LEARNING TO SURF: $3, 5 ½” x 8 ½”, copied, color cover, 53 pgs.

Mike Faloon is one of my favorite contemporary writers. One of his talents is his ability to bend, twist, fade, pull, overlap, and manipulate how to write. And not in a dillhole, “Look! I’m making ironic balloon animals of fiction! Let’s hear what the napkin has to say!” feel of so many obviously self-involved experiments. The magic that Mike pulls is that he just seems like an ordinary dude with an ordinary traveling suitcase. He unsnaps that case, opens it up, and something extraordinary happens. Fiction and non-fiction intermingle. Proxy separations, invented hundreds of years ago—that were devised for certain clusters of words and approaches to words—unravel. Learning to Surf unwinds then intertwines the processes of record reviewing, metafiction, and memoir into a Navy-tight, spliced rope. Family man Mike intermingles the echoes of walking down railroad tracks with his daughter and invests it with images of the Arrivals’ “Simple Pleasures in America.” In the title piece, Mike weighs his longtime interaction with Superchunk’s music and compares and contrasts it with his early flirting with Eric Clapton. (Let’s put it this way: Rolling Stone lies about music and Mike’s learning to jog.) The story is not only a sonic comparison, but a life-as-business comparison and a story about the acquisition of personal taste. Tired of the websites pedaling audio transfat? Wary of soft-rock clock punchers? Hunt down Learning to Surf and seek out Mike Faloon’s writing. –Todd (PO Box 469, Patterson, NY 12563, [email protected])