Thursday, November 19, 2009


I have always been frustrated by non-endings in literary fiction stories. They are such a convention in lit journals (and a few collections that I'm read for school). Maybe MFA programs teach their students to do them? This would explain why it occurs so often.

I feel so unsatisfied by these things whenever I read them. They come out of nowhere and it's like a punch to the gut. What is slight becomes dramatic. The author tries to force into finding meaning in the meaningless. What I feel is lazy writing is supposed to sound profound.

A reader develops an emotional detachment to a novel. The reader must be satisfied or the book will be considered a failure. All the time spent reading will be considered a waste of time. So an author must put in a lot of effort into creating their ending. But with a story, endings aren't as important. And considering the state of literary short fiction, I assume most readers don't care about the ending. They only care about what has come before it. So they give the writers permission to be lazy and write lackluster endings.

Have realized that I hate reading stories online but enjoy novels. It's more difficult for me to get into a piece of writing when it's on a computer monitor, but once that happens, it's smooth sailing from there. With stories, I'm usually unable to get into them before the story ends. I think Noah Cicero is probably my favorite writer to read online.

Once I went half deaf after trying to wax my ear out my a tube of ear wax removal stuff that I bought in the grocery store. My hearing isn't the greatest, so I wanted to see if it would improve it. And then I had swimmer's ear for a couple of days until it got so annoying that I went to the doctor and they flushed out my ear and it was wonderful. So I didn't have anything to read for those couple of days and felt too crappy to leave the house, so I bought a few ebooks from Raw Dog Screaming Press. I think they were all short story collections. Two books by Harold Jaffe, which were easy to get into because of his clear writing style. And one book by Darren Speegle, which I really should have been reading in print. His style was way too rich and baroque to be read on a computer screen. And years before this, I bought a couple of ebooks by Carlton Mellick III books and one by Kevin Donihe because they were cheaper than the physical books and was not sure they would be good. That's my origin as far as getting into bizarro fiction.

Right now I'm at my job in my college's computer lab. Part of my job seems to be spelling the word "boredom" for a woman and telling her what the glass is called at the front of a car: "windshield."

Also, five bizarro books are now available for download as free PDFs until Thanksgiving: Ass Goblins of Auschwitz, Super Fetus, Sausagey Santa, and both volumes of The Bizarro Starter Kit. I have a novella that appears in the "blue" edition. It is called Cheesequake Smash-up. It concerns a city-wide demolition derby between levitating buildings. Winner gets total supremacy over the fast food industry.

Carlton Mellick III wrote Sausagey Santa and it's a really good time. A light read so it's friendlier on-screen reading. The two Starter Kits also have a lot of good stuff, although each page consists of two columns of text, so the reading isn't as friendly. Here is the link:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Spiritual Cramp

How come I can never go to sleep at the same time each night? How come when I wake up by alarm I always feel miserable and exhausted? It wasn't like this back when I was doing overnights, sleeping during the day, and waking up at ten pm for work. That was the one benefit of working graveyards.

You can now pre-order my short story collection, My Heart Said No, But the Camera Crew Said Yes! Do it here:

Here are some descriptions of haunted houses:

From The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson-

Chapter 1 (omnipresent POV)

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

Chapter 2 (third person limited POV)

No human eye can isolate the unhappy coincidence of line and place which suggests evil in the face of a house, and yet somehow a maniac juxtaposition, a badly turned angle, some chance meeting of roof and sky, turned Hill House into a place of despair, more frightening because the face of Hill House seemed awake, with a watchfulness from the blank windows and a touch of glee in the eyebrow of a cornice. Almost any house, caught unexpectedly or at an odd angle, can turn a deeply humorous look on a watching person; even a mischievous little chimney, or a dormer like a dimple, can catch up a beholder with a sense of fellowship; but a house arrogant and hating, never off guard, can only be evil. This house, which seemed somehow to have formed itself, flying together into its own powerful pattern under the hands of its builders, fitting itself into its own construction of lines and angles, reared its great head back against the sky without concession to humanity. It was a house without kindness, never meant to be lived in, not a fit place for people or for love or for hope. Exorcism cannot alter the countenance of a house; Hill House would stay as it was until it was destroyed.

From Hell House by Richard Matheson:

It stood before them in the fog, a massive, looming specter of a house.

From "Terror in the Haunted House" by Bradley Sands (from My Heart Said No, But the Camera Crew Said Yes!)

Black-wearing men wheel out a house that is just a little too large for a miniature and just a little too small to be a house. Six stories of pure trial and error, an ungainly spire growing out of its roof that really should be checked out by a doctor, a fog machine that won the Regional Spelling Bee with “doom for asthmatics,” grass that has been overgrown ever since accepting a contract put out on the readers of Better Homes and Gardens―this is what awaits Crispin on The Price Is An Unspeakable Agony.

Also, I have been having trouble connecting with experimental poetry lately. I take a class where it is often workshopped. It is tough on me. This is my theory of experimental poetry:

1: It is not narrative-based. Instead, it is written with the intention that the language/words/rhythm will trigger emotions and memories in the reader. Unfortunately, it does not work like this for me.

2: There is no clear POV. No protagonist or multi-protagonist. No I, you, he, she, the man, the woman, the mongoose. I feel like a POV is a key that opens a door for me. Without POV, a poem remains inaccessible to me.

3: It is often entirely composed of predicates and devoid of subjects.

Also, I came up with a phrase while revising a particular letter entirely too many times: "Revision is the most essential nutrient for typos." Eh...something like that. It was better when I came up with it. Now I'm paraphrasing.

Also, The &Now Awards Anthology came in the mail today. Looks good. I have a story in it. You can buy it here: Or here:

And this just in! Mel Bosworth reads things. This time, he reads my prose poem, "The Time Traveling Giraffe is on Fire."

Thanks, Mel!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Here's the back cover text my publisher wrote for my story collection, My Heart Said No, But the Camera Crew Said Yes! I like it:

"Have you ever had one of those nights when you could swear in front of a court of law that you haven’t had a wink of sleep, but the prosecutor would have a field day with details concerning your alarm clock going off after what seemed like only an hour and your lingering memories of mischievous lawn furniture?"

Forget everything you know about life, the world and all the objects in it. Bradley Sands can bend them to his will with a frightening disregard for reality. You never know who, or what, is lying in wait behind the next comma. Whether it's Super Noxious Air Man and his sidekick, Kid Centrifugal Force, or the next episode of Teddy the Rottweiler Spayer, Sands keeps you off-balance with laughter and astonishment. These stories are crammed with the delightfully odd and the scurrilously silly. From moment to moment My Heart Said No requires the most unexpected, perplexing and hilarious leaps of faith. But you'll be glad you took this exhilarating jump into uncharted territory.


Have been in a creative funk lately. Feel like I do not have the capability to write well at the moment.

What do you do when this happens to you? Do you keep pushing on?

Working on a novella. Really like the concept. Feel like it is wasted because my writing is not up to snuff. Should I continue, hoping things will change? I feel like it doesn't matter what I work on. It's not the novella that isn't working. It's my writing that isn't working. If I switched to another book, I would probably have the same problem. And I would probably be working with a concept that was as dear to me as the current one. So another one would be wasted.

Maybe I should go back to prose poems for a while. Those are fun, easy. Focus on language. No concern about the plot. Little investment in each piece. Maybe I'll solicit titles like I did a while back.

How do you guys feel about writing when you're tired? I have trouble with it because it cuts down on my confidence. But if I motivated myself to write when tired, I would have a lot more time to write.

I think the main thing about the writing process is whether or not you are confident in what you're doing. It doesn't matter how good it is as long as you're confident. If you feel this way, writing is easy and pleasurable. You can lack confidence and think what you're doing sucks, but end up writing something fantastic even though the process was pure torture. And vice versa. The process may be enjoyable, but the end product may suck, and I don't think that's such a big deal because you had a swell time and at least got some practice out of it. I hate perceptions.