Category Archives: Writing Samples

A New Flash Fiction Piece Up at Joe + Gigs

I wrote a flash fiction piece for the online journal, Joe + Gigs.

Joe + Gigs is an ekphrastic site: all stories are in some way about paintings. For no reason at all (other than I’d given myself about an hour or so to write the piece), “This Country” was inspired by that famous dogs playing poker painting series . . .

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Most of This is True

 

I wrote this brief memoir piece called “Most of This is True” about my life in Charleston, South Carolina  during the 1980s: nightly parties, filth and despair, people having orgies on my living room floor, a roommate who stabbed me in the hand, and this:

 

 

 

“I noticed that Craig was hogtied to the chair and had peed in his pants. The chainsaw that had been painted flat black was at his feet.”

I Have a New Short-Short Fiction Piece on Wigleaf

I have a short fiction piece in the latest issue of Wigleaf.

Wigleaf is one of the top journals of super-short fiction (fiction of the very sort that Guernica, by the way, does not usually run). I love Wigleaf—the stuff in there is consistently good.

And I was very well edited, too. They made the story better than it had been.

Lullaby
We lived above an auto repair shop in that part of town where they kept the warehouses and strip joints. Every morning, we awoke to hammering and clanging. When they were painting a car, a fine mist wafted through the bathroom vent and turned our tub, toilet, and sink murky blue.

My Google Maps Piece is up

As noted earlier, I wrote a piece for The Atlantic, using Google Maps.

It was a highly complex project and difficult to execute–I wrote pithy listings for some 125 spots all over the world. I also provided the client with Google map locations and art work (I volunteered for that, a bit to my shame).

It damned near killed me (there were many, many sleepless nights while I worked on this project), but the results look great. And it’s a popular feature, too!

You can find my Google Maps feature on The Atlantic Website.

Ask Me Anything About Bourbon

I just rewrote the entire website for an ultra-premium bourbon company. I wrote thousands of words and did a lot of research on bourbon, its history, and the proper way to drink it.

Now, I know a great deal more about bourbon–I’m even pedantic in my knowledge.

But now when I sip on Knob Creek, Booker’s, Michter’s, or Woodford (those would be my faves, but I also like many others), I’m much more appreciative of it.

I love a job that makes me love life just a little bit more.

My Posted Clips

I have about a third of my clips up on this site: they’re broken into three categories: my recent Fiction, Editorial Clips and work I’ve done as a Copywriter. The Editorial Clips and Copywriter pages include a rundown of what I can do for my clients as a freelance writer, SEO copywriter, or ghostwriter.

Eventually, there will be slides and all sorts of stuff. Eventually. Right now, nothing’s too fancy around here. It’s like I’ve just moved into a large, messy house and the construction workers haven’t quite finished with the plumbing and painting.

Except I’m the guy doing the plumbing and the painting; I’m doing this thing myself.

It’s a fun thing to do: I’m learning WordPress more concretely (Guernica is on Movable Type, so I’d previously known that CMS better than this one)

Will Bad Newsgathering Outlast Good Papers?

Newsonomics has a piece on its blog comparing Patch.com news report with one in the Contra Costa Times. Contra Costa has better reporting. But Patch had more interaction with its readers. It also had better SEO and was listed higher in Google.

The start-ups will have to improve their reporting, because bad reporting is wallpaper. Boring wallpaper. But the news organizations are going to have to figure out this thing called SEO. Or they will die.

Ran across this posting: poor SEO may be what killed thelondonpaper.com (but as the comments to the posting say, that might be pushing it, as a thing to say. Ironically, the writer was going for some good SEO, and thereby misstated things).

Still Working on This Site

It’s a slow process, but I’m putting PDFs of my clips onto this site.

Click on “Editorial Clips” for my freelance writing/journalism and “Copywriter” for my ad-driven writing. Eventually, I’ll also have my all of my fiction up, and information on readings and events.

Right now, clips are also available here: http://www.mediabistro.com/MeakinArmstrong

Cinema’s Beautiful Blowhard

The Beautiful Blowhard

I wrote an essay recommending Samuel Fuller’s work. A portion of what I said:

“A Fuller film careers between drama and melodrama; it stars scene-chewing actors; is low budget, and has the subtlety of a machete. A Fuller film can start out being about one thing (such as in one of my favorites, Crimson Kimono , where it begins in a Noirish vein, with two cops investigating a crime in 1950s L.A.) only to veer off somewhere else (racism against Asians). Watching a Fuller film is seeing the unpredictable. It breaks the rules of “good” writing—and just goes for the jugular. Continue reading Cinema’s Beautiful Blowhard

Reading: Freerange Nonfiction, May 5th

I’ll be reading at the Freerange Nonfiction series this May 5th. I’ll be reading from something new: an essay about a particularly horrible event that happened to me when I was much younger: I interrupted a roommate who’d captured another, tied him down, and threatened to saw his head off with a chainsaw.

I dislike overly dramatic memoirs, so I’m going to try to make the piece about something larger: the nature of nonfiction in general. (But I’ll also try to give you the drama.)

Norman Rush: “Mating”

I wrote a piece on Norman Rush’s debut novel, Mating for Guernica’s blog.

“It took some convincing to get me to read Norman Rush. I expected his first novel, Mating, to be an obvious cross between Saul Bellow and a Victorian romance. It took me a long time to realize this: that’s not such a bad combination.”

Continue reading Norman Rush: “Mating”

Jakob Dylan: “Women and Country”

In which I bite the bullet (and recommend Jakob Dylan)

But first, I whine a bit about the Jakob juggernaut of years ago:

“Because of a former roommate, I shut the door on Jakob Dylan. While my roommate played Dylan’s hit, “One Headlight” repeatedly, I escaped to my bedroom where I could listen to something else. She sang random bars from his songs all day. She shattered the few quiet moments in the apartment to blather on about Dylan’s “cuteness.” Continue reading Jakob Dylan: “Women and Country”