Nephew’s inaugural title: Darby Larson’s The Iguana Complex!

Holy smokes!  Nephew, an exciting new imprint of Mud Luscious Press, has announced its first title: Darby Larson’s The Iguana Complex, “a wonder of negation & meta-narrative, a mountain of little steps walking in circles.” Nephew publishes raw & aggressive pocket-sized titles in limited-editions of 150 copies or for a sales period of three months, whichever comes first. There will be no subsequent editions (Translation: get in on this bad-ass action now!  Only $10.  And what a stunning cover). 

Larson has had short fiction published recently at The Collagist, Everyday Genius, Caketrain, & New York Tyrant. He is also the editor of Abjective.

Here’s a little somthing to whet the appetite:

They are to each other after and on the flower near the crackling fire next to each other but when she looks she’s no longer looks at him. Looks at him. She’s not there looks at him. No longer on, she’s not there, the lone floor of Freeman’s living room and/or the opera stage where the deafening noise, rather, from our crowd’s spoke-woken her. She must have passed, missed, slipped out, slipped, must have hurled herself in the path of a hurled pointy hat. The crowd’s on their endingly feet singing neverendingly songs over and over, the song Cassandra beguttoned a day or so ago.

Oh Reuben, oh Reuben, offstage jumping: keep it going, yes yes, keep singing, keep it going. But she’s jumped and banged and heaven’s sake and sang enough for heaven’s sake, was just pointed-hat-hurled on stage for heaven’s sake, hurled in the pointed hurled hat with a head.

The crowd sobers when the loss of their leader is lost from the strange of the onstage. They file, the crowd, out of our theater seats whistling like a bird-caller army in their cars, near their dinners, at their desserts, within dreams, out from deserts, under oceans, sleepwalking-whistling to kitchens preparing two egg in the morning salad sandwiches.

Freeman prepares himself and his components, the components of the egg salad sandwich at two in the morning with his kitchen around him, tea kettle whistling. Whistling.

No longer whistling. Can you barely? You’ll need to look closer: Cassandra fashioning at Freeman’s kitchen table, the square one, eyes open, a mug of tea, ghost roses parading and the donkey playing a cello.

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A Sentence About a Sentence I Love: An Anthology, of Sorts

A few months ago, in April, to be exact, I started a series of posts entitled “A Sentence About a Sentence I Love” with a sentence about one of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s magnificent sentences. This concentration, or, rather, this obsession with the sentence may have come from my, at the time, recent readings of William Gass’s essays wherein he concentrates much of his attention on the sentence as a primary building block in poetry and prose. Essays by Gass like “The Soul Inside the Sentence,” “The Sentence Seeks Its Form,” “The Architecture of the Sentence,” take as their focus the centrality of the sentence toward the construction of thought, and particularly of thoughts within the parameters of fiction. In “Philosophy and the Form of Fiction,” Gass claims that sentences are “the most elementary instances of what the author has constructed….a moving unity of fact and feeling.” Moreover, sentences

must be sounded, too; it has a rhythm, speed, a tone, a flow, a pattern, shape, length, pitch, conceptual direction. The sentence confers reality upon certain relations, but it also controls our estimation, apprehension, and response to them. Every sentence, in short, takes metaphysical dictation, and it is the sum of these dictations, involving the whole range of the work in which the sentences appear, which accounts for its philosophical quality, and the form of life in the thing that has been made (Fiction and the Figures of Life, 14).

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Using Jungian Personality Types to Develop Characters in Fiction: Guest Post, by Darby Larson

A few years ago I became fascinated with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and read all the profiles I could find online for all the different types. After learning my own type (INTP), I found I had the ability to type my family and friends. When I meet people now, I instinctively want to type them, to understand them. What I’ve learned is that people who have characteristics I despise end up also having characteristics that I envy, and I’ve gained a sense that there is a balance of good and evil in everybody.

Admittedly, my own fiction has always had a tendency to stray off the character-driven path in search of other things, but acknowledging this (as a?) flaw led me to search for different ways to develop my characters. All my characters tend to be me, my personality, not talking very much, or only when necessary. I’m not the kind of person to ramble in conversation. So I asked me, who are other people? What are they like? How do I write from inside their heads?

One day I took two random and opposite types, INFJ and ESTP, and threw them in a stuck elevator. I found that I instantly cared deeply about these characters, more than any other character I’d written. Before writing anything, I saw exactly where their conflict was and what they needed to do to resolve it or not resolve it. The potential for story exploded. I ended up not writing anything because it was such a new way of looking at writing for me. I still, and probably always will, prefer to search for content and structure in fiction outside of that which we’re accustomed to reading and experiencing (i.e., outside of people’s heads), but I’ll probably take another at crack this kind of exercise in the future.

Anyone ever tried using established personality traits to develop characters in their fiction? What was your experience?

Darby Larson is the editor of Abjective.

Darby Larson’s Best of 2009

Best ‘AurA’ or sweat and junk. I have to say the library down the street is meatier this year. I finally libraried it then buried it. So I’m harpering all my clothes in their way first, then Beckett-flirting my Steins Faulknerianly, then list my Lish, my Lutz.

Best 2, variety, tempo, rubatto. Well, to this broken piano, my fur elise, my kanon in d, my charlie brown ditty. It’s all almost you. All I’ll say about it.

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