A fitting tribute to Steve Jobs, may his soul find eternal repose, sent to me in email form

Dear Davis Schneiderman,

It has been one month since the world was shocked by the sudden death
of Apple founder and technology pioneer Steve Jobs.

To mark this occasion and in conjunction with the release of his
official biography, the team here at The Reading Site have
decided to offer something to his customers and the people at
Lake Forest College.

This week only, we are offering lifetime membership to The Reading
Site to iPad, iPhone and other smartphone owners for 50% off.

This membership will enable you to download unlimited FREE eBooks,
comic books, newspapers and magazines to all your portable devices.

Some popular titles you can get from The Reading Site for FREE include:

– THE HELP, by Kathryn Stockett
– THE LITIGATORS, by John Grisham
– THE HUNGER GAMES, by Suzanne Collins
– A GAME OF THRONES, by George R.R. Martin
– DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, by Jeff Kinney
– THE TWILIGHT SAGA, by Stephenie Meyer

Just visit http://www.TheReadingSite.com to start downloading and
use the promo code “RIPSTEVE” at the sign up page.

Steve was a great man, a visionary, and a revolutionary, and had a
passion for both technology and reading.

He will be missed.

Rest in peace, Steve.


The Team at The Reading Site


PS- Feel free to email any tribute messages about Steve to us,
and we will publish them in our member’s only area.

54 Stone Street, New York
NYC, New York 10012
United States



Fyodor Dostoevsky predicts social media / in The Brothers Karamazov (1880)

“Oh, we love to live among people and to inform these people at once of everything, even our most infernal and dangerous ideas; we like sharing with people, and, who knows why, we demand immediately, on the spot, that these people respond to us at once with the fullest sympathy, enter into all our cares and concerns, nod in agreement with us, and never cross our humor.”

&NOW announcements

&NOW 5 at UCSD as a wild, raucous ride, courtesy of our many participants and the world’s best organizers: Amina Cain and Anna Joy Springer. HERE are some responses. Now, more news:

1)   &NOW 6: Paris, June 7-10, 2012:
2)   &NOW releases the second Plonsker Prize book, from our 2010 winner: 
3)   Madeleine P. Plonsker Writer’s Residency Prize 2012 (Year 5)–open for submissions! 
4) The &NOW AWARDS: The Best Innovative Writing / 2, October 2012, needs your nominations/submissions

1)   &NOW 6: Paris, June 7-10, 2012:
Check andnowfestival.com, and submit HERE by Dec 1, 2012.
Question we’ve received: Hey, this is just months after UCSD. Is &NOW messing with it’s biennial schedule?
Answer we offer: No, consider this a smaller special conference. We expect &NOW 7 to occur during the Fall of 2013 in the US. Exact location, TBA.

#AuthorFail: Index

Ah, #AuthorFail, how we miss you.

And how.

And how we now present, in your memory, the index of your shame.


#AuthorFail 1: Mark Spitzer  / June 6, 2011

#AuthorFail 2: Sean Beaudoin / June 13, 2011

#AuthorFail 3: Gretchen E. Henderson  / June 20, 2011

#AuthorFail 4: Jeffrey DeShell / June 27, 2011

#AuthorFail 5: A D Jameson / July 4, 2011

#AuthorFail 6: Jarret Middleton / July 11, 2011

#AuthorFail 7: Robin Becker / July 18, 2011

#AuthorFail 8: Alexandra Chasin / July 25, 2011

#AuthorFail 9: Richard Thomas / August 1, 2011

#AuthorFail 10: Laura Goldstein / August 8, 2011

#AuthorFail 11: Roxane Gay / August 15, 2011

#AuthorFail 12: Stephanie Strickland / August 22, 2011

#AuthorFail 13: Debra Di Blasi / August 29, 2011

#AuthorFail 14: Greg Olear / September 5, 2011

#AuthorFail 15: Jeff Bursey / September 12, 2011

#AuthorFail 16: Wendy Walker / September 19, 2011

#Author Fail 16: Wendy Walker

Good riddance, failures.

Today ends this column, at least in weekly form, which for the 15 weeks past has detailed a series of missteps, blind alleys, redirections, redactions, and lessons never learned. Ok, I know, many of the writers in this space and its readers have intimated lessons, although this was never my intent.

To paraphrase the call for the column, this investigation of failure is not mean to add to the narrative of redemption constructed from hindsight, which in all is bespectacled glory reifies traditional notions of Authorship (the development over time, the mastery of headspace).  No, the idea here could be that failure can be valuable (or useless) in an of itself–as an articulation of the limits of writing, or our ambitions, of our egos.

Thus, while you may take a warm glow from all of this, don’t overlook the dark pall. On that note, we let Wendy Walker, one of my favorite writers in the tradition of constraint, feel the stage crook pulling her prose from the stage.


My Man & other Critical Fictions

In the years following 9/11 I found myself feeling an urgent need to grapple with the issue of war. I chose as my subject the quintessential war of story, the Trojan War.  It had key female figures, both mortal and immortal.  The work would be a novel centered on three points of view, those of Helen and Paris, the conflict’s relatively clueless catalysts, and that of Athena, who plans and orchestrates the destruction in order to test a number of her new inventions.  I would call the novel The City Under the Bed.

Continue reading

#AuthorFail 15: Jeff Bursey

Welcome, dear failures, to the penultimate #AuthorFail…super-hero edition.

My Schnide-y sense is tingling, and it says this column will soon go the way of the dodo. Until then, let us revel in our ineptitude.


The Shadow. The Spider. G-8. I thought of these pulp heroes on seeing the first Burton Batman movie, and as I regularly walked to work in 1989-1990 I wondered if an audience, keen on the revamped Batman, would be interested in the Spider once more. The violent stories about him often contained traces of masochism and sadomasochism, as well as insane opponents. (He could be a bit mad also.) The 1970s paperbacks of those three figures were around the house when I was growing up, and later I read Phillip José Farmer’s ‘biography’ of Doc Savage. These memories combined with the re-visioning of Batman to give me the idea for an adventure story primarily set in India and Tibet that would link G-8 (mad from his war battles) and his twin half-brothers, who eventually would become the Shadow and the Spider. The pre-story explained a bit of what they’d done in WWI, what happened to them in the 1920s, and how two of them emerged, 45s blazing, on the side of justice (though not always the law) in the 1930s. (G-8 didn’t get out of the 1920s alive.) In 1993 I finished writing Pulpseed, and sent it off. Continue reading

#AuthorFail 14: Greg Olear

The Beast Rises (well, not really).

Dare we call this a triumph against evil?

Until next week….


My Brain Is Full, my first completed novel, concerned the creative frustrations of a pretentious twenty-two-year old college junior—no big shock, as its author was also a pretentious twenty-two-year old college junior.  I printed up a bunch of copies of this masterpiece, shared it with (generally receptive) friends, and otherwise basked in the glow of what was my first literary success; although the New York editor I sent it to passed, saying the book “showed promise” and encouraged me to keep writing.

For my sophomore effort, I decided to undertake a more ambitious project.  Babylon Is Fallen was conceived as a Gothic novel, a work of horror that would draw heavily on Biblical allusion and End Times prophesy.  I dreamed up most of the plot during a summer working at McDonald’s: a college student would knowingly spread the AIDS virus around the small campus (which had actually happened a few years earlier at a college in my home town).  His motive?  He believed he was one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, whose job it was to bring the plague.

Continue reading