New Short Story: MOTION SICKNESS published in the Northwest Review

My new short story MOTION SICKNESS is out now from the Northwest Review. It isn’t currently available to read online, but if you want, you can order a print copy of the current issue here.

When I wrote it, I was thinking a lot about the writing of W. G. Sebald, and what it means to tell multiple stories at once. More specifically, I was thinking about how to treat the elements of a story as worthy of their own threads, so that place, feeling, movement, character, and voice operate almost separately while still moving forward together into what feels like an essay, but grows into a loose plot, before resolving at the end. Readers of Sebald’s non-fiction and fiction may recognize why I bring him up; he is a master at this kind of webbed and associative storytelling. Conceptually, such fiction has more in common with Coltrane’s Giant Steps than the traditional plot shape of a shark’s back. An acquired taste possibly, but one that can lead to obsession.

Short stories and novels — that is, written fiction — can do so much that other story mediums like film and photography and painting can’t, and I find myself leaning into those particular qualities of writing; they are what excite me the most. Written fiction can put you directly inside someone else’s head; it can move between past and present and future and the events and thoughts that exist across that whole timeline all at once; it can collapse the real and unreal into mirrors of each other; it can create a conversation between author and story and reader that is simultaneous while all are, in actuality, separated from each other by literal space and time. It’s magic. Playing with these pieces is why I keep doing this. It’s what matters to me the most.

Anyway – I hope you check out MOTION SICKNESS by purchasing a copy of the review. Holla if you read it, and let me know what you think.

as always,

LJ

WILD GEESE IN THE AGE OF LATE CAPITALISM

By: LJ Pemberton and Tye Pemberton

You do not have to be call-your-wife-mom good.
You do not have to walk on your knees in Guantanamo or
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting (as Weezer’s Africa cover
plays on repeat.)
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what Madison Avenue tells it to love.
Tell me about political despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on in a climate-denying march towards human extinction.
Meanwhile the sun and the acid pebbles of the rain
are moving across the dying landscapes,
over the fracked up prairies and the lost deep trees,
the mined mountains and the polluted rivers.
Meanwhile the last wild geese, high in the unclean, blue-ish air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how very lonely,
the ad world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like those last wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your temporary place
in the family of things.

If you can’t be there, help there. #Charlottesville

I condemn the white supremacists and Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. So should you. 
Here’s how you can help:

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Image Credit: Woody Guthrie, Bard of American Anti-fascism

“Reclaiming My Time”

Because I needed this in my life, I thought you might need it too.

Here’s an MP3 ringtone I made of the gentle lady from California Maxine Waters saying what we all should be saying to nonsense everyday: “Reclaiming My Time.”

Download BADASS RINGTONE

Pic credit: Maxine Waters’ Official Portrait

NEW BEGINNINGS

IF YOU DON’T KNOW YET, YOU SHOULD
Why It’s Too Late to Let Spiderman into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or the best article you’ll read about Homecoming
#NoConfederate
Jahsua Smith Deconstructs the 4th Wall
Princess Nokia and Smart Girl Club

MEDIA
Minneapolis College of Art and Design releases high-res scans of vintage posters
Hollywood is not okay with you watching movies at home

A soldier statue is slowly melting in London to commemorate 100 years since WWI’s Battle of Passchendaele
This review of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (now playing at Montgomery College in the D.C. area) is pure gold.

RANDOM
The once-common practice of communal sleeping
A math genius blooms late and conquers his field
All about Texas Rebel Radio

Photo credit: Me © 2017

Iconoclastic

POLITICS
Betsy DeVos doesn’t really believe in democracy, at Scalawag Mag by yours truly
Trump doesn’t understand why we had the Civil War
A statement from the Berkeley Antifascists

FILM
Dancing in the Dark, a documentary of the Black and Latino gay club scene in New York. Almost like Paris is Burning for a new generation.
BritishPathe.tv
Vintage Matchbox Cars on the assembly line
Indiscretion of an American Wife, starring Montgomery Clift and Jennifer Jones

ESSAY
Something uneasy in the Los Angeles Air
Crossed wires and community in 19th century dreams
Ghost in the cloud

Image credit