Opium Magazine – Literary Death Match.

Wow, what a great time. Got there just in time.

Thanks to Todd from Opium for a great event, was very cool chatting. I mentioned to him my short “Animal Magnetism” that they published online, and he actually remembered it. Said that he was kind of burnt out one day, and picked up my story, and like it so much, it kid of revamped his energy for the online part of Opium. Or something like that. Well, you weren’t standing there. Todd was hilarious, and did a great job of hosting. His co-host Claire Zulkey was just as funny and very nice.

The judges were great, and I got the chance to talk to local crime writer Kevin Guilfoile . Great writer, part of a lot of Chicago stuff going on, and his 1st book CAST OF SHADOWS (a great read) has really been very successful. His next book, THE THOUSAND will be out this year. Very cool guy, I chatted him up about the Chicago scene, publishing, agents. Very cool guy. I talked about interviewing him and getting him to contribute to Colored Chalk, and he seemed down with it all. Gave me his card. Great guy, was in advertising for a long time (like me), very funny.

Mark Bazer a local columnist and Matt Herlihy a local writer were the other judges, very funny too.

The writers were all fantastic. Megan Stielstra runs 2nd Story, a storytelling series S&W and started first, very funny story about speed dating and Ton Loc. We had a nice chat too. She teaches at Columbia, so of course I had to bring up Joe Meno writing for CC.

Holly Wilson read a wild tale about sorority sisters, very sexy and strange, loved it. She edits fiction for Southeast Review SER I’ll have to hit them up. She is also friends with the editor of Juked (John Wang – JUKED), so that’s always a nice connection, a place I want to publish.

Gwendolyn Knapp read a funny “southern gothic” tale, that was actually set in the south, but about GOTHS. A nice twist. She’s at U of Iowa.

Rachel Yoder read a strange tale about an imaginary man who never shows up.

Hobart editor Aaron Burch read from somebody else (Wendy Wilson?) and it was some great stuff, gotta find out what he read. They are another place I’d LOVE to publish HOBART. We chatted a bit after, very nice guy. I asked him when they are going to open submissions again (right after AWP) and what he was looking for (anything that excited me). I asked him about the 2008 BASS, and he nodded when I mentioned AM Homes and TC Boyle. Maybe I should start submitting as RG Thomas.

Anyway, great time, thanks Caleb for the Opium reminder, sorry you didn’t get in in time, stupid planes. Jesse and Nik and Grover went to the Chiasmus reading. Dwyer in the AM. Great start. Going to bed.


PS-Megan won, and there was almost a stabbing.

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