A Working Theory of How My Shower Faucet Functions

January 2, 2014

I suspect the the faucet in my shower is not connected to a simple arrangement of valves in the wall. No, I believe that the handle is connected, via a series of strings and pulleys, to a pair of bells on the roof of my apartment building. On the roof, around the bells, lies a village full of tiny elves, amidst a forest of tiny trees, at the foot of a tiny mountain. In the middle of the village is a large cauldron that holds the water that feeds into my shower. Read the rest of this entry »


The Actual Death of the American Author: On the Granularity of Genre

August 22, 2013

A few months back I responded to Scott Turow’s arguments about how copyright infringement and digital distribution would be the death of the American author. But it got me thinking about what other pernicious threats the American author might be facing.

First, to be clear, I think an integral part of Turow’s “American Author” is that the author subsists on income from his or her writing. Hence Turow’s concern over his perceived elision of the value of copyright. An author willing to work two other jobs while writing just for the chance to tell his or her stories doesn’t really count, because this author shouldn’t give one damn about copyright — payment is a bonus, being read is the reward. So let’s take this as rote: when we talk about the death of the American author, we’re talking about the death of the American author who earns his or her income through writing.

To my mind the biggest threat to this incarnation of the American author (after our our failing education system) is the fact that marketing departments have the final say in whether or not a title will be pushed by the publisher. Most publishers will only seriously market one or two of their titles every year, the rest are orphaned almost immediately by marketing departments. If an author wants attention for his or her book, the author must take up that responsibility. This is especially true if the marketing department doesn’t have a very clear idea of how, where, and to who to market the book. Read the rest of this entry »

The Morality of Extinction

July 22, 2013

Phys.org just posted a brief article about how the Hangenberg extinction event led to the rise of ray-finned fish in the ocean. You and I care because current evolutionary thinking says our hands are just seriously mutated ray-fins. Without the major extinction event at the end of the Devonian, we might all be walking lungfish. Of course, the Hangenberg event was an extinction caused by the sudden rise in plant life on land, so if it had never happened there probably wouldn’t be much incentive for life to have started wandering around out of the ocean in the first place.

But this got me to thinking about the morality of extinction, because – make no bones about it – human life is an extinction event. Now we just have to decide how we’re going to handle it.  Read the rest of this entry »

Is ‘Flash-Memoir’ a Thing? Either Way, Let Me Bleed for You In This New Flash-Memoir Piece at Zouch Magazine

June 19, 2013

Zouch Magazine has just published a very brief memoir piece I wrote shortly after, first, discovering my father had Stage 4 colon cancer, and second, moving to Utah to attend the MFA program at the U. It is, in fact, the first piece I wrote for my MFA, the first piece of nonfiction I’d ever written, and the first piece I wrote about my father’s eventual death. So, yeah…

Go find out about snow, cancer, a cactus flower, and the kind of pathos that comes from typing by shorting out the key switches with salty, salty tears. Read “Stage IV: The Metastasis of Snow, Cactus Flower” in Zouch Magazine.

New Short Story in PANK

May 22, 2013

I am really quite very alot tons plenty yessiree excited to have a story, “Selling the Fall,” in PANK. You should go read it. Or you can listen to me read it to you. For reals.

And you should read PANK, like, all the time.

New story in Bourbon Penn

May 15, 2013

I’ve got a new story out in the lovely Bourbon Penn. It’s called “Caretaker,” and, oddly enough, it’s about a woman who works as a caretaker for a cemetery. I mean, I guess it happens to be the only cemetery in the world and it’s so big she can’t see the walls…

Head over to Bourbon Penn and read “Caretaker,” then check out the rest of the wonderful stories in this issue. You can also pick up a copy of the issue for Kindle, or buy it as a printed object.

Finalist in Origami Zoo’s First Ever Chapbook Contest

May 8, 2013

I’m proud to say that my novella, No Window, was chosen as a finalist in Origami Zoo’s first ever chapbook contest. I got a great response from the editors, and it’s generally nice to know that the really talented people who ran this contest read my work work at all, let alone found it worth giving a finalist nod.

I’ll be very excited to read the winning and honorable mention chapbooks, and in the meantime I’ll keep hunting for a home for No Window.

And you should head over to Origami Zoo, buy some of their amazing books, and check out the full results of the contest. You should also probably buy all of everything Matt Bell (the final judge for the contest) has ever written. I loved Cataclysm Baby, and you should too.

New Story: Supranow

May 6, 2013

Some days you build a world, some days a world builds you. Wait, what?

Nevermind. Check out “SupraNow,” a sci-fi bit in which I shamelessly plug a Sony product that doesn’t exist yet.

Thanks to the folks at Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure for giving this piece a home.

This Is Not the Death of the American Author

April 8, 2013

Oh, woe be unto us, for the American author is an untenable and dying breed. The world conspires against the American author, actively seeking to destroy this noble breed!

Read the rest of this entry »


March 22, 2013

A full list of my publications is available at kaufmanwrites.com.