zachbissett

Archive for the ‘American Radio’ Category

Poem: “America (the poem)”

In American Radio, poetry, writing on 03/28/2013 at 14:15

America (the poem)
Home.
You’re feeling lonely
as you’re approaching,
hoping
unfamiliar shapes
will turn into faces
but your friends all have places
in states and
streets you never thought you’d see.

“Is Nat home?”
“He’s moved to New York City.”

Writing Characters Who Aren’t You

In American Radio, fiction, gay/lesbian, music, writing on 10/11/2012 at 20:43

I’ve been spending October revising a few horror stories, which I will post soon, while my “American Radio” project sits on the back burner of my brain. But it’s there, never fully tucked away. So I decided I’d share one of my ongoing battles with the book.

Creating a unique voice for my narrator and/or protagonist is always a challenge–if I slip up for even a sentence, I’ve started down a path in the company of a voice that is, simply, my own. To me, there is nothing more boring than a forgettable narrative voice.

In an effort to distinguish myself from my narrator, I made Aleks Records (among other things) black and bi sexual. I came to this decision with two good reasons: 1) the narrator needs to be “the other” in every single scenario, so any conceivable definition of “otherness” should be attributed; 2) he is based off Donald Glover and Kele Okereke.

However, I’m unsure of how far my ability will allow me to explore these areas of his person…Zora Neal Hurston was criticized by her peers for not giving enough attention to the struggle of African Americans in White America. Hurston, while proud of her heritage, felt she was merely a writer, and would write about whatever pleased her; she felt no obligation to any cause or race.

At the same, it seems wasteful to write a gay or black character and not give some attention to their place in the social landscape. A novel taking place in the present day, for example, with a gay narrator would surely comment on the current election, which could turn out to be historical for same sex couples in America. But how does a straight author access that place?

Interviews, research, guesswork?

I’ve surrendered to the fact that this book will likely take me four or five more years. It’s natural to want your first book to just be finished, but “American Radio” will not allow it. The book is continuously condensing via layers–shorter and deeper, shorter and deeper. At least I’m finishing a few stories, and have a poem to be published this winter.

Hit the jump for an “American Radio” excerpt.

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New Fiction from Stahr Magazine

In American Radio, fiction, writing on 09/26/2012 at 15:38

There are excerpts from two stories I’m starting to shop around, a process I will detail in tomorrow’s post. As always, feedback is greatly appreciated.

The first, “Killer,” is a standalone short story. “Avi’s Room” is an excerpt from a novel I am working on.

“Killer”
After she decided it would be far kinder for her sister to never be born, it was only a matter of planning. Luce sat on the highest level of the driveway’s retaining wall and waited for Kathy to come home. Kathy Dahl kept no regular hours, making quick work of her children’s plans, but for now Luce was happy to sit and wait, kicking pink sandals against the rain soaked limestone—by her count there were six months still, and to a ten year old six months is a lifetime.

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FICTION: “The Narrow Sea”

In American Radio, fiction, poetry, writing on 09/04/2012 at 22:05

I heard yesterday that a poem of mine will be published in an anthology released by Steady Moon Press. In celebration I will share this piece of semi-flash fiction/semi-landscape description called “The Narrow Sea.”

“The Narrow Sea”
Chapin Beach resembled the end of the world—so said Matt Gooding.
The sun-baked beach slanted steeply for a few yards before white sanded molted to a field of barnacle encrusted rocks. Hardly a beach at all. To soldier on seemed foolish, especially barefoot, but a keen eye could trace the flexed arm of sand stretching through the shallows, wound between vast piles of rock, plunging into a tide pool and crawling out the other side like the first trilobite born with legs.
If you persisted along this haphazard path the rocks and crushed molluscs sunk beneath the sand and you could look in any direction but back and see only ocean—it surrounded you, lurking in clean pools, threatening to swallow the sandbars at the slightest suggestion from the moon.
Further out still—where the drowned armor of horseshoe crabs roved like zombies on gentle streams and seabirds congregated around banks of driftwood, where the surf amassed in white wreaths along the shore (a mile from the beach now) and where, above in space, no smart phone satellites hovered—Aleks and Matt pressed their foreheads together and whispered tactics, slapped each other meaningfully on shoulders burned red, then came apart. Read the rest of this entry »