Tag Archives: Barrelhouse

Meet Me in Philly: Conversations and Connections Conference

14 Sep

Everyone knows about that whole AWP thing, right? The huge conference where we all go and lose our voices and pulverize our livers and generally wish those few days could be our life-at-large?

Well, there are smaller versions of that throughout the year, and one of those is coming up next week in Philadelphia, and it is much more affordable than AWP, and there are awesome panels, and Stewart O’Nan is keynoting, and on top of a really kick ass time, your registration fee gets you a subscription to a literary journal, a book from one of the speakers, and a “speed dating with editors” session.

This year, Ol’ Dave Housely has asked me out in my Vouched capacity to manage book sales during the conference, and of course I’m going to say yes to that.

So, I’ll be there, and I hope to see you there, too. It’d be rad to see you there. I’ll be standing behind a red clothed table with a bunch of books on it. Say hello. Let’s be friends.

SSM: “Me and Gin” by Lindsay Hunter

2 May

I’m not sure how many authors I’ve come across who can control a voice like Lindsay Hunter can control a voice. Check this out:

Me and Gin had a fight once, when I came upon her sitting on my brother’s bed like she does on mine. And my brother just tiddling with his football, poke arms sticking out his muscle shirt like creamy bone. Gin and my brother, talking like they was afraid of the sound. And me wanting to say, Hold up, this is mine and this is mine, I almost said it, but I didn’t, cause no one likes to be claimed. Instead I said, Guess I’ll go to the bathroom now, and I did, and I looked at my face in the mirror so long I got so I couldn’t recognize it.

Me and Gin made up and she let me wear her hair clip for the afternoon.

And she holds that voice steady, solid for another 750 words or so, and never once does it waver or ring untrue. I recognize myself in it, in me and in Gin, and in this stumbling friendship, those early best friendships when you are all still so young and life is still all figuring itself out, who I am and who you are, and sometimes I wonder if and when that ever stops.

I wonder when I’ll buy a pair of polyester pants, because why not, and who cares what anyone else whatevers, and will someone always be by my side, does Broc still remember that time behind his parents’ shed when we stuck needles into our fingertips and mashed them together, and how our muddy faces smiled because nothing could break this, this trading of who we were, blood is who we were, and I wonder now how Broc is, I wonder now where he is. I don’t even know anymore, I’ve not known in years. He may be dead now for all I know. He may be dead.

Read “Me and Gin” by Lindsay Hunter in full at Barrelhouse.

A Name Means Everything or Nothing

6 Nov

The latest Barrelhouse has names that go whoa like Joey Lawrence.

Name like Amber Sparks who tells you about heroes and anti-heroes and becoming heroes, and there’s always a wizard, but these heroes, they always start as a man or a woman very much like you or me and there’s usually a dark forest.

Name like Aaron Burch, that’s right, the Aaron Burch who predicts the weather, and his characters like to make out in backseats and drink wine from maybe boxes, because that’s what high school was supposed to feel like, don’t you remember? Proms and pins and promises.

Name like Roxane Gay who makes me feel tough and lonely and like maybe I’d have made a good woman, a strong woman, if I had been born into that lot.

Name like Brian Oliu who plays a lot of video games and who says video games rot your brains, because Brian’s brains look beautiful on paper like, “I am a beautiful fighter.  I have such a style.  I will picture my fist breaking through the back of your skull.  I will have hair on my arm.  I want to touch the space behind where you stand.  Tell me you understand what this means.  Tell me that there is something to this.  I have my weakness but I will not tell you.”

Name like Jyotsna Sreenivasan, which I’ve never actually heard before but wow how that name feels on the tongue, and how her story swirls and spirals, there are roads like spaghetti bowls, and how we forget where we are, where are we, bearings, coodinates, God help us all.