a whole lot of nothing on the schedule for this evening. I’ve decided to use this spare time to wrestle with my inner demons: I am an introvert, yet I yearn so desperately to connect with my fellow man! I am accursed! I’ve donned my convention costume—unlike the Trekkies, it’s just a cardigan, a pair of specs, and a glass of wine. The first page of the schedule for tomorrow morning contains only 10 of the 17 events slotted for 9:00 AM, and already there are four I can’t miss.

But then—I spot it. The One. “Modern Fairy Tales and Retellings.” A panel! There’s a “need for fables in modern society and the literary marketplace,” it says! Kate Bernheimer! Kelly Link! Is it, like, super nerdy to get this excited about a seminar at nine in the morning? It is, right?

Read Katie’s next AWP dispatch here.


Katie Wudel’s writing has appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s, Prairie Schooner, Nerve, The Rumpus,and on the Ploughshares blog, and can be heard this spring on NPR’s Snap Judgment. Katie has taught creative writing at San Francisco’s School of the Arts and the University of Nebraska-Omaha Writer’s Workshop, and has been awarded scholarships and residencies from Hedgebrook, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and Summer Literary Seminars. In 2011, her story “Tongueless,” which first appeared in Monkeybicycle, was one of Wigleaf’s Top [Very] Short Fictions.


Gary Indiana and The Enclave

Every so often you’ll see our social media accounts abuzz with news about an upcoming event from The Enclave Reading Series here in New York. These guys are our friends and, in some cases, our contributors (Co-curators Scott Geiger and James Freed were in print issues 8 and 9 of Monkeybicycle respectively). We love what they do each month in the cold dark basement of the Lower East Side’s premiere dive bar, Cake Shop. They’ve had readers like Shelley Jackson, Melissa Febos (who also hosts the wildly popular and wildly fun Mixer Reading Series at Cake Shop), and Alexander Chee, as well as many, many more—they’ve been doing these readings for six years.

This past Saturday’s Enclave event was as entertaining as any other, if not more so. Rebekah Rutkoff, Cat Tyc, and Bethany Ides all read film-related works that wowed the audience, and Laurie Weeks made a surprise appearance, billed as the Enclave’s first author-in-residence, to read from her novel, Zippermouth. And as if all of this weren’t enough for one afternoon, there was also Gary Indiana.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing a Gary Indiana reading you’re in luck. Liza Beár filmed this one, which included the author sharing part of a as yet unpublished novel that he’s co-writing with British artist Tracey Emin, as well as an email to her and some of his trademark antecdotes. You can watch Indiana’s performance below. And be sure to check out The Enclave’s Tumblr site to find out details on their February event, and follow them on the usual social media spots: Twitter and Facebook.

Help The Rumpus Make a Movie and Have a Good Time

There are very few literary sites that I make the time to visit regularly. I wish there were more hours in a day so that I could spend them reading all the wonderful things I know are out there, but there aren’t. So I have to whittle down my list of go-to sites to only about a handful. One of them is The Rumpus.

The Rumpus consistently publishes great fiction and nonfiction, and they have fun projects like their Letters in the Mail program, which I’ve really enjoyed seeing people respond to. It seems that abandoning technology for good old-fashioned letter writing is something that has been missed. And now The Rumpus is becoming even more appealing to me because they’ve decided to create a movie—the thing I love the most.

The movie is Happy Baby, an adaptation of Rumpus editor-in-chief Stephen Elliott‘s 2004 novel, which tells the story of a California man who returns to Chicago, where he was brought up in the Foster system, to reconnect with an old girlfriend. It’s a really beautiful book, and while sometimes I’m skeptical of films made from books, I think this one could turn out well. Elliott recently made his directorial debut with About Cherry, a small film about the usual coming-of-age story, but told in new and compelling way. I thought it was a very strong first effort, so I’m really excited at the possibilities of this new film.

Happy Baby, like Bret Easton Ellis’s The Canyons, is being funded through Kickstarter, which means The Rumpus needs a lot of help to get the word out. They’re offering some pretty great packages if you donate: $10 lets you help cast the film through a voting process; $20 gets you a copy of the script and free access to fundraising events, and the perks go up from there, including things like tickets to the film at any festival where it screens, and even set visits. But while Kickstarter is a great way to raise money for a project, there’s still something to be said for going out and throwing a party. And just like the way they went back to writing letters, now they’re going to entertain you in person. First up, New York.

On November 29th, The Rumpus will host an evening of readings and conversations at Public Assembly in Brooklyn. The evening will include stand-up comedy from Eugene Mirman, a live performance of Writers Braver than Me, with Monkeybicycle favorites Sari Botton and Melissa Febos, readings by Rick Moody, Jami Attenberg and Starlee Kine, as well as much more—including a surprise guest. Tickets are $20 and with that you not only get a great night of entertainment, you also get to help make a movie. That’s a pretty good deal.

If you’re not in the New York area, definitely check out the Kickstarter page and kick in a few bucks. It’ll be worth it.

The Great Write Off and The State of the Book

Years ago I would take the train every weekend morning from Astoria, Queens, to Park Slope, Brooklyn, for days of fun and fulfillment. I made the almost two-hour commute because I was a volunteer at a place called 826NYC back in its early days and there wasn’t anything else I would’ve rather been doing with my weekends. In the mornings I worked in the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., where I’d sell things like capes and secret identity kits to local kids and their parents. And in the afternoons I’d open up one of the store’s bookcases and pass through the secret entrance to the back room where I’d tutor students of varying ages in everything from writing to math. Sometimes I would also help to research grants and ways for the organization to find funding in its infancy. Finding funds was nearly as important as the work we were doing with the kids.

It’s probably a little easier for 826NYC to find funding here in New York—especially in the very popular borough of Brooklyn—than it might be for other 826 franchises, or literary nonprofits of all kinds, around the country. They have, after all, New York behind them. Those other places, save for LA, probably don’t have celebrities stopping by, or quite as many deep pockets to work with. But that doesn’t mean they’re not as important. Some of those places are doing just as much for the local children and for the literary community as a whole, and should probably be given a fighting chance. One of those places is the small press hotbed of Michigan.

Michigan has a lot going on: tons of great journals, small presses for days, wonderful bookstores, and what seems to be an overall love of all things lit. I should disclose that I’ve never been to Michigan for any length of time, but I do have relationships with many people and literary endeavors there, so I think I have a pretty good idea about what’s going on.

One of the big players in Michigan is Dzanc Books, a publishing house I’ve done design work for over the past six or seven years and which is Monkeybicycle’s parent company. But even if none of that were the case, I’d still be a big fan of Dzanc and what they do. Over the years they’ve held write-a-thons annually to raise money for their projects and keep things moving forward. This year, they’ve teamed up with several local literary nonprofits for a friendly competition in order to spread the wealth and hopefully draw a bit more attention to all the good-doing parties involved. It’s called The Great Write-Off. In addition to Dzanc, there are five other organizations participating: 826Michigan, Fiction Writers Review, InsideOut, National Writers Series, and The Neutral Zone. Each of these places has their own team and is looking for both writers and sponsors.

The Great Write Off will take place from October 3rd through the 5th. It’s all done online, so you don’t have to worry about being local. If you’d like to participate from Boston, you can. Just select a team and sign up. And if you know a writer who is involved, you can sponsor their efforts by donating. More on that here.

The Great Write Off will end with a day-long symposium on the 6th at Rackham Auditorium on the University of Michigan, called The State of the Book and presented by one of the participants, Fiction Writers Review. Some of the speakers include Dave Eggers, Charles Baxter, Philip Levine, and others. It does help if you’re local for this part of the event.

Nonprofits require a lot of support and a lot of hard work to keep going. Events like The Great Write Off are a perfect example of the passion and hard work that the folks who work with them have. So do your part to keep literature alive in Michigan and throughout the world by donating and/or participating on one of the teams. You might just be supporting the next great novel.

Full details for The Great Write Off and The State of the Book are available here.


Help Out Cake Shop

I’ve lived in the NYC area for the better part of a decade now, and I’ve been to events in all kinds of venues: Concerts in pizza shops, movies in parks, readings in art museums. All of them felt like “New York” events, even though the locations ran the gamut from highbrow to skid row. But one of the places I’ve always enjoyed the most is Cake Shop on Ludlow Street, where we’ve held the last two Monkeybicycle Lightning Round events. This place is, let’s be honest, a hole. It’s a dark basement with black walls and a tiny stage (though they do also have a pretty great upstairs café). But to me that’s what makes it great. It’s gritty, the way a New York club should be.

And even though Cake Shop has only been around since 2005, they’ve gained a reputation for supporting the little guy. Bands like Surfer Blood, MGMT, and Vampire Weekend all played here regularly on their way up. And that’s just the music.

Cake Shop also graciously hosts several well-respected reading series. Our friends at The Enclave have been running their monthly events here for several years now, and Melissa Febos’s Mixer Reading Series can be found in this charming basement, too.

With all of these great events going on, it’s hard to accept that Cake Shop—like so many other places in NYC right now—is in financial trouble. Tax woes have left owners Nick and Andy Bodor facing eviction if they don’t find a way to raise $58,000 by July 26th. And that’s where you come in.

Cake Shop has teamed up with Pledge Music to create a Kickstarter-esque campaign to raise money and keep their doors open. If you donate, you’re not only going to help preserve a great indie venue, but you’ll also get a great thank you gift: things like t-shirts, guest list spots at upcoming secret shows, and guest DJ slots are all available with a donation.

So please, whether you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting Cake Shop or not, kick in a few bucks to help keep their doors open and keep NYC’s independent movement going.

Donations can be made through Pledge Music.

A message from co-owner Nick Bodor:

The Cake Shop website.

The New York Times on Cake Shop’s plight.

Cake Shop on Twitter.
Cake Shop on Facebook.


Short Story Month, The Condensed Version

Every year May sees the small press corner of the internet flooded with short story recommendations and analyses. Writers, blogs, and journals all celebrate literature in its short form by sharing some real gems. No one takes this month by the horns the way Dan Wickett does over at the Emerging Writers Network, of course. But collectively, I think everyone else comes close. At the beginning of every June I find myself wishing Monkeybicycle had done more to participate, since short stories are our wheelhouse. May starts out with such ambition! But a small staff and many day jobs makes it tough to keep up. This year we did a bunch of posts on the last day of the month, which is decent for us, where we flooded Facebook and Twitter with selections all day long. But because social media is so scattered and because Twitter especially can become so flooded that things slip by unnoticed (By the way, if you’re not following us on Twitter, I really hope you will by clicking here), I’m going to list all of our selections in one place below. And then I’ll list a few links to sites that participated as well, so you don’t have to spend so much time searching, and can, instead, spend your time reading, which is what Short Story Month is all about.

Our picks during Short Story Month 2012:

Rabbit Starvation, Emily Anderson
Concern, Elizabeth Ellen
The Genius Meetings, Elizabeth Crane
Stop Thinking You Own the Forest, Matthew Salesses
Souls Belated, Edith Wharton
Superstition, Paula Bomer

Other places participating:

The Emerging Writers Network
Fiction Writers Review
Book Riot
Open Road Media
The Picador Book Room