I'll be giving a craft talk at the North American Review Conference in Iowa over Easter weekend (Sunday April 21).
In honor of “Best Songs of the 2000s" week over at the website SportsAlcohol.com, I've written an essay about my love of Sad Lady Music from that decade. For those less familiar with the genre, I've even included a handy chart:
The 2000s: The Decade the Sad Ladies Took Over, SportsAlcohol.com (Dec. 3, 2018)
I was briefly interviewed about writing by Writers & Words, who I will be reading for next Tuesday. If you happened to be in Baltimore come see us at Charmingtons.
I'm the "Wildcard" reader, which apparently is the unpredictable slot. I've decided to embrace that role, and will be doing 5 minutes of fiction, 5 minutes of nonfiction, and 5 minutes of poetry.
This is a DC-inspired anthology. I wrote this one between the hours of 3 am and 5 am the day before the call for submissions closed.
I have a new piece up called "Amantha the Brave" over at Sweet Tree Review. It's a quiet story about three grown sisters in a cabin drinking gin.
I will be reading next Tuesday the 15th for the Inner Loop, a nomadic monthly reading series held in DC. They feature a blend of fiction and poetry by about ten writers, each performing for about 5 or so minutes. This month's event will be held at the Colony Club.
I'll be heading off for ten days to the Bread Loaf Writers in Vermont on August 16th, so this will be a nice opportunity for a literary sendoff!
You can read about the event here
I'm honored to report that I almost shot the moon today: my novel "A Gift of Two" was chosen as the runner-up finalist to this year's AWP Prize for the Novel. To help me find a publisher, this year's judge -- author Zachary Lazar -- wrote me this lovely blurb:
“A GIFT OF TWO is a daring and perpetually interesting work of speculative fiction that literalizes and explores the repercussions of an impossibility—an individual splitting in two—and what this might say about living in America. The book vividly evokes a semi-real New York City and the surprising, always persuasive, choices of its memorable protagonist, Catarina.“
I've been working on this novel for almost seven years and am so moved to see its essence summed up so fittingly and succinctly by a fellow writer whose hands have typed out decades more words than me.
Happy to announce that my short story collection "lonely beasts." is one of six finalists in the Many Voices Project 2016 prose competition.
The winning manuscript will be published by New Rivers Press.
I appeared today on a popular weekly podcast, the Kindle Chronicles with Len Edgerly to discuss Jerry (from Accounting).
In this episode, we have a wide-ranging discussion of the current publishing landscape, starting with the portrayal of workspaces in fiction, and how fiction tends to lag behind nonfiction in accurately capturing the impact of trends like stack ranking, billable hours expectations, and the decline of American leisure.
Next, the discussion looks at how the publishing landscape is shifting for emerging writers, and how several unique reader sets have developed for literary magazines/small presses, the Amazon ebook community, and traditional Big Five publishers.
As an emerging author who has published with Amazon's literary imprint and traditional lit-mags, I offer my thoughts on how to navigate the diverging platforms.
Listen here (interview starts at 14:56 in the recording):
"Take pride in everything you do" and all that but, well, I feel I should warn potential readers that is that this piece is pretty . . . well, an odd duck.
I suppose maybe the most helpful way to introduce "Weekend Remembrance of Dr. Kai Chaikin" is to share the rejection that it provoked from Bellevue Literary Review, which happens to be my favorite rejection of all time (do all writers have those?):
"I like the idea of the pseudo-scientific paper as a genre and the social implications--that the correlation between bladder size and memory, or bladder size and a predisposition to belief in God, parallels such issues as gender identity today, and also raises the question of whether or not there should be a gap between expectation and reality, or objectivity and subjectivity. But in narrative terms it needs to engage the reader more with regard to character and plot."
I love-love this rejection for two reasons:
First, it makes the story sound pretty insane, to the point where I almost want to reverse-engineer a second story with "Write a story that might provoke this rejection" as the prompt.
Second, I was just told by a literary journal edited and maintained by DOCTORS that my writing was too dense, which is kind of like them making fun of how illegible your signature is.
Anyway, you can read the piece in the Flatbush Review here.
A few years after I shared "Reel Mower" with my father, he mailed me this postcard.
Still having big vacation fun. Just mowed law in Jeff for the second time with the new mower. Much easier! Now back to the lake to watch the rain on the lake. Onward to glory -
This was my favorite story to arise from a prompt ("Humor", "A Dog Trainer", and "A Kiss") in no small part because I never write humor and this encouraged me to push outside of my comfort zone.
Fun note on the calligraphy above: the two spirals that look kinda like on each end of the first word aren't actually Korean -- they're designed to mimic the "sheephead" towel style often seen in Korean spas.
(Calligraphy by SaEun Park)
In 2007, I was one of over 80 law students spending a summer at a large law firm. It was the height of the boom and we were introduced to a degree of decadence that seemed both absurd and unsustainable. I wrote this on the last night of the summer.
A year later the Great Recession hit, and over half the firm's new attorneys were laid off in one day, including most of those I had spent that summer with.
I once worked at the Strand Bookstore doing backroom stuff like putting on pricing stickers and shrink-wrapping books all day. As anyone who worked there during the 2000s can attest, the place had no air conditioning and it sweltered. Our lives were all pretty aimless and nobody spoke very much.
One day after work, I went home and wrote this.
(Edited by Blackout Writers Group and Eleanor Katari)
This one is near and dear to my heart and I'm excited for it to be my first piece in a lit-mag.
Way back in 2006, Blackout Writers Group decided to have a special Halloween meeting, where we all committed to dashing off new scary stories.
For some reason, my thoughts immediately went to an old school cider mill in upstate New York where my father would take my brother and I where you could see all the apples being crushed.
(edited by Blackout Writers Group and Eleanor Katari).