The Smell of Hot Literature in Chicago

It's whiskey.

It’s been over 90 degrees for a few days and I’ve been spending most of it lurking inside my air conditioned lair because I tend to do foolish things when it gets this hot. The weather recently led me to consume Jameson whiskey in the form of soft serve ice cream at a street fair, perhaps the best way of becoming a fat alcoholic I’ve ever encountered. I recommend it to everyone except the lactose intolerant or those in recovery. Oh, and children, though they’d probably love it.

Today I saw something neat on the Internet: A charming young man over at CBS wrote an article about Chicago’s various literary readings, a fine introduction to the events’ many personalities. It’s worth noting that not all attendees of RUI become belligerently drunk, however. Sometimes, they are drunk yet sanguine and affable. So there, “Mason Johnson.”

Speaking of Reading Under the Influence, I’ve discovered some pretty great reads there the last few times, most recently Then We Saw the Flames by Daniel A. Hoyt, who read the captivating story “Black Box” from that collection this month. Narrated by an Americanized terrorist who finds comfort confessing his last thoughts to the recording device of a hijacked aircraft that may have become stuck in a place outside of time, it was unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Then We Saw the Flames is a multifarious and incredibly well-executed collection. Also, it contains the line, “You are now required to re-gather your own waste products, punkass fool.” (This line is not representative of the work as a whole.) You won’t regret reading it.

Over at P. Fanatics, which sadly will no longer be hosted at the bohemian and colorful Moe’s Tavern, I picked up Lauryn Allison Lewis‘s chapbook The Beauties. These selected stories present the shimmering skeleton of a larger work. Its bones are simultaneously enchanting and disquieting. Lewis spins a multigenerational tapestry of magical births, unlikely loves, and startling moments of cruelty. I look forward to seeing more of her work in the future, and suggest you pick up the chapbook because my summary can’t possibly do it justice. Plus, it’s a handcrafted sparkly thing, and mine had a blue feather in it. If you get one, tell me what color the feather you got was, because I wonder if they’re all different.

The crowd at one of Chicago's many literary events.

I got my first round of edits for Birch Hills at World’s End this week and am happy to say everything is going well so far. Saturday, I will be attending Alehorn of Power Fest, featuring Orange Goblin’s stoner Brit-groove, Nactmystium’s cosmic black metal, and the bleak-as-their-band-name-implies dirges of legendary doomsters Buried at Sea. Also, a band called Zuul that I’ve never heard of but gets points for being named after the evil thing from Ghostbusters. Choose the Form of the Destructor, friends.  Oh, and I’ll be spinning as DJ Sludgehammer at Unchained until 3 afterwards, so make your requests now. See you around.

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2 Responses to The Smell of Hot Literature in Chicago

  1. Pingback: review! review! | Lauryn Allison Lewis

  2. Geoff, In answer to your question regarding the artwork for ‘The Beauties’ cover? Trust that they are all different in the way that each baby has a cry of it’s own. The experience protected by the cover is similar. Each reader will incorporate the characters as a part of their own fiber. What I have read has changed me, changed my views, my judgements and the way i will love in the future. I am glad I will never be the same after reading ‘The Beauties’ Chapbook. Only one question: Where is the novel?

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