This summer I had a flash essay published by Little Fiction | Big Truths about the time my father drove me across the country for my heart surgery. The whole issue was fantastic and I am excited to be included.
I also have a long short-story coming out in the next issue of December. You should subscribe now so you get it. It’s about a minor figure of the 60’s counterculture movement who trying to die in Tibet, so if you like washed-up, former psychologist-hippies, LSD, hotel bars, the Himalayas, and freelance journalists, you’ll dig it.
The cover I designed for J.D. Salinger and the Nazis was a selection for The Association of University Presses Book, Jacket, & Journal Show. I am now an award-winning book designer. Which is now hilarious because I just got my first kill-fee for a failed book design. You didn’t have to do that, Universe, I wasn’t getting a big head about my design work.
Humans & other beings: My story, “A History of Burning” is now available in the Summer 2018 issue of Midwestern Gothic. This is a dream pub for realsies. Much like my story, “Must Believe in Ghost” and its appearance in The Normal School, I could hardly imagine a more fitting place for this story than Midwestern Gothic.
This is the story that won the 2015 Tom Williams Prize in Fiction at the end of my MFA. Judge Kevin Brockmeier admired this story for “its energy, its color, its empathy, and most of all, because nearly every sentence is perfectly tuned to its own intentions.” Despite rejecting it, GC Waldrep praised this story for its “bravura opening” and for “making a wily virtue of telling rather than showing.” Tom Payne said, “Its narrative voice gets me, sailing far above this darkest blue of blue collar worlds with a sharp, historical intelligence.”
For me, this story was written in a single weekend, mostly out of a writer’s block of frustration. It’s also one of the most autobiographical of my stories. About 80% of what’s in this story are true events filtered through the lives of the characters on the page.
Order this. Support writers & small presses.
Shadow CV: This story was rejected 38 times before it found its home.
I’ve got a strange little story up at Maudlin House today. What started as a silly, pun-filled exercise in wordplay ended up as time-jumping surrealist quest to stop World War I. Check out “Communist Armstrong and the Dadaist Detective Agency“!
This summer I’ll have at least two new publications out: My story of high-octane American childhood grief, “A History of Burning” will be published by Midwestern Gothic and “The Bangor Crows”, a tale of a woman overwhelmed by depression and the mystery of the chthonic evil that inhabits the town that Stephen King calls home, in Longleaf Review.
I’ve only just finished grading for the semester, a taking a quick jaunt to Wisconsin for my dad’s 60th birthday, then returning home to write a goddamned novel if it kills me.
It’s been two years of depression and writer’s block and it’s time to get busy writing. I’ve found ways to keep engaged: teaching writing and editing for Outlook Springs, but I’ve hardly written anything, paralyzed by the gap between how great I felt finishing up my MFA and the harsh reality afterward of my blank screen with the monsters of what-is-art-for-especially-in-the-face-of-advancing-fascism chanting, chanting, chanting, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” and shutting down all avenues of escape.
Creating characters, a whole world, is like getting into a new relationship: you have to be ready for the deep dive, to learn another person completely. But since the end of my MFA and the aftermath of the election, I have this bandwidth problem, this lack of signal, this literary attention-deficit disorder where I can’t pay enough attention to do the deep dive, to put in the time and attention of making people. There’s enough horror in the world; why should I torture fictional people too?
And suddenly, I am inspired to write a story where everyone gets exactly what they deserve.
If you like tales of people attempting to construct cosmologies that allow them to process grief and guilt, then whoa baby, do I have a story for you. In other words, The Coachella Review has published my story, “At the Speed of Light.”
This started out as the final story for my undergraduate creative writing thesis at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. It evolved and focused through my MFA at New Hampshire, and finally found it’s home. This is also the first solicited work I’ve published, which was a nice process to go through. Many thanks to Coachella‘s fiction editor, Chih Wang, for her help bringing this story to publication.
Now, go read it!
I was interviewed by the great editors of Barnstorm Literary Journal about book design, writing, editing for Outlook Springs, and life after the MFA. Check it out!
This summer, “Spectrum”, the shortest story I’ve ever written (around 350 words!), which had previously been a semifinalist in Mid-American Review‘s Fineline Competition, will be published by my favorite microfiction venue, CHEAP POP. If you’re not already reading them, get on it!
My story “Must Believe in Ghost” which appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of The Normal School has arrived on their website. Find out how exactly “human consciousness is a long, sadly ignored, fundamental force in the calculations of quantum mechanics” or see how “even the cobwebs were old, as if the spiders in the house had long run out of insects to eat and had absconded to a more plentiful promised land” and find out what happens when an out-of-work journalist tries not to monetize someone else’s grief.
Good news: My short story collection, And When the Ghost Has Vanished, was a semifinalist for Black Lawrence Press’ The Hudson Prize. So that’s kind of a big deal.
The collection, which is comprised mostly of my MFA thesis stories, also includes “Must Believe in Ghost” which is being published by The Normal School in their fall issue. (You still have time to subscribe before it’s out!)
After a long slog of rejections (though, some very positive) it felt very nice to know I’m up to something good.
In the meantime, I’m going back to teaching composition (and joining the “long line” toward teaching creative writing courses) and expanding my book design work into independent and literary presses.