Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Jew of New York

Getting ready to read Ben Katchor's graphic novel The Jew of New York on the advice of a friend. Very excited to reignite my long lost love for comic b- ... graphic novels.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holy Macaroni!

Time Magazine just did a nice write-up about McSweeney's 33. The article doesn't mention my story specifically, but if you read it carefully I'm sure you'll find (as I did) that a great deal of praise for my story is implied.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Novella Excerpt Event of the Decade

In a testament to my own boredom, I've started to make trailers for work that has already appeared in literary journals. So, in essence, this is a preview of the past. Did that blow your mind? If not, this might:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A.V. Club's 10 Best Short Story Collections of the 00's

Short story collections and lists by the A.V. Club are two of my favorite things. So imagine my excitement when I learned that today those two things have, however briefly, commingled. I'm pretty disappointed that Dangerous Laughter didn't get a nod, but the whole fun of best and worst lists is choosing the degree to which you agree/disagree/don't care. Anyway, it's hard to feel anything but love for a list that features George Saunders and Kelly Link. Be sure to check it out!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chicago Reading

Just a heads up: I'll be doing a reading on November 5th at 57th Street Books in Chicago. Click here for more details. The event is being put together by Ninth Letter, and should therefore be pretty classy. Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Short Story Trailer? New Short Story Trailer!

Remember the other day when you were saying how you wish that Seth Fried's short story trailers would somehow involve stop motion animation? Well, your wish is about to come true. My new trailer is my most stop-motioniest to date.

The animation is by no means good, but - like a Mother's Day gift constructed out of dry macaroni and colored paper - I submit to you the notion that it is the thought that counts. Also, I refuse to apologize for my penmanship.

Misery of the Conquistador is forthcoming in StoryQuarterly:

In case you're curious, here are the materials I used to create this trailer:

1.)One drawing of a conquistador
2.)One digital camera
3.)One upside down stool converted into a vertical camera mount
4.)One felt-tip pen
5.)Five sheets of computer paper
6.)One freeware 2-D animator, which magically didn't install a virus onto my computer
7.)One unflappable desire to create a short story trailer for the ages

One more thing, you can check out all my short story trailers on my youtube channel.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Life in the Harem

I'm excited to announce that a story of mine called Life in the Harem is going to be appearing in Tin House. A lot of details are still pending, but for now I encourage you to kick back and enjoy the short story trailer that I whipped together in honor of this excellent news.

I'm pretty sure everyone is going to love this trailer. By everyone, of course, I am referring to people who spent the mid to late 80's playing video games.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Oh ...

I just googled the phrase "short story trailer." I guess I didn't invent it. To be honest, I'm kind of relieved.

Somebody should invent the short story trailer. Oh wait, I totally just invented the short story trailer.

Book trailers are pretty big right now, but do you know what's going to be even pretty bigger? You guessed it: trailers for individual short stories written by people who don't have books yet.

Check out this one that I just put together for my upcoming McSweeney's story:

On a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being I take this video seriously and 1 being I am actually aware of how ridiculous it is), this trailer comes in at about a 6.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Better of McSweeney's, Volume 2

Just found out that a story of mine is going to be included in The Better of McSweeney's, Volume 2. I'm pretty happy about this, because a.) it's an honor and b.) it means that my first published story, Lie Down and Die, will be making a triumphant return to print.

Friday, September 25, 2009

"[...] like a lump, like a clot, like a blockage: the sensation that you are here but could not be here, in a world that could not be but is."

Currently reading Mr. Palomar by Italo Calvino. Fun fact about what a spotty reader I am: I consider myself to be a huge Italo Calvino fan, and yet had never heard of this book until a copy of it was mailed to me by a concerned friend.

Adding to my readerly shame is the fact that this book rules. Anyway, without wanting to get into a whole thing here, I guess what I'm saying is that you should probably check it out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Brent Van Horne in The Madison Review

From the above photograph, it's safe to assume one of two things: 1.) Seth has kidnapped himself and is attempting to prove to the authorities that he was still alive as recently as Spring of 2009 - or - 2.) He finally got his copy of The Madison Review's latest issue, which features a fantastic story by Brent Van Horne.

Van Horne is pretty talented and has publications popping up all over the place (you can find his work in Fugue, New Orleans Review, and Sou'Wester). Van Horne and I have gotten into the habit of riffing on each other's work. We've also been kicking around the idea of writing a collaborative story. It's too early to tell if that's something we'll actually do - but, if such a story does get written, it's probably going to be the literary equivalent of this.

In addition to being a kick ass story writer, Brent is also responsible for making this blog look nice, a responsibility that he has taken on for no discernible reason as there's absolutely no way I could ever pay him. Plus one time I accidentally dumped a whole beer onto his carpet, which was pretty much brand new (the carpet, that is ... though the beer was new too).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Frost Mountain Picnic Massacre

My issue of One-Story is currently available. You can grab a copy of the issue here or, even better, you can subscribe to One-Story here. I'm also pleased to announce that One-Story is now available on the Kindle.

If you had told me five years ago that one day people would be able to beam a short story of mine into their homes by means of a wireless device, I would have thought it was only a beautiful dream. And while I think the good people at Amazon might be flying a little too close to the sun in this regard, I refuse to stand in the way of progress.

Also, if you would like to enjoy a free copy of my story over some world-class Japanese cuisine, then check out this post by Pei-Ling Lue for details.

My thanks to everybody at One-Story, especially Pei-Ling Lue and Hannah Tinti, for this incredible opportunity. One-Story is a mind-bogglingly cool enterprise, and I'm pretty honored to have gotten the chance to contribute.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Some stories are on their way! Right now you can check out an excerpt from Frost Mountain Picnic Massacre at There's also a quick Q&A with me. My answers are all lame, because I am a genuinely lame person. But if you're looking to have your socks rocked off, you should check out One-Story's archive, which includes interviews with Stephen Dixon, John Hodgman, Kelly Link, and many other awesome writers.

I also have a story called Those of us in Plaid forthcoming in McSweeney's #33, and a story called The Misery of the Conquistador forthcoming in StoryQuarterly. However, unlike One-Story, there are currently no online excerpts for these stories. And, for contractual reasons, I probably can't put any excerpts up on this blog. So instead I have written an alternate first sentence for each story, both of which are included below:

The Misery of the Conquistador

"Wow, I sure am miserable ... for a conquistador," said he.

Those of us in Plaid

We realized from the very beginning that we were not like all those people who did not wear plaid, but that we were actually very different.

There you have it! No firm release dates for either, but - having tempted you terribly with these alternate first lines - I will make sure to do the decent thing and keep you informed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

"A haircut, said the Dead Father. I turned myself into a haircut [...]"

I am currently re-reading The Dead Father by Donald Barthelme. You should read it too, because it's awesome.

I've prepared some questions that will help you discuss this book with your local reading group:

1.) What do you think Seth will read next?
2.) What do you think Seth does when he isn't reading?
3.) Where is Seth right now?

Speaking of me, I should have a short story showing up in One-Story very soon. Keep your eyes peeled!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ninth Letter Spring/Summer Issue

The Spring/Summer issue of Ninth Letter is out, featuring work by yours truly. The magazine has a great new look. You can check out some sample spreads here.

Thanks in advance for buying dozens and dozens of copies and throwing a series of really elaborate Ninth-Letter-themed dinner parties to which only your most good-looking friends will be invited.


Currently reading Boswell by Stanley Elkin. It's pretty fantastic. Elkin's work couldn't be more underrated if it tried.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Emerging! Writers! Network! Post! About one of my stories!: Grabby Subtitle

Michael Czyzniejewski just wrote a ridiculously nice post about one of my stories for the Emerging Writers Network. You can check out the post here. This means a lot to me, and not just because my entire personality is basically a bottomless pit of attention-seeking behavior - but because I admire Mike's work a lot.

If you haven't checked out his book, it's fantastic. You should also check out this new anthology he's in, which also features Aimee Bender, Stuart Dybek, Michael Martone, Benjamin Percy, and pretty much all the people whose stories you want to rub all over your face.

Anyway, I've worked under Mike both as a student and as an assistant editor at Mid-American Review. In the process, he has taught me an insane amount about writing stories. Not just about craft stuff, but about how stories should fit into your life, and what you should be willing to risk if you want to write them well. In short, he's one of the good guys.

Also, a quick note about the Emerging Writers Network: this site is a lot of fun and is a great way to find out about writing you might not hear about otherwise. If you poke around, I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Friday, May 29, 2009

By the way

Have you looked at the top of this blog lately? If not, take a gander. Isn't it amazing? Isn't it more than amazing? In terms of over all aesthetic, this new header makes the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel look like a brochure for satellite television.

Of course, I can't take any credit for it. It was put together by Brent Van Horne, who's a stand-up guy. Also, Van Horne has a story in the most recent issue of The Madison Review, which I will write a proper post about once I get my grubby little hands on a copy - but the story is bound to be fantastic.

That's all for now. Keep your eyes peeled.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Blog Love

In news that probably wouldn't excite a person with normal priorities, I've been told that Ninth Letter has begun linking to this blog on their blog. So don't worry, that funny feeling you got the last time you were on the Internet was just the stray vibes that resulted from Ninth Letter's blog and my blog falling madly in love with each other.

Suggested use:

1.) Go to Ninth Letter's blog and click on my name.

2.) Once you've clicked on my name and have arrived safely at this blog, click on Ninth Letter's name.

3.) Repeat these steps until your computer breaks, at which point you will be of no use to anyone.

Oh! And this also means, I assume, that Ninth Letter now endorses all the opinions expressed on this blog. Especially the controversial ones. That is a tremendous step toward legitimacy for me, as well as for my one-man campaign to disband the United Nations and replace it with a Scientologist think-tank.

Anyway, I should also take this opportunity to remind you that I've got some work forthcoming in the next issue of Ninth Letter and that I couldn't be more excited about it. Keep your eyes peeled!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Human Resources by Josh Goldfaden

Do you have one of those books in your life which you read and loved, and which you told everybody about with the genuine hope that they would read it and love it too, but which, because your life is a mess and you moved twice and you're engaged in the Sisyphean task of trying to get a collection of your own short stories published sometime before you turn 30, you eventually sort of forgot about, but were then serendipitously reminded of and decided to blog about? Me neither. I don't really read.

Though, I will say that Josh Goldfaden's Human Rescources is awesome. I reviewed this book a while ago for Mid-American Review, and have been a big fan of Goldfaden's ever since. But it wasn't until I recently read an Ars Short Storica essay he wrote for Powell's that I decided he and I are essentially the same person. In said essay, he explains that he has a lot of trouble cutting dick jokes from his stories, and, as a result, I haven't felt this much camaraderie with an established artist since I realized Gary Shandling and I have the exact same bone structure.

You should check out the essay and the book. You should also check out my above-linked review, if you want to read me waxing serious about all the reasons I dig Goldfaden's collection.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The Missouri Review's most recent podcast is a short interview with me regarding my story, Loeka Discovered.

My having participated in a podcast sort of complicates the fact that I don't know what one is. But my best guess is that all you Seth-heads who have been dying to cast me onto your pods are in luck.

Some points of interest that may enhance your listening enjoyment:

1.)In my brief snippets of audio, try to count how many times I say like, sort of, kind of, and a bunch of other things that are extremely similar to like, sort of, and kind of.

2.)In one part of my interview, I sort of, like, suggest that there isn't any use of scene in my story. Later, Speer Morgan, in the most diplomatic way possible, points out that I don't really know what I'm talking about.

So don't worry, Seth-heads! There is some use of scene in my story. I just meant that there's not any super, detail-rich scene-ish scene. That having been said, I'm still relatively certain that I don't know what I'm talking about.

3.)It may be interesting to know that, while listening to this, I skipped over that normal stage of self-consciousness in which a person says, "My voice doesn't sound like that! Does it?" Instead, I immediately launched into a bout of self-hate at the atomic level, in which I perceived my most basic elements to be intrinsically evil and wrong. Plus, I know for a fact that my voice doesn't sound like that.

4.)Everyone at The Missouri Review rules (special thanks to Caitlin Garing for conducting the interview, and to Speer Mogan for his kind words), and I'm honored they took the time to put this together. Also, my beverage of choice during the interview was a can of 7-UP that I stole from a mini-fridge in the Mid-American Review office. That same office may have also incurred the cost of a long distance call to Columbia, Missouri.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Paper Whistle Art Shop

Before I tell you about the new Paper Whistle blog and art shop, I have to take a moment to congratulate my blog on its new, cleaner, cooler design, which I am 0% responsible for (it is the handiwork of the matchless Brent Van Horne). Also, I would like to apologize for the new recipe feature, which I am 100% responsible for, and which, despite all the evidence against it, I refuse to think is not awesome. You can expect more absurdist recipes in the weeks and months to come.

But on to more pressing matters: artist Brandi Strickland has started a new art shop and blog (linked above) along with designer Robert Bentley. The site looks amazing, and there's tons of great art up. I urge you to take a look. I'm pretty sure I've blogged about Brandi Strickland's art before, but, if you weren't paying attention, you should really check it out. Her work is brilliant, playful, and boundlessly cool.

Also, if you join their newsletter, you have a chance to win a free print each month. This month, it's a print called Everything That Can Be Counted, an awesome piece that shows Albert Einstein looking uncharacteristically thoughtful.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Recipes: Volume I

Graham Cracker Soup
1.) Combine the following in a 15 gallon pot:
-Five gallons condensed milk
-Three cans tomato paste
-One pound chopped celery
-One whole, uncut cantalope
-Two ice cream sandwhiches
2.) Bring the contents of the pot to a rolling boil for 30 minutes, stirring continuously. Every 5 minutes, drop in one handful of dimes.
3.)Drop to one knee. Find your reflection in the side of the pot and scream at it in a purposeless rage.
4.)It is time to add the following to the pot:
-One tropical fish
-Two pictures of your father wearing a costume
-Five reams of paper
5.)Reduce heat and allow the contents of the pot to congeal.
6.)Crumble one graham cracker over the contents of the pot.
7.)Pour the contents of the pot into one business size envelope, and enjoy!
Garbage Raisins
1.)Drop one whole box of unopened raisins into a garbage can.
2.)Keep a detailed log of anyone who looks down into the garbage can at the raisins, or who tries to take them out.
3.)If anyone asks you what you’re doing, tell the truth.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Brent Van Horne in New Orleans Review

There's an awesome new story by Brent Van Horne in the most recent issue (34.2) of New Orleans Review.

The story is called Ascending the Mountain, and is pretty much the reason I wrote Loeka Discovered. You can order the issue with Brent's story here. And you can grab the TMR story it inspired here.

The stories have little to do with each other, but (and this is a personal guarantee) both prominently feature mountains.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Brandi Strickland at the Mahan Gallery in Columbus

Brandi Strickland, whose art rules, is going to have some work at the Mahan Gallery in Columbus next month. Those of you in the greater Columbus area (Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvanian) have no excuse not to go see it.

For details, check out Strickland's site here.

You should also check out her Etsy store. In this harsh economic climate, art is a great investment (I assume).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ninth Letter

Ninth Letter's Fall/Winter Issue just came out. It looks like it's going to be a good one. On an almost completely unrelated note, an excerpt from a series of mine, titled Animalcula, is going to be appearing in their upcoming issue. So now is a great time to get in the habit of reading Ninth Letter.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009


A story of mine is listed as an honorable mention in the upcoming Pushcart Prize anthology. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that ever since I was a small child I dreamed that one day I would be listed as an honorable mention in an upcoming Pushcart anthology. You can read the honorably mentioned story here.