Tag Archives: Ben Tanzer

Daddy Cool

Just got my copy of Daddy Cool in the mail.

What’s Daddy Cool? It’s an anthology of writing by fathers…for and about kids.

It’s an interesting book, edited by Ben Tanzer (who’s got two other books about fatherhood that are in the publication pipeline), and it represents a trend that I hope will continue: an interest (in the world of small-press/ indie literature) in reaching young readers. This book isn’t just intended for a middle-grade and YA audience, though many of the stories are; it also attempts to reach dads themselves, and to be a collection that fathers can read alongside their kids. In other words, I can read Story #4, about fatherhood, and then my son can read Story #6, a middle-grade story about a boy’s adventure.

The problem, I suppose, is that it might wind up being too all-inclusive for some readers. You’ll have to do some internal shape-shifting to become a member of the different audiences being addressed and invoked here, and the difference in voice from one story to the next can be a little awkward. But then again, that’s actually a problem that all anthologies face; it’s just that most anthologies are meant only for adults, and the differences in voice generally appeal to different genders, or to different geographic/educational/socio-economic segments (i.e. I might love Story #1 of Best America Short Stories, because I am a Florida male reading a story about a Florida male, but I might be really out-of-it during Story #7, which follows some literary tradition of which I am completely ignorant).

But Daddy Cool is definitely worth checking out, and 100% worth supporting. We need more anthologies like this one, and we need more small-press publishers who are willing to go out on a limb and produce YA and middle-grade work. Sometimes we get so comfortable with being readers, and so caught up in our literary/academic texts (which pay off only because we’ve read so much, and because we’ve been part of the literary/academic conversation for so long) that we forget the very real need to produce work that can create readers. Daddy Cool can do this, and it’s awesome to see Artistically Declined Press take on this challenge.

I should add, as a side-note, that my story “The Sketchpad,” appears somewhere in the thick of the anthology. It’s a mixed-media story, text and image (a la Roald Dahl), and it was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to write. Seriously. I don’t know how YA writers do it. I was so worried about writing something fun and engaging, while also not coming across like I was trying too hard, and not coming across like the old dude trying to write something “young,” and also not condescending to the younger audience and…well…the story is in there, and I hope it’s a worthwhile piece. Someday, I really hope I don’t have to watch Jackson read my story and make a stink-face (the “Dad, your story kinda sucked” face).

Order here. Great gift for fathers and sons alike.

A Round-Up of Updates

Got a lot of cool links to share:

First, a fantastic review of 15 Views of Orlando at Saw Palm, the literary journal of the University of South Florida. The editor of the journal, John Fleming, is fantastic, and he’s working hard to cultivate literary community in the Tampa Bay area (much like Burrow Press in Orlando). It’s an extremely well-written and thoughtful review, so I would have been stoked no matter if it was positive or negative, but I’m extra-stoked that it’s positive!

(As a side-note, remember to order your copy of 15 Views from the Burrow Press web site. All proceeds go to support writing workshops for public school kids in Orlando.)

Next up: check out my story “Angela’s Baby” at Hobart online. I had the pleasure of meeting editor Aaron Burch at AWP this past weekend (and actually, we served on a graphic narrative panel together), and–though I didn’t know him when I submitted to his journal–our encounter made me even more proud to appear in Hobart. It’s an amazing publication, highly creative, and I bought several of the books from their innovative Short Flight/Long Drive book imprint (one is structured as a composition journal, and another as a passport). I also learned that their recent issue just had two stories selected for this year’s Best American Short Stories anthology. Two stories from the same issue. Unbelievable. The hype is high, and I’m excited to start reading all the material I scooped up from their bookfair table. To be completely honest, if I’d have known all of this before I submitted a story to Hobart, I probably would’ve been too intimidated to submit.

And hey: while I haven’t been posting new blog entries every month for new installments of “Clutter,” I figured now was as good a time as any. “Clutter” (my graphic narrative structured as a home decor catalog) just hit episode #7, and things are about to get pretty rough between the happily married couple who just purchased their first home together. If you haven’t been reading, then…well, I guess you’d better start!

And finally: I have a “Reading List” here on my blog site, just to remind myself of what I’m reading, and when, and any thoughts I decided to record about the books, but now I’ve also got a recurring essay series on my reading life at Burrow Press. It’s called “Reading Books While Burping My Baby,” and I take a look at how my own reading habits and preferences have changed since the birht of my son in early January. In the first installment, I discuss (among other things) Roxane Gay’s Ayiti, Ryan W. Bradley’s Prize Winners, Ben Tanzer’s Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine, Artifice Magazine, and The Best American Non-Required Reading 2011. It’s an adorable premise, isn’t it? I mean, seriously. A man and his baby? You’d have to be heartless not to follow that link.

The Gift, a comic adaptation

Check out my latest comic adaptation, over at LITnIMAGE. I worked with the mighty Ben Tanzer, a Chicago indie-lit god, on his short story “The Gift” (which was originally published at The2ndHand). Check it out at the link here, and let me know what you think. This is probably my favorite comic adaptation I’ve created so far, so hopefully you’ll dig it.