Head under Water at Prick of the Spindle

May 30, 2017 § Leave a comment

If they liked you, they’d remember you. And every once in a while a kid pops back in to say hello. A little fuller in the face, a little more run-down. Out of the Army or Marines with erect posture, rounder head, clearer gaze. The women thicker in the hips, more sass, more sashay.

They shake hands with their old principal and say hey there, Mr. Rush, you’re lookin’ good, and they chat Edwin up, because they want to retrace things and show him they’re different people now, they talk a different game.

At Prick of the Spindle today I have a new story, “Head under Water.” It’s by far the longest story I’ve ever written, and “new” is a bit of a relative term, as it turns out that according to my records I’ve been working on the story in some form for over eleven years. It’s undergone several substantial revisions and at least three title changes. I’m glad for it to have found a home in what is definitely its final form, and I’m grateful to editor Cynthia Reeser for picking it up.

Drawing Names

May 13, 2017 § Leave a comment


Last November, when we visited Montreal, we made a trip to Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, an edgy bookshop known for its sweet selection of graphic novels. This is from Mile End, by Michel Hellman, which I have been reading slowly with Bing Translate close at hand. Though I took five years of French in school and two more semesters in college, I don’t hear it well enough to maintain a conversation. Reading the words essentially as captions to illustrations has provided a fun and useful way to brush up on my French and learn about life in the Mile End neighborhood of Montreal (where Librairie Drawn & Quarterly happens to be).

Perhaps with cartoons on the brain, yesterday I went for a walk into town and came back with Michael Tisserand’s Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White, an exquisitely designed brick about the curious life of the man who created Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse.

Herriman was born in New Orleans, of Creole descent to a family that took pains to hide its African-American heritage. That peculiar backstory seems to inform a lot of the mischief and anarchy that came through in the Krazy Kat comics. This is going to take me a while to get through.


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