All You Folks in Heaven Not Too Busy Ringing the Bell

An incredible oral history of Jason Molina’s masterpiece, The Magnolia Electric Co. My favorite record ever. If you haven’t heard it, please go buy it right now. Here’s my Rumpus essay on the album from right after Molina passed away.

Other big Molina news: Didn’t It Rain is being reissued later this year. I was twenty-three, living in Austin, when I found it at 33 Degrees. It was my first Molina, and it changed things for me. I’d never heard an album that sounded so much like the way I felt. Can’t wait for this. 

Other stuff:

If you’re into e-books and against Amazon, you can now get Gravesend and other Broken River titles here.

My So-Called Life first aired twenty years ago this week. I was fifteen, a week away from being sixteen. I watched that first episode and never missed one the whole run. Taped them on VHS without commercials. I had Claire Danes’s picture up in my locker all junior year. One time my friend told me he was taking me to a party in the city and that she’d be there. I was heartbroken when it turned out to be bullshit. I still cry when I hear that goddamn Buffalo Tom song. I still have Sonnet 130 memorized. This is a good essay revisiting the show.

The entirety of the The Basement Tapes is being released soon.

Scorsese. The Ramones. Yes.

David Lynch does the Ice Bucket thing. Genius.

Here’s an essay I published in Trop back in February about Yusuf Hawkins, who was killed 25 years ago this past Saturday. All this time and the same shit keeps happening over and over in one form or another.

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“Pornography’s Pupil”

A few years ago, when I was reading for the Yalobusha Review, I got lucky one afternoon when I picked a story out of the stack called “Between Pissworth and Papich.” I was used to putting stories down after two or three pages, getting bored by them or losing track of what was going on, but this one took hold immediately. When I was done, I knew it was not only the best story I’d seen as a reader for the journal but the best story I’d read in recent memory. I was excited to pass it to my friends Burke and Anya (who was Fiction Editor at the time). They read it and had the same reaction. I think Anya accepted it for publication the same day or maybe the day after.

The writer of the story was a guy named Patrick Michael Finn. I tracked down his novella A Martyr for Suzy Kosasovich and loved it. A while after the story appeared in the YR, Patrick and I got to exchanging messages via Facebook. He sent me a copy of his newest book, the story collection From the Darkness Right Under Our Feet (a book you should go get now, if you don’t have it) and thanked me for rescuing “Between Pissworth and Papich” from six years of rejection. I couldn’t believe there were journals and magazines that had passed on such a perfect story. Patrick and I talked about other things: Catholicism, Barry Hannah, X, Hüsker Dü, Willy Vlautin. We had a hell of a lot in common.

Anyhow, all this to say: Patrick’s one of my favorite writers, and he’s got a beautiful personal essay, “Pornography’s Pupil,” up at Trop. Check it out here.

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