Justin Brouckaert's avatar

Justin Brouckaert

There’s an old adage that you should write what you know. I wish it was: You should write what you know that no one else does.

From Eric Nelson’s "How To Tell People What Your Book Is About" on the Ploughshares blog

I Read

the heart beats 100,000 times a day, which leads me to think I could write a poem 100,000 words long, each word a beat, each beat how I feel about you. Each word would have two syllables, words mimicking tic-toc, ocean, thunk-thunk—trochaic, iambic, a few spondees thrown in for when I’m really pounding. I do the math and realize how my potential poem will be 300 pages, no punctuation or sentences, only word after word—and it will probably take you a whole day to read, a full twenty-four hours, and the poem will probably only make sense if you take it all in, in one sitting. So then when would you sleep? And why would you take the time to read such a poem-beast when you could just put your hand on the skin right over my heart?

From Denise Duhamel’s “I Read” in Indiana Review 32.1

But when you stop playing seriously, when the game ceases to be an essential part of your life, it becomes harder and harder to justify spending regular hours at the gym. Shooting in an empty gym gets boring; the very thing that makes sports so agonizing—the fear of falling behind, of being beat, of not meeting your own expectations—is the same thing that drives you, that makes those hours of practice feel purposeful rather than aimless. When it ends, all those insecurities (what if I don’t become who I want to be?) and platitudes (hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard) that have driven you for a majority of your life still stick around—they’ve become a part of your DNA—but you don’t have an outlet for them. At first you try to pour these competitive desires into other activities, but when that inevitably falls short, you have to learn how to temper them.

from Hal Sundt’s “Over The Hill

The best critics perform an important function, but it’s not one I’m hard-wired to do. I just find it exhausting having to marshal arguments and defend them against possible objectors. An analogy I often use is that writers are like duck-billed platypuses and critics are taxonomists, and to us duck-billed platypuses the question of whether we should be considered as an egg-laying mammal or what is a pointless exercise. A duck-billed platypus is interested in swimming, finding food, having sex, laying eggs. A novelist’s job is to write a novel, not worry about how it fits into one’s oeuvre or whether it captures the postmodern experience or whatnot. It might be my own ignorance. Perhaps there are writers who consider such things, but I’m really just interested in finding out where a story goes and helping it get there. There are beautiful, magical descriptions of the nighttime in the beginning of Huck Finn—I’ve never wanted to dissect that magic, I just want to read it and experience it.

The Rumpus Interview with David Mitchell

2014 Book #53: WHAT IS THE WHAT by Dave Eggers


"Whatever I do, however I find a way to live, I will tell these stories. I have spoken to every person I have encountered these last difficult days, and every person who has entered this club during these awful morning hours, because to do anything else would be something less than human. I speak to these people, and I speak to you because I cannot help it. It gives me strength, almost unbelievable strength, to know that you are there. I covet your eyes„ your ears, the collapsible space between us. How blessed are we to have each other? I am alive and you are alive so we must fill the air with our words. I will fill today, tomorrow, every dat until I am taken back to God. I will tell stories to people who will listen and to people who don’t want to listen, people who seek me out and to those who run. All the while I will know that you are there. How can I pretend that you do not exist? It would be almost as impossible as you pretending that I do not exist."

2014 Book #52: Destruction Myth by Mathias Svalina

I know I need to connect with other people, it’s why I write, but I kind of hate going outside. Most people assume I like being out because they only see me when I’m out. In small intervals, I can kill it as a human. But then I have to go hide and recover.

Jamaal May in The Southeast Review

2014 Book #51: FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS by Hunter S. Thompson


"History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of ‘history’ it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened."



"There is, intrinsic to the process of a memoir, the resulting destruction of one’s former self. Writing about those years, and being cruel to who I was as I could be implicitly means the thou are killing that person. Yes, you are sometimes celebrating that person’s better moments, and relating with sympathy that person’s better thoughts, but overall you are saying: This was me then, and I can look at that person, from the distance I now have, and throw water balloons on his stupid fat head."


Issue Six is Here!


Issue Six is Here!

I6 Cover

Issue Six of Sundog Lit is live! Go, feast your eyes and brains on this spectacular issue. So many great, powerful voices.

Poetry: Justin Brouckaert | Doug Paul Case | Caleb Curtiss | Adam Gianforcaro | Emily Grelle | Brett Elizabeth Jenkins | Laura Kochman | Shane McRae | Jory Mickelson | Dianne Turgeon Richardson | Pyper Stever | Ashley Strosnider | Lisa Summe | Russ Sara Woods

Fiction: Rijn…

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Gotta little poem in this issue. Psyched to be included along so many other awesome poets I dig, like Russ Sara Woods, Doug Paul Case & Lisa Summe.