Strange Familiar Place comic series

It has been awhile since mentioning a comic strip I’ve written and illustrated. The Indie has published the series since December. It is called Strange Familiar Place and features a magazine A & E editor (at least in the first two strips) and the main character Hudson Stillwater, a graphic designer.

Strange Familiar Place also features Heather (Hudson’s wife) and presents a slice-of-life drama of living and working (and losing a job) in a cultural creative urban mountain city (or at least a city that looks a lot like Asheville).

Published in The Indie, March 1, 2007
Published in The Indie, March 16, 2007

Beginning in mid to late April, Strange Familiar Place will be illustrated by someone else. I’ll still be the principal writer, but I hired an illustrator that I am confident will present the visual narrative with a higher quality of art.

Previous posts on this topic: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write Stuff : The Economics of Writing

For some reason the term “economics” really spooks writers into silence. Why?

Weekly I post something on Write Stuff about writing or the craft of writing or anything relating to the writing process. I began a series on why writing contests are bad business for both writers and publishers. Here’s part one, two, and three.

The premise is this: economics is the study of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. Poets and writers produce literature that is distributed via publishers and booksellers to readers, book buyers, librarians.

I began the series of posts as a way to study what I do and why I am continually disappointed in writing contests and the works that win writing contests. For example, the Walt Whitman Award, presented by the Academy of American Poets (of which I am a member), is considered a prestigious contest. The Academy has published many fine poets. However, much of what wins and is published is considered informal personal narrative. That’s fine. It is a dominant form in America. But, as I discussed with a fellow poet at the Flood Fine Art Center poetry reading last week, it isn’t new–it’s the same tired narrative lyric every other professional poet is turning out. It’s like poetry in America is stuck in a rut and it can’t get out. Tony Tost’s Invisible Bride is one Walt Whitman Award winner that I recall in recent times that really pushed the vehicle of poetry in a new direction. But I’ll explore that more in this week’s Write Stuff post.

I’m not sure (because I’ve received minimal comments on the topic) if I’ve either struck a nerve with the folks at Write Stuff (they run a writing contest) or I’m being completely obtuse. What do you think?

(Literary) Weekend photo essay (with some comments)

The Flood Fine Art Center poetry reading series Friday night inspired me. Four talented poets read their work to a very supportive audience.

Stephen Kirbach

Shad Marsh

Jennifer Callahan

Lynette James

Sunday afternoon offered a Writers at Home Series at Malaprop’s Cafe & Bookstore. Patrick Finn and Michael McFee read from their work.

Michael McFee

Flood Fine Art Center Poetry Reading Tonight

Flood Fine Art Center

FRI Mar. 16, 8:30pm

Poetry reading series features:

Stephen Kirbach, Shad Marsh, Jennifer Callahan & Lynette James.

Flood Fine Art Center located in the
Phil Mechanic Studios

Press Release : Writers at Home

Writers at Home Series Continues March 18
Patrick Finn & Michael McFee

UNC Asheville’s 2006-07 Writers at Home Series continues with readings by local writers Patrick Finn and Michael McFee at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 18, at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., downtown Asheville. Writers at Home is part of the Great Smokies Writing Program, a consortium of Western North Carolina writers and UNC Asheville. The event is free and open to the public.

Finn’s fiction has appeared in many literary publications, including “Quarterly West,” “Ploughshares,” “The Richmond Review,” “Third Coast,” “Punk Planet” and the Houghton Mifflin collection “Best American Mystery Stories 2004.” He received a Distinguished Story Citation in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and is currently working on a novel set in a bowling alley in the California desert. Finn teaches writing at UNC Asheville.

McFee has published nine volumes of poetry, most recently “Shinemaster” and “The Smallest Talk,” a collection of one-line poems. His first book of prose, “The Napkin Manuscripts,” was released in 2006. Finn is editor of “The Language They Speak is Things to Eat” and “This is Where We Live,” both anthologies of contemporary North Carolina poems and short stories. He has received numerous awards, including the Thomas Wolfe Literary Award from the Western North Carolina Historical Association, the UNC Chapel Hill Students’ Undergraduate Teaching Award and Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. An Asheville native, McFee teaches poetry writing and North Carolina literature at UNC Chapel Hill.

Please call Elaine Fox@828/ 232-5122 with any questions you may have.

Confessions : 04

01. The neighborhood is haunted by a family of large, loud crows.
02. I had a flat tire on the way to work this morning. Providentially (or serendipitously), I noticed it within an mile of Expert Tires (an establishment that I frequent for car maintenance) where they had me back on the road in under 45 minutes with a new, free tire (because the one that blew had a warranty).
03. For bedtime stories, I read T.S. Eliot to my children.
04. I am reading a biography General George E. Pickett and noticed the other day, as I looked into a mirror, that with my hair parted on the left there is a curious resemblance. This is amusing for I’ve been told I resemble the actor Matthew Broderick when he starred in the film Glory.


Poetry : Press Release

Flood Gallery Fine Arts Center, Asheville, North Carolina

On March 16, 2007, Flood Fine Arts Gallery will host its monthly poetry reading at 8:30pm, featuring the following poets:

Stephen Kirbach’s work can be found in Apocryphal Text, Shampoo, and Word for Word. He teaches Humanities at UNC–Asheville, and organizes the web-based writers’ forum, Wire Sandwich. Kirbach also hosts “Stunt-Cipher-Mayhem,” a radio show on WPVM that explores experimental music and sound.

Shad Marsh has published fiction in the flash fiction anthology Blink, and his poetry has appeared in Artvoice, Ghoti, Light, The Muse, The Pebble Lake Review, Vox, and Wire Sandwich. Marsh serves as the poetry editor for the E-zine Edifice Wrecked. He lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and son.

Jennifer Callahan studied creative writing at Austin Peay State University, and attended graduate school at Washington University. Her poetry has been printed in Zone 3. In 2004, Callahan participated in Words of War, an exhibit featuring writers’ and artists’ works about their personal experiences with war. Her photography has been displayed at Maryville College of Art and Design, Studio 101, and Untitled Nashville. Callahan currently lives in WNC, and works as a wedding photographer.

Lynette James will be the fourth poet. Her bio was unavailable at the time of this release.

Flood Gallery Fine Arts Center is located at 109 Roberts Street in the River Arts District of Asheville North Carolina. For more information, please contact Mark Prudowsky at or call 828-776-8438.

We Generous reading

Yesterday afternoon I heard Sebastian Matthews read from his new collection of poems, We Generous. The first time I heard him read was from his memoir, In My Father’s Footsteps.

Write Stuff : The Economics of Writing : 1

As stated last week, this is a bit controversial: writing contests are bad business for both writers and publishers… why is this bad business for publishers? read more »

Confessions : 03

01. I totally blew it; regarding giving up beer and coffee for Lent.
02. But that last bottle of beer looked really lonely…
03. so I drank it down on the first day of Lent…
04. and followed it by a cup of coffee the next morning (second day of Lent).
05. For almost an entire week no ale nor coffee was consumed…
06. then last Thursday I had a coffee before a meeting…
07. and three cups of coffee the following Saturday morning with friends I hadn’t seen in almost three years…
08. and I stopped half way through a second cup of coffee this afternoon.
09. Oh, bother, Lent reminds me of how weak I really am.
10. I guess that’s the point.