You’re invited to join us, Wednesday, March 22, at 7:30pm CT for an evening of great literature and general authorial mayhem. (Double check the time-zone so you don’t miss out!!!)
RSVP here and you’ll receive a Zoom invite the day of the event.
I’ll be reading from my forthcoming novel STILL ALIVE (2024) and possibly wearing sequins. Possibly. The other authors in the line-up will be reading from their amazing books. It’s going to be thrilling! Only five minutes each! Truly a smorgasbord of literature.
My new short story, TRIANGLES ARE NOT CIRCLES, is out now from Exacting Clam. I was flabbergasted when I received this issue and saw the names on the back — incredible to be in the company of so many writers whose work I have savored and been inspired by over the years.
The first draft of this story came out of me almost six years ago, but, like many of the stories I write, it took me a long time to both hone it into the shape I wanted and build up the confidence I needed to send it out into the world.
Stew time in the creative process is undervalued and under reported. It’s a part of the genesis of a thing, and the development of it. Too often I become critical of myself for not being able to get something done in a rush, when the fact is (a lesson I learn over and over, even in regards to simple household tasks), there is a beauty in letting our efforts accumulate, in trusting that being still with an idea, or project, is also part of the doing, and that any creative endeavor we pursue to its end will have a value of its own (whether it is ever witnessed by someone else or not).
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.
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:
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).