Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sophomore Undercover

Some time ago a was sent an advance reader's copy of a forthcoming book called Sophomore Undercover, the debut novel by Ben Esch. Hyperion books asked me for a blurb if I liked it. I liked it very much, and said it was "Like getting kicked in the nuts by Mark Twain." Hyperion asked me for a new blurb. I don't remember what they decided to go with, but something nice I said about this book will appear on the back cover.

I'll probably post about this book again a little closer to the publication date next month, but I mention it now because Ben Esch has created a video game for his book, and we want you to play it.

Dixie Nguyen's Nerd Quest

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Have a Cuffie...

...which doesn't mean what it sounds like. For the second year in a row I have tied for the Publisher's Weekly Cuffie Award for Funniest Book, this time for Frankenstein Takes the Cake. It was Smekday last year.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

An Edgar Allan Poem

In acknowledgment of Poe's 200th birthday, is republishing my Poe-ems from Frankenstein Takes the Cake. Here's the first of them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Back when I was in school, my instructor David Christiana more than once charged us to do a self-portrait-a-day for a period of time. He had, himself, completed a self-portrait every day for a year when he was younger, and had found the process very instructive.
I always both hated and loved this assignment. It was tough, of course–I had to devote one to two hours a day on one class, for about two weeks. But at the end of the assignment I always recognized that I'd made some real progress in my development, and in a relatively short period of time.
Nowadays the internet is filed with people who do this sort of thing: portrait-a-day, dude-a-day, painting-a-day, etc. But this was back in, like, '96. It was considered pretty extreme.
If you've read this far you probably think I'm inaugurating a new self-imposed self-portrait-a-day assignment. It would have made for a great New Year's resolution, right? Truth is, I just felt like busting out a fast portrait the other day, so I painted this digitally from a photo taken with my laptop camera. Took about 45 minutes. I think it is OK.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Benjamin ElectriFranklin

Shown a little bigger than actual size. From the collection of Mr. Steven Malk. Reprinted with permission.

Everything Has a Face, Part 2

A couple days ago a posted a short bit of writing called EVERYTHING HAS A FACE. I have no idea why I wrote it and didn't know what to do with it, so I invited readers to write the next bit. I got a few responses, all of which I liked, but I thought this one best continued the mood of the first part. It was submitted by one of my kid readers, Viv Rae, author of her own blog I'm Weird So What?

Anyone else want to pick up the ball from here?


"Well, that's rather creepy," he says with a bit of surprise in his tone. The bed gives him a somewhat concerning smile.

Suddenly there was tap on his shoulder. He quickly turned to see who or what it was. Standing behind him was a brown haired woman, that he suddenly recognized as his wife.

"Honey, are you alright?" she says in her normal voice,"You hit your head pretty hard on the medicine cabinet door, last night. You got up really fast saying that you had to pee really badly, you went in there so fast, you didn't even see that the cabinet was open. All of the sudden there was a huge crash. When i went in there, you were lying on the floor unconscious. Thank goodness you're alright."

Once again the man looks around the room. All the faces are still there, with their smiling faces.

"i don't think I'm alright because everything has a face."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Everything Has a Face

Just something I wrote recently, which I'm posting for the sake of posting something. I don't know what it's about. Anyone feel like writing the next bit?


He wakes up, and everything has a face. The shirt he is wearing has a face. His boxer shorts. The footboard of his bed has a thin, wide smile, just a dark line, really, and small wide-set dots for eyes. The bed smiles a bit wider when it catches him looking at it. The eyes blink.

He doesn’t notice the faces right away. He’s myopic. In the shuffly morning he rises, has a pee, returns to the bedroom for his glasses, and then there they are. The endtable has a face. The mirror has a face. Two faces, now. Each of the four walls, the ceiling, the floor smile back at him. He examines his glasses. There is a tiny smiling face on the bridge, between the lenses.

Everything has a face. Everything that didn’t have a face already. Through his smiling window he sees happy buildings, distant, smiling mountains. The street has a face, one for each block. Trees, cars, public telephones, newspaper boxes, hydrants, signs, streetlamps. The people down on the street have faces. Their regular faces. They also have faces on each article of clothing, on the taut curve of an umbrella in the hand of a woman who hasn’t noticed it’s stopped raining. High above, the gray clouds have wispy, dreamlike smiles.

None of the people seem especially surprised by the faces.

He turns to look once more at his own room, and his eyes settle again on the bed. The bed grins a toothy grin. It seems really jazzed to have him looking at it so much.

“Can you talk?” he asks. The bed doesn’t say anything. It winks but it doesn’t say anything.