Harmony Korine

If you live in Chicago, as I suspect many of you do, you know the routine:

  1. Let it snow
  2. Dig out car
  3. Stand back as city does not plow your street
  4. Develop elaborate, unspoken system of laws and guidelines with neighbors around the etiquette of your shared snow-covered street
  5. Dig out car again
  6. NoticeĀ  city finally plows your street, creating huge snowbanks around the perimeter of your snow-free car
  7. Observe rain
  8. Laugh as rain freezes, creating walls of ice and trapping your vehicle and rendering the whole process obsolete

Not much a boy can do, really, except go to Baltimore, or maybe Nashville, although neither destination seems to be worth the effort if those pieces are any indication.

In other more significant news, I will be reading a new story entitled “Hey Eddie” Sunday, January 11 as part of the 2nd Story monthly series at Webster’s Wine Bar. More details on that as they become available.

Thank you as always for reading.
AMR
Chicago, IL / December 29, 2008

A Funny Story

Today, allow me to offer some advice to any new, young or aspiring writers out there: do not assume everything is done, even when everything is done.

A local literary acquaintance was all set to put out the inaugural issue of his or her quarterly journal of fiction and literary non-fiction. “Serious people saying only mildly serious things,” was the way he or she pitched it to myself and just over a dozen other writers, poets and visual artists. I’ve known this person for some time and was honored to contribute, and a (rather lengthy) story I wrote was slated to appear in this issue.

Our Hearst-in-the-making called me today. Nearly in tears, they told the story of how, after sending the expertly-crafted proofs to the printer, they hadn’t heard back even though the issues should have come off the press last week. After much distress and convoluted legwork, this publisher found out the printer had folded without telling any of its clients or creditors. The proofs still exist in digital but the several thousand dollars paid upfront, unfortunately, do not. If anyone wants to commit an act of charity, I can put you in touch with the jilted editor; everyone else, the slightly-awaited 1509 West is on hold indefinitely.

In sunnier happenings,

. . . the Smoking Popes are still awesome

. . . as are the two albums by Jenny Scheinman, RTB2. Not so much the mostly depressing reasons Chicago became musically famous.

. . . baseball ended but not without some last gasps of loudmouthed air.

. . . oh, and I got a new camera.

As usual there is tons more over here, and you’ll notice some slight reshuffling of things. The contents may be of suspect quality, but the least I can do is put it in a pretty package.

I should have some more updates for you real soon. Until then, thank you as always for reading.
AMR
Chicago, IL / October 28, 2008

Capital D

Some friends and I took a little trip to Detroit not too long ago, and if you’ve never been I highly recommend you go. Not that it’s an especially fun place, nor a consistently entertaining one, but definitely among the most interesting destinations in the world. A lot of people talk about what they personally are losing these days, but to actually see first-hand how an entire city (and, to some extent, an entire state) has been disintegrating for decades is nothing short of amazing.

Imagine a building, left for dead by its owner because no one will ever move into it again. Now imagine an entire city block made up of such buildings. Now imagine that instead of being mere houses, these are industrial complexes and 30-story high-rises. People will ask what the world will look like after civilization has all gone away; the answer, sadly, sits in near-ruin on the western shores of Lake St. Clair.

Meanwhile, some news and light reading for you:

  • The 35th Street Review has gone daily. Because you need need NEED blowhard sportswriting seven times a week.
  • A music site I’ve been writing for is (slowly) going live. They’re still working some things out, but you can check out some of my work for them here, here, here, here, and here .
  • A lingering question was finally answered.
  • And the good folks at 2nd Story have invited me to join their fall storytelling cycle. You’ll know about appearances as soon as I do.

The more observant of you have probably noticed some changes to the site’s appearance and layout. A few tweaks and ideas are still in progress, but hopefully the whole thing works better now; too much of the original design ended up as clutter, and as a result you now get what you see here. Which, if you think about it, is probably pretty symbolic of something; I’m just not sure what.

As always, thank you for reading.
AMR
Chicago, IL / August 30, 2008

Heat Vision

A local writer I know asked me why I don’t change my approach to this site. When asked to explain, she said rather than bombard readers (that’s you!) with every mundane story my name is attached to, why not simply harvest the best works and include links in these update posts/emails and use the site for everything else?

I thought for a second and replied that I didn’t know if I was the best person to make that decision, nor do I have some scale of what’s the “best” of what I do these days. She responded that if I wasn’t willing to make editorial choices even among my own work, maybe I should just pack it in and call it a day.

L., these two are for you:.

. . . At least a few of you made it out to see me at this month’s Reading Under the Influence; those that didn’t missed me shouting about a Thanksgiving spent abroad. This is a true story. [“Turkey Kolkata,” from Ghost Factory issue #2]

. . . Donovan Hall publishes an excellent magazine called The Angler, for which he has decided to publish a story of mine about dogs and barfly romance. This is a not a true story. Yet. [“Where Water Flows,” from The Angler issue F]

And you, reader, may be asking yourself “Is that all?” I assure you it’s not, but we are all busy people and you know where to find the rest should you need it. I promise to keep filling the space as well and as often as I can. Thank you as always for reading.

– AMR

Yard Work

The lot at the corner of Montrose and Broadway, more commonly known as Wilson Yard, is slated to become the future home of a Target, a full retail complex, and a whole lot of condos. Ten years and $52 million dollars worth of specially-allocated property taxes later, ground was set to break this past Sunday.

Following suit in the spirit of municipal improvement, you’ve probably noticed a few aesthetic changes to the site. The tweaked layout should work better in Internet Explorer, the “popular” list on the right is more selectively updated, the front page fits on one screen, and if you look closely you’ll see the header and lower right-hand images change each time you visit or refresh. Pretty neat.

Speaking of pictures, I finally got around to putting some up online, which you can view in tiny form here and larger, more glorious form here. I’ll be adding more as time permits; there are some good ones just dying to get out there.

Walking back from the Red Line this evening, I went past Wilson Yard and wouldn’t you know they haven’t started anything. Nothing. The same busted parking lot surrounded by the same cheap fencing, although tagged with some new graffiti. Perhaps that’s what they mean by the changing face of Uptown.

Elsewhere:

. . . I recently became one of the two new mayors of Archer Avenue

. . . the Sox were never worse than they were one rainy night this past May

. . . Megan Gibson is awesome

. . . Dream Theater is also awesome

Finally, for those of you planning to be in or near the Belmont/Sheffield area Wednesday July 2nd, I’ll be helping the launch of issue #2 of Ghost Factory by hitting the stage as part of the mighty Reading Under the Influence series. RUI is hosted monthly by the good folks at Sheffields, 3258 N. Sheffield Avenue, and festivities kick off at 7pm. I look forward to seeing some of you there, and thank you as always for reading.

– AMR

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