While the final details of One Thousand Owls Behind Your Chest click together in advance of the book’s December 15th release, a few other no-less-important events from these past couple weeks deserve a moment’s highlighting.
Exhibits houses an eclectic group of characters featuring drug addicts, Gods, and fallen rock stars inhabiting the same space. There’s bedbugs, S&M, and a shape shifting dinosaur. There’s excess and poverty, love and hate, and a well-meaning apocalypse for good measure.
Exhibits also features my short story “Dummy,” an excerpt of which can be read here.
And finally, maybe now is as good a time as any to release the first book trailer for One Thousand Owls Behind Your Chest. Try not to get too creeped-out.
A trans youth seeking mythic answers from a corpse. An autistic boy combing a collective farm for his sister. A homeless man yearning for anyone to protect. From a normalized dystopian future to the ever-impossible now, Pushcart Prize-winning author Douglas W. Milliken’s One Thousand Owls Behind Your Chest searches the borderland where the terror of human confusion confronts the babbling chaos of the Nature Without, where alienation fingers the braille surface of connection, where violence digs its nails into compassion.
Due out December 15th, 2016 through Beyond Repair / Wooden Leg Print & Press.
The New Haven Review, who previously published my story “James Taylor v. the King” (a 2015 Maine Literary Award finalist), included my story “Possum & Glue” in its freshly-minted 18th issue. The story, created as part of Space Gallery’s Goods + Services show, was written for MWPA member Elizabeth De Wolfe. The new issue of the NHR can be ordered here or downloaded as a free PDF here.
Early in September, I had the pleasure of recording a reading and interview with the folks at The Other Stories for their monthly podcast. That episode—featuring my recitation of the story “The Happiest Place on Earth” (originally published in the Word Portland anthology BE WILDER) and our consequent discussion on the story’s genesis and surreal imagery, as well as my constant sense of discomfort in the world—can now be streamed for free from The Other Stories‘ archive. Thank you for listening, and be on the lookout for a resurgence in publishing activity, including new stories in a handful of journals and a brand new chapbook of stories out this coming December (more on that soon).
A brief recap of the past several weeks’ publications, at home and abroad.
“Dummy” was written during a fellowship with the I-Park Foundation in December, 2012. “Pretty” was written during a fellowship with the Hewnoaks Artists Colony in July, 2013.
Overwhelming is the only word to describe these past few vernal weeks. A lot of this emotional ride is not worth going into. But maybe this pithy list can sum up what the May of 2016 had in store.
These three bullet points do not even come close to demonstrating the depth and stagger of my joy and gratitude. I love all of these stories. From haunted farmlands to the inscrutable middle of our continent. I’m very proud to have them out there in the world, continuing to have lives beyond my knowledge.
Praise for CREAM RIVER
“I believe Doug Milliken has a firm grasp of life’s little traumas. He takes his chunk of loving meat and hangs it from a butcher’s hook on display for the world to read.”
—from the foreword by Ben Trickey, singer/songwriter
“Cream River [...] is still on my mind, as if its characters were hanging around in the dark shadows of my consciousness. [...] I was blown away by “Color Wheel.” I also loved how the stories had a series of sometimes evident and sometimes subterranean connections that became especially intriguing as the cycle approached its end. I highly recommend reading Cream River.”
—Jonathan Weisberg, The Stoneslide Corrective
"I loved every story, every word."
—Erin Sprinkle, singer/songwriter
Praise for TO SLEEP AS ANIMALS
“[...] it is impossible not to be the weird kid in Milliken's Reno. To Sleep as Animals is a mystery about characters succumbing to their spaces, how such a rugged landscape sustains so many strange and dangerous lives.”
“A disturbance of a very specific flavor [...] Milliken's writing is urgent yet finely considered—a literate pleasure.”
—Carl Skoggard, translator of Walter Benjamin's Berlin Childhood circa 1900.
“A distinctive and often vertiginously frightening psychological landscape [...] bracingly disturbing.”
—Megan Grumbling, author of Persephone in the Late Anthropocene.
Praise for BRAND NEW MOON
“These stories [...] glow with some sort of holy light, as if every moment were magic, like footage of your family picnic on super 8.”
—The Portland Phoenix
“Seriously the funniest thing I have ever read. I was laughing so much that [my wife] yelled at me. Probably because she was sleeping. And it was 2 AM.”
—Derek Kimball, Last House Productions
Praise for WHITE HORSES
“Douglas W. Milliken takes his time unveiling the savoring of the moment in a narrative of extremely gracious intimacy. The dignified personal. Expert surreal grounded prose. Pragmatic poetics that serve the whole. This man is a master of simile. And it never gets old because the associations are always complex and unexpected. Worked accuracy but seamlessly so. Wow throughout the heartbreaking sensuality. Its core a felled forest of need. The title story, ‘White Horses,’ cannot be improved, which is another way of saying it is perfect.”
—Melody Sumner Carnahan, co-founder of Burning Books.