"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.
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).