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Davis Schneiderman DAVIS SCHNEIDERMAN is a multimedia writer and scholar whose works include the novel Drain (TriQuarterly/Northwestern); the DEAD/BOOKS trilogy (Jaded Ibis), including the blank novel, Blank: a novel, with audio from Dj Spooky, and the forthcoming [SIC] (Fall 2013), with images from Andi Olsen and audio from Illegal Arts acts Oh Astro, Steinski, Yea Big, and Girl Talk; and the audiocollage Memorials to Future Catastrophes (Jaded Ibis). His co-edited collections include Retaking the Universe: Williams S. Burroughs in the Age of Globalization (Pluto) and The Exquisite Corpse: Chance and Collaboration in Surrealism's Parlor Game (Nebraska, 2009); and The &NOW AWARDS: The Best Innovative Writing (vols. 1 and 2). Schneiderman's work has appeared in numerous publications including Fiction International, The Chicago Tribune, The Iowa Review, TriQuarterly, and Exquisite Corpse; he blogs for The Huffington Post and is a Contributing Editor for The Nervous Breakdown. He is the Director of Lake Forest College Press/&NOW Books and Incoming Associate Dean of the Faculty and Director of the Center for Chicago Programs at Lake Forest College. He can be found, virtually, at davisschneiderman.com

Recent Work By Davis Schneiderman

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Bookslut Managing Editor Charles Blackstone is a writer-about town.

The town is Chicago. It’s toddlin’, as you know, and I imagine Charles eating long lunches in the patio seating of River North restaurants, sampling the delicate cheeses available in our bountiful Midwest, and later watching the sunset stream over west town from his window with the satisfaction of knowing that it is all being well done, and done well. I’ve lunched with Charles on the patio, performed with him now and again over the years, and have come to admire the apparent effortlessness he uses to approach the literary life.

He was kind enough to submit to a conversation below, where we talk about oh-so-many things. Enjoy!

Janice LeeJanice Lee is one of the more interesting writers I know. Period. And here is our conversation on her new book Damnation (Penny Ante Editions)contemporary literature, and the expectations of “identity” from the readers, editors, and publishers.

2.20.13.news.leadingvoiceslecture

Jeff Selingo’s new book, College Unbound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students (New Harvest, 2013), finds the editor at large for the Chronicle of Higher Education articulating the challenges to contemporary higher education. He also explores possible new directions for a future in which learning may well be unbundled from many of its traditional structures.

I interviewed Selingo and published a short version of our conversation at the Huffington Post under the title “When the Jobs of Tomorrow Don’t Exist Today: Jeff Selingo on College, Liberal Arts, and the Possible Future.” Here, I let the conversation expand to its full flowering, and then move at its close to issues of contemporary publishing.

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R. Clifton Spargo knows how to find the un-findable.

When confronted by the great absence in the late portion of doomed jazz age/literary power couple F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s mad and troubled romance—their undocumented trip to Cuba—he did what any debut novelist with enough gumption to change careers would do: he fabricated (and went to Cuba himself), with style and perceptive nuance.

photo+-+MakkaiIn her essay “Other Types of Poison” (in the July issue of Harper’s, released mid-June) novelist and short-story writer Rebecca Makkai explores the legacy of her Hungarian grandparents—well-known leftist Hungarian novelist Rozsa Ignacz, and her divorced husband, Janos Makkai, principal parliamentary author and proponent of Hungary’s infamous Second Jewish Law of 1939.

I talked with writer Alexandra Chasin about her project Writing On It All on Governors Island, in New York Harbor (about three minutes from both Manhattan and Brooklyn by ferry).

From June 15 to June 30, artists, writers, and interested members of the public will collaborate in a series of unusual writing activities in an out-of-use house on the island.

Move the mouse or scroll your iPad screen to the space at the close of Amazon.com “Editorial Reviews” section for Daniel Levin Becker’s excellent Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature (Harvard UP 2012).

There, you’ll find a repetition of the “Book Description,” from earlier in the page, now inflected with all-too-common Amazon character errors:

The youngest member of the Paris-based experimental collective Oulipo, Levin Becker tells the story of one of literature’s quirkiest movements—and the personal quest that led him to seek out like-minded writers, artists, and scientists who are obsessed with language and games, and who embrace formal constraints to achieve literature’s potential.

“’s” is html code for a right singly quote, and “&mdash,” of course, is the em dash (—). These reverse-engineered impregnations of the Descrption are certainly errors, but also candy-store windows for those who take a sly delight in the structural underpinning of how words on a web page may be “put” there, so to speak, in the first place.

If remix culture—predicated on both intensified user interaction and a crowdsourcing ethic—offers any clues to the future of publishing Jeff, One Lonely Guy may just be the Starchild of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Put simply, this is a sui generis exploration of loneliness, alienation, and depression packaged and bound—a book that is neither novel nor memoir, neither familiar nor completely strange.

The black mountain goat.

The black mountain goat with white-trimmed ears.

The black mountain goat with white-trimmed ears rose vertically.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.

Dear iPad user;

iDrain Productions is pleased to announce our suite of new applications: iBlank from iDrain

iBlank has been fully optimized for the Apple iPad2 and will arrive like a blitzkrieg of futurity, a torpedo of truth, a laser beam of luminescence…at the App Store on the day after tomorrow.

iBlank. iBlank. iBlank.

Improved over its gutter-licking and formless iPhone counterpart, this hot new app suite—iBlank—isn’t just for use at the places we know you frequent, the magazine rack at Walgreens, the 7-11 lottery counter, your kid’s soccer games in a half-hearted attempt to appear parental, and the lunch counter at the Addison, IL sex club. No, it can work wonders during your efficiency meetings or while you take in a lunchtime video porn-viewing session.

NOTE: This excerpt from BLANK by Davis Schneiderman has been truncated from the original to better fit this space.

Chapter 1:
A Character

 

 

 

 

 

Seriously, a blank novel?  This has got to be a joke.

We do destroy 200 books in the trailer, many with a chainsaw.

Yet, it’s not a joke. But it’s a damn funny one.

BLANK is not completely blank, really. The text contains 20 provocative chapter titles, listed in the front matter and then scattered throughout the book as the introduction to each chapter. These titles take the form or word strings such as “A Character,” “Another Character,” “They Meet,” etc.

William S. Burroughs has led me many places, including to John Waters.

And when Yony Leyser, director of the excellent documentary William S. Burroughs: A Man Within, suggested I invite John Waters to Lake Forest College, my first thought was, why hadn’t I come up with that?

1.Well, not really, but I have collected a quite large number of emails over the years as a function of my work as an editor, writer, and professor. On the rare occasion when I have a new book about to be released, I send out an email announcement.

2.I know, I know. How full of hubris! How can I get my big head through the motherboard?

Newsflash—we live in a completely mediated environment—a datascape of fulminating algorithms thick with the ugly remnants of human in/decision-making—our bombs are smart—our bombers are drones—our stock-market is a mass of computer-processors trading on the megascales that defy human logic—our regal game, chess, was downgraded to mere determinism by a series of what-were-increasingly-sophisticated computer programs—our vision of the cosmos comes through the intimations of cameras and rovers and satellites that send messages into the ether—our hospital patients are beeping, now, because the potassium IVbag has emptied and the nurses have been remotely notified and alerted—our robots are ready to vacuum the floors or report for hazardous chemical duty—our shopping preferences and Facebook “likes” are data mined to provide us with the best deals the fastest deals the deals we can’t miss.