Monthly Archives: January 2015

Interview with Zach VandeZande

Almost there with the interviews! Almost there with the issue! Here’s Zach, winner of Issue 9’s fiction contest for his story “Flood Myth” and therefore the reigning champion of Bop Dead City fiction.

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How would you describe your work in 25 words or less?

I write about the ship sinking, that we’ve only got cupped hands to save us.  I look for the little moment of hope in that. (that’s 25 exactly)

Is this your first contest win? 

It is not!  But this is definitely the coolest contest win, seeing as there wasn’t an academic institution involved.

Tell me more about your story “Flood Myth.”

It’s actually part of a novella I’ve recently finished about two people trying in a bunch of different ways to escape from language.  It’s a weird little book that I hope connects with a few people who have my kind of nervous heart.  “Flood Myth” itself was written on my back porch in summertime.  I don’t remember where the idea came from, but, like a lot of my stories, that first sentence popped into my head, and the whole story was right there in front of me.

Who or what inspires you to write?

I write because I’m alone in here (I am pointing at my own head right now), and so is everyone else, and wouldn’t it be nice if we weren’t?  Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to get clear of our own boundaries?  Writing is as close as we get to that, at least with clothes on.

I am very much an anxiety-driven person, so that’s part of it, too, the realization that my existence is finite and that if I’m not using that time saying something that matters to me then the fear is that I don’t actually matter to me.  I know that’s silly, or maybe over-thinking being alive, but there it is.

What do you consider to be your greatest influences?

I get a lot out of reading David Foster Wallace, Carole Maso, David Markson, George Saunders, Susan Steinberg, Milorad Pavic, and probably a bunch of others I’m forgetting.  I have some friends who I pay close attention to.  I watch a lot of trash movies and tv.  Plus of course the ever-pressing thumb of the zeitgeist.

Do you have a website or a blog for your writing?

Right now, will take you to my (very poorly kept) tumblr.  I pretty much only use it when I’m up late and bumming myself out, but I do post every time a story of mine is published, so at least it would be good for that.

Any advice for fellow writers?

Make writing every day feel like breathing.  Turn the business side of it into a process instead of goals (for example: instead of saying, “I’m going to get X stories published this year,” say, “I’m going to submit my work X number of times a week,” and then go do that).  Build yourself a throne on top of your mountain of rejection letters.  Die trying.

What are you currently working on?

I just wrapped up a short story collection (it’s my PhD dissertation, too!) and started in on a new novel.  I don’t know what the novel will become, but the short story collection is called Lesser American Boys and has a bunch of stories about people who don’t really see each other clearly, even though they think they do.  Some of them are weird and some are more traditional.

Where can we read your work next?

I was just in the latest issue of The Boiler and in the latest issue of The Adroit Journal.  I was also recently in Atlas Review and Passages North.  Later this year I’ll have a story in Gettysburg Review.  I’m sure I’m forgetting something.  Oh well!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Just that I’m moving to Chapel Hill tomorrow and I don’t know anyone, so if you live in Chapel Hill and like beer and petting dogs and writing and reading MAYBE WE COULD BE FRIENDS.

Issue 10 Contest Winner… : /

The winner of Issue 10’s Identity Contest for poetry is…

“Master of Tears” by James Garrett!

And the winner of Issue 10’s Identity Contest for fiction is…

… no one.

Let me explain.

So for a while now, we’ve done a themed contest for both poetry and fiction in each issue, awarding a prestigious title to both along with $20 to each of the authors.

Unfortunately, out of the hundred or so stories we received this past submission period, only one was deemed great enough for Bop Dead City, and Nathan’s story didn’t match the theme. (But it’s really, really good. Worth the three bucks on its own.)

I tossed around a few ideas about what to do: go pick through the rejection pile and sheepishly beg for a story back? Give two poetry prizes away? Give it to the only story in the issue? Instead, I decided to chalk it up as a sign of our high standard for publishing the best stories and poems we can find (unlike me, BDC is both fast and good), and just award all of the prize money to the poetry winner, James. I hope there’s no hurt feelings (I don’t imagine there will be, but you never know).
So Jim, you lucky bastard, you’re getting 40 bucks. Tomorrow we’ll have one of our last Issue 9 interviews with Zach VandeZande, who actually won that issue’s fiction contest.

Issue 10 Updates

First, here’s the contributors for Issue 10:


Jackson Sabbagh – “Hampton Beach, August 2006”

Leah Mueller – “Seven Ways of Looking at Virginity” and “Long Distance”

James Garrett – “Master of Tears”

E.H. Brogan – “My Loneliness Keeps Me Company” and “teetering around a migraine”

S. Babin – “Cycling Through Days”

Michael Gould – “Observations at the Public Library” and “My friend John just told me that human beings are the offspring of gorillas and aliens from outer space”


Nathan Dixon – “Genesis”

Congrats to the aforementioned, and thank you to everyone who submitted their work. I’m still looking for Issue 10’s cover art, by the way, so if you’ve got something you think might work, please send it along.

Tomorrow, we’ll be announcing the winner (or winners, not sure yet, I’ll explain then) of our contests.

Interview with Issue 9’s Benjamin DeVos

Better late than never, right? The lateness, as always, is all mine. Issue 10’s lineup comes out tomorrow, folks. In the meantime, here’s Benjamin DeVos, author  of Issue 9’s “Honeymooners,” and if this picture is any indication, a real fucking badass.

Benjamin DeVos


How would you describe your work in 25 words or less?

Modest words starkly juxtaposed with bizarre imagery.

Tell me more about your poem “Honeymooners.”

I wrote “Honeymooners” when I was free writing over a cup of coffee. Sitcoms were very important to me as a child. Growing up in Philly, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was always on our television. My family owned every season of Full House. I can quote most Seinfeld episodes by heart. To me, the Honeymooners represent the enduring relevance of sitcoms, which randomly became the initial inspiration for a poem.

Who or what inspires you to write?

I’m moved by the idea of change. I enjoy developing an idea until it is unrecognizable, even distorted. At certain points in my life I have looked to people for inspiration, but once I developed the craft of writing there was no need. The strange, dark, and unnervingly normal are all inspiring to me, which includes the city where I grew up.

What do you consider to be your greatest influences?

My environment, current events, and past experiences. Music is one of my greatest influences when I’m sitting down to actually write. I use the harmonies and melodies to enhance my emotional state, and thus my writing.

Any advice for fellow writers?

Try something different. Don’t scrounge for inspiration, it will come. Listen. Go out and have experiences. Experiment. I used to be super stringent about my writing routine, but the result was too much stress.

What are you currently working on?

I finished drafting my first novel last year, but fell out of love with the project. I’m currently deciding whether or not to scrap the book, while simultaneously writing poetry and short stories.

Where can we read your work next?

This year I have work coming out in WhiskeyPaper, Pantheon, Milkfist, Cardinal Sins, and Apocrypha and Abstractions.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks to Kevin and Bop Dead City. Keep on rockin’ in the free world.

Bop Dead City is closed to submissions!

Another two months, another stack of poems and stories. Thank you to everyone who submitted their work; most of you are encouraged to submit again on February 1.

Our interviews for Issue 9 will continue to come along as the week progresses and I start laying out the issue. Also, if anyone was just holding back on their photography because they were shy, you can go ahead and send it in. I promise I’ll be sweet.