So, I just finished watching Step Up 2, and I’ve had two major epiphanies.

1. I might be an “okay” writer, but deep down, in my blood and in my soul, I’m a street dancer.

2. I need to own a hoody, right now.

I watched out of morbid curiosity, but the film totally changed my life. Who wants to dance with me?

Matt Staggs

You know that guest-blogging while traveling thing I mentioned in the last post? Well, one of the unfortunate results was that I left the file that held an entry by Matt Staggs, the mastermind behind everything public that Underland does. I think you’ve probably heard of him on Jeff’s blog before. He’s very talented, very dedicated, and is a huge support for both me and the press. (Thank you, Matt, for everything you’ve done…) [Read more…]

New York

I got back from NYC yesterday, tired and happy. Not the smartest time, in retrospect, to guest blog… Some highlights from the week…

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Pigs in flight

So, I got mentioned at NPR.com. Oh, and look, a pig just flew past my window. I expect the Rapture tomorrow.

Word tattoos

After I quit the world of speaking people, writing became abruptly crucial, but also far more satisfying in many ways. For instance, I have seventeen tattoos, seven of which are word tattoos, mostly song lyrics and a couple of Chuck Palahniuk quotes. Words are really my favorite kind of art, letters arranged into words, words arranged into sentences. There’s such beauty in writing. It’s bizarre, but I don’t remember images as well as I remember words. Whenever I see something beautiful, or astonishingly disturbing, I think about how I would translate the image into writing. I end up remembering, “her hazel eyes are warm, yet sad, so alluring that I forget to breathe,” more clearly than any photograph.

Word tattoos are also quite good at making a clear statement. I find that many people who meet me for the first time, without talking to me via computer, assume that I have the intellect of a slow nine-year-old. They talk slower, or louder, or both. This was less of a problem back when I could talk, I could always just say something witty. Things are different without my voice, it’s harder for people to know me. So, I started getting word tattoos, little glimpses into thoughts I can’t quickly express. 

People first notice the poppy tattooed on the top of my right hand. They don’t usually get the opiate allusion, but it’s showy. They ask, usually of my assistant, if it’s real, if I have more. Then I show them, “and if you cut yourself, you will think you’re happy,” etched from shoulder to elbow. I show them, “one more high to decay my nervous,” etched into my shin. After that, I’m not nine; a little dark, but not a child. Images are so subjective, words are far more clear.


I also like the idea that when I die, some coroner is going to look at my tattoos and think, “who in the fuck was he?”

It’s me!

So, I’m Michael Phillips, and I’ll be honest, I’m nobody spectacular. I’m a writer, avid reader, movie whore, disco goddess. I’m constantly dissatisfied, restless, yet generally optimistic, in a dark sort of way. Does that make any sense? Possibly not, but we’ve only just started. I have a whole week to make sense.

I mostly write short fiction, and I have a blog at lithiumcreations.com. The blog is pretty much a live memoir, a completely honest record of, well, me. I write about whatever’s in my head, dark things, amusing things, frivolous things. The blog is always true, grammatically correct and typo-free.

The written word is really important to me, in fact, I communicate absolutely everything in writing. See, I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Basically, my muscles are pretty useless. I don’t walk, I don’t sit up, I eat through a tube in my stomach, I don’t breathe without a machine. I run everything on my computer with my thumb, a switch and some assistive software.

Two years ago I choked on some pineapple juice while watching Dexter, passed out, died for a bit and woke up two weeks later with a tube in my throat. Aside from a few experiments, I haven’t “spoken” since. Writing, for me, is a passion and a necessity.

I’ll be here for awhile, writing about the various things that pop into my mind, some of which might even be interesting. I mean, I go to goth clubs wearing a shiny black shirt, and I died once. I’m bound to have a good story or two. Right?

Okay, I think that is enough for now, we have plenty of time.

Welcome Michael Phillips: Guest Blogging Feb. 15 – 21


Please welcome Michael Phillips, a writer from Tampa, Florida, as this week’s guest blogger. The written word, to him, is like fine art, like liquor, beautiful and intoxicating. He’ll tell you writing’s possibly the only thing he does well, which is probably true. Due to the magic of bad genetics he doesn’t walk, nor does he breathe without the assistance of machines. One could also argue that he’s simply astonishingly lazy. Michael also doesn’t speak due to a little breathing tube in his throat, thus Johnny Depp once played his voice on an Emmy award winning episode of Showtime’s This American Life.

Michael writes something akin to a live memoir at Lithium Creations, as well as short fiction. At night, he’s a disco goddess.

Evil Monkey Transmission: From Down Under

Evil Monkey:
Jeff, what’re you doing? You’re not supposed to be interrupting.

Clarion South students too awesome. Must blog.

Evil Monkey:
Don’t blog! Sleep.

Eh. Sleep is overrated.

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Aliens, Predator, and Licenses

In one of the comments, Mark asked a question about the Aliens and Predator books that both Brian and Jeff wrote. Brian is traveling right now, so I thought I’d take a crack at answering the question. I was the Dark Horse editor on both of the series. Managing the license, and figuring out how it worked, was one of the most interesting duties I had while an employee there.

Regarding Brian and Jeff, I wanted them to write these books because I’m super interested in literary cross-pollination. Licensed books provide an incredible opportunity to watch multiple literary minds approaching the narrative of the license in very different ways. The idea was as exciting to me as reading Li Po’s “The River Merchant’s Wife,” and then reading Elliott’s version.

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Status on Last Days

From Brian Evenson:

I heard from Victoria Blake, my publisher, that copies of Last Days have arrived to her, which means I should see the final copy soon and that it’ll start appearing in stores and online any day now.  So, I’m in that odd moment where the book both is and isn’t alive:  it exists, it made it into the world despite the economy, initial blog attention and advanced reviews have been good; but people aren’t holding it in their hands yet.  Now I’ll wait to see how things click with readers and other reviewers.  I’ve got an excellent introduction from Peter Straub, so hopefully that will get a few people interested in the book that didn’t know it before.

Every book is a new experience, but this one feels newer than most.  I’ve had a book with an introduction before—philosopher Alphonso Lingis wrote an introduction for Altmann’s Tongue—but that was a reprint; this is the original edition.  Cover artwork is by filmmaker Karim Ghahwagi, from one of the stills he took when he was doing character stills for his screenplay for the novel, so that’s new.  I got not one but two reviews in Locus, so that’s new.  I’ve never published a book that was an expansion of a previously published chapbook, so that’s new. Alongside the paperback, we’re doing a simultaneous limited edition hardback, with each cover personalized by hand by my, so that’s new.  Borders is filing the book in the Horror section, so that’s new:  I’ve been in Mystery and Literature before (and in SF for the Aliens novel I did), but never Horror, though I’m very comfortable there.  And Underland Press is new as well—I’m their first title, which feels both very exciting and like stepping into the unknown, probably for both of us.  It’s been a pleasure to have Last Days published by someone who really believes in the book, and the support and professionalism have been very high.  Now I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all the hard work will pay off, and that the book will get into the hands of readers who will be willing to brave its weirdness…

Read a free PDF here.