Good morning. Are you sure you've found the real deal when you see it? I mean the Real Deal, in caps, or in quotes, or whatever punctuation is required to separate if from the rest? Friends, home-grown So Cal short story writer Jim Gavin is the R.D., though most everybody already knew that except, it seems, Mr. Bib, from The New Yorker to my friend novelist Victoria Patterson--who turned me on to his work--and ZYZZYVA editor Oscar Villalon--who raved about Gavin on NPR. So here I am, the Bibliofella-come-lately, with my repentant, over-eager if justifiably excited upper case of enthusiasm for his short story collection about our sad, psychic and geographic region of despair and difficult resignation to a paradise.
There's no real justification on this ostensibly Orange County literary-themed blog for me writing about the American poet Gregory Orr this morning except that the world is, thankfully, much larger than us, our region, our stories. And that I am feeling grateful, a bit humble after a week of some terrific communion with author-friends in the Southland, fellow teacher-writers whose shared mission, as is mine in these weekly reviews, rants or recollections, is literacy and democratic participation. And you can't say enough about Gregory Orr anyway, about whom some readers might welcome reminding, and others--already fans--could probably always use a little more Orr.
Another Sunday morning, another chance to celebrate the winner of a local writing competition and invite readers to a local publication celebration, on May Day, at UC Irvine.
Gold Line Press seems to be a project of another area school, USC, and the judge of its 2012 Competition in Fiction was Dana "Elsewhere, California" Johnson, of whom Mr. Bib is a big fan. A bit of serendipitous circumstantial pleasure it is then that she chose Alisa Slaughter, frequent contributor to Santa Monica Review, as this year's winner,
and that I hold in my hands Bad Habitats, a small, handsome chapbook of Ovidian short stories about local animals interacting with the Southern California human environment, in wry, sad, funny intellect and sociological topsy-turvy organized to remind us of our human species' own devastating, complicating, weird rearrangement of the natural world.
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