Update from Woodstock: The speed and texture of communication has always struck me as something which defines a generation. However, since the move north, over the past few days I’ve been reminded that it is something that also defines place. While ‘downtown’ shopping for an outdoor grill – charcoal or gas? this was the first question that presented itself, who knew! – a random man at The True Value starts musing aloud over the usage of a steam powered grill scrapper. “Now what do you think powers this thing?” he asks, holding up a strange instrument and turning it end-over-end over looking for a plug. Not being much versed in these things, I smiled and said, “Maybe it works like an iron?” “True,” he said. “But where does the steam come from?” This same man was found running out of a cafe several days later. He had watched me leave with some chagrin due to the fact that there wasn’t a three pronged plug for my laptop. (There is no cell or intent service in these hills where we now live. Somehow I forgot that the word “Catskills” denoted a mountain range, despite the uninterrupted view that peaks out from between the hanging wisteria bunches climbing the veranda. In order to speak on the phone you need a “booster” which it took three days for the cable company to install. Every time they attempted to come they tried to “call” us. Despite knowing that we didn’t have service – and indeed that was why they were coming – they said we didn’t answer the phone when we called and thus assumed we weren’t home.) “Have you tried the cafe upstairs at Joshua’s?” the man from True Value said running from the door of the cafe and catching us on the street the next day. “They have a three pronged there.” Seen while driving: Every hamlet here has its own postoffice, which means you often pass a small house like structure within a few miles of each other on the same road. The last several days have engaged us in trying to install a box in which the world might deliver us the news. Most residents here have a post office box. However, at the end of our dirt lane an old mail box – 4061 – with the first two numbers rubbed off still stands its stead. Margaret, introduced by her first name, in the Lake Hill order of post office houses has sent Marlon out to inspect the area to see if it might be suitable for our box over the past few days. We await his reply and look for the sign of his car tires in the road. My favorite woman is the elderly steal haired dame who frequents the juice bar down the road which remains unnamed except for a sign out side that simply reads “Fish.” It turns out the store is actually a plant nursery and organic grocery store. At a small “bar” on the side they sell wheat grass which they press with an old metal handle. I have yet to approach this woman – her long graying ponytail and butterfly glasses are too fabulous and I’m too shy yet – but I’ve seen her twice already. Yesterday she was seated next to an elderly gentleman in brightly colored pants covered with the moon. They were talking about a bear that had been frequenting these parts. “Dan told me,” he said. “Well, he didn’t tell ME,” she said. “Good thing,” her gentleman companion in the moon pants laughed. Upon arriving home, we were greeted by Michael Senior, the elder statesman of our landlord across the way. His wife is a doctor and they live up the hill. Michael was about to mow our grass. “Have you met the pet turkey yet?” he asked. “My wife feeds him from out of her hand.” Indeed the next morning our turkey wondered down the hill past the big red barn out back and strolled up to our porch where three baby robins are roosting in the rafters above our doorway. Our cat watches them from the other side of the screened door. Occasionally they peak their beaks up to the sky in unison. “Had to put that metal post into the ground in front of the garbage,” Michael says motioning to a crow bar dug into the door of the tool shed. “Your bear was trying to get in.” I look at the tool shed and the door to our kitchen and note the proximity. That afternoon Steve came to tune my piano. The keys had shifted some during transit and he took the body apart and showed me how my instrument worked. “If I were you,” he told me on the phone – I called from town at the Juice Bar where the woman was telling the story about the bear – “I’d wait three weeks to tune it. I can fix it now. But an instrument really needs three weeks to acclimate to a place. To settle in.”
The latest iteration of ‘Various Paradigms’ is LIVE this morning at The Believer! Check out my interview with Brett Hool and John Kibler of the L.A. based duo WE ARE THE WEST! We’ve got the exclusive pre-release details on their new recording – the third EP in a four part series – recorded live in the high deserts of Santa Fe! WATW is interested in exploring the convergence of sound and space. The two often take to the road to record in experimental locations, searching out how the acoustics of place converge with live narrative. They have performed in storm drains and shipping containers, sheep farms and convents, and most frequently converge in the underground parking garage of an office building on Santa Monica Boulevard the Saturday before each full moon! Discussed: time, song as forum, Vonnegut in Indianapolis, Matthew Barney’s River of Fundament, Gianni Celati, righteous dreams, and flashes of the specific!
Read more here.
Just a little note to say that if you are free this Thursday, April 24th, I’m thrilled to be reading alongside these wonderful voices at The Center For Fiction. I’ll be reading from my novel – White Nights In Split Town City – the first excerpt of which debuted in the new 15th anniversary edition of NOON.
With much love,
SAVE THE DATE
15th ANNIVERSARY EDITION
2014 READING & PARTY
THURSDAY, APRIL 24th at 7 PM
THE CENTER FOR FICTION 17th EAST 47th STREET
CHIARA BARZINI is a screen and fiction writer living in Rome. Her writing has appeared in BOMB Magazine, The Coffin Factory, NOON, New York Tyrant, Milan Review, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Italian Vanity Fair, and Harper’s. She is the author of the short story collection Sister Stop Breathing (Calamari Press).
KAYLA BLATCHLEY lives in the Midwest. Her work has been published online at twoseriousladies.org and in the literary journal Unsaid. This is her first appearance in NOON.
REBECCA CURTIS is the author of Twenty Grand and Other Tales of Love and Money (Harper Perennial). She is a frequent contributor to NOON.
ANN DEWITT writing has appeared in Guernica, NOON, BOMBlog, art+culture, Everyday Genius, The Faster Times, elimae, Esquire’s Napkin Fiction project, and Dossier Magazine, among others, and is forthcoming in Tin House, The American Reader edited by Ben Marcus and the anthology, The Short Course: An International Anthology of Prose Poems, edited by Alan Ziegler, due out from Persea Books. She currently teaches in the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at Columbia University and in The School of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons, The New School, and is at work on her first novel.
RHOADS STEVENS lives in Providence, Rhode Island. This is his third appearance in NOON.
Very excited to announce that my first work in translation is forthcoming from Norwegian publication, La Granada, this June. Many warm thanks to editor Ingrid Hafredal for translating my story, “Those People In The Garden,” from the 2013 edition of NOON. Stay tuned for more details!
I had the great honor last night of introducing Alan Ziegler and his anthology Short: An International Anthology of Short Prose at the home of Michael and Karen Braziller. The room was ripe with warmth and love for this tremendous poet, editor, and mentor to many. What a wonderful night amidst dear friends whom I have long admired. The Believer has published my introduction online this afternoon at The Logger. Please check it out here and read about “how to catch a fly in a dark room,” “the spectator as prince,” and the “artistic uncoupling from the actual.” Order your copy of the anthology here.
If you’re free this Friday, come on over to the beautiful Mellow Pages Library and Reading Room for a night of new fiction curated by Paul Rome, featuring readings by Paul Rome, Emma Cline, Catherine Lacey and myself.
Readings start at 8pm. Come early for drinks and merriment. Stick around after for bonus birthday festivities.
Catherine Lacey’s debut novel, Nobody Is Ever Missing, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux this July. Her work has been published by McSweeney’s Quarterly, Granta, The Paris Review Daily, The Believer, The Atlantic and others.
Ann DeWitt’s writing has appeared in NOON, Guernica, BOMBlog, Esquire’s Napkin Fiction Project, The Believer Logger, art+culture, Everyday Genius, The Faster Times, elimae, and Dossier Magazine, amongst others, and is forthcoming in The American Reader edited by Ben Marcus and the anthology Short: An International Anthology edited by Alan Ziegler. Ann holds a B.A. from Brown University and an M.F.A. in Fiction from Columbia School of the Arts. She was a Founding Editor of Gigantic: A Magazine of Short Prose and Art in 2008. She currently teaches in the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at Columbia University and in The Art and Design History and Theory department at Parsons, The New School, and is at work on her first novel.
Emma Cline’s fiction has been published in The Paris Review and Tin House. She is working on a novel about the Manson Family.
Paul Rome has written for The Huffington Post, PEN America, The Minetta Review and Mercer Street. His debut novel, We All Sleep in the Same Room, was published in November 2013, and was hailed by The Barnes & Noble Review as “a taut and stylistically vanguard legal drama” and by Electric Literature as “a New York novel… all the more memorable for its originality.”
Someone else around here is really interested in reading the new NOON! An excerpt of my novel is just out in this weekend’s mail & in such thrilling company. With much thanks to Diane Williams once again for unearthing the first slice of this novel in my own mind and revealing it in the pages of NOON. This is NOON’s 15th anniversary issue. It features exceptional work by Chiara Barzini, Kayla Blatchley, Tetman Callis, Kim Chinquee, Rebecca Curtis, Lydia Davis, Brandon Hobson, Elan Lafontaine, Clancy Martin, Lincoln Michel, Dylan Nice, Julio Pecly, Ashton Politanoff, Lily Hoy Price, Christine Schutt, Rhoads Stevens, Robert Tindall, James Yeh and Anya Yurchyshyn. Thank you, Diane, for producing such a thing of beauty.
Thank you to The Believer Logger for posting my third iteration of the “Various Paradigms” column this afternoon! Very excited to see my piece, “The Sochi Project: Russia Through Two Lenses,” go live today in the wake of the Pussy Riots arrest Tuesday. Discussed: half naked pictures of Putin and the 51 billion dollar Sochi Winter Games, Jeff Shalett’s “What It’s Like to Be Gay In Putin’s Russia,” Rob Hornstra and Arnold Van Bruggan’s photo exhibition “The Golden Years,” at the Huis Marseille in Amsterdam and contemporary Moscow based artist Olga Chernysheva’s installation “Windows,” a meditative look at surveillance and “the heart of everyday Russia.” For the full text, click, here.
Photo of Luke Goebel by the writer’s sister, Marie Goebel.
Excited to spill the beans on a new project I’m working on over at The Believer. I’ll be writing and curating a bimonthly column for the Logger called Various Paradigms. The title is a tribute to conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner’s typographic texts. Weiner once wrote, “Bits and Pieces Put Together To Present A Semblance of A Whole.” This column hopes to follow in that tradition of engagement, intimacy and experiment. Check out this new post with writer, good friend, and co-conspirator on the page, Luke B Goebel! Thank you to Penina Roth for reuniting Luke and I amongst the readers at Franklin Park Reading Series earlier this month. Luke and I met for coffee the next day and talked about the following: The Corona Cougar portable typewriter, gaping wounds, emotional support animals, units of sound, Barry Hannah, Freudian analysts, Texas, the Breaking Bad RV, writing in the “Bounder,” and how to farm out a plane. For the full interview, click here!
Here’s a picture of our stalwart editor, Alan Ziegler, at his celebratory dinner last night. Contributor copies aren’t out till February. But you can advance order on Amazon here!