The End of Good Luck

Hello hello,

I just wrapped up a year long (plus some) project called Good Luck, which is an experimental novel that was serialized, as it was written, at The Nervous Breakdown.

The project is about memory/the self, art, labor, and love.

The project was initially spurred by the death of my dear friend Chuck Howe, upset by the absurd news of his passing (he died of heart failure while laughing on the telephone, telling his girlfriend that someone with terrible grammar was attempting to scam him on Facebook messenger, impersonating the dean of Harvard), I began to interrogate my family, and those around me, to see what they thought was important in life. The conclusion … most of it was pretty blurry, but what they found most rewarding was the time they’d spent with their friends and significant others, of course.

Good Luck is an investigation into my own life and beliefs and the zig zag nature of creativity, recollection, what I call home. Speaking of home, I live in an apartment with twenty doors for six rooms. I believe the project reflects that. Come in one door, leave the room from another, stand in another room and get back into that initial room from a separate door altogether.

Much thanks to Joseph Grantham who was the editor of the project. We worked together for sixty consecutive weeks on Good Luck. He is the most adventurous editor I know. Thanks also to the many artists who shared their art as the image for the weekly posts … A majority of that art came from Rae Buleri, but I returned again and again to the artwork of Kristen Felicetti and Ileen Kaplan, as a source of inspiration. During the run of the project I also read and studied Don Quixote, and felt again, how completely free a novel can be, given room to explore itself.

Thank you if you have read any of Good Luck as it posted in 2018, 2019, or 2020. Below are the collected links to this version of the project, as its serialization on the internet ends today.

Much respect,
Bud Smith

Butterfly – Episode Negative One
Popsicle – Episode One
Turkey Baby – Episode Two
Elegy – Episode Three
First Memory – Episode Four
Cults – Episode Five
Playboys – Episode Six
Oblique Strategies – Episode Seven
Blue Skies – Episode Eight
Dreams – Episode Nine
Melissa – Episode Ten
Bullfrog – Episode Eleven
Grasshopper – Episode Twelve
Art – Episode Thirteen
Little Guy – Episode Fourteen
Suicide in Bed – Episode Fifteen
Salad – Episode Sixteen
Block – Episode Seventeen
Rewrite – Episode Eighteen
Eggshells – Episode Nineteen
Birds – Episode Twenty
(and Durak) – Episode Twenty-One
Fish Hook – Episode Twenty-Two
Alcoholics – Episode Twenty-Three [Hobart]
Jane – Episode Twenty-Four
Trees – Episode Twenty-Five
William and Me – Episode Twenty-Six
After Death Valley – Episode Twenty-Seven
Beach Boys – Episode Twenty-Eight
Claudius Jr. – Episode Twenty-Nine
Mystery – Episode Thirty
A Cloud – Episode Thirty-One
Two Cats – Episode Thirty-Two
Salt and Pepper – Episode Thirty-Three
Friends – Episode Thirty-Four
Dear Thunderclap – Episode Thirty-Five
How to Write a Story – Episode Thirty-Six
Survival – Episode Thirty-Seven
Q & A – Episode Thirty-Eight
QQ & AA – Episode Thirty-Nine
Memory House – Episode Forty
Call For Submissions – Episode Forty-One
Cul-de-sac – Episode Forty-Two
Good Luck – Episode Forty-Three
Death – Episode Forty-Four
Blank – Episode Forty-Five
The Editor – Episode Forty-Six
Self – Episode Forty-Seven
Control – Episode Forty-Eight
Sorry Party – Episode Forty-Nine
Red Sky – Episode Fifty
Eviction – Episode Fifty-One
Rewilding – Episode Fifty-Two
Quiz – Episode Fifty-Three
Trying – Episode Fifty-Four
Directions – Episode Fifty-Five
Bleeding & Laughing – Episode Fifty-Six
Arrows – Episode Fifty-Seven
Budwulf – Episode Fifty-Eight
Last Memories – Episode Fifty-Nine
Demolition – Episode Sixty

Good Luck 1-5

Hello,
I’ve been writing a column about my life and the people I love. It’s called Good Luck. An essay a week. I’ll try and post them in a monthly catch-all here. But if you want them just emailed to you direct, I started a newsletter. Subscribe to it and the updates will make their way to you there. Thank you for reading. I sure do appreciate it.

Here are the first five essays.

Double Bird

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 budsmithwrites@gmail.com

… 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
Love,
Bud image1-3

Countryside

Been writing a lot lately. Most of it is chronicles of everyday stuff, and not things I want to send to magazines or to jail or to heaven or to the bottom of the sea, so I’ve been putting it at here. I’ll post more and more at that same spot, so subscribe to it if you want the beef. Thank you and goodnight. Signed, Bud

Double Bird Out Now

Double Bird Cover

Hello, this year Easter is on April Fool’s Day. Sweet. Two for one deal. Here are some things that are going on. 

1. Double Bird, my new collection of short stories, is out from Maudlin House. It can be purchased in paperback, direct from the publisher here.

 These short stories are odd little ducks … A man finds a seashell and it tells him to do things, some bad, some good … An adjunct professor decides he doesn’t want to teach at the community college anymore, he begins a journey into the underworld, his dog at his side … A giant eagle egg is found lying on the lawn, it shakes and continues to grow larger, and larger … Let’s out go on a date with someone who has little tiny tigers in their blood … Let’s make love to a severed head … A man is crushed with a car and asks a personal favor of the driver, he wants to run some errands around town before he dies—cash this check at the bank, pick up stamps at the post office, go with you on your job interview … Double Bird. Vivd. Odd. Hurtful. Unloved. Wet with dew. Out of its mind with joy. 232 pages. 30+ stories. $16. The snake and the severed head was illustrated by the amazing Tyler Gross, btw. 

2. Speaking of stories, I have two new stories that were just published online. Both are in Double Bird. The first one is called, ‘rek-rek-kek-kek-kek’ and it was published by Fanzine, thanks for Blake Butler. The other story is called ‘Shwimps’ and it was published by Faded Out. 

3. I am still doing that TinyLetter. You should subscribe to it. It could save your life. 

A Year of My Life at Barrelhouse

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 5.22.55 PM

It’s been a year so far that I’ve been reviewing my life at Barrelhouse. Earlier today a piece went up where I gave starred ratings to different ages of my life. Some ages covered are -1, 0, 28, 35, 6, 7, 8, 20, among others. You can read the piece here

If you like that, like I said, I’ve been reviewing my life at that website for a year now, so there are a bunch of those posts. They are all here

I will continue to live my life and review the future as it becomes the present at Barrelhouse, because I like that Led Zeppelin song where Robert Plant shrieks ‘we can still barrelhouse baby on the river-side.’

Also, this year in 2018, I will also be writing essays about other things I have survived for Hobart in a series called Forever Ago. Jan-Dec, on the last day of the month, look for a very serious, and very introspective new essay from yours truly, Bug Smurf, on Hobart dot com, enter into your search bar h-t-t-p-:-h-o-b-a-r-t-p-u-l-p-dot-c-o-m and then hit enter, and just enjoy the party. I’ve given up drinking and now I just lift weights overnight and watch that Ken Burns documentary about the wild wild west. 

Tyrant Books Publishing My Next Novel

tyrant

Tyrant Books will be publishing my next novel, Teenager. Pub date is estimated at the very end of 2018/first days of 2019. Beyond excited to have my book come out on Tyrant Books. They’ve published some of the greatest works of contemporary literature – The Sarah Book by Scott McClanahan; Preparations for the Next Life by Atticus Lish; Literally Show Me a Healthy Person by Darcie Wilder … the list goes on and on. Excited to work with Giancarlo DiTrapano. Look for Teenager on the horizon.