Join central Ohio author Andrew Miller for the official launch of his debut book, “If Only The Names Were Changed.” Miller turns his focus inward through poetic prose and dramatic digressions, dissecting his life using both surgical scalpel and sledgehammer, making deep cuts through layers of memories and misperceptions in search of some meaning behind a senseless loop of abuse and self-harm.
The event will be held at Stauf’s – German Village (627 S. Third St.) with several amazing (and funny) Columbus authors. Good words, books for sale, and some interesting conversation. Hope to see you there!
ANDREW MILLER is a freelance journalist and writer from Columbus, OH who has had work in Ohio Edit, Two Dollar Radio, The Seldom Review, Electric Literature, and Fruita Pulp. His first full-length book of essays, If Only the Names Were Changed, is now available through Civil Coping Mechanisms (2016). He has also published a chapbook, “You Must Know This” Digitalocracy Analogs (2016) and is in contract for a book documenting the struggles of veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury due out late 2016.”
The Storialist is HANNAH STEPHENSON, a poet, writer, editor, and instructor living in Columbus, Ohio She is the author of In the Kettle, the Shriek (Gold Wake Press), editor of The Ides of March: An Anthology of Ohio Poets (Columbus Creative Cooperative), and a poetry and arts blogger for The Huffington Post; her writing has appeared in publications that include The Atlantic, Hobart, 32 Poems, Sixth Finch, Poetry Daily, and The Nervous Breakdown. She is the founder of Paging Columbus!, a literary arts monthly event series.”
SOMMER MARIE STERUDis a writer, poet, instructor, and stand up comic living in Columbus, Ohio. She’s currently pursuing her Ph.D. from Kent University in Rhetoric and Composition while working as an associate professor at one of her alma maters, Capital University. Sommer spends her free time writing comedy with Johnny DiLoretto who she co-hosts a late night talk show with once a month at the Shadowbox Theater. She received her MFA in creative writing and poetry from OSU.
SCOTT NAVICKYis the author of Humboldt: Or, The Power of Positive Thinking (Chicago Center for Literature and Photography, 2014). His second novel is in contract and should be available December 2016. He attended Denison University and the University of Auckland, where he was awarded an Honors Master’s Degree in art history with a focus on photography theory. His work has appeared in Chicago Literati, HYPERtext Magazine, (614) Magazine, Fiction Writers Review, Necessary Fiction, ZO Magazine, Chaos + Words, and Loveliest Magazine. He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Nancy Kangas lives in Columbus and is happy to field questions about the city. She writes and draws for Muse magazine, and often teaches poetry in residencies sponsored by the Ohio Arts Council. In addition to being a writer, she is also a flower grower, florist, and public librarian. She also has a background in Improv. For over a decade she edited Nancy’s Magazine, which tried to push the boundaries of what a variety magazine could and should do. She is a runner who prefers long distances because while running, she is able to figure out answers to creative, social and household problems.
For more information about events on offer from The Book Loft, check out http://bookloft.com/ or stop by their German Village location.
What happened to Humboldt and Marty upon arriving in New York City
I wonder which of these low economic housing developments is Connecticut? Humboldt thought as he stared wildeyed out his window during their descent into Idlewild Airport. He was amazed at how far the city’s concretesprawl spread. Huge concrete crops stretched for miles. From his vantage point, all Humboldt could see of these crops were their ugly square tops. And what was strewn all over these rooftops? Humboldt peered intently out his window.
Humboldt couldn’t believe his eyes! Who was raising chickens in such an unforgiving setting? What were they fed: concretefeed? And where did they graze: in the gutter?
As the passing rooftops drew steadily closer, Humboldt realized his mistake. These were not chickencoops; they were pigeoncoops! Over and over again, he saw pigeoncoops covered in the graffiti of pigeonpoop.
Humboldt was in awe of the city’s BIGness. No, its vastness. No, its peopleness. The city was a big, vast peoplefarm. Nooo, its pigeonness! The city was a big, vast pigeonfarm! New York City: the peoplepigeoncity. As Humboldt watched, the city transformed itself into a gigantic, concrete birdcage full of peoplepigeons. These strange creatures spent their days foraging for food and desirable reproductive qualities, while continually defecating on each other. At night, these peoplepigeons were kept in tiny cages that were geometrically stacked on top of each other. Once a day, these cages would open, causing a swarm of activity. Having been exquisitely trained, millions of peoplepigeons would fly in precise circles for hours. At first, this constant circlingcirclingcircling appeared meaningless, but upon closer inspection, it became obvious that the meaninglessness of the circlingcircling was the meaning. Once all the daily circlingcirclingcircling was complete, the exhausted peoplepigeons would return to their cages for their evening rest. And the next day, the routine would be exactly the same: more cages, more meaningless circlingcirclingcircling, and finally: rest unto rest.
Once their circling was complete and their private jet had achieved a stationary position on their private runway, Marty turned to Humboldt.
– Do we have a plan for travelling to Connecticut?
– Yes, Humboldt replied confidently. We’ll just ask the first friendlylooking person we meet how to get to Connecticut.
– And what if we never meet a friendlylooking person in this city? Marty asked skeptically.
To read the rest of the excerpt, click HERE
The Iraq War? The housing market collapse? College football’s concussion crisis? How can anyone be expected to understand such complexities, especially a “horticulturally dyslexic” farmboy with an eighth-grade education and a penchant for perpetually misunderstanding, misreading, and misinterpreting the world? Born on a farm in Ohio, Humboldt is content to spend his life “outside amongst the oxygen and unhurried hydrocarbons.” But when his father’s farm is threatened with foreclosure, Humboldt is forced to save it by enrolling in college, leading him on an epic absurdist adventure through Washington politics, New York performance art, Boston blue-bloods, post-Katrina New Orleans, multiple murders, and holy resurrections. Mixing the speed and structure of Voltaire’s Candide with a heavy dose of Joycean wordplay, and a love of literary acrobatics worthy of David Foster Wallace, Scott Navicky’s debut novel assails some of modern America’s most cherished beliefs and institutions with the battle cry: “Ticklez l’infame!”
“Navicky’s writing style and the way he tinkers with the English language is playful and terribly clever. Combined with Humboldt’s wild, crazy adventure, this makes for a fun, off-the-wall read that challenges the intellect, amuses, yet never panders to the reader’s comfort zone….I was reminded of Candide, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the naivete of Don Quixote, and maybe even a bit of Monty Python.” —A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
“Coming in at over four hundred pages and moving along at breakneck pace, every chapter reads like an episode in a great screwball comedy from the days of yore. One-half Forrest Gump and one-half Zeppo Marx, the titular hero is unlike any you’ve read before or are likely to read again, and that’s fantastic….[T]ruly a treat to read and a unique experience you won’t ever forget….[A] spectacular debut novel.” —Chicago Literati
“Have you ever read a book that left you completely bewildered, but kind of happy about it?….If A Confederacy of Dunces and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas had a moderately dimwitted but incredibly lucky love child, that might come close to Humboldt: Or, The Power of Positive Thinking.” —Words for Worms
“[P]robably one of the most unique stories I’ve ever read…Forrest Gump meets The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And I adored how the author lashed out at postmodern bestselling authors…. [W]e should just have had a lot more pages. Like 1,000 pages.” —The Bookworm’s Closet
Although it’s been years since I left Aotearoa New Zealand, I still retain a confusing residue of kiwispeak: sweet as, chocka, sparrow’s faaart… y’know, the usual stuff. So when a mate recently asked me if judging ZO Magazine’s 2015 Art Exposé was easy, without thinking I answered: “Yeah nah.” (I never quite understood this kiwi conversational oddity; just because it’s called a “Yes/No Question” doesn’t mean you have to answer with each.)
All of the artwork submitted to the Art Exposé was uniformly strong, and this made my job easy: Il Giocoliere (Juggling) is an instantaneously striking image that possesses subtle undertones of Italian Futurism, a movement of limited importance to the history of art, but fascinating significance to the history of photography; Summer Chaos rewards extended viewing, drawing viewers into a swirling vortex of whimsical figurative recognition mixed with dizzying all-over compositional abstraction; the fictive elements of Lost resemble a movie poster designed to entice and intrigue, while Canvas 79 was yet another reminder that deftly handled abstraction is always enticing and intriguing; and finally, The Convergence of Dust reminds me of Vik Muniz’s work (for example, his unforgettable 2000 exhibition ‘Pictures of Dust’ at the Whitney Museum of American Art in which he recreated photographs of Minimalist and Postminimalist sculptures using dust gathered from the museum’s galleries and offices), while Adam and Eve reminds me of Lewis Carroll’s early illustrations as exhibited in ‘Alice: 150 Years of Wonderland’ currently on-view at the Morgan Library & Museum.
The difficult aspect of judging the Art Exposé was wrestling with the cognitive dissonance generated from marrying the contest’s theme (convergence) with the concept of Imagereality. Normally when judging works of art, the knowledge of particulars–media, size, etc – is essential, but with Imagereality, images are their own total reality. Because of this, Imagereality reverses the usual convergence between viewer and work viewed. Think of sculpture, a medium neglected within the contest: to experience a sculpture, a viewer must enter the sculpture’s locality; in other words, you must go to IT. With Imagereality, IT comes to you. For example, in years past, traveling to Montreal would have been essential to view Alan Avorgbedor’s photography exhibition Intimacy of the Immediate and to read Charissa Von Harringa’s accompanying essay, in which she describes Avorgbedor’s work as “visual archaeologies that capture order and hierarchy in radically subjective space.” But here now: Intimacy of the Immediate.
“Odd,” Roland Barthes mused in Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, “that no one has thought of the disturbance (to civilization) which this new action [photography] causes.” Imagereality is a disturbance to convergence; daily avalanches of images have become our reality. Reality, of course, is a drinkwater word. And thus, any offshoot of reality, such as Imagereality, is a tricky concept. A good starting point for wrestling with particulars of Imagereality is Susan Sontag’s observation in On Photography that “the photographer’s insistence that everything is real also implies that the real is not enough.”
For the rest of the essay, click HERE
I’m standing on the corner of Jackson and St. Charles, waiting for a streetcar that’s running obnoxiously behind schedule. To pass the time, I allow my mind to float away. Like an unencumbered magpie, it lifts gently over the midair maze of streetcar cables, the bedazzling beadcovered branches, and the antebellum architecture. After a moment of aimless breezegliding, it settles in the branches of the reoccurring dream that I experienced again last night.
In this dream, my novel has been published and I’m reading at a bookstore, someplace classy like Garden District Book Shop or Longfellow Books in Portland, Maine. My dreamreading is going great; I mean, spectacular. My voice sounds strong and confident, and there’s not a hint of its normal nasally, kinda girlie quality. I’ve chosen a passage to read in which I don’t mispronounce every third word. (Lagniappes? How on earth would I ever know how to pronounce THAT?) I’ve also successfully managed to avoid the “sad flirting” that was so brutally depicted in a recent New Yorker cartoon. (December 9, Page 57: it’s worth looking up.) And most importantly, I haven’t shed a single tear. (Seriously, why am I so weepy in public?) In my dreamconsciousness, I’m looking forward to ending the event with a puff, vaporizing like a cloud of smoke, and rematerializing at a nearby bar that serves affordable absinthe or Irish coffee.
But outside the bookstore, Marina Abramović and Paul Auster are plotting my murder. Abramović is wielding the same gigantic bow and arrow that she used in her 1980 performance Rest Energy; while Auster is carrying the same revolver that Blue and Black wrestle over in Ghosts. As they argue over who gets to inflect the first deathwound, a mysterious third murderer appears. (Yes, I’m aware that this scene is “magpied” from Macbeth; and yes, I find it worrisome that even my dreams are peppered with “scissor and paste” bits.) In last night’s dream, this third murderer was Peter Sellars; other dreamtimes it’s Peter Gelb, Julie Taymor, or even my old boss from New York City.
(As a novelist, I sketch from life. My novel is overstuffed with references to real people, places, and events, including Abramović’s 2010 mid-career retrospective at MoMA and Auster’s outrageous author photographs.)
Oblivious to the murderous plotting that’s taking place nearby, I conclude the Q & A session and ease into my seat at the booksigning table. After quickly realigning my spine and taking a deep breathe, I begin fielding the normal inquires.
For the rest of the article, click HERE.
Visual art plays an important role in Humboldt: Or, The Power of Positive Thinking. The novel references many real works of art, such as Robert Indiana’s sculpture LOVE, Red Blue, Robert Frank’s 1955 photograph Trolley, Cyrus Edwin Dallin’s sculpture Appeal to the Great Spirit, and Raphael’s School of Athens. And numerous scenes from the novel take place in real art institutions, such as the Rothko Chapel, the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Tino Sehgal’s exhibition This Progress at the Guggenheim, and Marina Abramović’s exhibition The Artist is Present at the Museum of Modern Art. These last two exhibitions are particularly important as they reinforce one of the novel’s primary themes: love is performance art.
To give an example of how art is used in the novel, I’ve recorded a Soundcloud file. Here are the two paintings mentioned in the audio file, both of which are installed in the new American Wing of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts:
Washington at Dorchester Heights by Gilbert Stuart
Paul Revere by John Singleton Copley
As for other annotations that appear within this particular passage, the annotation about George Washington losing Revolutionary War battles reads:
If George Washington had been a NBA head coach instead of a war general, he would have been fired early in the Continental Army’s campaign due to his extremely poor won/loss record.
And the one about Washington not getting Thomas Paine out of prison reads:
During the French Revolution, notorious international hell-raiser Thomas Paine was a member of both the French National Convention and the Committee of Nine. When the Jacobins seized power, Paine and his fellow Girondins were arrested. Paine himself was imprisoned from late December 1793 to November 1794. While stewing in the slammer, Paine blamed his former friend George Washington for the delay in gaining his freedom. His anger boiled over in a letter to Washington, in which he hissed: “treacherous in private friendship, and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled to decide, whether you are an apostate or an imposter, whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had any?” When this letter was published in America, it ruined Paine’s reputation. History has shown that the real culprit for Paine’s dilemma was not Washington, but rather Gouverneur Morris, who had a long history of political animosity with Paine. At the time of Paine’s incarceration, Morris was America’s envoy to France.
As for the joke about George Washington courting old wealthy widows, I ain’t saying he was a Gold Digger, but he wasn’t messin’ with no broke widows!
Phillips Exeter Academy is an elite boarding school in New Hampshire.
In The Book of Basketball, Bill Simmons ranks the 1986 Boston Celtics as the greatest team in NBA history.