I cannot shy away from why I like Mike Young so much: 1) he is one of the most ecstatic writers I’ve ever read; 2) I don’t know anyone who writes about the confines of our modernity so well; and 3) he’s my friend. This last I hope you do not begrudge me, because Mike Young is a gift to literature, and I cannot help but share him with you.
I once had a ten-, maybe a fifteen-minute-long, conversation with Mike Young about the word vajazzle. I won’t go into the details there, but that’s what I’m talking about.
Mike Young also once talked to me about how what most people refer to as “experimental” was too limiting; some writers whom other readers and writers might not consider “experimental” were doing some pretty “out there” things in writing that otherwise appeared mainstream. I think during this conversation I mentioned the novel Housekeeping. I don’t remember, but that’s what I’m thinking of right now, as I type this, and I think about writing that on the surface seems conventional, but is actually doing things no one had ever done before nor has done since. You should read Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping if you haven’t already.
You should also read two books: We Are All Good if They Try Hard Enough, and Look! Look! Feathers. The former of these is a collection of poems by Mike Young. CA Conrad says this is a book you’ll return to over and over to read from cover to cover, and I’ve done that now four times. Just listen to this: “Death: your candygram is here from Sure.” The latter mentioned above is a collection of short stories, one of which Atticus Review reprints here in this feature. And with Mike Young’s fiction you’re dealing with a writer who pursues narrative dexterity like an Olympic gymnast. What the hell am I talking about? That’s probably the stupidest sentence I’ve ever written. I don’t know anyone who can write about YouTube and really make it interesting, but Mike Young does that. I don’t know how to say it, so I think you should just read Mike Young’s stories and this excerpt from his novel, You in User. Just be blown away like I am, and you’ll see that you, too, will be left not knowing what to say.