Category Archives: Writing Samples

Babes from Outer Space

I was talking to a friend the other day about the stupidest piece of hackery I’ve ever done. And I’ve written some really stupid pieces. But this one beats them all by far, I think. Maxim paid me well–this particular piece paid out a couple of thousand–but I was so wrong for them as a contributing editor. Yes, I was a contributing editor.

Sample from the article:

“Nyah”
Devil Girl From Mars (1954)
Played by: Patricia Laffan
Home planet: Mars, a major source of ’50s paranoia.
Diabolical plan: To kidnap strapping Scottish men and get herself knocked up, pronto.
Advantages: Has the urge to merge in a big way. [I REALLY DOUBT I WROTE THAT LINE, BUT I MIGHT HAVE BEEN LAZY]
Bonus for submissive types: Can trap laddies in a powerful force field, and has a 12-foot-tall hench-robot named Chani to do her dirty work.
Disadvantages: Is prone to saying snotty, emasculating stuff like “It amuses me to watch your petty efforts.” Should she judge you too old and flabby for breeding, she sics Chani on you.
Typical come-on: “I can control power beyond your wildest dreams. Come! Come! And you will see!”

I still recommend Devil Girl from Mars, though.

InDigest fiction

The fine folks at Indigestmag.com have put up a short story of mine, The Missing Years. It’s from a novel I’ve been working on. The story is an early draft.

It’s so good to read something from the novel. At least it’s good for me, because lately I’ve been writing stories inspired by 1990s power ballads. The stories vary wildly from the novel (for one thing, the “power ballad” stories are meant to be funny).

Maybe I should stick with the novel? The novel is set in the South. The power ballad stories are, too, but. . . I digress.

InDigest is such a nice magazine. Take a look.

“Desires” A Reading at the Cornelia Street Cafe

Last night’s reading at Happy Ending was great, but it’s on to a new one this coming Tuesday:

DESIRES: A READING AT The Cornelia Street Café Tuesday, February 19th, 6:00 PM 29 Cornelia Street 212-989-9319

It’s a great little place where many people have been reading for years and years, from singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega to poet-senator Eugene McCarthy along with members of Monty Python to members of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Power Ballad, a short story by Meakin Armstrong

Vegas-Habitat, a short play by Andy Podell

Across Town, a short story by Carol Ghiglieri

ANDY PODELL is a playwright, filmmaker, and activist. He is a founding member of The Radical Homosexual Agenda (www.radicalhomosexualagenda.org).

MEAKIN ARMSTRONG is a screenwriter, magazine editor, and freelance writer working on his first novel, Kings of the Wild Frontier. He is also the fiction editor for Guernica / A Magazine of Arts and Politics. For 2007, he received “waitership”) for the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Meakin is also contributor to the book, New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomberg (Dist U of Chicago Press).

CAROL GHIGLIERI has an MA in creative writing from Boston University, and an MFA from Warren Wilson College. She has published stories in Alaska Quarterly Review, descant, and River City. She has won the Writer’s Voice New Voice Fiction Award and descant’s Gary Wilson Short Fiction Award. In addition to writing fiction, she works as a freelance editor and writer.

Cover $7 (includes one house drink)

“Desires” is a part of the Writers Room reading series. The Writers Room readings are supported by the Jerome Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Directions to the CORNELIA STREET CAFÉ

By Subway

A, C, E, B, D, F & V TRAINS

Get on the south end of the train.
Take the train to the West 4th Street stop.
Exit at West 3rd Street.
Walk one block north to 4th Street.
Make an acute left onto Cornelia Street.

1 & 9 TRAINS

Take the train to the Sheridan Square stop.
Walk 2 1/2 blocks east on West 4th Street.
Make a right onto Cornelia Street.

I’ll be in Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood on the 14th



I’ve been asked to participate in a reading tomorrow, the 14th. It’s for the Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood Reading series, at the Happy Ending Lounge on 302 Broome Street, at the intersection of Broome Street and Forsyth Streets.

Before going into details, I have to say I love the (I think) unintended pun on the Citysearch site, which calls the lounge the best new bar in the city, etc:

“Happy Ending’s former life was an erotic massage parlor and has now been transformed into a club with two floors, each with its own feel.”

From the publicity for the series:

We are very pleased to invite you and yours to the newest incarnation of the Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood reading series, beginning this Valentine’s Day (Thursday, Feb. 14) and continuing the second Thursday of every month at 8:00 pm. The location is Happy Ending.

Author and Open City Founding Editor Thomas Beller founded the Webby Award-nominated Web site mrbellersneighborhood.com in 2000. The site publishes stories about New York City life that follow in the tradition of Joseph Mitchell and E.B. White—slices of life, portraits of memorable characters, scandalous encounters with public decadence and heartwarming displays of civil courage.

Readers on February 14th are Laren Stover, Nora Maynard, and Meakin Armstrong. The host is Patrick Gallagher. The reading begins at 8:00 pm.

Nora Maynard’s work has appeared in The Rambler, CHOW, Apartment Therapy, and other publications. She has received fiction fellowships from the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, the Ucross Foundation, and Blue Mountain Center. In 2007 the Bronx Writers’ Center/Bronx Council on the Arts awarded her the Chapter One prize for an excerpt from her novel-in-progress, Burnt Hill Road.

Laren Stover’s first novel Pluto, Animal Lover was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. She has written for The New York Observer, The New York Times, Bergdorf Goodman Magazine, Deutsche Vogue, and Bomb.

Meakin Armstrong is a screenwriter, magazine editor, and freelance writer working on his first novel, Kings of the Wild Frontier. Among the awards and grants he received is a “waitership” to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2007. He is also contributor to the book, New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomberg (Dist U of Chicago Press, 2007) and is the fiction editor for Guernica: A Magazine of Art and Politics (guernicamag.com).

Happy Ending is located at 302 Broome Street, at the intersection of Broome Street and Forsyth Street. The phone number is 212-334-9676

Reposting: 2007 Bread Loaf waiters are doing a reading


It’s called the “Orphan Reading” because, well, it’s a long story.

Anyway, many of the 2007 work-study scholars, writers who received a “waitership” from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, are having a reading during AWP, the big writers’ conference, convention, and blah blah. This is strictly unofficial. Unsanctioned. We’re reading together as friends.

It’ll take place in Brooklyn.

Pacific Standard
8:30 pm Feb 1, 2008

Find it here

Readers (more or less and given in no particular order)

Aaron Balkan
Avery Slater
Shane Oshetski
Greg Wrenn
Matt Siegel
Dave MacLean
Julia Kudravetz
Lindsay Bernal
Emily Perez
Jenny Hill
Jennifer de Leon
Meakin Armstrong

We’ll have to somehow start a bonfire.

Post-Loaf

Other than the exceptions I’ve noted before, I’d wondered why former waiters never wrote down the details on the Bread Loaf experience.

I now know: it’s because it’s all a blur. A beautiful blur. Like traveling on a very fast train through the countryside: you see a landscape you love, and then it’s gone. I already miss it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put together my thoughts at a later date.

In any case, I’ve a filthy apartment covered with notes and papers and so on. I need to collate all of that paper and put down my thoughts in one place. Think about it for a while, and then actually do some worthwhile writing.

Anyway, I’m in love with all of the fellow waiters. Such a smart group. I’m privileged to know them. Really.

Avail soon: “New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomberg”


A book I contributed to, New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomberg, edited by Marshall Berman and Brian Berger, will be available shortly.

Published by Reaktionbooks and distributed by The University of Chicago Press. PR from the Reaktionbooks site:


Acclaimed historian Marshall Berman and journalist Brian Berger gather here a stellar group of writers and photographers who combine their energies to weave a rich tale of struggle, excitement, and wonder. John Strausbaugh explains how Uptown has taken over Downtown, as Tom Robbins examines the mayors and would-be mayors who have presided over the transformation. Margaret Morton chronicles the homeless, while Robert Atkins offers a personal view of the city’s gay culture and the devastating impact of aids. Anthony Haden-Guest and John Yau offer insiders’ views of the New York art world, while Brandon Stosuy and Allen Lowe recount their discoveries of the local rock and jazz scenes. Armond White and Leonard Greene approach African-American culture and civil rights from perspectives often marginalized in so-called polite conversation.

Daily life in New York has its dramatic moments too. Luc Sante gives us glimpses of a city perpetually on the grift, Jean Thilmany and Philip Dray share secrets of Gotham’s ethnic enclaves, Richard Meltzer walks, Jim Knipfel rides the subways, and Robert Sietsema criss-crosses the city, indefatigably tasting everything from giant Nigerian tree snails to Fujianese turtles.

It’s a long way from old Brooklyn to the new Times Square. But New York Calling reminds us of what has changed – and what’s been lost – along the way.


Available from Amazon
Link

The background blah-blah

I’m a writer.

But:

I’ve erased everything that was here because I found it so appalling.

I’ve never kept a diary (on a regular basis, that is) for the same reason.

I have had just about all I can take of myself. — S. N. Behrman

I write about books, movies, travel, and interesting people. I’ve written for both Maxim and Good Housekeeping (that’s a gamut), Reel.com, Time Out New York, Museums New York, Museums Boston, Four Seasons magazine, USAir Magazine, TV Guide, for a book called New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomberg (2008, U of Chicago/Reaktion Books) and many others–most of which are not on the Internet.

I’ve been writing forever: I was an editor at my high school paper, and arts editor of my college paper, and even founded my school paper in 6th grade. I have an MFA from Columbia in screenwriting. My work has been (ugh) optioned. “Development Hell” it was. I also worked on countless short films. Such as this and this. I wrote and directed two sync-sound 16mm films that played such festivals as Chicago, and elsewhere.

I’m an editor for Guernica magazine , where I edit fiction, along with the occasional nonfiction piece.

I have blogged for Guernica HERE. Mostly the pieces are about Republicans. And they’re a rant. Yes, I know that.

Search my name, you’ll see I’m a signer of petitions (signed it–just one–in Union Square, unaware that it would be broadcast around the world.) And that I’ve written for magazines. Sometimes the stuff shouldn’t be on the Internet

Because I didn’t sign a contract that allowed it.

This shouldn’t be on the Internet either (because again, I didn’t sign a contract that allowed it).

Sometimes, it should

I write mostly because of these demons. They offered my a Faustian bargain: fun at school in exchange for 10 years of paying it off. Not on the internet: my fiction. That’s what I do. I’ve read here
Link
and here

and here

and here

and here and elsewhere in little places around NYC.

I’ve also gotten a 2005 partial scholarship to Summer Literary Workshops in St. Petersburg, Russia.

and a 2006 Conference Grant
to here

And a “waitership” to Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2007.

UPDATE: More about me in this autobiographical piece I wrote for the Web Site, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, an essay called, “From Kobe, Japan to New York City (and Back Again)

Also have a few more stories out there on the Internet and a page on The Atlantic. This entry is an old one.