First off, I wanted to shout that I am mailing out signed paperback copies of Double Bird for $15. Just venmo @Bud_Smith and I’ll send a signed one anywhere in America while I have them. If you don’t have venmo, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
… A month ago my short story collection Double Bird came out from Maudlin House. Double Bird has what I think is my best fiction to date. Basically it’s literary fiction that stumbles and falls into the Twilight Zone, and then freaks out and jumps out a window and falls to its death in a Denis Johnson story, only to be brought back to life in a Richard Brautigan day dream. The first story in Double Bird is called Tiger Blood. It was originally published at Hobart. The other 39 stories are kind of like that one, sometimes there’s just more sex and or blood. Other times no sex and or blood. Here’s another story from it, Wolves. It was selected for Best Small Fictions 2018 by Aimee Bender. So that’s nice, I can’t wait to tell my mom.
When Double Bird came out, I got in a car with Michael Bible, Devin Kelly, and Ashleigh Bryant Phillips and drove to Pittsburgh, and then Charleston, West Virginia, and then Asheville, NC to do reading in support for the book. The best of those readings was recorded live at The Talking Book house. I am excited for you to be able to hear that because it was probably the best literary reading I have ever been to. Michael Bible read from his new not-yet-released novel. And Ashleigh Bryant Phillips read a short story that blew my mind. She said she is sending it to the Paris Review. If they don’t publish it, they will lose all credibility. You should follow along with her work. She’s on Twitter here. Somebody brought a rum punch to the house. For a little while I played guitar and Bible played drums in the basement. Bible was supposed to be promoting his new novel Empire of Light, but like I said, he read that new thing. Devin Kelly went for a very long run. You should follow Devin on twitter too. It was so fun, me and Bible decided to read together again in Oxford, Mississippi at Square Books. But yeah, Talking Book will have that reading up on their site soon they say.
While I was down on this Appalachian trip, hooked up by Howard Parsons who runs Black Bear Reading Series/ and is part of The Traveling Appalachian Review, I brought copies with me and read from Double Bird and sold all the ones and that money paid for gas and food at various Waffle Houses. It felt good to go and do these readings and meet people in a part of the country I don’t get to visit often enough. People take for granted how many literary events there are, daily/nightly in NYC, when I was doing these shows in PA, WV, and NC, I was reminded of punk rock and hardcore shows from my VFW hall youth. Not to mention, the road from Pittsburgh to Asheville is some of the most inanely beautiful anywhere in America. Blue skies and rolling green hills as far as the eye can see.
A lot of the times I just sit here on my lazy ass in my Jersey City apartment and write weird stories for people to read on the internet. When I got back on an $88 airplane with Devin Kelly and came back to New York, I did a reading on a rooftop in Brooklyn with Sam Pink, Megan Boyle, Steve Anwyll, and it was another blast. Those are three of the most amazing people working and writing today. I don’t know. I just want to keep doing readings and keep writing books and keep meeting people. I don’t just want to keep sitting at this desk and making up make-believe. I want to go places and see you there.
Thank you for reading this. Means the world