The Drunken Odyssey with John King: A Podcast About the Writing Life

In this week’s episode, I talk about Douglas Glover's Attack of the Copula Spiders with Vanessa Blakeslee,

Vanessa Blakeslee

plus Sam Slaughter writes about how Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son changed his life.

Photo by Oxley Photography 2014
Photo by Oxley Photography 2014


Attack of the Copula Spiders

Jesus Son

Direct download: The_Drunken_Odyssey_Episode_119.mp3
Category:Arts/Culture/Writing -- posted at: 9:01pm EDT

Episode 118 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on iTunes, or right click here to download.

In this week’s episode, I interview The verse novelist Holly Thompson,

Holly Thompson

Plus Laryssa Wirstiuk writes about how Jonathan Saffron Foer's Eating Animals changed her life.

Laryssa Wirstiuk


The Language Inside

Eating Animals


Check out Functionally Literate Radio, which on the latest episode features my essay, "I Heart Smokey and the Bandit."

From the Facebook page of Bob Lamb (episode 40), in regard to his informal "Worst First Sentence of a Bad Novel Contest":

Okay, final verdict is in. First place--John King, although one of the judges worried that it was so funny that it could be used as the first sentence of a comic masterpiece rather than a bad novel. Yet, its originality, the sudden twists and turns of inspired lunacy, and the supermarket imagery cleverly woven into a surreal scene so impressed the judges that it really was no contest. Second place went to Steve Edwards--his economy, precision, and repetition of really bad metaphors obviously made his entry a powerful one, and the final metaphor of the peach pit as a tiny wooden brain had a certain je ne sais quois that evoked a peal of delightful revulsion. Third place went to Bob Lamb--although an unoriginal mockery of standard noir detective fiction a la Hammett, the judges felt that it's his goddamned contest and he ought to get some sort of a prize, especially given his fragile psyche and penchant for violence. The judges also awarded a distinguished parody prize to Eric Link for his brilliant satire of Hemingway writing a zombie novel. Although not technically a bad first sentence of a bad novel, and even though the judges could see this turning into a great parody of Hemingway and zombie fiction, they felt it was more appropriate for the old "Bad Hemingway" contest that used to run annually. Another entry, by Elizabeth Stuckey-French, was simply way too interesting and good to fit a bad first sentence contest. This often occurs when a real writer tries to write a bad sentence--their talent turns it into a sentence with potential. The judges found themselves wanting to read more, which is always a sign that your first sentence is not truly bad. The gutless wonder award goes to Mike Cocchiarale, who caused Bob Lamb to write concluding sentences to his bad novel, and then did not even participate. The judges felt that although Mr. Cocchiarale is an avid sports fan from Cleveland, and thus hopelessly trapped in a world of pain and confusion, he should have at least tried and failed, not unlike his beloved Browns. Lou Hickman and Tim Reynolds have been disqualified for cheating, and have received a five-year ban from participating in the contest. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Kip Robisch, for his disruptive actions on this thread, and we expect to have him in custody shortly. We are working with law enforcement and immigration to have him deported.

And here was my winning entry:

When the were-pigs, gibbering in their porcine poetry and slapping the ground with their by-now clawed hooves, overran the supermarket, heaving their fleshy forms over the aisles of Cel-Ray sodas and bread and chick-peas, Clem knew that he better put down his inventory forms and drag the crossbow out of the safe again, but an icy sliver of revulsion, fear, and longing penetrated his spine, and he stood in front of the office window, watching the sounder below careen over the black and white tiles, demolishing the glass doors of the frozen food aisles, before their leader jumped onto the conveyor belt of check out line #7, and stared directly at him with wolf-like eyes, as if the giant porker was preparing to speak.


Episode 118 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on iTunes, or right click here to download.

Direct download: The_Drunken_Odyssey_Episode_118.mp3
Category:Writing -- posted at: 12:42pm EDT

In this week’s episode, I interview Pat Rushin, who authored the screenplay for the new Terry Gilliam film, The Zero Theorem, which opens in the U.S.A on September 19th,

Pat Rushin and his wife Mary on the set of The Zero Theorem.
Pat Rushin and his wife Mary on the set of The Zero Theorem.

Plus Craig-Paul Moreau writes about Randy Shilts's And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic.

Photo by Demian Rosenblatt.
Photo by Demian Rosenblatt.


The Zero Theorem

And the Band Played On


Check out where The Zero Theorem will be playing in the U.S.A. here.

Check out "My parents helped me to lose my virginity,” the new personal essay in The Guardian by Boris Fishman (Episode 107).

Direct download: The_Drunken_Odyssey_Episode_117.mp3
Category:Arts/Culture/Writing -- posted at: 1:55pm EDT

In this week’s episode, I interview Stephen Corey, Editor-in-Chief of The Georgia Review,

Stephen Corey

Photograph by William Walsh.

Plus August Evans writes about Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping.

August Evans



M994962P2FRONT.qxp:Layout 1


Margaret Atwood if the first entrant into the Future Library Project, with work to be printed in 2214, from trees in a forest planted this year (reported in a Guardian story by Alison Flood).

Congrats to Bookmark It‘s first six months! In Orlando, check it out at theEast End Market.

bookmark it

Direct download: The_Drunken_Odyssey_Episode_116.mp3
Category:Arts/Culture/Writing -- posted at: 5:45pm EDT