HE NO LONGER WONDERED WHERE TO LAY DOWN BLAME or whose was the responsibility or what the responsibility was. Her body, finished with its rage, had settled in the cancer the way one slips into a tub in a dark bathroom, into hot water, and soon the skin is no longer a barrier, an integrity and definition; one becomes part of the water, the cancer. The skin goes in the way the breath does, out like a ripple of the
...appears in New World Writing:
You worry about the eye, the microphone in it that gathers and transmits daughter sounds. Her infant coos, the soft rustle, cry, unrecoverable gasp—the dread deep stillness. Every day with her in your new life is a scratch of light in some future impenetrable darkness. You and this little plastic receiver downstairs, the monitor the size and shape of a bar of soap, navigating invisible extremes, soaking up the impulses of her room. As if
I'll be reading at two journal release parties within the next couple of weeks.
Tuesday, April 26 at 7pm, it's the No Tokens Journal Issue 5 Release Party at the Center for Fiction.
Friday, April 22 at 7pm, it's the LUMINA VOL. XV's official launch at the Joan Mitchell Foundation, and
—for mentioning me in your Largehearted Boy Book Notes:
.... [David Ryan] is a top-tier writer of short stories, and he's spent the last twenty years wrestling with questions of intention and form. Ryan's fiction borders on experimental; however, unlike so many who play with form, he's not wacky, being absurd for the sake of absurdity, or using his ventures as an excuse to avoid psychological depth. Ryan is more in the lineage of Barry Hannah, or Denis Johnson:More+
Looking forward to reading tomorrow at the opening reception of Truppe Fledermaus, featuring work by Nicholas Kahn & Richard Selesnick at New England College Art Gallery in Henniker, New Hampshire.
Thanks to the Connecticut Post's new Sunday Magazine, S, for featuring a couple of my stories from Animals in Motion.
Thanks to New England College for awarding me this year's Elizabeth Yates McGreal Writer in Residence fellowship, and for putting me up in such generous fashion. The residency has been so gratifying.
Looking very much forward to this show by Susan Breen at Woodward Gallery on the Lower East Side, March 14th.
For your thoughtful Friday Reads review of Animals in Motion!More+
Thanks to Arcadia Magazine and Kevin Zambrano:
"....I know it can be a bit trite to call a piece of writing “dreamlike.” The word’s often used as an ingratiating stand-in for “weird” or “confusing.” But Animals in Motion mines the unconscious. The inner and outer world of his characters bleed together, like a watercolor landscape. His stories aren’t so much about anything, the same way dreams aren’t about anything, exactly. They are things themselves, mysterious even to the dreamer.
This upcoming Thursday (December 11th) I'm reading with Brian Morton at Newtonville Books. The bookstore will be selling limited edition hardcover copies of my collection there, too.More+
My post about writers who've influenced me--up at The Story Prize's blog.More+
New fiction up at Electric Literature's Recommended Reading section:
"...The carp floated docile and monstrous and common, and if they'd been capable of rage, they might have pushed the tank over by force, tumbling out in a riot of murk and day-glo baubles—the deep sea divers and livid corals, the sunken ships and treasure chests, all the smaller fish twitching their lurid rainbow over the dirty burgundy carpet. But every time I looked into the aquarium, these carp onlyMore+
7 PM, this upcoming Wednesday night (10/08), I'll join Justin Taylor and Brian Morton in a reading at WORD Bookstore — 126 Franklin Street, Brooklyn.More+
...who were kind enough to give me a grant a few years ago, and to more recently feature me in their Artist Spotlight.More+
Rick Moody was kind enough to interview me for The Believer's Logger blog.More+
Kirkus (starred): A debut collection of stories—one of the best in recent memory—that finds psychological acuity within characters who are unreflective or even impenetrable.
Ryan (Writing/Sarah Lawrence) has plainly been honing his craft, because the 13 tales here are the work of a writer who knows exactly what he’s doing—and challenges the reader to figure out how he’s doing it. Not that the stories are difficult or experimental, but they often seem to begin at a point where nothingMore+
6 PM, this upcoming Monday night (6/29), I'll join Rachel Pastan, Jackie Corley, and Susie Merrell in a series hosted by V. Hansmann at the Cornelia Street Café in NYC.
More info here.
The Cornelia Street Café
29 Cornelia Street
Booklist on Animals in Motion: "... Ryan’s prose is precise, often blunt, and always evocative. The conceits for his stories are very original and never predictable. Some of the stories border on being dreamlike, while others are purely realistic, but always any definitive conclusions hover just out of reach, close enough to savor through multiple reads. This book is a great choice for any lover of well-written stories."More+
I'll be reading this Wednesday night at the Center for Fiction in mid-town Manhattan at 7pm, after which Rick Moody and I will hang out and talk. I'll be signing books when the talk is talked, and there will be wine. I'm also bringing a special ink pad and rubber stamp of the deer from the cover, so the signed books will be a little bit different.
SPD Fiction Bestsellers
July & August 2014
"There is not a word wasted in this powerful debut collection. I think that David Ryan has set a course that will influence many other writers, anyone who values language that is taut and precise, characters whose response to their ruin is, in effect, 'Bring it on,' and important concerns that claim a reader's attention in the most persuasive ways possible."
"From the first page of ANIMALS IN MOTION one is immersed in the precisionist’s world, filled with
I'm reading with an extraordinary lineup this Saturday, August 16, at Art Market Provincetown. If you're in the area, come by!More+
Publishers Weekly review of Animals in Motion out tomorrow: "...Ryan’s collection triumphs as a spiritual and cerebral journey through oft-ignored parts of the human—and animal—psyche."
Full review here.More+
Reading tomorrow night, July 29th at my favorite bookstore, Newtonville Books, with Celeste Ng. If you're in the Boston area come by.
More info here.More+
Buy it here.
Or visit them in NYC:
The Mysterious Bookshop
58 Warren Street
New York, NY 10007
See my post below for additional options. . . .More+
My story collection Animals in Motion is officially available as of today. Which means—
YOU CAN BUY IT:
Direct, from Small Press Distributors.
Bookstores can order from SPD, HERE.
You can also have your library get it for you from Brent Cunningham at SPD.More+
Great news: Esquire's digital edition has just published "Security," one of the stories from my new collection, Animals in Motion, this week. It's behind a paywall but it's available to subscribers through Esquire Weekly.More+
Thanks to Eric Forbes for adding Animals in Motionbook addict's guide to good books: July 2014 Highlights!More+
For including me in their Best New Fiction: July 2014 preview of Animals in Motion.More+
He was in his twenties and his hands were slick with blood. Then a nurse was wiping them with a cloth and they became a faded pinking, stuck in the air, his arms bent at the elbow for no reason, flapping a little. For no reason. Not flapping. Turning at the wrist, like a sock-puppet show stripped naked and scalded, doing a little dumb show over the prone body on the table. He was a body on a table. WeightMore+
Thanks to Booth for including my short story "State Forests" in its list of Pushcart nominations this year. Wonderful news!
Barn's burnt down—
I can see the moon.
Pleased to have my short story, "The Canyon" among such good company in FENCE's latest.
The way the word sinks into the deep snow of the page.
The dead deer lying in the clearing,
its head and antlers transparent.
The black seed in its brain
parachuting toward earth.
Four frogs lived in a barn. A wall came and said, "I don't want to get eating." The frogs' names were Ham, Snam, Slam, and Pam. And then Tammo--a horse--came. He said: "I want beans!" And the frogs said, "We don't have any! We don't have any! We don't have any!"
A merry go round put a flower on her dress. It's a beautiful day out there so we might want to go for a walk, Daddy.More+
Through Tuesday, 11 A.M., the shops are locked.
You try the meat store. Only the muffled buzz
of a fly inside. You rattle the glass
of the drugstore, yelling "I have a prescription."
A 40-watt bulb burns over the soda fountain.
You think, when you find no one around, if really
the town is empty, wind should be blowing.
Sun presses the buildings down. Birds
on the street seem to be resting enroute.
You break into a dress shop and
1. Never approach short stories one at a time. If one approaches short stories one at a time, one can quite honestly be writing the same short story until the day one dies.
2. It is best to write short stories three or five at a time. If one has the energy, write them nine or fifteen at a time.
A medical assistantship consists of more than spectating at complicated bowel operations, cutting open stomach linings, bracketing off lungs, and sawing off feet; and it doesn't just consist of thumbing closed the eyes of the dead, and hauling babies out into the world either. An assistantship is not just tossing limbs and parts of limbs over your shoulder into an enamel bucket. Nor does it just consist of trotting along behind the registrar and the assistant and the assistant's assistant,More+
The terrible secret about short stories is that they are made of language. Entirely. Nothing else goes into them. They might be plausible or implausible, but they are always invented actions created for our interior. Yet we are still more comfortable discussing a story's imagery. Discussions of language can render us mute. Stories are language-made hallucinations, fabrications that persuade us to believe in them for their duration. They happen on the inside and we can keep them secret. ButMore+
God bless Henry. He lived like a rat,
with a thatch of hair on his head
in the beginning.
Henry was not a coward. Much.
He never deserted anything; instead
he stuck, when things like pity were thinning.
So may be Henry was a human being.
Let's investigate that.
. . . We did; okay.
He is a human American man.
That's true. My lass is braking.
My brass is aching. Corne & diminish me, & map my way.
The obsession with transition negates a basic truth
A magical truth.
you can get anywhere from anywhere,
Always and almost instantly.
The gap between sentences is sometimes a pause for
And sometimes an echoing void.
And if you can get anywhere from anywhere,
You can start anywhere
And end anywhere.
There is no single necessary order.
h/t to Erin Lyons!More+
They'd left a slice of bread on the stone.
The bird stood there; he pecked at it. The crone came back:
"I didn't leave that for you," she told the bird. She took the bread,
crumbled it up finely, scattered the crumbs for the bird.
The bird looked at her square in the eyes; he didn't eat.
Half a glass of water on the table. All around him,
gathered up silently, melancholy things:
Trees at night are like an army marching. I came across the car on its side across the road. It stretched from bank to bank like the stump of a tree uprooted.
I had been coming down the road with my torch making a circle on the gravel. The underneath of the car was towards me mottled with drops of earth like rain. I climbed on the side of the car. My torch reappeared beneath me like a clock withMore+
I have a post about my story "The Man with the Boat" here.More+
Lily stood in hat and coat by kitchen window quickly cutting stairs of bread. When she had a stack of these by her she reached to tin of beef that was by the loaf and in stretching she raised head and saw man in garden next theirs digging in his garden. Behind him was line of chimney pots, for next street to theirs in that direction was beneath, hidden by swell of gardens back of their street. This man, then,More+
My autofiction project added here.More+
There were two voices that were louder than the others. At night when the red light was out in the hall and there was someone sitting in a chair in front of the door clearing her throat at intervals there would be the voices far down the hall mingling with sobs and shouts and the drones of those who were beginning to sleep. It was cold and she shivered under the blankets. She cried out that she was cold andMore+
Aquarius is poor. Sagittarius is poor. Virgo is a Barren Sign, it will produce no growth. The first day the Moon is in a Sign is better than the second and the second better than the third. Seed planted when the Earth is in Leo, which is a Barren, Fiery Sign, will die, as it is favorable only to the destruction of noxious growth. Trim no trees or vines when the Moon or Earth is in Leo. ForMore+