Late Night Library

Rookie Report

Felix winces as he twists his back from side to side. “Even with the drawers out, this thing’s heavy as a moose carcass. About as much fun to move as one, too.”

“Don’t be insulting my furnishings. My grandfather made this, back when furniture and everything else was built to last.”

Felix shakes his head from side to side. “Let me give you some Tlingit wisdom, pal. Nothing we build is meant to last forever. It’s the nature of the universe to let things fall apart.”

I slump my back against the wall. “That explains why you guys let that old totem pole village over on Little Sukoi Island keep rotting away. It’s a damn shame. Your great-grandfathers spent who knows how long carving and erecting those totems and now they’re just toppling over and sliding right into Frederick Sound. Every time I sail by there, it’s oops, there goes bear-man, oops, there goes wolf cub, there goes killer whale. All under the water.”

Felix shrugs. “Where else should a whale go? There’s no use fighting the whole death, decay, and regeneration thing.”

“I’ll be sure to quote you the next time I see Muskeg in Dottie’s House of Beauty getting her hair colored.”

-Excerpt from The Gods of Second Chances.


Late Night Library: Summarize your book in 10 words or fewer.

Dan Berne: Superstitious Alaskan fisherman struggles with prodigal daughter and own shortcomings.

The Gods of Second ChancesLNL: If this book were the lovechild of two others, who are its parents?

DB: Winterkill by Craig Lesley and Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

LNL: What ingredients go into the recipe of your writing style?

DB: 2 pounds of strong characters, roasted slowly; 3 cups of liquid narrative arc, seasoned well with unexpected twists; 2 cups landscape stock; 1/4 cup varietal voices; and a large bed of language leaves.

LNL: Name one book you wish you could read again for the first time.

DB: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.

LNL: Answer a question you wish people would ask you about writing.

DB: Is writing your work or your passion? It’s both. I’ve not made a living from writing and probably won’t, unless someone makes a blockbuster movie from my book (call me). I am passionate about writing. I write because I must. I love language. At the same time, it’s work. It’s not something you do “when the muse strikes.” You sit down and write. In my case, I write in the early morning and on long plane rides. I often stare at a blank page for awhile, but I make myself hit the keys and write. If it’s bad, at least I’m moving forward, and I can learn from my mistakes. I can turn around when I’ve gone down a blind alley. But I love, love, love when I’ve gotten a sentence or description just right.

Get a copy of The Gods of Second Chances at IndieBound.

Dan BerneDan has been an active member of a select writing workshop led by author Karen Karbo for ten years. His short stories and poetry have been published in literary magazines and has won a literary award from the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. Dan owns a market strategy consultancy and is currently writing a book on market transformation. He lives with his wife Aliza in Portland, Oregon. The Gods of Second Chances is his debut novel.


Thanksgiving

3 bags of pork rinds,
6 cans of warm Pepsi,
18 mentholated cough drops,
a couple of HoHo’s, a DingDong,
2 and a half packs of Marlboros,

and Dee from Louisville
pressing her elbow into my ribs,
talking her hysterectomy,
her 13 year old gone on birth control,
her 16 year old thrown in a Boy’s Home
south of Memphis for stripping butt naked
and flipping off God on top of the county library,
the 3 men who’ve beat her,
her 1 cup coffee maker,
and the turkey dinner
she’s packed in her suitcase, all boxed up,
so the jackasses won’t crush it.

We talk about the stars
‘cause I don’t get many where I come from,
and she teaches me a song about bumblebees.

Waking up alone’s the hard part,
we agree till Nashville rises,
sticking up sore-thumb style on the horizon,
and a man without flowers awaits my arrival.

Yesterday I could almost love him,
could almost hear him breathing,
but today, I’m afraid,
my ass isn’t the only thing gone numb
above the roar of white walled, greyhound tires.

So we sit at the Waffle House,
careful not to touch for fear of nothing special—
coffee weak as rainwater,
jukebox blaring Blue Christmas.

-Excerpt from Super Loop


Late Night Library: Summarize your book in 10 words or fewer.

Nicole Callihan : Carnie-girl hightails out of Cackalacky; cries mamma on NY streets.

SuperLoop CoverLNL: If this book were the lovechild of two others, who are its parents?

NC: My mother & Philip Seymour Hoffman. Or a friend said, sweetly, Richard Brautigan & Sylvia Plath. Or, dreamily, John Berger & Winnie the Pooh.

LNL: What ingredients go into the recipe of your writing style?

NC: A couple of dingdongs-cum-brulees, ho-hos-cum-oysters, red snow cones-cum-fine red wine: it’s a sort of coming of age tale.

LNL: Name one book you wish you could read again for the first time.

NC: Mrs. Dalloway. I want to barely understand that she’ll buy those flowers herself.

LNL: Answer a question you wish people would ask you about writing.

NC: I’m not sure what the question is but I know that the answer is that I’m afraid what would happen if I didn’t.

Get a copy of SuperLoop.

Nicole CallihanNicole Callihan writes poems, stories, and essays. Her books include the 2012 nonfiction Henry River Mill Village, a documentation of the rise and fall of a tiny mill village turned ghost town in North Carolina, which she co-wrote with Ruby Young Keller, as well as, SuperLoop, a collection of poems published by Sock Monkey Press in early 2014. Following her February 20 launch at NYC’s Poets House, she’ll be touring the south and the Midwest. Find out more at www.nicolecallihan.com.

Posted on: February 28, 2014 · Blog, Rookie Report ·Tags: , , , , , , .

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