Tuesday, April 15, 2014

London -- The Museum

Me playing at The London Museum (making museums fun!)
For my birthday last week, we spent a long weekend in London. My love-hate relationship with Londinium goes way way back--not quite as far back as the name Londinium (AD 36) but almost, in fact to 1998 when we lived there and the roof collapsed on the house we were renting. London fulfilled all the clichés then: It rained every day the first month. The public transport was stupendously unreliable. I'd wait 30 minutes for a bus to come, then three would come at the same time. Tube stations would be closed when I needed to get to the airport quickly. The food was bland and fatty. But that was then; now that I know London much better, I find ways to circumvent the clichés.

A student in one of my classes a couple of months ago harped and harped on "bad British food". No matter what we talked about, she always came right back to "bad British food". She was so critical that I found myself taking up for my London--my sweet wonderful Lundenburh, as the Anglo-Saxons named it. You see, you can find great food in London; you just have to know how to avoid.that bad food. I assume my student was talking about the bland and fatty food. Since I have celiac disease, I can't eat meat pies, Scotch eggs, savoury and sweet puddings, scones or fish and chips anyway. These rich traditional favourites can be delicious--or so I've heard--but British cooking has come a long way since John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich supposedly asked to have his fatty meat put between two pieces of bread (so he could play cards while eating).


St Paul's Cathedral with Bus on My Birthday

If you want to find excellent food in London, take the Tube to Camden Town and browse the Camden Market. The food stalls there are a foodie's paradise. Sure, the food at Camden Market is international cuisine, but that's what London is all about. If you want a quick and healthy bite, pop into the supermarket section of Marks & Spencer for one of their salads. They have an incredible variety, and it's much cheaper to buy one of these salads than to have lunch in an expensive restaurant. If it's sunny outside, you can find a bench down by the Thames.

Sadly, but not altogether unexpectedly, it rained most of the weekend on our trip.

A miniature of terraced housing in London which looks a lot like where we used to live in Clapham


What can you do in London if it's raining and you hate museums? Well, you can stay home and watch British TV. I love the gardening, cooking, painting, auction, comedy and game shows, but what if there's nothing but cricket, snooker and darts on? What if the Grand Nationals are on, and you can't think of anything more boring that watching a horse race? Go to the cinema? We saw Noah on Saturday at Leicester Square for 22 pounds each--a lot of money to pay for such a stupid movie.The acting was very good, but the story, those ridiculous rock angels and the quirky transitional gimmick with the snake and the fruit made me shake my head more than a few times. When we left the cinema it was raining despite the fact that God had just sent us a rainbow in the cinema.

A detail of a lift door at the Savoy Hotel on display at The London Museum
We went to the pub, but you can't spend an entire long weekend in the pub, can you? Or can you? We didn't. We went to a museum. Yes, I jumped over my shadow as the Germans say and went to a museum. I enjoyed it more than, say, snooker or horse racing, and it was educational. Those fun facts about Londinium and Lundenburh up there are straight from my visit to The London Museum. I already knew about the sandwich guy.

Is it incredibly superficial, yet completely honest, of me to tell you that the only reason The London Museum interested me at all is that learning who owned the bakery where the Great Fire of 1666 started might improve my chances of winning Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? if I ever were to appear on the show, which is unlikely? I've actually forgotten his name now. I know his last name starts with an F, so I'd probably get it right with the 50/50 joker. Googling it: Thomas Farriner. So there you go: Thomas Farriner--if you're ever on Who Wants to Be a Millianire?

Last weekend we stayed in Barbican, just north of The City. Something that struck me this time on our long walks around town--apart from the light rain pattering our faces--was that there are so many hang-out-style restaurants and cafés serving creative food in this area. They're everywhere here in this student quarter. We didn't hang out at any of them, but I did take note. We tended to make stops at Starbucks, where I found a gluten-free panini that was quite tasty. On Northcote Road in Clapham, I also found a gluten-free crépe at a place called Samba Swirl.

On my birthday, the sun finally came out, so we thought we'd go to the zoo but opted for the pub when we discovered the zoo would set us back 24 pounds per person. Yikes. This might have been worth it if we'd had the whole day, but we had only 2 hours for the zoo. We ended up eating the "two steaks and a bottle of wine" deal at the pub across the canal from Camden Market for 17.99. A grand deal, and we did get to see animals after all. On our plates.


I must be off,
Christopher

_________________________________________________

Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, Camroc Press Review, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He lives in Germany. 





Thursday, March 27, 2014

Finding a Clearing

Lately. It's been so difficult to clear my head. To make way for new ideas. To find a clearing. And there are so many reasons for this. I've started teaching at a language institute again, which means my mind has to prepare itself for new classes, new people, new situations every single day. There doesn't seem to be any room for anything else, and yet there are so many other things I have to be thinking about.

My mind empties of all these "problems" best when I'm hiking. Walking up a mountain just seems to settle my random, nervous thoughts so that they all sit neatly in rows and do what they're supposed to do. They stop pulling me in different directions. They stop babbling. They hush. I like that.

I wish I were hiking right now. Here are a few pictures from my hike two weeks ago--my first hike of 2014 near Tegernsee just 40 minutes from my house. I'm taking all my random thoughts there right now.





How do you find a clearing?

I must be off,
Christopher

PS! I Must Be Off! is having its second annual travel essay contest. Deadline June 30, 2014. Read more HERE.

______________________________________

Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, Camroc Press Review, Feathertale, The Best of Every Day Fiction, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He is the managing editor of the daily litzine Metazen.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Expat Author Interview -- Checking in with Paola Fornari

Author Paola Fornari
I'm honoured to host Paola Fornari this week. What an incredible story she shares with the world.

You certainly remember Paola's other posts at I Must Be Off!; but if they've slipped your mind, links are provided at the bottom. 

These are her answers to the Writing Process Blog Tour Questionnaire: 

_____________________________________

What are you working on? 

Paola Fornari: My first book! 

Entitled Joyriding in Dhaka, it's an often humorous, often serious account of how this particular expat made the most of her three and a half years in the 'world's second-least livable city' (actually, it has risen to that status this year from 'least livable' last year). 

It's a series of about a hundred snapshots of my life here in Bangladesh: my escapades to slums, villages, beauty parlours, student residences, markets, projects, religious and cultural festivals, where I meet fascinating people (for example, a local journalist, a single father handyman struggling with family issues, the daughter of a murdered army general, a man who was separated from his family during the 1971 Liberation War and adopted by a wealthy family in the Netherlands, a Chinese masseuse...). 

Women of Dhaka
Several stories touch on important local issues such as early marriage, low wages, oppression of minorities, child labour, and dowry violence. Others are lighter: a fishing trip, a visit to a sari factory, Rest and Recreation breaks in neighbouring countries. These are set against a backdrop of a country in turmoil (factory fires, the Rana Plaza building collapse, violence, general strikes, a hanging, turbulent elections). 

At the end of the book, the reader should have a real feel for Bangladesh and its recent history. As my story progresses, I get to know my host country as intimately as an expat can in the limited time I have, exploring every corner, and becoming increasingly aware of the quirkiness and potential disasters surrounding me. 

How does your work differ from other work of its genre?

Paola Fornari: Hmm, now what genre does 'Joyriding' fall into? A memoir? A travel book? 

It is different from the Year in Provence-type book in a) I am a far less experienced writer than Peter Mayle, b) it's more far-reaching in its scope, and c) Bangladesh isn't Provence. 

It differs from other books written by 'trailing diplomatic spouses' (Brigid Keenan's Diplomatic Baggage, Cherry Denman's Diplomatic Incidents) in that it doesn't touch on diplomatic life: it's not about my experiences as an ambassador's wife, but about my experiences as a curious individual. 

Slum Kids
Why do you write what you do?

Paola Fornari: I have learnt so much in my time in Bangladesh. Not many travellers have the opportunity to get to know a country in depth. In fact, I believe that few expats get to see and experience as much as I do. 

In my time here I have developed an awareness of the people and issues surrounding me, and I want to share them. 

As far as I know, there isn't another book like this about Bangladesh, and it needs to be written. 

Tea Garden Workers
How does your writing process work?

Paola Fornari: I write my 'Banglablog' as soon as I can after I experience a new 'story', filling it with photos. For example, I am writing the answers to these questions on the return trip from a visit to the tea gardens in the north-east of Bangladesh. I will write the story of the exploitation of tea workers tomorrow. It will be packed with photos. How many people out there are aware of the plight of thousands of tea workers who in practice live the lives of indentured slaves?

The 'Banglablog', which is open only to invitees, is fodder for my book. (By the way, if anyone reading this wants to be invited to view my blog, please let me know!) 

I rarely write after 5 p.m. Writing  makes me a little 'high' and I find it hard to settle my mind afterwards. I wake up very early in the morning, around five a.m., and sort through photos, write up a new story, or if I don't have one, I edit. 

I have almost finished the second draft of 'Joyriding'...I hope I have aroused your interest enough for you to buy it when it is published! 

IMBO: You've captivated me, Paola! I'll be right there when it comes out, and I Must Be Off! will as well.

I Must Be Off!
Christopher

Links to other IMBO posts with Paola Fornari:

Expat Author Interview with Paola Fornari
Inside Bangladesh with Paola Fornari

________________________________

Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, Camroc Press Review, Feathertale, The Best of Every Day Fiction, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He is the managing editor of the daily litzine Metazen.

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Sara Lippmann's Doll Palace due out in September!
I'm it! I've been tagged by writer Sara Lippmann, whose collection of short stories Doll Palace is coming out in September this year! Sara is also a co-host of The Sunday Salon in NYC, founded by Nita Noveno. Sara Lippmann rocks.

Here are my answers to the Writing Process Blog Tour questionnaire--which I'll be passing along to three writers--Frank Hinton, Bud Smith and Paola Fornari Hanna. 

What am I working on? 

I'm working on a few things right now--short stories mainly, but I'm also working on a novel, which--shhhh--I can't talk too much about. I'm protective of it, afraid to reveal too much of the plot. I can say, though, that it's a story about culpability, about the American family and the American family of God.

I'm also working on lots of short stories. The one I'm working on right now is called "Box of Nazi" and promises to be exceptionally weird.

As a short story writer, I'm always arranging and re-arranging stories for potential collections. I'm also starting to think about how to create a collection of humorous travel stories called--surprise surprise--I Must Be Off! based of course on this blog, which I update regularly.

I write book reviews, so I'm working on those. I'm starting to get a tummy, so I'm working on getting rid of that. My review of Dan Powell's Looking Out of Broken Windows is at The Lit Pub now.


How does my work differ from other work of its genre? 

Maybe the difference is that my work isn't as good? I don't know. It's a difficult question. There are so many people writing these days. I hope my work is unique in some ways--in terms of humor and form maybe--but this might be an ill-informed hope. Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), which I published in 2012, definitely plays with form, and some people have told me they laughed. Some wet their pants; some spit their coffee on their rowmate on a plane. Some snickered politely. Some got angry with me. Some bought it and never read it--but they bought it and that's the important thing.

In terms of genre, I'm all over the board. I play the field. I'm promiscuous. I'm a multiple personality. So it's really difficult to talk about my work in one genre.


Why do I write what I do? 

I recently answered this question for Mike Young at Literary Orphans, so I guess I need to say the same thing.

Is it weird to say characters attack me? Not like ideas that come and go, not like ideas you have in the morning and forget by the evening. These characters and their stories set up shop in my head; I guess that's why I write what I do. I think this is quite normal for writers, so not weird, right? In the immortal words of Sheldon Cooper, "I'm not crazy. My mother had me tested."

How does my writing process work?

Intermittently. As I say above, stories need to live--to persist--for a while inside me before I write them down. Some of my characters need a long, long time to figure their stories out. I might think about a story for months before I start writing. All sorts of digestive metaphors come to mind, but I think gestation is more like it.

I write best early in the morning, but lately I haven't had the energy to get up early. Life changes have affected my rhythm. I need to get back to my routine of writing at 4:00 a.m. And now it's after 9:00 in the evening now, so my bed is calling.

I must be off,
Christopher

Continue the Writing Process Blog Tour with Bud Smith, Paola Fornari or Frank Hinton.

____________________________________________

Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, Camroc Press Review, Feathertale, The Best of Every Day Fiction, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He is the managing editor of the daily litzine Metazen.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Announcing The Second Annual I Must Be Off! Travel Essay Contest

Last year we had a lot of great entries. Some stories were stirring accounts of trips abroad; others were informative, anecdotal or humorous--or all the above. Regardless of how you interpret the idea "travel essay," your entry should give your reader a strong sense of place. I Must Be Off! welcomes entries in English from all over the world. See full guidelines below.

Travel Writer Robin Graham
This year's judge is travel writer and photographer Robin Graham. In addition to writing his blog a lot of wind..., Graham has also published dozens of travel stories and articles, mostly about Spain.

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The Guidelines:
  • Maximum 1200 words
  • Edited to the best of your ability for spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • Up to three photos may be submitted with your entry (photos NOT necessary to win, but pretty)
  • Previously unpublished work only! Blog posts are considered published.
  • No entry fee. Yes, that's right. But may we suggest that you join the site and encourage your 5000 Facebook friends to do the same? (Also NOT necessary to win, but very pretty!)
  • Open to anyone worldwide, but you need a PayPal account
  • Entries must be in English
  • One entry per person
  • Deadline for submissions: June 30, 2014  
  • Send entries with a 50-word bio to christopher.imustbeoff@googlemail.com with the heading TRAVEL ESSAY CONTEST 
  • Word doc files only! NO docx or open office files can be accepted! 
  •  Finalists and Winners announced July 31, 2014

The Prizes: 
  • The Top Ten essays will be published at I Must Be Off!
  • Second place prize: $50
  • First place prize: $75

If you have any questions, please send an email to the address above. Happy writing to you all. I look forward to reading your work.

I must be off,
Christopher

___________________________________________

Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, Camroc Press Review, Feathertale, The Best of Every Day Fiction, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He is the managing editor of the daily litzine Metazen.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Homeless in Seattle

Pike Place Market at dawn.
Maybe the first thing you notice about Seattle when you're walking the streets of downtown is that everyone is drinking coffee; the second thing you'll notice is that Seattle, while exciting and hip, also has a problem with homelessness. According to the research immediately available on the internet, it looks as if Seattle and King County have around 8000 homeless people, living in their cars, beneath underpasses, in the controversial "tent cities" that move every couple of months, in doorways and other places around the city.

The problem is so overwhelming that it even has a Facebook Page, with--oddly enough--over 8000 likes. It's an uplifting page devoted to encouraging people with seemingly insurmountable problems. And here's the thing: it could happen to any of us.

For the moment, I live in an affluent area, have the money to pay for my health insurance (which is incredibly expensive in Germany) and the occasional dinner out. I travel, as you know. My life is peaches and butterflies. There are birds tweeting pretty melodies outside my window because I can afford tons of birdseed. But don't think for a second I don't realize how this safe, warm life could change.

It was chilly on my early morning walks in Seattle. I couldn't sleep. I think I told you that. So I put on a few layers and went for walks at 5:00. I walked until the sun was up and the (exorbitantly expensive) grocery stores were open. Who can afford to buy food in the US anymore? Has food become a luxury item? After a two-hour walk, I was hungry. Really hungry. Was it Ralph's that was finally open? Whole Foods didn't open until 7:30. At Ralph's I browsed, looking for something gluten-free and filling for breakfast. There was an oatmeal cookie for $2.99. A cookie for three bucks! An apple for $1.50 would have been the cheapest snack, and I would have been hungrier after five minutes if I'd eaten it. There were salads for around $7, but they looked like yesterday's leftovers. I finally found rice cakes--I don't like them but they were the only gluten-free snack I saw on the shelves that might have been more nutritious than tortilla chips--but I put them back when I saw the price: $4.99. For rice cakes! OK, they were apple cinnamon--tasty, tasty--but still. I left the supermarket demonstratively hungry. A protest. A luxury. My hunger was a luxury, yet I'm so aware how quickly this could change.
Another picture of Pike Place Market--because I don't take pictures of people.

Before my trip to Seattle I decided I wouldn't splurge. I'd eat very little and drink almost nothing. My expanding middle would thank me when I got back to Munich. My life was relatively carefree when I booked the trip; but by the time I flew to Seattle, life had become tighter, less secure. In hindsight, it was a foolish--yet of course wonderful--thing to do with my money. I'm really thankful to the people who bought me lunch (you know who you are), and shared your cider (you know who you are too). You are sweet people.

When I arrived at the airport in Seattle, I was thrilled to discover the light rail costs only $2.75 for a single trip to downtown, and that my hotel was a short walk from the downtown station. On the day I left to fly back to Munich, I trotted down to the station at 5:00 a.m. because the receptionist at the hotel told me the first train ran at 5:15 a.m. When I got to the station, it was closed. There were several homeless men literally clinging to the metal mesh barrier for warmth. It was really chilly that morning. Shivering, one of the elderly men let me know--in an educated, articulate and fatherly voice--the first train on Sunday ran at 6:30. And just like that, my trip to the airport cost me $50 instead of $2.75.

That's how life can change. From one moment to the next. You think you have control, that you can squeak by, saving money here and there. But then something happens. You lose your job. Your health deteriorates and you have no insurance. You go--and I mean no disrespect--crazy. You lose control. You start shouting in the streets because you're fairly sure no one will notice you if you don't. You find yourself encircled by police. They're telling you you've broken some law. And you're shouting What the hell isn't broken? Everything's broken, and you weren't prepared for how fast it could happen. (I saw so many of these people, but you won't see pictures of them here. I don't take pictures of people in desperate situations.) 

Apparently Seattle and King County spend $46 million a year on solving the homelessness problem. I found this hard to believe, so I started reading about the projects in the area. Most of this money, if I'm not mistaken (research is not my forte), is put into the construction of housing. The issues are complicated and unfortunately political. There's squabbling about which organizations can do what. The city of Seattle closed down Operation Sack Lunch in 2012 because it was outdoors, the city claiming it would be better to have an indoor homeless feeding program. It's now 2014, and the city hasn't used any of its $46 million to create an indoor alternative (according to the information I've read, but let's hope it's inaccurate). Operation Sack Lunch, though, is still going strong! Here's a look at what they did in 2013:


Another organization doing a lot for the homeless in Seattle is the Downtown Emergency Service Center. Here's their mission statement:

"The Downtown Emergency Service Center works to end the homelessness of vulnerable people, particularly those living with serious mental or addictive illnesses. Through partnerships and an integrated array of comprehensive services, treatment and housing, we give people the opportunity to reach their highest potential. At DESC, uncommon efforts produce uncommon results that eliminate homelessness, one person at a time." For more information about DESC, go HERE.

If you're from Seattle and know of other organizations working in this area, let me and my readers know in the comments. 

I must be off,
Christopher

PS: I Must Be Off! is hosting its second annual Travel Essay Contest! Go HERE to learn more. Deadline for entries June 30, 2014!

_______________________________________

Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, Camroc Press Review, Feathertale, The Best of Every Day Fiction, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He is the managing editor of the daily litzine Metazen.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sleepless in the Saddle

The Space Needle on my walk at dawn...thanks to insomnia.
Yeah, just because it sounded good (read cornball), that title. Today I'm continuing my reflection on AWP (Association of Writers and Writers' Programs) conference in Seattle, where a reported 15,000 writers, publishers, editors and teachers of writing gathered to drink massive amounts of alcohol.

(Un)Fortunately, I didn't have the chance to drink that much until Friday night. I was kept sober by the fate of reading last at the Festival of Language on Wednesday evening. My liver thanks fate and the three people who decided to read 20 minutes when our limit was 5--especially the person--I'm going to call her Itsallaboutme--who took at least 5 minutes setting up her "background" music, which ended up being louder than she was as she droned on and on and on off stage for what seemed like a writer's damnation. And to you, dear Itsallaboutme, I wish you'd stuck around until the end of the reading, at which time I did indeed read a story about birds (not so private joke alert). OK, venting over.

So Seattle. Wow. What a cool town. What a nice town. Take the bus drivers. Well, take the bus driver who took us home from the "A Bang and a Smoke" reading/improv event on Thursday night (more tomorrow). A more entertaining ride I can't imagine. He sang "Happy Birthday" to me.

I have a seventh sense. Yes, a seventh: the sense that someone around you needs to sing. In this case it was the bus driver. So even though it wasn't exactly my birthday, I volunteered to be the birthday boy. Singing is so important. In Germany, there are big signs warning people "Nicht mit dem Fahrer reden während der Fahrt!!!" (no talking to the driver while he's driving). Here in Seattle, I think it's required. And fun. Actually, you're not only supposed to talk to the bus driver; you're also supposed to sing with him. Sweet man. All bus drivers should be like this person. Wait. No. All people should be like him.

Sara Lippmann's cool book cover at the AWP bookfair in Seattle!
With the exception of the inconsiderate Itsallaboutme, whom I didn't really meet anyway, I met so many sweet people in Seattle at AWP. I hugged Janey Smith. Well, he hugged me, and then I got lost in that hug. I think I might have disappeared for a few seconds into a world deep within Janey. All that to say: great hugger.

Sara Lippmann and I shared a drink and fries at a sports bar. That's right. We actually found a quiet table and had the best talk. And Sara has a book--Doll Palace--coming out in September, which I'll be talking about later this year. A lot.

I spent a lot of quality time with buddy Gay Degani. Great times, great sandwiches at the Honey Hole. Gay's book What Came Before is serialized at Every Day Novels, and it has just begun. If you like page-turning murder mysteries, go over here and start reading it. It will also be available soon in paper. I couldn't put this book down!

And then I met so many people whom I probably shouldn't mention by name on my blog for the sake of discretion and privacy: An incredible writer whose novellas I've reviewed, another person whose energy was so clear and positive that I just gave her a book (and then found out the next day that we both love Jincy Willett's writing), a writer from London whose book I can't wait to dig into, lots of indie/small press publishers, So many beautiful people. It goes without saying that writers are sexy.

Bill Yarrow was wonderful to record a lot of readings as always. Here's mine from the Festival of Language. Thank you, Jane Carman for organizing this event!




I must be off,
Christopher

PS: Thank you, IMBO readers, for slinging this blog over 520, 000 hits over the last few weeks! 

PPS: I Must Be Off! is hosting its second annual Travel Essay Contest! Go HERE to learn more. Deadline for entries June 30, 2014!
_______________________________________________

Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, Camroc Press Review, Feathertale, The Best of Every Day Fiction, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He is the managing editor of the daily litzine Metazen.