Tex Coda

by Janice Lee


TEX is a bricolage novel using correspondence to construct its multi-level narrative. Collecting text messages, phone photos, emails, Craigslist responses and more, the book explores the various relationships formed and maintained by its author, Beau Rice, during the process of its making, with one relationship taking center stage: his evolving attachment to an Austin-based former fling, Matt G

Included by Rice in TEX are text-based “screenshots” of the author’s inbox: exchanges between he and his editor at Penny-Ante. Giving a nod to the book’s format, we asked the editor at Penny-Ante to form a collection of “Letters from Beau” that were sent during the editorial and now, ongoing post-book promotional process.

The below fragments were submitted with the author’s permission.


From Beau Rice (an inbox screenshot):

I just wanted to make sure you were still interested, because the text is growing and I’m thinking about it constantly, so I just wanted to make sure you were still interested.

Your help with this impasse would be much appreciated.

I’ve given [the work] a preliminary title, ~book: [corn] [alien head] [baby bottle] [showgirls]. Thoughts?

Pics attached (lol, I’m so not used to typing that phrase outside of, like, responding to sex ads on Craigslist).

I’m going to have to fight you about [possible book title] Untitled.

Noooooo — why??

I feel you on the reshuffling.

If you insist, I’ll need a week.

And I know you want to be a dominatrix about it because it’s urgent, but I’m ready to start looking at other stuff.

I’ll be shopping around for something perfect-er.

Let’s keep in touch about any other text message books we come across, I want to be as aware of them as I can.

Ooooooops — the draft I sent the other day was missing a few things and fucked up in a few ways, so please work with the one I’ve included here.

(“Forms of incoherence that are listenable to.”)

I smoked weed for the first time in a while earlier tonight.

Q3: Let me know about your trip to LA!

You’re surprisingly clever when you’ve just woken up.

It’s very preteen-y but surprisingly relevant.

(I hate the first email I sent to you today.)

Are you in LA?

I favorited it.

Give me a few minutes.

I have to warn you: the list of changes I’ve mentioned is not insignificant.

I also want to see it with our names in Calibri or whatever that chat one was.

I’d like to reemphasize the Matt thing (I just landed in Austin) and try to procure a photo of him in profile to stare impassively at me from the back of the book (?).

Actually this gets us closer to what my original intentions were.

Also/omg, including the drug dealers and online sex people: YES.

Here are those pixx of him + more to follow.

Sorry, that just does not work for me.

Let’s redact “Scissor Sisters” and “Le1f.”

Let me know if you want me to fictionalize any of the YOU IN THE BOOK shit.

That phone has been violated in a final manner, it is not to be turned on.

Tomorrow I’m taking Vyvanse and dealing with as much of this drudgery as I can.

I’m beyond tipsy and this is not a real message.

Here are more chats, mostly of the BDSM variety.

“But really it is I who have invaded my own privacy.” –Dodie Bellamy, Pink Steam

Apologies for the folder weirdness yesterday, I don’t know what was up with that.

For example, the one that references the galley copy of Knausgaard should appear in spring of this year (but I’m not worried about being totally accurate).

Oh my god, I cannot shut up.

But that is our secret.

I had a feeling.

SO BUMMED ABOUT THAT, but it’s fine.

Hahaha — “all these intense writer people.”

I agree with you totally on the “dildo in the corner” thing.

THANK YOU. I can only imagine what an incredible headache it is to format all of this.

We were only focusing on his missives.

Either pseudonym is fine with us.

I like “Tex” too!

I trust you.

We don’t need to change Alex’s name.

I am happy to lose most of the poetry, but NOT the ones I send to him in the first email sequence [p. 3-4].

Lol — I just said to my friends, “I think she [you] is pretty aware that I get fucked up at this time every night.”

We both want to tone down the meta-narrative.

I so relate, I ask everyone I’m around not to let me talk about it at all.

Seriously — I am 96% convinced of this.

Lol, I really did feel like a demon.

I understand and I wish to continue.

Feeling down with the cheap lazy vibe you describe.

Can you give me some other font options for the email essay?

I think I might reactivate my [Facebook] profile sometime around October to promote the book to my friends on there, but for the most part it’s important to me to stay off of it.

As much as I’d like for us to be in agreement, I’m still uncomfortable with my face being on [the cover] in such a big way.

I’m glad you’re doing that list thing — I worry I was overly delete-happy yesterday.

Let me know if I’m being too vocal and stressing you out.

The butt plug photo?

I’ve been drawing that icon a lot recently.

I like the fragmentary vibe of those inbox shots.

The version of this intertwined legs pic you’re using is slightly different, and not as good.

Since you mention “fixing the peach” [on the cover] I want to emphasize again theBUTT [Magazine] thing, and ask that we go peachy enough to not be pink.

It’s funny how unrealistic the prospect of fame makes us.

Could you try phrasing that differently?

No no no no no no no.

Haha jesus.

Just curious.

I totally lied to you.

I could get behind that.

It’s pretty unromantic in actuality.

Did simultaneously!

Happy birthday!

Anything particular instructions for that?

I’m still not sure whether or not to say this [and I am saying it] but — I apologize if any of the stuff about our parents in that excerpt made you sad.

All I need to do is link my current checking account to my PayPal account, I guess.

Note: you aren’t as defined/personified by this as you probably imagine.

Ah dang, I’m glad it was meaningful to you.

Two word answers!


A nice texture!

I feel like a human makes it less sterile

I’m wondering (finally) what the money/royalty situation is.

Hmm… still UGH.

I think that’s my car insurance.

But now I’m done emailing you for the night.

Hahahahaha — that is precisely my feeling.

Which I’m all in for, in most cases.

At USPS now, about to mail this fucker to Hilton Als (bad idea?).

Just using you as a therapist slash neurosis hole.

I’m about to go to bed and listen to this song and cry:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu8MqdC0Zms

Wow… Typos. Embarrassing.


You just got engaged. Why are you emailing me? Shouldn’t you be having sex or something?

Lol — “I’jj.”

So how do you want to do this?

Here’s the thing on that: No, it doesn’t.

Really, I’m up to discuss this.

“IT” is the “proprietor” ? The proprietor is non-gendered?

This process is weird.

Redundancy, bad poetry, etc.

This book is not going to ruin my life.

Beau Rice_Tex_Penny-Ante Editions


Before and After

by David Fishkind

An analytical approach to living, that is a problem. I said it to S, I said I didn’t think that the examined life was the right one. I said it was, well, I could look it up it was on Gmail, but I’d rather try to remember. The point was, I was trying to tell him. I didn’t try that hard. I knew he wouldn’t like it if I put it that way, but the point was what I was feeling, which was that the too examined life lacked the types of brief, transcendent emotions that made it meaningful. If everything was studied very precisely, tried to be understood, attempted to be made into language, something was lost. More thoughts seemed to occur without language. Its usefulness to one’s, like, being could be put in question.

He seemed to think I was an idiot, he might have said so. G said what could I expect, he made his whole life based on that kind of tenet. That way of looking at things—S is a PhD—and trying to put that into some comprehensive explanation. Also he’s a poet. He never talked to me again. I can’t remember if I tried to strike up conversation with him. It must have been in winter. Could it have been during the time I was still doing crosswords? that was obviously a conflict of interest for me. There was a thing where I would always see the same words coming up, which was distracting. They’d be too easy or too hard.

I can find very little middle ground in stuff like that. I don’t know if I’d had the thought, but what if, what if, I had told him that I was more concerned with the exact reality as it appeared from an empirical, outside perspective, and that inner thoughts deflected it… Would it have been a lie? that actually bothers me a lot. How when you pose a question in writing (not a question in terms of “idea” but in terms of, like, a person thinking a question, I often think one vies to answer it), I always want to answer it immediately.

It was sort of a great relief, one less force to fear incurring—is it incurring?—my madness. My ideology appears, like it had sprung, only through disagreements with people. It’s weak. I felt like I’d escaped from the possibility of living S’s life. Something that required so much attention to the things beyond itself might cease to be substantive. Things are more often than not, I assert, concerned with what is directly, immediately happening.

Continue reading

Bye, past.

by Catherine Lacey


The internet is a cannibal. Things come out and things get chewed right back in.

I don’t know what compelled me to start a blogger account in 2007 or 2008 or whenever it was. Loneliness probably and the sense I had back then that “one should blog,” a sense I no longer have but an impulse that ended up teaching me so much.

Anyway, from this weird ring of blogger accounts of fledgling writers and poets, the giant grew. We wrote things we might regret. We argued. We read so much internet our eyes stung and swole up and we maybe lost real life friends and gained internet friends that became real life friends. It was here I started writing stuff that strangers read, that I learned to defend myself in words. I read a lot, thought a lot, went to school, had this second school of folks here, teaching me the shit they actually do not teach you in school. I hope the writers younger than us have their giants, too. I’m sure they’re out there.

I don’t blog anymore (though I suppose this is one last exception!) and my internet consumption is way, way down, but it still means a lot to me, that this place was here, that it was what it was for a time. Thanks Blake & Gene & all you little lovely weirdos.


Goodnight nobody / Goodnight mush

by Kristen Iskandrian

I gladly add my voice to the chorus of Goodnight and Thank You to Gene and to Blake. Thank you, for creating this bizarre little hole that grew & grew, a hole I happily fell into time & time again. I didn’t post often, and haven’t in ages, but I visited regularly and learned a lot here–about books I would not necessarily have found otherwise, and presses, and people asking important questions and creating amazing things. Thank you to those of you I haven’t met in person, but feel I know vibrationally, which can be better than IRL.

I know there were flare-ups and hurt feelings, but if I’m going to be honest, I more often than not left this space with more–not less–empathy. Behind each voice, behind each screen, is an actual person, and therefore, I think it’s safe to say, a person in pain. Pain is a good teacher.

It might sound silly, but one of the things I learned from the past 4-5 years of clicking around here: the internet is the ultimate nobody & the ultimate everybody. HTMLGiant was a very good place for negotiating this weird, constantly askew binary. And I think, at its best, it was an exemplary art forum–many people here seem to know that the only way to talk about art, really, is to make it. Questions of good or bad, like it or don’t like it, generally didn’t resonate for long. People risked ridicule and criticism to talk about things that moved them.

People risked. I guess I can’t think of a higher compliment.


His Geography: The Collected Works of Michael Ondaatje

by Anthony Strain

A. “There are stories the man recites quietly into the room which slip from level to level like a hawk.”

The English Patient

Screen shot 2014-09-19 at 2.03.52 PM

1. A popular mistake about Canada is that it is fundamentally North. Otto Friedrich’s biography of Glenn Gould compares Canada’s relationship to the North with America’s to the West, except there’s no Disneyland in the Arctic. Most of Canada’s population is concentrated in the southernmost quarters; post-Gould Toronto produced Petra Collins’ Instagram, among a lot of other non-Drizzy things. One quarter of all postwar immigrants to Canada came to Toronto. Canada’s history is only one centennial in; its youth relative to the rest of the world may account for why the rest of the world sometimes acts so strange about it. Cats still aren’t sure about humans because in evolutionary terms they haven’t been around as long as dogs and are still socializing themselves. There are no cats in the Bible, for instance.

2. The book of 2014, nonfic anyway, was Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty, a book carrying the mythical glow of pregnancy. Stephen Marche reviewed it for the Los Angeles Review of Books, calling it ‘perhaps the only major work of economics that could reasonably be mistaken for a work of literary criticism.’ He relates realism’s utter defeat of the other forms, the fun ones like lyricism or even minimalism, and credits Jonathan Franzen, that old serpent, with its proliferation. We already knew all that. One of the writers Marche suggests has fallen out of usage is the Canadian Michael Ondaatje: from Ontario by way of Sri Lanka, educated in England, known for hushed, haunted pieces like The English Patient (1992),Divisadero (2007) and The Collected Works Of Billy The Kid (1970). He also wrote a memoir, Running In The Family (1979), which includes the following clip:

“At St. Thomas’ College Boy School I had written ‘lines’ as punishment. A hundred and fifty times. [fragment in Sinhalese] I must not throw coconuts off the roof of Cobblestone House. [fragment in Sinhalese] We must not urinate again on Father Barnabus’ tires. A communal protest this time, the first of my socialist tendencies. The idiot phrases moved east across the page as if searching for longitude and story, some meaning or grace that would occur blazing after so much writing. For years I thought literature was punishment, simply a parade ground. The only freedom writing brought was as the author of rude expressions on walls and desks.”

Continue reading

2010 – 2011 Minnesota Timberwolves

by Andrew James Weatherhead

Prior to the 2010-2011 NBA season, I conceived of an ambitious project to write short, non-fiction prose poem biographies of all ~400 NBA players. I started with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who, at the time, had one of the more eclectic rosters in the league. After maybe 40 hours of writing, I finished nine biographies and gave up on the project as a whole. I tried submitting the results to prominent literary journals of the time (6×6La Petit ZineDiagramjubilat), wistfully hoping someone would see some merit in them. No one did.

Two years later, Tim and Gene were kicking around an idea for an HTMLGiant newsletter-type publication, which would include original writing next to interviews and other articles (I think?). Tim asked if I had anything to contribute; I think the only guideline was “something chill re: style.” I sent the Minnesota Timberwolves bios and they were enthusiastically accepted, but the newsletter never fully materialized.

Things change and things don’t change. I still like these a lot and thought I’d share them. S/O Tim, Gene, and Blake. Continue reading

Self-Publishing Question

by Adam Robinson

When I started DIY publishing in 1994, I didn’t know what I was doing. My zine, .iota, which I published with friends, only lasted a few issues. The work I did in college, as the Arts editor for the school paper and the fiction editor for the literary journal, was insubstantial. When I offered cash for a fiction prize with The Kankakee Review, a journal I started in 1999, I only got a handful of submissions. I wasn’t any good at it (although I did run interviews with Jacques Derrida and Cornel West and the band Buffalo Tom).

The internet since the early 2000s has made it possible to achieve a much higher profile, though the requirements are the same; you have to work hard, have reasonable expectations, and be cool in the world in order to be successful. But the potential for success in terms of readership is greater.


In 2003 I was a very active member of a blogging community, and at my blog I wrote about current events, trying to quit smoking, my love for the Milwaukee art scene and an unsystematic host of other things. There were a couple dozen people in that “ring,” and the attention we gave each other was motivating. We commented on posts, or we’d respond at length on our own sites. Do you remember this stuff? This was before pingbacks were automatic, so you’d manually have to insert a code somewhere. It was a long time ago, the dawn of Web 2.0.

What was crucial in that scene, for me, was the motivation that came from people responding to each other. Smart, funny people engaged my point of view, and accordingly I genuinely cared about theirs, and sometimes that meant we’d argue long into the night. I remember the too-much-coffee feeling I’d get every time I hit the button that posted my comment. “No! Jihad means suffering!” I’d say, or whatever.It’s because of that feeling, which comes from real conversation, that I kept tuning in. And I would learn about the work these people were doing, and I would support them, and they would support, provoke, and invigorate me—and of course we weren’t famous or widely read or even that good (but we were pretty good)—but thanks to them I kept working. Dialogue with a community of likeminded people is part of my artistic process.

It’s also part of what has made my current venture, Publishing Genius, successful. Spending large chunks of time—10,000 hours—emailing, tweeting, reading other people’s writing, using Facebook and so on has been my primary “marketing plan,” insofar as doing what I already want to do anyway is a plan. Something obvious that I say all the time: “If you’re not interacting with people who are doing what you’re doing, you won’t achieve your goal. But those interactions have to be natural to you. If you try to force it, you’ll lose interest and get discouraged.” Continue reading

A Tagger Named Little Bricks


I swear this is true. It starts here:

I went on to speculate that said tagger was probably based in Pittsburgh.

When I was a kid, we lived in Pittsburgh and sometimes my folks would bring my brother and me to the Kennywood amusement park.

So, sometimes I remember things—or, I guess what happens is I half remember things and want to remember the rest, so my brain does what it can to fill things in like the bastard that it is. I remember that at Kennywood, I became terrified when a “control your own altitude” plane ride in the part of the park for very little children went up beyond my tolerance. It was a modified carousel- or octopus-style ride with planes on armatures around a central axis and motor, and each plane had a stick that allowed the passengers to cause the arm to lift the plane off the ground. I was seated with another child—the planes accommodated two “pilots” each—a daredevil who grabbed the stick on the plane and pulled back, and up we went to a height that dizzied me. (I assume now that the distance between myself and the ground at the armature’s full extension was probably less than six feet. I was a tense, small child.) I screamed and my father got the operator to stop the ride so I could get off it. I still feel shame about this incident. I am in my 40s.

I am also, to this day, afraid of flying. Talk to me after a flight and you are talking to a man whose brain is warmly pulsing with alprazolam. A few years ago, I had a picture of Joe Kittinger, an American pilot who until recently held the record for longest skydive, tattooed on my arm in hopes that it would act as a barrier between myself and my fear of flying, but it has not worked. Things rarely work out as we want them to.

But I was on Kennywood. Continue reading

Several items have been found recently by the Transportation Department. Owners may claim their items at the Transportation Office by this Friday. Call 285-9045 for directions.

by Sean Lovelace

-Black “Neff” beanie
-Black umbrella
-Black/red polka dot umbrella
-Navy speckled umbrella
-Digital camera with case (must fully describe to claim)
-Silver earring
-”Association of Objectification of Women School Broadcasters” certificates
-Black/gray running shoes
-Black “Mike Young” tennis shoes
-”Mockingjay” book

-Orange “Sky Zone” sock
-Black sunglasses (2)
-Black sunglasses with silver frames
-Leopard print sunglasses
-Racist Cell phone car charger
-Headphones with remote controls
-Black “ACE” bandage
-Sweater with red/pink hearts
-Gray “Adam Robinson” sweatshirt
-Black brassiere
-Prescription glasses with gold frames
-”No Colony” art posters
-”Kathleen Rooney” headlamp
-Blue bag with drinking glass and plate
-Clear drinking glass with “Sigma Chi” ink pen
-”Molly Gaudry” bowling ball
-White folder with class notes
-“Mary Miller” Bungee cord
-”Kentucky Chen” water bottle
-”Memorex” CD (“#8″)

-CDs (2) with car chargers/cables
-”Light Boxes” DVD with USB charger
-Black gloves, safety goggles, and earplugs

-Tan sunglasses
-Purple reading glasses
-Black “Kim Chinquee” eyeglasses case
-Sunglasses with white frames
-Blue “Belzer Day Camp” sunglasses
-”J.A. Tyler” stopwatch
-Wristwatch with broken band
-Casio wristwatch
-Black planner
-Turquoise phone case
-White “CamelBak” water bottle
-Black/clear “BSU Recreation” drinking container
-Blue water bottles (2)
-Purple water bottles (2)
-Blue/green water bottle
-”Nickel Creek (A Dotted Line)” CD
-”Class of 2007″ keychain (no keys)
-Michael Kimball keychain with keys
-Keys with “Goodwill” card
-Single key
-”Ford” key fob with key
-”Chrysler” key fob
-Black “Matt Bell” car key
-”Adidas” hooded sweatshirt
-”Cabela’s” chest waders
-Red “Adidas” shorts
-Brown “Newgent” headband
-Cell phone charger
-Three-ring binder with orange Matthew Simmons “butterfly” design
-Bag with three shirts
-Casio calculator
-Red “Ditrapano” backpack
-Electronic cigarette cartridge

-”Tractor Supply” hat
-Black “Fundamentals of Communication” textbook (COMM 210)
-Owl pouch with pink key
-Black scarf
-Striped silk scarf
-Two (2) pairs of black gloves
-Black “Thinsulate” gloves
-Blue gloves
-Gray gloves
-Black glove with grips (right hand)
-Gray “Brandi Wells” eyeglasses
-Fingerless blue/black striped glove
-Black sunglasses
-Men’s black “Rawlings” sunglasses
-Women’s brown sunglasses
-Dark eyeglasses
-Two (2) “Tao Lin” car chargers
-Black “Nike” sandals (size 9)
-White “Adidas” basketball shoes
-”Rohto” eye drops
-Purple/black headband
-Light blue toboggan
-Green/blue “Thermo King” hat
-USB car charger
-”Artic Zone” lunch bag
-Laminated map
-Silver earring
-”Chevrolet” car key and fob
-”BULA Micro Gator” neck warmer
-Stainless steel “Stephanie Barber” water bottle

-Black reading glasses
-Black sunglasses
-Black “Ray-Ban” sunglasses
-Orange construction vest
-Orange “Adidas” shin guard
-Camouflage beanie cap
-Handheld two-way radios (must identify completely to claim)
-”Drive & Learn Spanish” CD
-”Berenstain Bears” children’s books
-Green “AEP” water bottle
-Stainless steel “CamelBak” water bottle
-Red water bottle
-Neon green water bottle
-Orange travel mug
-Red “Thermos” coffee lid
-”Foley” bottle opener
-Red/white/blue umbrella
-Black/white floral umbrella
-Red/white inhaler
-Red lunch box (soft case)
-Vehicle key/fob (must identify completely to claim)
-”Nikon” camera charger
-Keys with “Speedy Rewards” card
-”Smyrna Beach” pocket knife

-Black/gray “Catherine Lacey” earmuffs
-Brown hat with teddy bears
-”Brian Evenson” hat
-Blue “Los Angeles Dodgers” baseball cap
-Women’s gray gloves
-Black “Contigo” water bottle
-Blue “Late Nite” water bottle
-Green “Columbia College Chicago” water bottle
-Black/gold earring
-Silver “Roxane Gay” keyring
-Black sunglasses
-Brown sunglasses
-Pink eyeglasses
-Black “Cocoons” sunglasses case
-Blue key fob with keys
-Silver miniature keys
-Binders with sheet music
-”Scott McClanahan” folder with sheet music
-”Bubba” water bottle
-Black “Burch” cell phone charger
-White cell phone charger
-Sam Pink cell phone charger
-Black “Kyocera” cell phone (must fully describe to claim)
-Black “Virgin Mobile” cell phone (must fully describe to claim)
-A “Gray” cell phone (must fully describe to claim)
-Hotel gift certificates (must identify hotel to claim)
-Silver magnifying glass
-Umbrella with orange stripes
-Umbrella with green/pink flowers
-Umbrella with pink/orange polka dots
-Burgundy umbrella
-Green umbrella
-Black “Edward Mullany” t-shirt
-Blue “Aéropostale” shirt in a bag
-Black polo shirt
-Gray shorts
-Blue “Daniel Bailey”clothes hanger
-Blue/gray “Totes” case
-Medical kit
-Red/black battery “Kim Chinquee” jumper cables
-Green gorilla print bag with markers
-”Blake’s” lullaby CD