The Mark Blog

Bookmark This: Literary Halloween Costumes!

Today is Halloween, and if you are stumped about what to wear, the editors at Electric Literature have the perfect solution. They've compiled a gallery of famous authors in costume. From Susan Sontag in a bear costume to Norman Mailer as Stanford White in Ragtime, you can’t go wrong with these choices. Definitely skip Virginia Woolf's "royalty" costume, but check out F. Scott Fitzgerald in drag. Happy Halloween! 

Check it out.


Writers’ Reel: Nikki Giovanni On Healing Through Poetry

The New York Times has a great column called “The Read Around” that features brief video clips of authors, including this one with poet Nikki Giovanni. Her latest collection of poems is called Chasing Utopia and pays homage to her mother who passed away. Nikki speaks about the importance of a writer’s voice, the freedom of mixing genres, and finding solace in poetry.
“I think poetry prevents everybody from feeling lonely because you are talking to a voice. You are not talking to a character, you are not talking to a situation."

View the video here


Bookmark This: Where Should You Submit?

Fall is the perfect time to submit your short stories, poems, or novel excerpts to literary journals, as many of the magazines are open for submission. Instead of just sending out your work without a game plan, we’ve found a couple of great resources to help you start the process.

Top 50 Literary Magazines:
Why not aim for the top literary magazines? Besides giving a short overview of each journal, the site also states whether the journal accepts online submissions.

2014 Pushcart Prize Ranking of Literary Magazines:
Writer Clifford Garstang breaks down the literary magazines awarded the most Pushcart Prizes. This is a broad range of magazines to check out.

What literary magazine is missing from these lists? Chime in and let us know! 



Writers’ Reel: Is Literature Making You a Nicer Person?

Electric Literature posted a witty animated video named "The School of Life," which tries to answer the question, "what is literature for?" The video lists four major answers, including the facts that it makes a person nicer and it’s a cure for loneliness.

“We're weirder then we are allowed to admit. We often can’t say what’s really on our minds, but in books we find descriptions of who we genuinely are and what events are actually like with an honesty quite different from what ordinary conversation allows for.”  




Bookmark This: Your Lit Crawl L.A.: NoHo Itinerary

On Wednesday, October 22, you are going to want to be in North Hollywood for Lit Crawl: NoHo. Starting at 7pm, the night will be packed with diverse readings, including PEN Center USA's Spinder. So many of our PEN Center USA friends will be reading that we’ve made an easy cheat sheet for you to plan your night:
Presented by Avenue 50 Studio’s Poesia Para La Gente
7:00 PM - 7:45 PM
North Hollywood Metro Station
A presentation of poetry, spoken word, and slam.
Featured Writers:
Gloria E. Alvarez
Brandon Jordan Brown (2014 EV Alum)
Jessica Ceballos
Nikita Egar
Alex Hohmann
Karineh Mahdessian
Luivette Reston
David Romero
Crystal Salas
Matt Sedillo
Presented by Dirty Laundry Lit and Roar Shack
7:00 PM – 7:45 PM
Skinny’s Lounge, 4923 Lankershim Blvd. (21+)
Come celebrate the veteran and emerging voices that set Los Angeles apart.
Featured Writers:
Ben Loory (2013 EV Mentor
Patrick O’Neil
Natashia Deón (2010 EV Alum)
Cherisse Nadal
Sacha Howells (2012 EV Alum)
Zoe Ruiz
David Rocklin
Hosted by Jeff Eyres
Presented by Shades & Shadows
7:00 PM – 7:45 PM
Blastoff Comics & Books, 5118 Lankershim Blvd.
Come hear some of the best horror, science fiction, and fantasy Los Angeles has to offer.
Featured Writers:
Maria Alexander
Michael Buckley
Cecil Castellucci (2013 EV Mentor)
Michael Paul Gonzalez
Zack Morrissette
And Hosts Xach Fromsen & Lauren Candia
Presented by Tongue & Groove
7:00 PM – 7:45 PM
Tongue & Groove hosts two literary forces of nature as Write Club and Literary Death Match teamup to let loose in the ring.
Jeremy Radin (2014 Author Evening Host)
Lara Marie Schoenhals
Adrian Todd Zuniga
And Host Conrad Romo (EV Hotel Café Host)
Presented by Goddard College MFA in Creative Writing
8:00 PM – 8:45 PM
Skynny Kitchen, 5166 Lankershim Blvd.
Goddard College’s MFA in Creative Writing presents readings by Goddard faculty and alumni of poetry and prose that will transport you to Vietnam, India, Belgrade, and beyond.
Featured Writers:
Elizabeta Betinski
Aimee Liu (1998, 1999, 2011 EV Mentor)
Lynn Lobban
Teresa Mei Chuc
Presented by Los Angeles Review of Books and Flaunt Magazine
8:00 PM – 8:45 PM
Kahuna Tiki, 11026 Magnolia Blvd.
Cerebral meanderings from Flaunt’s 15th anniversary “Selfie” issue in collaboration with the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Featured Writers:
David L. Ulin (EV Author Evening Host)
Todd Edwards
Nina Revoyr
Michael Jaime-Becerra
Maria Bustillos
Lynell George
Presented by The Rumpus
8:00 PM – 8:45 PM
The Rumpus will join forces with The Rattling Wall and PEN Center USA’s Michelle Meyering in presenting an intriguing lineup of wild writers who embody the spirit of the Hubert Selby Junior quotation in the title.
Featured Writers:
Antonia Crane
Corrie Greathouse
Douglas Kearney (2014 EV Mentor)
Wendy C. Ortiz
Jim Ruland
Kyle Sawyer
Jerry Stahl (2011 EV Mentor and Host)
With host Michelle Meyering (Director of Programs and Events at PEN Center USA)
Presented by Hot Dish and NPR’s "The Dinner Party Download," in cooperation with the Art Institute California of Hollywood Culinary School.
9:00 PM – 9:45 PM
5250 Cafe at Art Institute California of Hollywood, 5250 Lankershim Blvd. (Enter on Weddington St.)
Join NPR’s "The Dinner Party Download" and LA’s Hot Dish Reading Series for a night of the kinds of stories and anecdotes you’d hear at the most stimulating dinner party possible.
Featured Writers:
Kent Woodyard
Summer Block Kumar
Lou Mathews (2011 EV Mentor)
Davy Rothbart
Rico Gagliano
Co-hosted by J. Ryan Stradal
Big Wangs, 5300 Lankershim Blvd. (21+)
9:00 PM – 9:45 PM
Join us for Spinder, PEN Center USA’s literary dating game for the NoHo Lit Crawl.
Four writers are going to do their best to make you fall in love with them.
Featured Writers:
Jillian Lauren (20 EV Mentor)
Amanda Fletcher (2013 EV Alum)
Orly Minazad
Mark Sarvas
Victor Vasquez (2014 EV Alum)
Presented by Writers at Work
9:00 PM – 9:45 PM
Vicious Dogs, 5231 Lankershim Blvd. (Sponsored by Sex, Rain & Cold Fusion)
Writers At Work presents “Unforgettable Characters,” portraits in poetry and prose that reveal strange twists of human nature. Since 1997, Writers At Work has been inspiring, encouraging, and empowering writers to deepen their craft, take creative risks, and cultivate their readership.
Featured Writers:
Elaine Howell
Doug McBride
David Stein
Kay Sundstrom
Tina Yang
Karen Yin

Terry Wolverton (2000 EV Mentor) 



Writers’ Reel: Office Hours with George Saunders

“Now I’m at the point where I don’t have any ideas. Is that a crisis? No, it’s not a crisis. You’ve been here before and maybe even you can enjoy that moment when you are bereft of ideas.”

The New Yorker caught up with author George Saunders at Syracuse University, where he teaches, to discuss his writing process. He talks about his different drafts and how he delves deeper to create three-dimensional characters. We also love when Saunders talks about enjoying the moments of not knowing where his next story will come from.

Watch the full interview here.


Bookmark This: Writing Prompts To End Your Rut

McSweeney’s gives us 13 prompts to free you from any writer's block. But these are not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill prompts. Written by Dan Wiencek, these exercises have a bit of a humorous bite to them. How many can you do?

"Write a scene showing a man and a woman arguing over the man’s friendship with a former girlfriend. Do not mention the girlfriend, the man, the woman, or the argument.” - Writing Prompt #1
“Write a short scene in which one character reduces another to uncontrollable sobs without touching him or speaking.” - Writing Prompt #7

Writers’ Reel: An Uncensored Charles Bukowski

“If you can’t write the next line, well, you’re dead.” – Charles Bukowski 
This animated video by Drew Christie captures a 1993 conversation the author Charles Bukowski had in his home. True to form, the author holds nothing back when it comes to discussing his own process and how he left his job at 50 years old to begin his writing journey. 

Charles Bukowski. Uncensored. from Quoted on Vimeo.



Bookmark This: Matt Bell on Following The Rules

Author Matt Bell (In the House Upon The Dirt Between the Lakes and The Woods) writes a witty essay for Electric Literature on the use of rules in workshop classes. He focuses on Cormac McCarthy’s novel Outer Dark, where the novelist incorporated the word “smile” 33 times. 
“Adherence to the ’rules’ is perhaps best when it’s a private thing, and teaching others the ones we’ve been taught or the ones we’ve discovered should perhaps be more sharing what’s worked for us or in books we’ve loved than it is handing down directives.” – Matt Bell 

Bookmark This: Happy Birthday, William Faulkner!

Today marks the birthday of the late writer William Faulkner, author of As I Lay Dying, a novel that was banned in 1986. As we continue celebrating the freedom to read this week, we are highlighting this Paris Review interview the author gave to the magazine back in 1956. 
“An artist is a creature driven by demons. He don’t know why they choose him and he’s usually too busy to wonder why. He is completely amoral in that he will rob, borrow, beg, or steal from anybody and everybody to get the work done.” – William Faulkner
And select your favorite Faulkner quote, as collected by Buzzfeed.