We announced here earlier in the year the inclusion of two ZYZZYVA pieces in the forthcoming Best American Essays and Best American Short Stories: respectively, Dagoberto Gilb‘s “A Little Bit of Fun Before He Died” (Issue No. 95, Fall 2012) and Karl Taro Greenfeld‘s “Horned Men” (also Issue No. 95). Today we learned ZYZZYVA made the Notable lists for both prestigious anthologies, too. Ron Carlson‘s story “Line From a Movie” (Issue No. 96, Winter 2012) won recognition in BASS, and two nonfiction works were similarly recognized in Best American Essays: Rick Barot‘s “Morandi Sonnet” (No. 96) and Luis Alberto Urrea‘s […]
It looks like the Fall 2012 ZYZZYVA (No. 95) has some sort of magic working for it. Earlier this year, we were thrilled to learn that a story from that issue, Karl Taro Greenfeld’s “Horned Men,” would be included in the 2013 Best American Short Stories. And today, we received a call informing us that Dagoberto Gilb’s nonfiction piece from the same issue, “A Little Bit of Fun Before He Died,” will be included in the 2013 Best American Essays. We offer our warmest congratulations to Dagoberto Gilb and Karl Taro Greenfeld. And if you don’t have the Fall 2012 […]
Dagoberto Gilb is the author of six books, most recently the story collection Before the End, After the Beginning (Grove). The recipient of many awards and fellowships, he is the executive director of Centro Victoria: Center for Mexican American Literature and Culture.
Gilb’s literary essay, “A Little Bit of Fun Before He Died,” which appears in ZYZZYVA’s Fall issue, is both a meditation on his relationship with the late writer Bill Ripley (“my first fiction-writer role model”) and on the vagaries of life—the writing life, in particular. Ripley gained some renown because of the Sheryl Crow song “All I Wanna Do,” which was based on a poem about him. The essay examines Ripley’s intoxicated misadventures even as it details Gilb’s understanding of himself as a writer, one who doesn’t come from a world of privilege and its received notions of what the writing life is. “I knew nothing about creative writing,” he states early on. “What I knew of the contemporary writing business came out of a used copy of Writer’s Market.”
The following is an excerpt from “A Little Bit of Fun Before He Died.”
Dagoberto Gilb is arguably the most critically acclaimed Mexican American author writing today, with a publication resume few writers of any background can claim: The New Yorker, The Threepenny Review, Harper’s, Texas Monthly, The New York Times, The Nation. The author of six books, he won a PEN/Hemingway Award for his first story collection The Magic of Blood (1993), which was also a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner. His first novel, The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuna (1995), was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year, and his second novel, The Flowers (2008), was praised by […]