New Short Story: Jesus Melted Before I Could Say I’m Sorry at FREAKING BAFFLER MAGAZINE

It is with no amount of calm that I announce my latest story is live and kicking today at BAFFLER MAGAZINE.

It’s my first Southern story in nearly 12 years, tbh, and the only thing that I let guide me while writing it was my sense of delight. This compass, of course, led me to the sinner-est and yet, in some ways, the holiest places.

So if an AA meeting is your church and the realm of kitsch is your sanctuary, settle in because this tale’s for you: “Jesus Melted Before I Could Say I’m Sorry.”

Hollatchagurl.

With big love and the comforting hum of cicadas,

LJ

STILL ALIVE, my debut novel, to be published by MALARKEY BOOKS in February 2024

!!!!! I am thrilled to share that STILL ALIVE (formerly STARBOI), which was long listed by [PANK] for their book contest in 2020, will be published by MALARKEY BOOKS in February 2024 !!!!!!!!

An excerpt of the novel already appeared as a preview on MALARKEY’S website and you can read it here: STILL ALIVE (Excerpt) by LJ Pemberton.

Another excerpt is forthcoming from Cosmonauts Avenue, and I will of course share that when it goes live.

Here’s the neato graphic announcement that MALARKEY made to share the news:

If you're excited about my book, and you love good writing, I highly recommend joining the MALARKEY BOOK CLUB at their Patreon. For $20 a month, you'll get one outstanding book of fiction or non-fiction or poetry EVERY MONTH (12 a year!) from this doing-the-good-work indie press. Proceeds directly support the operations of the press AND THE AUTHORS THEMSELVES. Which, as you know, I really believe in. 

No doubt there will be more to share in the future, but I wanted you to know what’s up. I’m 100% nervous and excited to share this book I’ve been working on for literal years of my life. It’s a doozy.

sending big love,

LJ

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