Selena Chambers

I imbibe words and consume past minds. As a result, I often awake next to strange sentences and forgotten meanings. I am the Bas Bleu Zombie.

THE NEW GOTHIC among all my Nirvana swag from the Tallahassee concert in 1993. Took those photos in the corner with a really crappy $10 camera from Kmart. Oh, the 90s.

THE NEW GOTHIC among all my Nirvana swag from the Tallahassee concert in 1993. Took those photos in the corner with a really crappy $10 camera from Kmart. Oh, the 90s.

So, this week is a big week for Nirvana fans. Today marks the 20th anniversary of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s death and on April 10, the band will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I don’t know if y’all realize, but I’m really into Nirvana. IN UTERO came out just in time for me to throw my twelfth birthday money at it. It, along with BABES IN TOYLAND’s PAINKILLERS and Hole’s PRETTY ON THE INSIDE and later LIVE THROUGH THIS, was one of those albums that changed my life in the way that only music and books and arts can do. Nirvana even came to my town with the Breeders in December ’93, and being at that concert is pretty much on my list of life achievements.

Anyway, as has been mentioned here before, I wrote a short story with my inimitable friend Jesse Bullington that is in Stone Skin Press’ THE NEW GOTHIC: DON’T EMBRACE THE DARKNESS. FEAR IT.  Edited by Beth Lewis, this anthology reassess the Gothic legacy, and as critic Ed Grabianowski put it in a glowing review over at i09:

“I’m not too worried about whether this collection redefines the field. What I can tell you is that editor Beth K. Lewis and the team at Stone Skin Press have selected a terrific set of stories. They hang together, despite disparate elements; each tale hints at the darkness lurking in urban neighborhoods, in old houses, on desolate roads, and in our hearts. Cue Vincent Price’s menacing laugh echoing down a black corridor. There are no castles here, but there’s no sympathy for the devil either.”

Sounds pretty hardcore, right?

The story Jesse and I wrote is called “Dive In Me,” and is about three adolescent girls in the early 90s and their friendship that leads to staring into atramedous pits of both the literal and figurative senses.  Jesse has described it as “Daria goes to Hell,” and I’ve called it a “grunge-nightmare.” It is definitely a period piece, and that hasn’t been more apparent to me than today, on the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, in which I am definitely feeling kind of bored and old.

The title, of course, refers to my personal favorite Nirvana song “Dive,” which is on Incesticide, and provides something of the “soundtrack” to the ramblings, froggings, and chain smoking antics of the girls in this story.  As a Nirvana fan, I didn’t really want to do anything celebrating death or hype or whatever, I kind of wanted to celebrate how expression can lead to other forms of expression, and so because of the connection with “Dive In Me,” I thought it’d be fun to do a THE NEW GOTHIC giveaway during this big   Nirvana week.

Stone Skin Press is throwing in two copies to my one for a three book giveaway! Deets below.

THE RULES:  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post about either Nirvana or the Gothic–it is entirely up to you. Comments will be open from now until April 10 at 12 EST.  I will choose the best three comments and announce the winners Friday, April 11th at 8 am EST.

I do have one tiny request. The kind i09 review aside, THE NEW GOTHIC hasn’t had many reviews on Amazon, GoodReads, etc.  Obviously, it’s a free country, but if the winners of this contest would be so kind as to give their thoughts, even if you hate it, at some bookish reviewer thing, even if it is your blog, that would be lovely.

Alright. Well, let’s dive in then….

16 thoughts on “THE NEW GOTHIC Giveaway: On Nirvana and the Gothic

  1. Sam Wicked says:

    As a huge Nirvana fan my entire life as well I wanted to post something clever but, ,oh well, whatever, nevermind.

  2. jtglover says:

    I’m interested, not just because I want to read your story, but because I grew up just outside of Seattle, and I was the right age at the right time, and I’d like to see it all through someone else’s eyes. For me, it was flannel, bandannas, bad hair, going into the city at night with friends when we were too young to get in hardly anywhere, wandering into the OK Hotel, but never at the right time. I had tickets to see Nirvana… and I came down with something so horrendous, I couldn’t leave the house for days on end. I listened to the newfangled compact disk on my gigantic full-sized compact disk player and wished that I could go to the show. Years later, I realized just how much of my exposure to a sweet local band was a result of all the marketing brewed up by saleswhores at a major record label. If there’s such a thing as an “authentically” grunge-y experience, I realized I hadn’t had it shortly after Kurt died. Endless sales, hype, and bullshit, and I looked at the Rolling Stones cover I’d had on the wall for so long and took it down, not because I didn’t like them or their music, but because I didn’t want to be part of the machine. I was a suburban kid who bought the dream of a grimy urban experience in the city right next door and spent a long time looking at its shadow on the wall of a cave. Years later, a little wiser, I figured out that it didn’t really matter, and that nothing’s authentic, and most everything’s sold by someone to someone else. I watched About a Son years later, and I was so sad for what could have been, in Kurt’s life and otherwise, but I understood. Seattle’s a different place these days, and it doesn’t feel like it did back then. It’s hippier, hipster-er, corporate-er, and lots of other things, and I have a hard time believing that he’d still be living there if he were around. I don’t know. Listening to the music is painful, even now, for the disenchantment when I first saw the outlines of the machine and the people willingly jumping into it, but sometimes that hurt and sadness is worth it, just to feel those chords and jump around, and let it change my life just a little bit for the ten thousandth time. I’m too old, and rebellion’s a different thing as a knowing adult than a teenager, but I still get a whiff of it, and it’s still fucking sweet.

  3. Nicole says:

    Nirvana’s Unplugged was a seminal moment for me. I wasn’t always a huge fan, but that album left me feeling all gooey and creative. Still changes my brain waves, twenty years or so later.

  4. Oh, whoops. I guess I should have clarified that it is about 3 grunge girls in North Florida. Not Seattle. Hope that doesn’t change your curiosity, John!

  5. jtglover says:

    Not in the slightest! I’d like to see and hear it elsewhere. Usually I just hear that people liked it or listened to it, rarely how they lived it.

  6. (aka, Jenna Elf on Facebook)

    When Kurt Cobain died, I really had no idea who Nirvana was – honestly. I was going through one of the roughest periods in my life. At the time, I was in a children’s home (aka the place they send older kids who are too troublesome to put into foster homes – except I wasn’t and I resented the treatment), and we were not allowed radios or music (or D&D books, or Tarot cards – two things they confiscated from me). I had a friend though – Katie Doolan – who was so deeply impacted by it that we were all very concerned that she was going to follow Kurt.

    I remember it so well because THAT event is what told my peers that I’d been cut off from the arts, essentially, for more than a few years. Much of the early 90s, my musical experience was dominated by R&B because that was my environment. Anyhow, my friends pitched in and made me a mixed tape. That’s how I was introduced to Marilyn Manson and many others.

  7. Bad Witch says:

    I’m a big fan of Gothic stories. Al;though I submitted a story for this book, it didn’t get accepted, sadly. I’d love to read the collection and the tales that beat mine 🙂

  8. Graham says:

    You were so lucky to see a Breeders AND Nirvana gig! Reading that reminded me that a couple of things made me feel old this week. Firstly, like a lot of people my age, the realisation that Kurt Cobain has been gone for twenty years. Secondly, I noticed the Breeders most recent album “Mountain Battles” – that’s the one that I’ve played a few times but haven’t had chance to really get into yet, that one – came out six years ago! I swear time is speeding up. Anyway, I’d love to check this collection out, so many of my favourite writers in there.

  9. Man, yeah, tell me about it. I recently had the same realization about “Mountain Battles,” and almost every movie, TV show, etc., I enjoy. Just to go into the hip-hop arena, I just read an article about Wu Tang Clan working on an album for twelve years–like, seriously? Time does fly.

    Even though it has some age, Mountain Battles is a great album. It sounds like a natural progression of their work, and it sounds fresh but also like it came out in 1995. I love it.

    Thanks, everyone, for commenting! These are great. Let’s keep ’em coming.

  10. Hello Selena! (Sorry for my bad english.)
    My name is Jonathas Formagio and I’m a fan and collector about Nirvana.
    I am a very old member of a site that is specialized in the Live career of Nirvana. Here it is, http://www.nirvanaguide.com. The site is online since 1995, and until today we cataloged photos, flyer, tickets and recordings!
    Our website is made by fans to fans! We do not have any lucre, we do all this for passion! We want that Nirvana and Kurt Cobain be remembered forever.

    Well, I noticed that you went to a Nirvana concert: 12/02/93 – Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center, Tallahassee, FL

    About this show, we found a complete recording (About 100 min of show)and a bad copy of the flyer and ticket. You can see it here: http://www.nirvanaguide.com/images.php?id=931202
    and here: http://www.nirvanaguide.com/1993.php#show_931202

    If you’re interested I can send a copy of the show for you. Our recordings are archived in the best possible quality. Maybe the recording bring you good memories. 🙂

    I am writing to you because I wonder if you can share things that you remember about the show. (If you saw someone recording the show in audio or video, or if you have any interesting remembrance) Of course, and if you can kindly make some scans of all the photos that you photographed during the show, since we do not have any pictures from this concert. We would be very happy! We can put copyrights, crediting your name and your website, or anything that you want.

    Thanks!
    All the best. 🙂

    Jonathas Formagio
    Member of http://www.nirvanaguide.com

  11. Virgina says:

    In Utero came out when I was 23 and in the worst depths of my know-it-all humorlessness. I sneered. I rolled my eyes. I missed all the sarcasm and irony.

    I was wrong, wrong, wrong. O ye gods of music forgive me for these my manifold sins.

  12. Miss Jese says:

    I remember when Kurt died. There was chaos in my middle school. We had an assembly after lunch and the older cooler kids had all cried off their mascara by then. We were offered grief counseling. I remember how confused the adult staff was. Surely we had lost people we cared about before, people we actually knew and had hugged in person. But Kurt’s death was more personal. I didn’t spend hours listening to my alcoholic grandfather on my Walkman after my parents had gone to bed. It felt like the death of a friend.

    I would love to get my hands on a copy of the New Gothic! I served Mr, Jesse coffee for many a years to fuel his writing but I’ve never read any of his work. Sadly, I haven’t seen Jesse in many moons because I now work for an independent bookseller in Denver. We have a blog for book reviews so in addition to reveiwing the Gothic on GoodReads, I can post an entry there.

  13. Hi all! The contest is now closed and I have selected the lucky winners.

    But first, I want to thank everyone who commented and helped me celebrate Nirvana and The Gothic. These were all lovely and the decision was not easy. There has been some interest expressed by some Nirvana fan groups in my concert photos, and I’ll be posting them and such things here in a few weeks. So, please come back for that.

    Well, without further ado. JTGlover, Miss Jese, and Graham–congratulations! You’ve all won a free copy of THE NEW GOTHIC. Would you all please be so kind as to email me your mailing address at selenajchambers@gmail.com.

  14. Hey Selena, Graham here. My copy of The New Gothic arrived yesterday, thank you once again!

    1. Oh, hooray! I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know what you think.

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