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Tom Doyal vs. Rasputin would be a damn good dogfight draw, don't you think?

It can't be coincidence that one of the funniest people around is also one of the most resilient. The past five years for Tom Doyal – short story writer, friend, and occasional Chronicle contributor – have been particularly rough. He contracted the rare autoimmune disorder Goodpasture's syndrome in 1999, only to outlast its alleged fatality. A few years later, a minor stroke left him with vision impairment and difficulty walking. And in 2003, he was diagnosed with seminoma cancer. After successful surgery and chemotherapy, all that remains is a scar mass surrounding his left kidney. That mass will be removed during a Friday, April 9, surgery at San Antonio's Health Science Center University Hospital. According to Doyal, the surgery might very well necessitate the removal of the kidney in question. But for the author, whose legacy will someday, undoubtedly, take on a Rasputinian tinge, this'll probably mean just one more pinch and a couple of days away from writing. Even so, we're keeping him in our thoughts and hoping that he'll be able to attend the May 24 presentation of his story "Suppressing the Grief Response" as part of the Dallas Museum of Art's Arts & Letters Live. Tony Award winner Betty Buckley will read the story during two shows – 6 and 8pm – at the Fort Worth Central Library, 500 W. Third. What's appropriate here, then, Tom? Good luck? Congratulations? Both? Both... Superficial Flesh, the self-described "upstart litzine out of Austin," is seeking submissions. Right now, as far as I can tell, they're desperately doing so, since the content at www.superficialflesh.com comprises exactly one crayon drawing. Criticism, fiction, essay, poetry, and artwork are welcome, and contributors receive copies to hand out on holidays like Mother's Day and Father's Day, which are coming up. Plus, there'll probably be issue parties or something. Submissions should be sent to Editor, Superficial Flesh, 2016A Gathright Cove, Austin, TX 78704. Or, you can e-mail editor@superficialflesh.com... Mark your daily literary quote calendars: The excellent Texas Nafas presents Reading Rumi in an Uncertain World on Tuesday, April 13, 7pm, at the DoubleTree hotel (6505 N. I-35). True greats Robert Bly and Naomi Shihab Nye will read from their own works, as well as from that of Rumi, Hafez, and others. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, and can be purchased at 326-4071 or by e-mailing poetry10@juno.com. Highly recommended, and just in time for the Austin International Poetry Festival. See our preview in next week's issue, and visit www.aipf.org in the meantime... The Michener Center's spring 2004 graduates – Paola Fantini, Carrie Fountain, Jessica Garratt, Jeff Hoffman, Haven Iverson, Kirk Lynn, Farid Matuk, John McManus, Lisa Railsback, Emily Rapp-Seitz, and Jeff Severs – will read from their respective fiction, poetry, playwriting, and screenwriting on Thursday, April 22, 7:30pm, at the ACES Building's Avaya Auditorium (24th & Speedway).

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Tom Doyal, Superficial Flesh, Naomi Shihab Nye, Robert Bly, Austin International Poetry Festival, Reading Rumi in an Uncertain World, Texas Nafas, Michener Center, Paola Fantini, Carrie Fountain, Jessica Garratt, Jeff Hoffman, Haven Iverson, Kirk Lynn, Farid Matuk, John McManus, Lisa Railsback, Emily Rapp-Seitz, Jeff Severs

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