Alan Cedeno

This is Alan Cedeno, and I kinda love it.

You Must Be This Tall...

I have to admit, this is pretty exciting...*

My story "Especially Roosevelt," which appeared last April in The Sun, has been reprinted in You Must Be This Tall To Ride: Contemporary Writers Take You Inside the Story, edited by B.J. Hollars, and available now from Writers Digest Books.

It's an anthology of coming-of-age tales (loosely defined, especially considering my addition to the volume), supplemented by both craft essays about the stories and writing exercises written by the authors themselves. Imagine those little essays that accompany the bios in the Best American Short Stories series, only more extensive.

I worked on my craft essay and writing exercise last year at about this time, and though I knew that the book was eventually going to happen, it seemed like a long way off, like something I may not even live to see. But then, a few weeks ago, it showed up at my house via FedEx, and I could just, like, hold the thing in my hands.

For the past year, whenever I mentioned the anthology to people, I said something like, "The line-up is pretty sick. It's got all these great writers--and Chad Simpson." It always sounded merely self-deprecating, I knew, but I never meant it that way at all. I mean, have a look at the authors:

Steve Almond

Aimee Bender

Kate Bernheimer

Ryan Boudinot

Judy Budnitz

Dan Chaon

Brock Clarke

Michael Czyzniejewski

Stuart Dybek

Michael Martone

Antonya Nelson

Peter Orner

Jack Pendarvis

Benjamin Percy

Andrew Porter

Chad Simpson

George Singleton

Brady Udall

Laura van den Berg

Ryan Van Meter

Now you know what I'm talking about, no? Huge thanks to B.J. for asking me to be a part of this/allowing me to be the mutt amid a bunch of, um, pure-breads?

B.J.'s been doing what he can to give the book a proper launch. He's started a Facebook page, which you should all join, right now. And he also has a website, which looks like it's also going to be an online journal, as B.J. is accepting submissions of coming-of-age stories as I type. Head on over there, please. Maybe even think about submitting something.

*even for a guy who claims most of the time to enjoy the feeling he gets after spending a few hours writing to the feeling he gets when he receives any sort of external validation for the stuff he has written...but, hey, this is the first time anything I've written has appeared in an actual book, so I guess I'm allowing myself to get a little excited.


A little more...

from Keyhole:

They posted some very cool little stories by Sherrie Flick recently, which are definitely worth checking out. I loved Flick's I Call This Flirting, and am looking forward to her novel, which I need to order soon.

They also recently published this, by my pal Jamie Iredell.

I was excited and humbled, too, today to discover that Dan Wickett gave some attention to "Two Weeks and One Day," my Keyhole story. You can read what he had to say here.

As an aside: If you haven't been following Dan's coverage of Short Story Month, it might be worth your time. He's been saying all kinds of smart things about all kinds of great stories, and I'm grateful to him not just for having a look-see at my little story but for taking the time in general to discuss and promote short fiction.

If you're reading this and asking yourself, "What's Short Story Month?" then I implore you to head over Dan's way now, and you will have all your answers, as his coverage has been pretty exhaustive. Read what he has to say and then see where all his links take you. It'll be worth it; I promise.



I have a little story over at Keyhole Magazine in their May 2009 Keyhole Digest. Here is Peter Cole, on what he's doing:

Keyhole Digest is a monthly printout, distributed for free in Nashville. Each month we'll fit as many stories and poems as possible onto a single sheet of paper, fold it into thirds, and hand it out...Feel free to print, fold, and hand them out yourself, wherever you are.

I printed a few copies this morning and folded them up and put them out on the coffee table outside my office at school. I'm going to distribute a few more around campus later this week. If you're so inclined, I think you should follow Peter's advice and do the same. You could maybe even leave a note here about where you dropped your pamphlets off...

Is that too much to ask? I don't know; maybe it is.

At any rate: Much thanks to Peter & Keyhole Magazine for having me.


The Lonely Voice

And speaking of The Rumpus...

Most of the people who come around here frequent that place, no?

I hope so.

It really is one of my favorite sites to peruse, and I'm grateful to Stephen Elliott et. al. for the work that they do.

My favorite recent feature: Peter Orner is writing a column called "The Lonely Voice" about short stories. I've read three of the columns so far, and each one has twisted my little brain in just the right way. I can't wait to read the stories he's been talking about and then revisit what he had to say about them.

I also loved Dan Chaon's fairly recent tribute to his wife Sheila. It's honest and smart and heartbreaking and just about perfect.

About "The Lonely Voice"...

There are lots of people around the interwebs lately celebrating short story month, which is great, but I can't help but think that "The Lonely Voice" is the perfect title for a column about short stories. Since November, my agent has been shopping my collection around to the "big" houses, and while it's all been mostly positive, I can't help but think about the loneliness of it all.

Maybe sometime soon I'll contribute to the short story month discussion by posting excerpts of a couple of my rejections. It's not the kind of thing I would normally do around here, but it seems, right now, appropriate in some way.


Two Girls Arguing - Found Magazine

I saw this recently over at The Rumpus and had to put it up here.

Oh, man.

So funny.


"Totally crossed out"*

My main man...my brotha from anotha motha...my bromance...

Eugene Cross published two stories in the fairly recent past, and I have not yet sent you all his way.

Until now, of course:

"Loyalty" is up at Guernica


"The Brother" is over at Narrative Magazine

Narrative, of course, requires you to sign up, but if you haven't done it yet...it's free, and though the emails they'll send you can get a wee bit annoying, gaining access to the work they publish makes it all worth it, I think.

*Are the Kriss Kross lyrics a little dorky here?

Umm, I'm thinking, 'Yes.'



One of my colleagues asked me recently when I was going to update this blog. My response: As with writing, it's really easy not to blog.

I used to have some kind of unstated imperative that I would update this thing at least once a month, mostly because the links to my archives appear on the side, and I hate to see a missing month. Blame it on OCD. But once I realized that there wasn't going to be anything for January, it was soooo easy to go ahead and skip February, March and April.

That said, I'm going to do my best to keep this thing a little more active than it's been.

To begin:

Frigg Magazine

Their latest issue is devoted to micro fiction, and it's a real gem. Next year, I'm going to be teaching an entire course devoted to flash fiction, and I think I may end up beginning with this issue, particularly because I think what each writer has to say about micro fiction could be a nice jumping-off spot for a lot of our discussions.

My immediate recommendation from Frigg: Scott Garson

Here's his one-sentence story, "Chorus":

What I want to know is if I can decode what you said when you did what you did to me, baby.

Man, I love that. The "baby" tacked on to the end feels pretty perfect to me.

Really, go and check out the rest of the issue now.