Trevor Dodge - a Donald Barthelme fever dream: a woman drives a Yukon Denali equipped with after-market rear and front-mounted surveillance cameras, so she can look both behind and ahead of herself at the same time

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Trevor Dodge, He Always Still Tastes Like Dynamite, Subito Press, 2017.

He Always Still Tastes Like Dynamite is a flash-fictional evisceration of toxic masculinity, a difficult yet tender exploration of the implicit and explicit violences men do to those they are afraid to love, those they pretend to hate, and those hearts, minds, and bodies they nervously call their own. In stories set amidst the sagebrush and clay of drive-through territories of the contemporary intermountain West, Trevor Dodge writes honestly and forcefully about characters trapped inside the cartoon performances intoned from having watched John Wayne movies, listened to Toby Keith albums, and suffered George W. Bush’s America.Here language dances between the highly abstract and grittily realistic, between the structurally provocative as well as the emotionally stark. Dodge’s latest short story collection delivers scenes of domestic realism in an array of inventive, energetic, and poignant prose styles that invite readers to both literally and figuratively read between the lines.
Mirroring a masculinist culture where the ghost of work has long since expended itself but whose mindless meaning still lumbers on, these stories challenge us to consider the kinds of expressions, situations, and relationships that hamstring and harm us. If we are to imagine ourselves liberated from these things, we must first recognize our erasures by them. If Dodge’s bold new collection is painful, it is made so in the portrayal of recognizable selves that we are loathe to acknowledge but nonetheless mandated to make better not only for ourselves but for those we claim to love. He Always Still Tastes Like Dynamite demands we look deep into the mirror, and obligates us to change what we see.

Trevor Dodge's He Always Still Tastes Like Dynamite is a finely-crafted collection of birthdays, firsts, thirds, stones, heaps, adjustments and so much more. It's quietly explosive, a dynamite book.
--Kim Chinquee

He Always Still Tastes Like Dynamite conjures a modern America that is hilarious and heartbreaking and deeply familiar. Dodge's talents and range are frighteningly impressive, and these stories are true and rich. From the first page I was in this book's grips. There isn't a word out of place here, not a single story that doesn't grab you by the collar. -- Jensen Beach

What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding tipped at strange angles? Nothing, Dodge tells us with conviction. Nothing at all. -- Rafael Alvarez

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Trevor Dodge, The Laws of Average, Dzanc Books, 2015.

Read The Laws of Average Online

In 60 flash fictions, The Laws of Average celebrates the insanity of falling in love, the absurdity of playing by the rules, and the stupidities of discontent that ensnare us all.

The world in Trevor Dodge's The Laws of Average resembles a Donald Barthelme fever dream: a woman drives a Yukon Denali equipped with after-market rear and front-mounted surveillance cameras, so she can look both behind and ahead of herself at the same time, a lube both numbs the body and makes vigorous intimacy possible, a narrator takes James Frey and Oprah to task for introducing the concept that memoirs should have Terms of Service. With these stories, Dodge has managed to pull realistic fiction back from the brink of destruction. The Laws of Average is essential reading for anyone who wonders what happens next in the story of American Fiction after Lydia Davis, Ben Marcus, and George Saunders. -Matt Briggs
Trevor Dodge's The Laws of Average is a puzzle, mathematical. I've detailed nothing yet about the stories themselves, those hanging from the frame. They are in a word: competent, skillful, and interesting. That's three.--Elizabeth J. Colen 

And I should be happy now the grin is back, right? It should remind me that the core of him is still there, despite what the shell of him looks or smells like. Well I am not happy. Now that the grin is back I am reminded of being me more and more, while feeling like you less and less. And I’m not sure who to blame for any of this. I see you in my mailbox, on my computer screen, in once-sacred places and thoughts I used to visit because I thought they were truly sacred. I’m wearing your clothes, brushing your hair, shaving your legs. I am becoming un-Real.” ~P207, The Laws of Average by Trevor Dodge.
I discovered Trevor Dodge when I took one of his workshops at the Clackamas Community College’s Compose Writing Conference this year. He was teaching flash fiction that day, and I was inspired by his passion, inspiration, and obvious skill.
When his book of 60 flash fictions, The Laws of Average, came out, I grabbed a copy and have been savoring it ever since. I have almost finished the book, but wanted to do a paragraph review of it, so I skipped ahead to a page and story I hadn’t read yet, and landed on the above passage.
The conversational tone struck me immediately, like the narrator is having a drink with the reader and lamenting her (I’m assuming, here) relationship woes, maybe a marriage that has hit a rut. I have a distinct visual in my head of a dark wooden bar, and two crossed legs, the top one bouncing up and down as the narrator speaks, high heels dark and classy at the end of shapely calves. I get nothing but that, though. Who is the narrator ultimately addressing? Another woman? The man with the rediscovered grin? Herself? There is a sense of borderline obsession toward the end of the paragraph- an obsession of becoming someone else, disappearing into another’s identity.
I feel the crux of this paragraph is the line, “And I’m not sure who to blame for any of this.” That’s where the direction of the conversation gets more pointed, where the narrator includes “you” and “your” with “I” and “me.” The paragraph becomes almost accusatory at this point, the narrator has felt intruded upon by this, “you,” and seems to be trying to decide whether or not to blame “you” for the sudden lack of sacred places. In fact, the only thing the narrator seems sure of in this paragraph is that she is unhappy, and the acts that she is doing to become un-Real.
I also like the use of the words “core” and “shell” combined with “looks” and “smells.” I got a definite sensory reaction to those words, even a faint smell of ocean air and dead fish. The paragraph is emotionally driven, and the narrator seems to be someone who thinks with her heart.
Dodge does a great job of using the conversational tone to build tension in this paragraph, and it has me wondering about the rest of the story. I already feel like I’m in the narrator’s head, I can’t wait to find out the context for her thoughts. -

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Trevor Dodge, Everyone I Know Lives On Roads, Chiasmus Press, 2011.

Everyone I Know Lives On Roads examines the accident scene of celebrity, fate and language, measuring the skidmarks for traces of our Oedipal selves and chalking out the metaphorical places where these three paths converge. Road ragers and rubberneckers met along the way include Ayn Rand, Kathy Acker and Alan Greenspan, with hourly traffic reports from Dan Rather and James Joyce on weather.

“Though literature is usually the most conservative of art forms, a book sometimes appears that offers exciting, new possibilities. Trevor Dodge’s Everyone I Know Lives On Roads is one of them: with the smooth surfaces found in new-painting, with the understated riffs of new-music, the stories collected here are as lean as they are savvy, as savvy as they are funny, as funny as they are connected to the thought, life and paths of our present moment.” —Steve Tomasula

Selected Shorts

“13 Ways of Looking at Obscenity”
“A Beginner’s Guide to Leet”
“Apartment M”“A Total Non-Crisis in Exactly So Many Parts”“Beneath the Roses”“Betty”“Every Day Is Sunday”“Fieri”“Hindsight”
“Hash”“Keep Her Honest”“Nifty”
“Notch”“Portrait of the Artist as a Third Grade Teacher”“Powderpuff”
“Fear and Making”
“Siren”“Self-Interview With A Hideous Man”“The Wire as American Noir”

Striving to Be

northwest edge
DEVIANT FICTIONS (two girls, 2000)
When all is said and done, here’s the book to blame, the one that started it all.
An anthology of the most driven and daring Northwest authors, Northwest Edge: Deviant Fictions represents works by Chuck Palahniuk, Diana Abu-Jaber, David Shields, Lance Olsen, Stacey Levine, Steven Shaviro, Doug Nufer, and more. Edited by Lidia Yuknavitch and L.N. Pearson.
“Stories that hold questions about race, class, gender, sexuality, and violence open as a hand. Bravo. Refreshingly wicked.” -Small Press News
“[T]he postmodern dream of style, excess, and bad behavior lives again in Northwest Edge. The characters in these stories live among the undead, compelled to reenact scenes from other stories, compelled to repeat scripts that they did not write.” –The Stranger

From the fringes of the Pacific Northwest’s salmon canneries, potato fields, and tree farms the literary proletariat is calling a spade a spade. Inspired by the zip-lip, search and siezure, police state antics of the current administration, Northwest Edge: Fictions of Mass Destruction refuses to settle for memoirs of life set against a Charlie Russell painting or tired references to tree spirits.
Edited by Andy Mingo, Trevor Dodge, and Lidia Yuknavitch, the book showcases works by established Northwest authors such as Jeanne Heuving, David Shields, Rebecca Brown, Steven Shaviro, Shamina Senaratne, Billie Livingston, Caitlin Sullivan, Lance Olsen, Doug Nufer, and Leon Johnson alongside new emerging voices such as Mia DeBono, Fern Capella, Grant Olsen, and Shannon Densmore.
northwest edge: fictions of mass destruction smacks less of academia and more of Armageddon; each work included in the anthology chronicles the character’s own mini-apocalypse. Here you see more artistic experiments: a piece that stylistically imitates a tickertape; something that might be a short story, predominantly composed of white space; and highly disturbing photographs (retouched?) of nude bodies’ scars and stitches. Be ready for sexual content, drug references and completely alternative-sentence constructions.” –The Seattle Times

THE END OF REALITY (Chiasmus, 2006)

northwest edge iii: the end of reality features a compilation video and film DVD of Northwest filmmakers in an effort to cross the literary with the visual. Language breaks down and re-organizes itself, stories pulse plot open, images get it on with words. Edited by Trevor Dodge, Lidia Yuknavitch, and Andy Mingo.
· Cover digital Art from Lanny Quarles
· Art and Design from Andi Olsen and Leon Johnson
· Edge writers from Canada, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, including Rebecca Brown, Lance Olsen, Stacey Levine, David Shields, Tiffany Lee Brown, Monica Drake, Kevin Sampsell, Alvin Greenberg, Zack Wentz, Zoe Trope, Mike Daily, and Lisa Newman
· Portland video and filmmakers such as Karl Lind, Holly Andres, Grace Carter, Leon Johnson, Morgan Hobart, Gideon Klindt, Nicole Linde and Jesse England