Monday, October 5, 2009

That's What I Like About the South

My new collection of short stories--UNDENIABLE TRUTHS--will be released November 1, and I can't deny that beneath my calm exterior there is an ember of excitement. No one could ask for an easier, more fun publishing experience than working with Carter Monroe and Rank Stranger Press. I still cannot figure out why a post-avant poet (Carter) would spend time and energy publishing a Deep South and rather conventional short story collection. Carter's own signature poetic persona is Billy Putrid: think Berryman's DREAM SONG narrator with a punk rock slant. I think of my own narrators--dog killers, forgetful ghosts, wistful country music musicians--and scratch my head. One thing is for sure: Carter can't walk a straight conversational line. If he calls to talk "business", before he is two sentences into the conversation, he will be telling me about the local North Carolina sausage he ate for breakfast. Or singing the lyrics to some obscure blues song. Carter has a great singing voice and is not shy about using it.

Carter attracts friends like a lost puppy. People would do anything for him, eager to jump on the bandwagon of his projects. This has worked to great advantage for me personally since his good friend Kristin Fouquet is not only a fine flash fiction writer but superb photographer. Kristin's photograph of a street musician is on the cover of UNDENIABLE TRUTHS. I could not have dreamt a better photo for the cover. If you are not familiar with Kristin's work, go to her website and look at a few samples.

I keep waiting for the first shoe to drop, not the second. I keep waiting for Carter to freak out, for the galleys to come back in some hierglyphic-looking font, the spacing suddenly wrong on every line. I keep waiting for something to be DIFFICULT. But with Carter as weatherman, directing the fronts, I don't think that's going to be the case. I think a hurricane could shoot on-shore in North Carolina, drop 50 inches of rain, float Main Street Rag's press out into the Atlantic, and Carter would think about it, laugh about it, and forget about it.

Carter Monroe has nothing to prove and no one to impress.

And maybe that's what I like about the South.


DeadMule said...

So very true.

Anonymous said...

Carter and Rank Stranger Press published my first (and favorite)chapbook. He has been my good friend ever since.

He even begins phone calls by singing a sample of some of his favorite tunes.

DB Cox

Aleathia Drehmer said...

Carter is wonderful to talk to and to work with. You always know where he stands and he is rarely apologetic about his place on things and that is refreshing. He is fine tuned in the art of conversation and one hell of a guy. Congrats to you on your new book.

Aleathia Drehmer

Kristin Fouquet said...

I'm proud to be Carter's friend and so pleased that you chose my photograph for your book. Take a deep breath; everything is going to go smoothly. Can't wait to read it.

Best wishes,

p.s.- Love his singing voice too!

Pris said...

I adore this man!

Aleathia Drehmer said...

More of Carter's and Kristin's handy work!

Shelley said...

Carter is a ttue and wonderful man.

M said...

I hope you'll be making a stop in Austin on your book tour. :-)

Jeanie Thompson said...

You may have an ember of excitement but I have a hunk of burning love for Carter Monroe's heroism in bringing the award-winning A.M. Garner into print in time for Christmas. Hold on world, you are about to have a good read for a change. A really good read.

San said...

Anita, this is SO exciting! I'm compiling a Christmas list of books by people I know. Looks like my list just got longer.