Friday, September 28, 2007

Today In Donald Barthelme News

I want everyone to go out and get McSweeney's print issue #24. You can learn a lot about "blog" hero Donald Barthelme! I think it will encourage you to purchase or borrow some of his books. In McSweeney's #24, there are reflective pieces on Barthelme from George Saunders (actually, it's the same essay that we have mentioned at an earlier date), Grace Paley, the wonderful writer Padgett Powell, and many others. Plus there are two early, uncollected Barthelme stories that we can't bring ourselves to read yet because we want to save them! Meanwhile, you turn the issue over and there's a whole other issue attached (you know how they're always doing fancy things). It's chock full of fiction I haven't even dug into yet, though I noticed that the story by Jonathan Ames is about a guy (Jonathan Ames) pretending to be a detective. I was hoping to make such a conceit into my next novel, whenever I get around to fixing the one that is due on Monday! And you know how nervous I am about "used" ideas. But what the heck. My own McSweeney's print story, back in issue 20, was about a guy pretending to be a detective. I can't seem to write about anything else, so I'm not going to worry about it. McNeil has written a good short story on the same theme, called "The Hotel Sissy." It's out at a couple of places right now, awaiting acceptance. I'll let you know when someone snaps it up. I wonder if we've stumbled on a new genre! In his story, Ames's fictional surrogate talks about the fact that he doesn't know how detectives get their licenses, so he just pretends to be one. This is the very same reason (unwillingness to do even the smallest bit of research) that I enjoy writing about pretend detectives rather than real ones. I wish I could write a good, straight, funny, terrifying, accurate, tight, exciting, explosive, non-ironic, emotionally true crime novel like Laura Lippman! But I don't have the discipline. OR all the many other talents and qualities it takes aside from discipline. Speaking of McNeil, I really need to "write" today, but if McNeil comes through with a new episode of MGMIEET I will certainly "post" it. Otherwise, it's time to get to work and this is all you'll hear from me today! Okay!