Sunday, October 26, 2014

Forthcoming books and an update

I've neglected you, Dear Reader. Please accept my apology. I've been contemplating the origins of candy cigarettes and staring at paintings like this:
and this:

and this:
-- paintings by Terry Leness, a Seattle-based artist whose work captures the melancholy streets of post-suburban, pre-yuppie Ballard, where I lived for several years. I'm haunted by houses that haven't lost hope but have lost the feeling of home, which white America often associates with material possessions and structured leisure time ("vacations," "shopping," "roadside attractions"). I'm grateful to Terry for allowing me to use "Red Stripe" on the cover of Instructions for Staging, my second collaboration with Kristina Marie Darling. Here's a description of the book, out any day now from Patasola Press:
This second collaborative book by Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess depicts the ruins of what once was a marriage.  A husband and wife divide what had always been shared, and prepare to sell their house---haunted by past affairs, strange artifacts, and snowy owls---to unsuspecting buyers.  As the narrative unfolds, Darling and Guess make use of a wide range of literary forms, which include flash fictions, footnotes, and self-erasures, creating a hybrid text that is both polyphonic and thematically unified.  Wildly imaginative and lively in its descriptions, Instructions for Staging asks the reader to consider exactly what betrayals their realtor is capable of, who would ever fake a business trip to Wichita, and what you will find in a room you once thought was empty.
In addition to Instructions for Staging, you can look forward to two collaborative books co-written with Kelly Magee. The first, With Animal, is a short story collection forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2015 with cover art by Todd Horton. The second, The Reckless Remainder, is a prose poetry collection forthcoming from Noctuary Press in 2016, with cover art by Corinne Botz.
Todd Horton, "Together"
Meanwhile, I've started two new projects, inspired by trees, Steven Wise, Choir of Young Believers, and Thom Yorke. The first is a short story collection co-written with Elizabeth J. Colen. After writing the initial story, I could see the collection laid out like a map of lined streets. Other than interlinked characters, the only connection is a pack of candy cigarettes, but sometimes that's enough, isn't it? And I've also just started a single author poetry collection inspired by Terry Leness's strange motels and the eerie architecture here in Bellingham. Also, the rain is back. I like it best -- everyone's quiet and private.  Everyone goes indoors and stops messing with lawn mowers and leaf blowers. Their secrets grow inside and the hot summer sun that makes everyone interested in "having fun" and "parties" draws a circle around itself. Fades out over the water. It's gray and blue and steel here, the colors of my Swedish people, something I know by blood. And this is the season when I miss my father the most. I go looking for lost things in new work and sometimes I find them.