Saturday, March 28, 2009

Only one of many potential endings

You have been teaching at a boys’ school for three years. You teach geometry. You describe circles and points and parallel lines. The boys like you because you have a boy’s smile. You draw circles on the board with vigor, using your forearm as the circle’s diameter. You execute the circle rapidly, with manic speed, supposing that your diameter might be less affected by human error if you describe its bounds as quickly as possible.
The effort makes your blond hair come loose and cling to the inspired damp on your forehead.

Despite your best efforts the circles you perform are always imperfect. This makes you sad. And as the inconsistent curvature of your formal circles persists your sleep has become similarly arduous. Your sadness has been deepening. You are disappointed in your lack of improvement.

One day you catch Simon Dobbs with a Playboy during an exam. You take the magazine away without saying anything; the room continues to scribble in the interim, furtive and beady eyes peering up to discover consequence. Your pupils scratch bare lead on paper. You remain impassive, flipping through the glossy pages of April, and turning the magazine for appraisal when perpendicularity demands. now you think of chicks. The bell rings and the boys shuffle toward the door, dropping tests on your desk before making their way outside.

You cough. Your cough is an ice breaker. “Mr. Dobbs, I’d like to speak with you a moment if you wouldn’t mind.”

Simon Dobbs puts his test on the desk. He is staring at the ground with hot cheeks.

“Look at me.”


“You must keep these two things separate. This is geometry,” you point to the circle you had described. For a moment its imperfections distract. You blink. “This is geometry,” you say again, pointing this time to the desk. “Geometry is not to be muddled by this.” You put the Playboy on the desk in front of the boy. “Vice versa. Do you understand? Vice Versa.”

“You don’t. You don’t understand yet, but,” you shrug boyishly, “maybe you will. I bet you might.”

“I hope so,” says Dobbs.

“You will. Here,” you gesture to the glossy. “It’s yours. Take it.” As an afterthought, you add, “I really like that spread. I thought it was pretty good.”


Friday, January 30, 2009

Lust and Emphemera

The following items were inserted into a limited number of copies of the first edition of Lust and Cashmere.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Lust and Cashmere is a Bookslut

Sashi Bhat of Bookslut had some really nice things to say about Lust and Cashmere.

For my birthday, you can order me a copy of Lust & Cashmere by A. E. Simns, newly released by Green Lantern Press. It combines all three of my favorite things: choose your own adventure stories, silk screening, and beautiful sweaters. Lust is okay, too. Caroline Picard, Director of Green Lantern, talks about the book’s creation:

The design of the book:

Jason Bacasa designed the layout of the book. He does the layout for all of the Green Lantern publications. I know he was really interested in using the original choose your own adventure books as a launching platform for the design. At the same time, because there are different forms of fiction in the book, he had to modify that source material. The design reflects the structure of the book; it begins with a short story -- what is in some way the real meat of the text, as it provides the context for the rest -- laying the groundwork for the "game" of the choose your own adventure in part two. To that end, Jason didn't want to make it exactly like a choose your own adventure (i.e. with bold numbers in the upper right hand corner) but to offer enough of a feel so that as the reader began to digest the first part, or "Introduction," the reader would recall, even vaguely, the anticipation of page turning and choice: a shadow of childhood.

Read more.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

About Lust and Cashmere

Things can happen when a man falls in love with a sweater. This book is about an unrequited love limited to self-imposed doctrines of propriety. Any number of intellectual conclusions can be drawn, but even the most serious will have to negotiate the gutter, which plagues Jon McManus and eventually the reader. It is divided in three parts, beginning with a Cinderella story. The first part is a straightforward narrative, the second a play of absurd humor and the third a choose your own adventure.