on writing

BRAND NEW SPLIT BOOK / REVIEW COPIES FOR YOU. 

  

So, it hasn’t been too long since the release of my novel F 250 (a guy in a noise band gets in a three way relationship with two girls, June Doom and K Neon) which is now found as a paperback and on Kindle 

But I love adventurous/weird projects and Tables Without Chairs is definitely that … Part brain-melting art damaged drawings, part episode of Seinfeld if you were Robotrippin’, part pot shot laugh a second skewering of MFA culture, this book is a gloriously arranged mess of love. 

Today I have ARCs of the split book with Brian Alan Ellis (author of King Shit, 33 Fragments of Sick Sad Living, and Something Good, Something Bad, Something Dirty, among others) coming out from House of Vlad and today I want to send you an advanced release PDF. 

If you think you’d like to write up something about the book, send me a message for a digital ARC. Better yet, if you have a specific magazine or website in mind, message me at budsmithwrites.com and I will send you a paperback, along with a copy of my chapbook Dust Bunny City (32 pages: a day-drinking narrative poem cycle ranging from 75th street to 173rd street, with lots of surprises along the way.) 
About TABLES WITHOUT CHAIRS, the book: 

It owes less to norm core literature than it does to an acid trip one might do at a punk show at the local bowling alley. 

There’s wild monster drawings by Waylon Thornton
a novella called Spook House by Brian, along with a large chuck of anti-writing advice tweets that are the funniest things I’ve ever read. 
And then to finish off the book, I’ve got collection of short stories called CALM FACE about where I live in NYC and the whacked out stuff I see, experience, don’t sleep through. 

Here’s a story at JUKED from my section, called No Reason.

Please pass this post along to people you know in the lit scene who love free stuff and love to review books. Tweet it. Facebook it. Text it. Email it. If you do, drop me a line, let me know, I’ll send you something cool. 

Love, 

Bud

on writing · Uncategorized

Review of Where Alligators Sleep by Sheldon Compton

alligator Compton_Back

 

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Foxhead Books (August 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1940876087
  • ISBN-13: 978-1940876085
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 0.4 inches

 

On a couple downtown subway rides I read Where Alligators Sleep. I first got locked into the short story “Case Study” about a railway foreman who has a tamping iron go through his eye and out the top of his head. When the injured man sneezes at the doctor’s office, a teacup full of his brains hit the floor. The foreman survives his injuries and uses the tamping iron as a weapon, when killing a man with it while working for the circus. These are the kinds of things that Sheldon Lee Compton is fixated on, the dark circle of one’s life and the ramifications of cruel and random dread. The narrator in “Case Study” is a man who says, “It’s fear that makes us the most human. I’d trade a thousand peaceful nights for one second of fear.”

Where Alligators Sleep concentrates on hard lives. Hard lives written well. I’ve read a lot of flash fiction in the last few years and most of it hovers on the fridges of the bizarre, the other worldly, the near-supernatural. Where Alligators Sleep is different. Sheldon Lee Compton is mostly a realist, writing about reality and all of its ugly consequence.

Stories here strike a match in a dark room. Even when the narrator is a famous gunman/folk hero, as in “Billy the Kid After the Photo Shoot” where Billy explains, as only a gunman can, what true love is and why you’d kill a person for telling you to stop grinning, or, why you wouldn’t kill them. In “Textbook” a girl suffers through biology class, her mind on a bigger problem of her own, than a mouse about to get eaten by a boa constrictor.

Standout story, “The Shiniest Shoes In The Graveyard” is about a man attending his father’s funeral and recalling how proud his dad would be to know that the grave isn’t being dug by the family with their own shovels in hand, but by a man with a backhoe.
Another standout, “Random Things at the Bottom and the Beginning of My Cliche” is a trip through the Polaroid snapshots of a youth spent growing up in the south. The story eats cliches for lunch. It crushes nostalgia in its bloody jaws. It’s writing done with a wrecking ball.
Check this book out if you like your beauty to be laced with darkness. The evening news if the newscasters were fucked up poets. The humanity is deep in these pages and the read moves along like a downtown subway, through much underground darkness, that explodes up into the unexpected light of 125th street. A surprise.
novel · on writing

Review: King Shit by Brian Alan Ellis


king shit
King Shit
 by Brian Alan Ellis
House of Vlad (2014)
paperback, 60 pages

synopsis: A Chihuahua-toting Mexican dressed as Santa Claus. A cross-dressing bartender. A drunk, philosophizing “Classy” Fred Blassie look-alike. Two rockabilly-greaser junkies. A bow-legged burlesque dancer and her angry dwarf lover. A man in a smelly lavender suit who rides a mobile jukebox. A quarreling, beer-spitting couple. No, this isn’t The Breakfast Club. This is a not-so-glorious night in the life of Elvis McAllister: factory worker, storyteller, Graceland enthusiast, and overall hornball. Join him and his knife-wielding sidekick, Ralph, as they bar-crawl the “Sick-Sad” avenues and alleyways of questionable hopes and dashed dreams.

review: I grew up in flea markets. I grew up in a campground in New jersey. I grew up at the Seaside boardwalk, a slimy place, where everything was half tilted and bizarre. King Shit reminds me of where I come from. King Shit reminds me of the kind of art I used to be seek out when I was browsing through Captain Video, looking at VHS in cardboard sleeves. Brian Alan Ellis is writing works that are all these things: funny, doomed, water damaged, drunk, high, unfiltered. I like that. I identify with that. Maybe his characters are saying some things that shouldn’t be said out in public, and hooray for them. This a work of fiction written outside of a writer’s workshop, but instead, maybe written in the basement of a VFW hall, right before the hardcore bands show up. Right before the spiked punks in their leather jackets show up. Right before the night gets weird, violent, skewed. The other good thing about this book, is that it’s illustrated in a way that is reminiscent of one of my favorite books, Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions”. The drawings in both books are perfect and they give absolutely zero fucks whatsoever. King Shit, is a bar crawl adventure, written as novella. Can be read on the toilet, but your ass will be numb by the time you’re finished. Can be read at the DMV waiting to get called, but you’ll probably start flipping chairs and screaming when the book is done and they still haven’t called you. Can be read at a bar. But that’s kind of silly, bars are for other things. I recommend reading this one in jail or at work, can’t go wrong there. When a book takes itself this un-seriously, I can’t stop doing the happy happy dance

on writing

“POW WOW” Published at Black Listed Magazine

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Yesterday was a pretty good day. Packed up a lot of the TOO MUCH anthology, to be mailed to all contributors. Crazy. You should see the pile of books. Some are going all the way to the UK and Ireland. Always nice to see the word getting out far an wide about Unknown Press titles.

In the afternoon, I sent out acceptances and rejections for Uno Kudo Volume 4, a lit meets art mag that i edit with Aaron Dietz and Erin McParland. So excited to see the new volume of stories and poems go to print once all the art selections are finalized.

Also, saw that Black Listed Magazine ran my poem Pow Wow yesterday. You can see it http://black-listedmagazine.blogspot.com/2014/08/pow-wow-by-bud-smith.html?m=1

Thanks to Mike Meraz for running the poem.

Anyways, I’m back at work today and of it’s anything like it was Friday, I’ll be here at the oil refinery until midnight.

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on writing

At The Palms

 

we came back from the beach, carrying the empty bottle of tequila, the unused sun tan lotion, the wet towels, the radio.
there was a wedding about to start on the outdoor patio of our hotel. the stairs to our room were blocked by a man in a dark suit and dark sunglasses.

he’d have moved, of course, but I didn’t feel like asking, and he didn’t offer.
that’s how life works sometimes.

so, not thinking clearly, we stepped into the pool, instead. and swam. and swam. and swam.
and on the patio, people seated in white slat chairs at the wedding, waited, waited for the bride, waited for cake, waited for someone to kick us out of the pool, but no one did. they all watched us swim, though, as if we were the opening act.
the sun fell too. that was the other nice part.

two security guards stood on the lip of the pool, arms crossed, watching us swim.
“come in,” i said, “water’s perfect.”
not even a smile.

candles flickered. palm trees swayed. a golden moon rose over the hotel.

that’s when the Wagner began, a small girl with an orange cello. and the bride proceeded past the pool, to the waiting crowd. and a hush was spread across the peninsula

my wife and I bobbed in the deep end. humming along.

then we noticed the groom, with his white lily pinned to his tan tuxedo. he looked bullet proof. and the bride made it all the way across the flickering patio, and the Wagner stopped.

the priest began to talk, as priests are known to do, but we could not hear the priest.
so we swam again. slow laps. slow doggie paddle.

it didn’t take long. the ceremony ended. a big kiss.
we clapped too.

“sooner or later, the whole wedding will wind up in this pool,” my wife said.

“they’d be crazy not too.”

“they’ll jump right in, in their suits and everything.”

“and the bride in her gown.”

“and the security guards’

“all of them.”

“it’d be horrible luck not to do that.”

“exactly.”

the DJ put party music on. my wife and I started to dance in the pool. the air cooled off outside and the water felt warmer. and warmer and warmer. but no one came in the pool with us. imagine that.
we danced all night in the pool, the wedding happening on the patio. us in the water, never getting out. and then the wedding ending. and the music ending. and the moon past the center of the horizon and going back down into the sea. and us still swimming and dancing and laughing.

me pissing, and her pissing, I’m sure.

happiest, of anyone in florida.

on writing

Some Good Advice I Saw

Hey there, wanted to share a great article I read today from James Duncan. This one is some info he figured out by attending a writer’s conference in NYC last week.

Click here

I know I got some good ideas in this one. Especially since I’m in the midst of working through a final draft of my next novel (expected in Nov.) with my editors at Piscataway.

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on writing

TOO MUCH ANTHOLOGY RELEASED FROM UNKNOWN PRESS

The TOO MUCH anthology, a collection of stories, poems, essays about that one time that excess reached a pinnacle.

I’m very proud of this anthology. Chuck Howe stepped up and did a wonderful job editing the collection for Unknown Press. The quality of submissions that came in were overwhelmingly good. It’s a damn pleasure putting together a book when the pieces included are this fun, original, bizarre, touching …

The book is available on Amazon now. 20140805-091731-33451483.jpg

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There is a reading for the anthology in NYC at Jimmy 43s on the lower east side. 6pm-9pm. Contributors will read, afterwards there will be a bar crawl. Here’s a link to the event if you’re on Facebook.

If you have any questions about the reading or the anthology please contact me at budsmithwrites@gmail.com

Also on the way from Unknown Press, Mik Everette’s memoir “Self Published Kindling: memoirs of a homeless book store owner”

Excited to share this book. It’s a fantastic piece of writing. Look for it in the coming months.

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on writing

The Wreck I was In

A month ago, I was in a pretty severe car crash right in front of a toll plaza. The crash eerily echoed the opening pages of my last novel Tollbooth. (You can read the first chapter here)

Here’s what happened in my real life wreck on the highway: I left work early in order to make it to a midday doctor’s appointment in NYC. I was headed highway north from New Jersey on I-95, approaching the toll plaza at Seacaucus. On the top of the toll booths there is a large sign that says: GEORGE WASHINGTON BRISGE KEEP LEFT, LINCOLN TUNNEL KEEP RIGHT.

After the tollbooth, the turnpike continues north with more exits into New Jersey, but an elderly woman in a silver car, who was lost and going the wrong direction saw the signs above the toll plaza and figured she’d be pushed into New York City with no hope of escape.

At 35 mph+, she decided her only option was to do a U-turn in front of the toll plaza. There were cones on the far left side dividing the north and south lanes coming and going from the toll plaza.

I was in the third lane over. A tractor trailer on my right side slammed on the brake and horn, began to fish tail. The woman in the silver car narrowly escaped being struck by the tractor trailer. When she was in my lane, she was completely perpendicular to me, crossing my lane like the turn pike was an intersection. I hit the brakes and veered to the right and collided unavoidably into the rear of her car. We spun out. Plastic exploding. Metal twisting.

She rolled into the cones and came to a stop. I was stuck in the middle of the turnpike cars whizzing by. The trucker was too. “WHAT THE FUCK WAS SHE THINKING?”
“I don’t know,” I said.
“I’ve got to wait for my air brakes to recharge. I’m stuck here.”
“Well so am I,” I said. My car was fucked. Front end crushed in. Car blood everywhere. Leaking. Sputtering. Smoking.
I called the cops. The truck driver wouldn’t stay. I tried to get him to, to be a witness for the cops but he wouldn’t. He write his name on a card. CZAR it said and I couldn’t make out the last name. Or the phone number. The tractor trailer sailed off trough the toll plaza. My witness, gone.
I walked to my car, tried to drive it but it wouldn’t move. But I had to move soon. Another car almost careened into me zipping towards the toll booth. I got out of the car and grabbed onto my fender that was crushed flat onto my driver’s side tire. I bent it up. Thank god it was aluminum. My hand tore up, blood on the steering wheel as I drove.
I parked by the cones too. And began my long walk to the silver car.

The elderly woman was getting out.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m so sorry!” she said.
“Fuck it, it’s only a car. But you’re alright? You’re not hurt?”
“No. I’m okay.”
“Air bags go off?”
“Just a little.”
“Cops are on the way, you need an ambulance or anything.”
“No no. I’m okay. I’m so sorry! I needed to go south not north. I don’t know why I did that!”
We exchanged information. She said she had a daughter about my age. The woman was shaking. I asked her if she’d like to sit in my car and listen to the radio till the cops came.
“Sure.”
There was nothing good on. But we listened anyway.
When the cops came, the woman told them it was her fault 100%. Explained the panicked u-turn. The cop took her license and cut it in half. I said, “did you really have to do that? She apologized to me. Jesus.”
He bitched at me because my car was overdue for inspection. Then he told me he was going to call a tow truck for me.
“That’s four hundred dollars,” I said.
“Yup. Four hundred.”
“I’m driving off the highway.”
“No you’re not.”
“Put your lights on and drive behind me, so nobody gets banged up.”
I got in my car. To his dismay. And crossed four lanes of traffic. My car hissing and screaming and shaking.
Immediately off the turnpike, I parked in a hard ware store parking lot and called my insurance company. They had a body shop just a mile down the road.

The car is fixed now. I’ve got it back. Been driving it around for a few weeks. I’m fine. Sometimes when I drive through that toll booth though, I get a little worried.

on writing · Uncategorized

Writing On My Iphone At The Oil Refinery

I’m at work, in the back of a pickup truck, writing to you on a Wednesday morning. I’m in an oil refinery, wearing a fireproof suit, a hard hat, work boots. This is a usual week day morning. I’m on motherfucking coffee break.

Have been doing this for a living for about ten years. I drive out of New York City in my car that I park on the street and commute over the GWB into NJ, drive about half an hour south on the turnpike.

I do a lot of my writing–short stories, poems, chapters of novels in progress–on my iphone here. I write on it almost every day, the thing sideways. At night, I edit what I write a little bit. Sometimes it amazes me that we have mini computers now that we carry around in our pockets and can write on. Gone are the days, for me, of handwriting something down and retyping it later.

Mostly, I do the bulk of my creative writing here at work, on coffee break, on lunch break, at the end of the day while I wait for the parking lot to thin out so I don’t have to sit in traffic exiting the plant.

How do you do the majority of your writing? When do you do it?

on writing

New poems pubbed at Jmww and Mojave River Review

Ah fuck. I’ve been horrible at updating this site. But here’s a couple new poems at sites I dig: one at Jmww in Meg Tuite’s Exquisite Duet series were one line is given to two poets and each poet does their own unique take on the line, creating their own work from it. I was teamed up with Indigo Moore. Fun times. Here’s the poem, Hello Weekend Warrior

Also, Mojave River Review was cool enough to run my poem College Try There’s a lot of great poets and writers in that issue, I’m happy to be among them. Shout outs to Kevin Ridgeway especially. He always wires some great stuff, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, I recommend his book All The Rage out from Electric Windmill Press.

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