Tag Archives: Issue 3

I’m going to be on The Secret Lives of Stuffed Animals radio show June 11 at 8 PM EST

For the first time in my life, someone will be interviewing me. On June 11 at , I’ll be a guest on The Secret Lives of Stuffed Animals, talking with Stumpy and Mister Bear. We’ll be talking about Bop Dead City,and I’m told there may be MadLibs, so check it out Tuesday, June 11 at 8 PM at http://www.bostonfreeradio.com/the-secret-lives-of-stuffed-animals.

As a side note, I’m so nervous about this. For one, I’m afraid of making a complete ass of myself (more than usual, I mean).

But on the other hand, it fulfills a goal of mine in a sense. When I was a kid in New Hampshire, I had big dreams of being a rock star in Boston, and so I consumed everything I could about the Boston music scene: CDs, message boards, etc. Copies of The Noise and The Phoenix  procured from the Newbury Comics in Manchester and from the frequent trips to Boston were poured over, the names in them growing to mythical proportions in my head: Jess Klein (who broke my fragile,stupid teenage heart when I found out she was a lesbian), Freezepop, Melissa Ferrick, Noelle, Waltham, Scissorfight, and so on. I watched/listened to many of these bands, in lieu of actually going into these clubs at fourteen or fifteen, by tuning into the late RadioBoston.com, which not only had a radio feed but also live footage of shows at clubs like The Middle East and Club Passim, and I liked to imagine myself on those stages, my band in those concert listings, and our CD in the reviews section. I guess BostonFreeRadio.com is a spiritual successor to that site. So…kind of fulfilling a childhood dream by appearing on The Secret Lives of Stuffed Animals? Pressure. 

Point being, either listen to me live out my dream or listen to me crash and burn in a blaze of awkwardness. You can’t lose, people.

 

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Interview with Jim Eigo

This interview is with Jim Eigo, who contributed “Bar Nextdoor” to Issue 3. As the issue was shaping up, I realized that all the work I had accepted was written by women. I had this whole thing in my head about making this “THE WOMEN’S ISSUE” and making a big deal about it because I don’t know, I’m a putz. In fact, I sat on this story about twice as long as I usually do (so probably three days?) just because I had become wedded to this all-female thing. The story was too good to let go, however. It is, I think, a very feminist piece at least, which you’d know if you had read the issue, which you should do if you haven’t. Anyway, here’s Jim.

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Describe your work in 25 words or less.

I’m writing small, quirky tales that look at human behavior as an alien anthropologist might—sometimes capturing that behavior with outsider’s insight, sometimes misreading it. 

 

Tell me about your story “Bar Nextdoor.”

Talk about outsider!  I am a gay guy and often look at the love affairs and relationships of my straight friends and acquaintances with utter bafflement.  Yes, we are all human and therefore share certain desires and emotions.  But the codes are so different when the parties involved do not share the basic anatomy.  In “Bar Nextdoor” I am the alien anthropologist. The story is kind an allegory for a type of straight relationship I think I see replicated over and over.  I am sure I am missing lots of what is going on.  But I hope my outside eye is capturing something that is not so easily seen from the inside. 

 

Who or what inspires you to write?

A visual image, the sound and rhythm of a phrase, the tone of a character’s voice, a physical setting, a plot situation, the odd relationship of the narrator to any of those.  Sometimes one of these inspirational “bits” will come to me with one (or more) of the others attached.  Usually I have to explore the original inspirational bit to discover its potential in the other aspects of storytelling. I have been exploring the flash form for the past few years, stories of a few hundred words.  Before a work is through, I like it to contain a memorable example of all the story bits that I mention in the first sentence of this answer, and I like for the whole to be quirkier, less expected than the sum of its already quirky parts. 

 

What authors have influenced you as a writer?

I devoured Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet and the French absurdists throughout the second half of high school.  Jonathan Swift’s tales and essays have been important to me.  The care that early modernist novelists Henry James, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce took with the “how” of what they were saying has provided a model.  I’m old enough to have been bowled over by the short-form early work of the post-modern fabulists (Robert Coover, William Gass, Donald Barthelme) when it first appeared.  My background is in theater so the lushness and the rush of Shakespeare’s language are forever imprinted on my inner ear—something I love in the poet John Keats as well.  Some W.B. Yeats poems still make me swoon.  I love oddball American modernist poets W.C. Williams and Wallace Stevens, and after them, the New York School of Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery.  Coming across the writing of utterly queer (in every sense of the word) San Francisco poet of no known school, Jack Spicer, in my mid-20s was a revelation that continues to this day.  For many years I’ve lived a stone’s throw away from the St. Mark’s Poetry Project in the East Village, so I’ve followed the development of a lot of latter-dayNew York School poets I like.  The way some Language Poets have used language refreshes my own use of language in a very different form, prose fiction.     

 

Do you have a blog/website?

I do not.  But examples of my writing are scattered across the web.  Some of that writing deals with AIDS and AIDS drugs, and some of my speeches in that realm are available on YouTube.  Several pieces of my flash fiction are out there as well. You can read recent flash work of mine at cleavermagazine.com

 

What are you reading at the moment?

I am almost finished Junot Diaz’s first book of stories, Drown.  For the past several weeks I have been reading a few pieces a night from the poet Clark Coolidge’s long prose work, Book Beginning What and Ending Away.  I am re-reading poet Dana Ward’s Crisis of Infinite Worlds; the voice is non-stop ravishing, and every few seconds a piece of piercing human insight bobs to the surface and dazzles so much that it hurts.  (And if you have an opportunity to catch him reading in the flesh, don’t miss it.) 

 

What are you working on right now?

I have to give a presentation next week at Baruch College on the particular psychological blows sustained by gay men who survived the early plague years of AIDS; I am working on that.  I am polishing several of the flash works that I mentioned for a chapbook-sized collection, The Clay Tablets.  I am working on the second chapter of the third draft of a novel,Surprising Life.  In a scattered way, over the past few years, I have taken several classes in typesetting and bookart.  Some of the artwork I’ve done as a result was published last year in a limited edition book from Intima Press.  I would love to get to a point where I am making little books of my work, in equal parts writing and art object.

 

Any advice for other writers?

So much of the advice that writers get these days reduces writing to a formula, little deeper than copy for infomercials.  I have a hunch that writers who are reading Bop Dead City see what a soul-deadening “career choice” such writing is for a writer. Most writers for hire earn little better than the nothing you get when you write what you want, and the work is so much less satisfactory.  I hope every writer finds the special thing that only he or she can get into words, and works to get it right, and sends it out into the world so the rest of us can experience this unique little world as well.  (If you can write that unique thing plus write copy that helps pay the cellphone bill, more power to you.) 

 

Anything else you’d like to say?

There’s a big, interesting, needy world out there.  I’ve found that letting that world leak into my writing has often nourished and even replenished it, and I’ve found that the habits of analysis, development and expression that my writing has helped me cultivate have been my most useful skills when I venture out into the world and try to change it.


Interview with Elizabeth Cook

Today, we’re interviewing Elizabeth Cook, who contributed the poem “Apple Seed” to this issue, and was a close, unofficial second in our contest too. She’s also the first Canadian we’ve published, and I would say that I would’ve saved a ton of money paying her in Canadian dollars if she had won, but that joke doesn’t work anymore.
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Buy Issue 3!

I finally got it printed and now all of you can buy a copy (or 12) for three bucks. We’ve got poetry by Knar Gavin, Elizabeth Cook, Natalie Byers, Linda M. Crate, and Georgia Bellas, with fiction by Olga Zelenova and Jim Eigo. All you contributors should receive your issues (and prize money, for some) at the beginning of next week.

But seriously, I’m awfully proud of this issue. I mean, I didn’t really do anything aside from pick what went in it, but I think I did a damn fine job of that. (Someone read the issue and said “there’s really good poetry in here,” and I replied “Thanks” like I had written it all. I’m such a dick). So by all means, forgo your venti latte or half of your next crack rock and buy an issue so you can read them all.

Also, Issue 3’s interviews will be posted soon, so keep an eye out for smart answers to the stupid questions I pose to Bop Dead City’s lovely authors.


Issue 3 Cover Art

Just a teaser for the new issue. The art is “I Scream” by Georgia Bellas, who also has a poem in the issue. The mag’s currently at the printer, and they’ll be sent out tomorrow.

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1st Annual Flash Fiction and Poetry Contest!

I mentioned in the last update that I wanted to have a contest, and now I found a decent reason to do so. Duotrope (if you’re not familiar, you need to be) recently ranked Bop Dead City fourth on their super-scientific list of “25 Fastest Poetry Markets” (and I think we’re going to be pretty high on the fiction list too). They keep a bunch of other stats too. 

So anyway, to celebrate this rather neat fact, I decided we’re having a flash fiction and poetry contest! 

Prizes: $20 to the winner of the flash fiction category, and $20 to the winner of the poetry category.

Rules: For fiction, we’ll use Duotrope’s definition of flash fiction as “less than 1,000 words.” For poetry, we’ll use my made-up rule of 50 words or less. Plus, do everything that the usual submission guidelines say. Everything submitted until April 1 that follows these guidelines will be considered for the contest. And of course, even if your work isn’t within these parameters, we’ll still consider it for publication as usual.

Thanks for all the great submissions so far, an even bigger thanks to everyone who has bought a copy of Bop Dead City’s Issue 2, and good luck to everyone who enters.


Nearly February News

Straight to the bullets:

  • Issue 2 is officially printed up and ready for purchase! All you contributors should receive your issues today or soon enough, and anyone who’d like a copy can just click the “Buy” tag above to purchase through Paypal or any credit card (unless you use a Player’s Club card and are therefore Moe Szyslak). 
  • This means, of course, that the submission period for Issue 3 is about to commence. Review the submission guidelines before submitting, please. It’s pretty standard and straight-forward stuff, and when it really comes down to it, I’m not too much of a ballbuster about them. 
  • I’m considering having a contest during this submission period. No fees or anything silly like that, and everything submitted will be considered, so if you’re thinking about submitting, do it regardless. I figured, I already had my favorites in each issue, so why not just come out and say it?
  • Hopefully we’ll soon have interviews from our lovely and presumably beautiful (if their outsides match their insides) contributors for this issue. I got a ton of great feedback One person said they really liked the interviews, so I’m going to keep trying to do them. 
  • Finally, if you’re reading this, go ahead and submit. I started this little project last year for three reasons:

1) Reading new and interesting things, and learning about people. Everything people submit is, at least I think in some way, an extension of themselves, and I’m a nosy bastard who wants to know your business. What can I say? The South rubbed off on me. 

2) To feel like I’m doing my part in the literary community. Another way of saying this is to say I feel like I’m accomplishing something here.

3) To help other writers in their quest for…whatever. Fame? I guess. Wealth? Maybe not, or at least I’m not getting rich (I figure we’re at about $-40 or so at this point, but whatever. It’s about the words, man). Mostly, just to acknowledge to a small percentage of other writers out there that, yes, you did a good job, you’re good at what you do, and this deserves to be recognized in some small way. Even though Bop Dead City might be small potatoes, at least it’s something to snack on until your main course, right? Or in a less tortured way of speaking, who doesn’t like seeing their work recognized for having some merit (whiskeypaper.com sometime in March, keep an eye out for me, holler at your boy)?

Anyway, the point is, it’s a symbiotic relationship you and I have. I can’t publish you if you don’t submit, and if you don’t submit I’ll have nothing to publish.

So, read the guidelines, get your shit together, and fill Bop Dead City’s inbox on February 1.