Though this season has seen me being pummeled by the various viruses and whatnot that are floating around—not to mention succumbing, for perhaps the first time in my life, to some form of seasonal affective mood disorder—the year, as a whole, has had some bright moments (as Rahsaan Roland Kirk would say). At some point, I’ll post a list of what I enjoyed reading this year. In the meantime, I’ve asked many great writers to send along a list of some of their favorite books, music, films, events, moments, or whatever for 2010. As you’ll find below, these “bests” need not have been released this year. In this installment, check out lists by Scott Garson, Jamie Iredell, Norman Lock, Kevin Sampsell, and Ken Sparling. More to come, soon.
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).
There’s been some new pieces lately so I wanted to refresh this.
Mark Doten “The Spider and Salt Hearts: A Fragment”
Sean Lovelace “My Identity was Stolen”
Amber Sparks “May We Shed These Human Bodies”
Rusty Barnes “Something Like Love”
Thomas Cooper “The Primary Reason”
In order of appearance:
Ravi Mangla “Souvenirs”
JA Tyler “Inconceivable Wilson”
John Madera “Was What it Was”
Scott Garson “Buffalo Gymnopédie”
Peter Zinn “You’ve Got to Feel Bad for Hardware Stores”
Neely Terrell “E”
Ken Sparling “The Worst Day of My Life”
Kim Chinquee “Soldier”
Matt Bell “Hali, Halle, Hamako”
Eric Beeny “Laundry Day”
Lydia Copeland “She Turns Out the Lights”
Scott Garson writes fiction, he created Wigleaf and just last week Willows Wept Press announced his book, American Gymnopedies – a flash tour of cities in thirty states of union. His work is sterling, inventive, provocative. Consider this flash fiction. It was first published in Giancarlo Ditrapano’s great New York Tyrant. Special thanks for allowing the reprint. After the piece, I asked Scott some questions.
1. Best stick-in-your-head line from an ’09 fiction: “The sky was a fucked puzzle,” from Blake Butler’s EVER.
2. Best coinage: To squid (v.i. or v.t). My four-year old son, the baddest four-year old son in the world, made this one up. It means: to move one’s fingers softly over another’s skin…. As in, “No squidding!”
3. Best uncelebrated ’09 fiction: Karl Taro Greenfeld’s “Thiebold,” from The New York Tyrant. Psycho-cultural politics. Who else is writing fiction like this? Fuckin stunner.