Kyle Seibel — ex-Navy and a local tech copywriter — has written a book. What’s more, he looks like a guy who has written a book: omnipresent jaw-grizzle, hirsute Popeye forearms urging out of pushed-back shirtsleeves, unruly hair that so crowds his scalp it has no choice but to drape into a Yeatsian forelock. Charmingly self-deprecating, rakishly handsome (there, I said it), and given to rumination, Seibel, with his unheralded bursts of staccato, lampshade-tilting laughter, can startle the piss out of you.
None of this is an affect, but instead is the happy confluence of an unsuspecting searcher and his revealed destiny. Not to get all Horatio Alger about it. Per the unyielding etiquette of literary book-titling — Sometimes a Great Notion, The Sun Also Rises — Seibel’s opus goes by Hey You Assholes. The scofflaw absence of a comma in the title says loads.
“The conventional wisdom is to name your collection, especially your first, after one of the stories in it,” Seibel says. “The title, though, comes from a line in a story in the collection. It was suggested to me by Todd Dakin, who is like my creative or writing partner. A best friend is probably more accurate.” One expects a degree of braggadocio from a guy who would title a book Hey You Assholes. Unbuckle that seat belt. “It’s hard to imagine Terry Gross saying ‘Hey You Assholes,’” Seibel says with equanimity. “It had to be this title. It’s not something I can explain.”
Principal Copywriter for world-conquering construction software outfit Procore Technologies, at this writing, Seibel is on the shortlist for the coveted 2023 Pushcart Prize, a literary bauble that honors the year’s best poetry, short fiction, and essays from the small presses. Seibel joins Raymond Carver, Mona Simpson, Andre Dubus, Paul Muldoon, Tim O’Brien, and a constellation of other garlanded literary lights who’ve gone before. The Pushcart Prize anthology, published yearly since 1976, is a legendary collection in its own right that Kirkus Reviews has called “must reading for anyone interested in the present and future of America’s arts and letters.” One way or another, Seibel looks to be wading in the approximate direction of posterity.
“All my writing starts from something I’ve seen or been told about. Sometimes it feels as easy as transcription, but that’s rare. More often, it’s me trying to reconcile my feelings about something through writing obliquely about it.”
Hey You Assholes — one of those alchemical story collections that manages to both deeply stir and utterly unnerve — could be called a culmination. But, of course, Seibel is just getting the hang of this. Gratitude? Yup.
“Stuart Buck at Bear Creek Gazette has built a self-sustaining creative community on his own terms. That’s not easy to do,” says Seibel. Artist Jadyn Chen designed the starkly embraceable cover and interior graphics. “I’m in awe of her talents, and I’m so happy that she could be part of this project,” Seibel says. “I’m lucky. From the outset of this project, Stuart’s goal has always been not just to make a book, but to make a beautiful book.”
It worked. This beautiful book is titled Hey You Assholes. It’s by a local tech copywriter named Kyle Seibel. Remember the name.
For more information, visit bearcreekpress.bigcartel.com.