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

New Short Story: The Deserving at Malarkey Books

Over the years, I’ve written stories and books that were like homework: practice at technique, voice, dialogue, plot, all the usual. And some of those stories have been published. Others never will be. I don’t particularly like them. They are just something that came out of me while practicing something else.

And then there are stories I’ve written that I love. The ones that seem unlikely to survive this world, like they might not have a chance to ever be read, but at least I’m proud of them. I know what I did.

The Deserving is such a story.

That this story was published, by Malarkey Books no less, means more to me than any other fancy accolades or credentialing I’ve been lucky to gather.

Big love and special thanks to Alan Good.

xo,

LJ

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.