MOSKVA published in a special ZINE issue of Hobart: out now!

Once again the sun is shining in Los Angeles and it is 70 degrees in February. I’m reading and writing and reviewing and drinking coffee in our breakfast nook and thinking about past Februarys and future Februarys and wondering what will be. Tye bought a humidifier and it is running so the air is kinda cloudy, the way new fog settles over streams in the mountains back east, and the dog and cats are sleeping on the couch and in a chair and on the bed, and as usual, the quiet is broken up by the constant hum of our air conditioner.

February is different in Los Angeles.

Years ago, I went to Moscow in February, and last month Hobart published a story I wrote about that winter city. The story is fiction, even if the true impressions I had of Russia are real. Fiction is like that sometimes — built out of real places, populated with experiences and people you invent. After talking to folks, I realized some readers think my realist fiction is thinly veiled non-fiction. This surprised me and then I wondered if they thought that of Denis Johnson’s fiction or Jim Harrison’s novellas or any other writers who write or wrote realist fiction more often than fabulist or speculative or whatnot, but anyway, this story is fiction, I’m telling you, it IS.

And if you didn’t read it already, you have another chance, and this time you can read it in this really cool downloadable PDF zine that Hobart and Joshua Hebburn have made out of all the work published in January, including my story. The zine is full of new art and pics and excellent writing and YOU, yes, YOU should check it out:

Hobart Web Features: January Fiction Deluxe!

Besides, what else would you be doing today? Watching football?

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

xo,

LJ

Publication Announcement: MOSKVA, A Short Story

One of the strangest parts of writing stories and poems and essays (and even and especially novels) is that they enter the world long after you finish them.

MOSKVA, published by Hobart Pulp today, had a shorter finished-to-published timeline than most (two months!). Then again, it only took me seventeen years to figure out how to write it…

Joshua Hebburn, the guest editor who selected this piece, will be releasing MOSKVA along with a selection of other great work in a digital e-zine in the coming months. I’ll give you a heads up when that happens too!

As always, if you feel like sharing MOSKVA on Reddit or boosting it elsewhere, you will have my forever thanks. And YES, let’s be friends on Twitter (it’s so much better than facebook these days).

Sending much love, xo —

LJ

HUSBANDRY Now Available to Read Online (for FREE)

After what “seems like an eon and a half of pre-production lead up,”* my short story HUSBANDRY is finally available for the general public to read on the Los Angeles Review website without a price of admission:

Click to Read!

Thank you for your love and support. (If you feel like sharing HUSBANDRY on Reddit or boosting it elsewhere, you will have my forever thanks.)

Sending love and a hug and a wish to tell stories on a porch together again, someday,

LJ

*according to my beloved.

HUSBANDRY available to read in Issue 23 of the Los Angeles Review from Red Hen Press

Two years ago we were rounding out our first year in Los Angeles when I won the short fiction contest at the Los Angeles Review. The news felt like a blessing on an already good year — we came West in the hope that California would be a good home for the next chapter of our lives and 2018 seemed to say: you did good.

But that was two years ago. Right now we’re in the middle of a pandemic and LA County looks like it’s in a race with Florida for the number of new COVID cases per day. We spend most of our time at home with our pets. Even though it is true that every day of our lives holds the promise of something unexpected, that truth feels more raw and real right now.

So it is with relief and hope and an attempt to invite you into my co-joy that I share the news that my short story, HUSBANDRY, is finally available to read in the late-released Issue 23 of the Los Angeles Review.

HUSBANDRY is about a bull who wakes up as a woman—and what it means to be lonely, and other, and still find your person in this world. It’s about gender and sexuality and pastoral life and what time does to who we are.

I’m honored to be featured alongside a number of amazing writers and artists and I hope you’ll consider buying a copy and giving it a read. These independent presses survive on razor thin margins and every little bit counts towards keeping them alive. If you like interesting writing that isn’t your typical cookie-cutter beach read, especially, check them out. More about Red Hen Press can be found here.

Love to all and Happy Friday!!

xo, LJ

The Truth is Out There

Monday mornings are like the moment the hot water runs out in a long shower: real, expected, and nonetheless unwelcome. Because it takes a monumental effort for me to enter the week dressed in a simulacrum of normal personhood, I like to spend the first part of the day distracting myself with ideas that make me feel new and engaged and alive. Now that I am doing these posts / emails, it is my pleasure to share some of today’s with you.  —LJ

ASS OUT OF ME AND U
The class politics of decluttering
Problems we don’t really want to solve

PLACES
North Korea looks like a Wes Anderson movie, or Wes Anderson movies look like North Korea
A curated journey through Atlanta’s history
Explore the Cincinnati panorama of 1848
Turkmenistan: where the cities are beautiful and empty and the neighborhoods are crowded and cluttered

LITERATURE MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO WAKE UP IN THE MORNING
Essays by poet Kenneth Rexroth
The teeny-tiny writing of Charlotte Brontë

HI-LOW
Make fancy cocktails using Hi-C EctoCooler
When Henry Cotton of Moze (in Essex) was reported in 1592 for not attending church, he came before the local churchwardens, and ‘very unreverently and contemptuously farted unto them and said, “Present that to the court”’.
Taylor Swift swallows the world (and it ain’t a good thing)

GNOTHI SEAUTON
Grief Magic
Hallucinatory voices shaped by local culture
Paris Review interview with Adam Phillips:

“There are a number of people whom you might think of as casualties of the myth of the artist. They really should have done something else. Of course some people get lucky and find that art works for them, but for so many people it doesn’t. I think that needs to be included in the picture. Often one hears or reads accounts in which people will say, Well, he may have treated his children, wives, friends terribly, but look at the novels, the poems, the paintings. I think it’s a terrible equation. Obviously one can’t choose to be, as it were, a good parent or a good artist, but if the art legitimates cruelty, I think the art is not worth having. People should be doing everything they can to be as kind as possible and to enjoy each other’s company. Any art, any anything, that helps us do that is worth having. But if it doesn’t, it isn’t.” 

Image credit: Mark Rothko, Four Darks in Red, 1958.