Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Story in Fall Issue of Dark Sky Magazine

According to HTMLGIANT, if you'd like to read about a family crawling naked from the sea clutching plastic suitcases, then my story "A Family Among Us" is for you. It is featured in the fall issue of Dark Sky Magazine.

Big thanks to Dark Sky Magazine editors Kevin M. Murphy, Brian Allen Carr, Christy Crutchfield, and Gabe Durham for publishing this piece.

You can read "A Family Among Us" here. And please check out more new fiction in this issue from Katie Jean Shinkle, Corey Eastwood, Jason Larson, Katherine V. Seger, and Joseph Musso. Issue 14 also has a great selection of poetry, art, reviews, and all around cool recommendations from the Dark Sky staff. Check it out!

"A Family Among Us" is part of a new collection I am writing. "Up and Away" is also part of this collection, and was published in September by PANK. You can read "Up and Away" here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

An Interview with PANK

My story "Up and Away" was featured in the September issue of PANK Magazine, and now I've got an author interview up at their blog.

If you want to know what I think about wandering, unsteadiness and embarrassing home videos, look no further. You can read my interview here. And you can read "Up and Away" here. Thanks to J. Bradley for the thoughtful questions!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Reading Tomorrow in Santa Ana

As part of the UCI MFA Reading Series, I'm reading tomorrow (10/16) at the Gypsy Den in Santa Ana with fellow fiction writer Tagert Ellis and poet Megan Haugh. 

It all starts at 5:00 pm. I'll be reading from a new short story featuring one of my favorite characters, Donald Mason, called: Donald and Darrell Mason go to Berlin. I hope to see you there!

The Gypsy Den Grand Central Cafe
125 N. Broadway Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Story in September issue of PANK

A million thanks to PANK editors M. Bartley Seigel and Roxane Gay for publishing my story "Up and Away" in the September issue of PANK. You can read "Up and Away" here and listen to me reading the story here.

I've been submitting my work to PANK for a few years now and am thrilled beyond belief to be featured in their magazine. I'm really proud of "Up and Away" and really hope you enjoy it. The September issue is filled with great work by Stefanie Freele, Andrew Brininstool, Wendy Xu, Tessa Mellas, Thomas Patrick Levy, Aimee Vitrak, and many more talented authors.

So take PANK for a test drive, starting with "Up and Away".

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Great review of Monkeybicycle8 and "Donald Mason"

The Review Review just added their stamp of approval for the inventive, experimental, and quirky writing found in Monkeybicycle8. Lynn Holmgren wrote the review and gushes about the great fiction in this issue. The Review Review singles out stories by Ben Nickol and Scott Geiger, as well as my story, "Donald Mason's City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff."

You can read the whole review here, but I'll post the bits about my work below:

"Meet Donald Mason: one overgrown Papa Gino’s employee brazenly standing up for autonomy and his slice of the American dream: his un-shoveled winter sidewalk. The plot thickens faster than the ice as Donald Mason nurses whiskey/Cokes and fingers the closed blinds at his stakeout post, waiting to confront his unsuspecting ex-technical college classmate turned city official: 'Now it’s just a matter of time, like Dan and I are caught in a two-man tug-of-war and within the day one of us will be singing the blues and Dan is essentially Napoleon sending his troops to Russia at the height of winter…'

When Donald Mason’s power play inevitably erupts in his own face, it seems like enough fall to send even the biggest of hubris’ home with tail between legs, but author Blake Kimzey hits pitch perfect by having Mason resurrect his battle with even more confidence and scathing humor: 'I hold the red notice and turn it over in my hands. I picture Dan Lowery watching me from some barely camouflaged location just down the street, maybe eating pita and listening to “Eat, Pray, Love” on tape. I resist the urge to scan the neighborhood. That’s what he’d want.' With Donald Mason, Kimzey manages to capture small town pride and paranoia in a delightfully original voice."

Thanks again to Monkeybicycle for publishing my work, and to The Review Review for reading the issue and reviewing it for the masses.

If you love great fiction, and I know you do, you can pick up your copy of Monkeybicycle8 here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

An Interview with the Brilliant Drew Jackson

I was introduced to Drew Jackson's fiction when I read his hilarious/brilliant story "The Widow Teasdale and the Ineffable Warmth of Personal Servies." It is an amazing story on so many levels, published by Monkeybicycle. Drew's writing is very funny, sometimes sad, and resonates long after you've read his work.

After reading Drew Jackson for the first time I wanted to read more of his work and I also wanted to know more about the author. So I sent him an interview request, and he was totally up for it. First read "The Widow Teasdale and the Ineffable Warmth of Personal Servies" and then check out our interview below:

Blake Kimzey: Where did “The Widow Teasdale and the Ineffable Warmth of Personal Services” come from? It is such a funny story. Sad, too. I'm wondering what the seed for this story was, what got you to the keyboard to write this particular story.

Drew Jackson: The story came from a weird place as I'm sure you can imagine. I get these inexplicable pangs of nostalgia for the down-and-out days I spent in Phoenix, a city that introduced me to a host of people living isolated, largely sad lives on the margins. In Phoenix, I got to know a lot of harmless, good natured, total fuck-ups (which, by the way is a pretty fair description of me in the late eighties and early nineties, and, quite possibly, today). So the story represents an attempt to sketch a portrait of intimacy that could only happen in the Phoenix that I knew more than 15 years ago.

BK: As a character, is the widow Teasdale pure imagination or a sketch of someone you might have known? What about our freelancing male dancer?

DJ: Both characters are the product of a bizarre imagination fused with elements of people that I've known. I was once approached by a soft-spoken septuagenarian in a bright yellow sun dress, dark glasses, and a big floppy hat who wanted me to find her a male escort. She may have been the loneliest person I've ever met. I had her in my mind's eye while I was sketching the widow.

The protagonist formerly known as Sugar Pants was inspired by a cab driver who tried to convince me that all the real money to be had was in the gigolo trade, although he had turned in his sex worker's card before he leased his cab. The inverted nipple was my invention – pure art. I doubt the cabbie had an inverted nipple.

BK: Were you listening to a soundtrack (maybe Rob Base or DJ E-Z Rock) when you wrote this story? Do you typically listen to music when you write?

DJ: I wasn't listening to music when I wrote the story, although I sometimes listen to music while I write. The Rob Base reference is another nod to my time in Phoenix. When I first moved out there that song was inescapable. The thought of an outcall lap dancer playing it on his boom box amuses the snot out of me.

BK: There is a lot of descriptive specificity in your writing (“The unmistakable Bronx in her voice is darkened by the smoke of ten thousand Pall Malls,” etc.). Does this come out organically in the first draft or do you add most of this texture when you are re-writing? Your wording blows me away, the pace and unforced humor rolled into the details.

DJ: Thanks. I'm drawn to vivid prose that enhances the narrative, and that's what I shoot for. Most of the detail comes out in the first draft, probably because I'm trying to illustrate the story as I see it in my skull. During revision, I focus more on compression and the rhythm of the narrative.

BK: Your stories are so funny (“I swallow a couple Klonopin to get my moneymaker good and loose, and lash on the ass-less chaps that are the cornerstone of my raunchy cowpoke rig.”). Are you going for comedy when you start a story? I'm wondering if you set out to write something sad with “The Widow Teasdale and the Ineffable Warmth of Personal Services” and ended up with a hybrid, a story that is laugh-out loud funny in most every section.

DJ: The idea of a middle-aged man earning his living as a lap dancer for shut-ins is darkly funny to me. I was definitely trying to make myself laugh when I wrote the story. I don't see myself as a comedic writer but humor is hugely important to me and I doubt I could keep it out of my work. At the same time, though, I have a heart full of love for both characters, and I wanted the piece to say something more than, “Hey, look at these two losers.” Both the widow and her hired companion have suffered losses and are looking for some kind of real connection with another person. I suppose that is why the story is sad as well as funny.

BK: What are you working on at the moment? Your Monkeybicycle bio just tells us you live and write in D.C. Are you working on more short stories or is a novella/novel on the horizon? Where can people go to find more of your work?

DJ: Right now, I'm working on a couple of pieces. I recently started a sort of Orwellian dystopian short story set in the wake of a hipster revolt. Imagine, if you will, a society governed by skinny pants wearing revolutionaries. I've also tapped a few of my funniest friends to collaborate on “Sponge Bath in Valhalla,” a rock opera in progress. If it comes together, it will feature a guitar battle between the hero and an evil anthropomorphic squid who wails on a quint-a-necker guitar. My best guess is that it won't come together, but it's been fun so far. My stories can be found online at Word Riot, Thieves Jargon, The New Yinzer, Metazen, and Wrong Tree Review. One may use The Google, if one is so inclined

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nice Words from Steven Seighman at Luna Park

Nicholas Ripatrazone recently interviewed Monkeybicycle editors Steven Seighman and Shya Scanlon for Luna Park. Reading the interview I was happy to learn about Steven and Shya's editorial process for selecting stories and totally flattered to see Steven Seighman have such nice things to say about my work:

"There are so many [other stories] in the book that I feel really close to as well, but the two that stand out to me are Blake Kimzey's "Donald Mason's City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff" and Curtis Smith's “Lenin!”. These stories are bookends for the book and I set it up that way for a reason. I think both of them are somewhat light and also very engaging in pretty absurd ways. That’s the kind of thing I really like, and it seems to be a really great way to ease into and out of the book with a little umph. Kimzey is a new voice to me and when I read that story I knew he was a great talent. I hope we get the chance to publish more of his work in the future. And I’ve been a fan of Curtis Smith’s work for a long time. He has a gift. So I’m always eager when I see a submission from him."

You can read the full interview here. And thanks again to Steven and Shya for believing in my work!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Video of my Reading at Prairie Lights Book Store!

Video of me reading from my story "Donald Mason's City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff" at the Times Club at Prairie Lights has just come into my possession. I read for about 12 minutes and there are no commercial breaks. Thanks to everyone who came out that night, and special thanks to artist/curator Pete Schulte (for the hilarious introduction) and artist Andy Casto (for the video)!

You can check out the video here. Thanks, YouTube!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Heading to UC-Irvine

Three years flies by. We're packing up and getting ready to move out of Iowa City, where we have lived for the last three years. My wife, artist Danielle Huey Kimzey, just graduated from the MFA painting program at the University of Iowa and it really does feel like just yesterday that we were unpacking boxes and trying to make friends.

And now we're off to Irvine, CA. I was accepted into the MFA fiction program at UC-Irvine and I couldn't be happier. We couldn't be happier. At least three years of sunny southern California are stretched out before us and while we will miss Iowa City like crazy, we'll be happy to sell our snow shovel in a garage sale this month.

UC-Irvine is awesome. I'll be an Anteater. I'll get to study with Ron Carlson and Michelle Latiolais and I feel so lucky that they offered me a spot. The program also counts some of my favorite fiction writers as alumni: Michael Chabon, Joshua Ferris, Aimee Bender, Alice Sebold, David Benioff, Elise Blackwell, Richard Ford, Glen David Gold, and many more.

So if you ever need a place to crash in Orange County, let us know. We'll have a pull-out couch by then, which will actually be quite nice with a couple of Asprin in the morning.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Reading this Thursday at The Times Club @ Prairie Lights

And, a few weeks after the fact, artist Andy Casto was kind enough to send a picture of me reading at Prairie Lights. Thanks, Andy!

Original post:

I'm reading this Thursday night (4/28) at the closing reception for the exhibition Underneath the Bunker at The Times Club at Prairie Lights book store. I'm really thrilled to be a part of this exhibition and it should be a lot of fun. Come have a drink (coffee/alcohol), check out some great art work by Deb Sokolow and Travis Head (meet the artist!), and see me read from my latest short story around 8:45 p.m. If you're in Iowa City I hope to see you there!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Interviewed at the Monkeybicycle Blog

I'm interviewed over at the Monkeybicycle Blog today. Click here to check it out. Thanks to J. A. Tyler for the thoughtful questions about my story "Donald Mason's City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff," which is featured in Monkeybicycle8. I answer some questions about hero-vs-antagonist, irony in my work, the picaresque novel I'm working on, and a few other things. I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Featured work at The Times Club @ Prairie Lights

My Monkeybicycle8 podcast of "Donald Mason's City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff" is featured as a sound piece in a month-long exhibition titled "Underneath the Bunker" at The Times Club in Iowa City. The Times Club, by the way, is part of the legendary independent bookstore Prairie Lights, which has been an Iowa City institution since 1978.

So what does it mean to have my story re-classified as a sound piece in an art exhibition? Basically Artist/Curator Pete Schulte will play the 26 minute recording of "Donald Mason's City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff" randomly 3-4 times per day over the sound system at The Times Club at Prairie Lights. For the entire month of April! I will also do a live reading of this story later in the month at The Times Club, details to follow.

"Underneath the Bunker" features brilliant artwork by renowned artists Deb Sokolow and Travis Head. If you're in Iowa City head over to Prairie Lights and check it out. You won't be sorry. And you can check out images of "Underneath the Bunker" from afar by liking The Times Club on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Monkeybicycle Podcast

I recorded my story "Donald Mason's City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff," which will be published in the forthcoming issue of Monkeybicycle8 this month, for the Monkeybicycle Podcast. I love this story. It is filled with grudges, boobery, standoffs, and delusion. I think you'll really like it (I do read in character). It is the first time I've recorded one of my stories, so give 'er a listen and let me know what you think.

You can listen to the podcast here.

For $12 you can order Monkeybicycle8 here.

And thanks to Steven Seighman for promoting my work and giving me the opportunity to record this story for the podcast. It was a lot of fun!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Treat Yourself: Order Monkeybicycle8

My story "Donald Mason's City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff" is featured in Monkeybicycle8, which is now available to ORDER! In addition to my story there is groundbreaking fiction from Ben Loory (read his story "The TV" in the New Yorker), Aaron Burch, Steve Himmer, Curtis Smith, Summer Block, and many more.

I'd like to thank Steven Seighman and Shya Scanlon (author of FORECAST) for believing in this story and putting it in print. Isn't a story title like "Donald Mason's City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff" enough to stir your curiosity? If you purchase your copy of Monkeybicycle8 before March 15th you'll get a free back issue of your choosing. So what are you waiting for?

And if you are in New York City on March 16th, come out to the Cake Shop for the official release party and Monkeybicycle Lightning Round! Reading Series. I'll be reading that night and I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monkeybicycle Lightning Round!

Update: Thanks to my wife, artist Danielle Huey Kimzey, for this photo of me reading at The Cake Shop!

Original Post:

The next installment of the Monkeybicycle Lightning Round! Reading Series is slated for March 16th in New York City at the Cake Shop. It is also the release party for Monkeybicycle8, which will feature my story "Donald Mason's City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff." I'll be reading with a host of other talented authors and I can't wait. A bit about the event:

"This new quarterly reading series fuses quick, high energy readings with a broad range of voices--both established and emerging--into a seamless hour of literary brilliance. Each event will feature 20 readers, each of whom will read no longer than three minutes before introducing the next reader. No interruption from the host means a continuous listening experience. No guidelines other than length means maximum variety of form and content. Monkeybicycle's Lightning Round! Reading Series: a cure for the common reading."

More details about the reading can be found here. For all my friends in New York, I hope to see you there!