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The Order of Oddfish


My wife is totally pregnant

April 28, 2009

This blog is kind of like Law and Order.

On Law and Order, you don’t know too much about the police officers’ or attorneys’ personal lives. You just see them getting on with their jobs, immersed in the details of the case. But every once in a while, one cop might say to the other, “Hey, McSnulkin! How’d your daughter’s piano recital go?” And you, as an audience member, are blown away: up until now, you hadn’t known McSnulkin even had a daughter, or indeed any family at all! From this one throwaway line—perhaps never to be followed up—a new, implied world opens. You find yourself wondering about McSnulkin’s daughter while riding the El, probably more than if you actually saw her on the show.

As goes Law and Order, so goes this blog. I’m a man of discretion. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that my wife Heather is great with child. That’s Heather in the picture above, with my father-in-law and my niece. Our due date is May 7. She’s fixing to burst any day now. We can’t wait!

Here we are in our more carefree days, back when we lived in Japan.

More good news: tonight I’ll be reading at the Bookslut reading series at the Hopleaf in Chicago. (See the events sidebar for details.) But bad news: it looks like Jessa Crispin, the mastermind behind Bookslut, is leaving Chicago in July to move to Berlin. Too bad. I was looking forward to meeting her.

Nevertheless, I am more than consoled, for The Order of Odd-Fish week continues on Murphblog! Today, in Part 2, we discuss David Lynch’s “Eye of the Duck” theory of art, I reveal my silly reason for not including an acknowledgments page in Odd-Fish, and we see a video of Paul Murphy himself dramatically reading from the book! It’s a must-see. Check it out!

It never rains but it pours. Yesterday Chicagoist also ran a long interview with me, in which we discuss how not studying literature in college helped me as a writer, my pet theory about the Comedian from Watchmen, and where I got the idea of the Belgian Prankster (hint: it has to do with the 1998 incident when Bill Gates got a pie in the face).

Not only that, but the Onion AV Club’s Decider Chicago interviewed me for their “Defend Your Taste” feature. I come off a little feisty here. We discuss the debt modern YA fantasy owes to J.K. Rowling, and how I discovered the best way to get attention for your book is to whimsically insult the beloved and influential.

And now we come to what you’ve been waiting for: more entries to my Write an Ending for The Strange Ship Part II Contest. Today we get to see the fantastic art and stories of Jessica Kosticak and Jade Sherrod.

Jessica first! This one’s got it all: her colorful backgrounds and skillful compositions make the vivid pictures leap out, all the characters are cute and talkative, we get to meet the bubble gum monster again, and there’s even a sly reference to the pepper from The Strange Ship Part I (perhaps pepper is the moneymen’s weapon of choice?!). Wrap it all up with a happy ending, and you’ve got yourself a first-rate story! Take it away, Jessica:

Not to be outdone, Jade Sherrod manages the feat of presenting a vast epic of secret alliances, ruthless ingenuity, and arbitrary tragedy, all within a single page. We learn that the bubblegum monster is actually in league with the giant monsters; we see how he cleverly uses his own gummy substance to repair his allies; but then we also see how the moneymen bungle their way into killing their own robot friend!

The mind reels: in Jade’s telling, the villains help each other out, but the heroes destroy each other. Do these “heroes” really deserve their happy ending? I call Jade’s version a small masterpiece of irony.

Brilliant. And more to come!