Hi, everyone. I’ve been working on some longer projects these days (some fiction and a longer essay), so the only things that have recently seen the light of publishing are a few book reviews. Fortunately I’ve reviewed some interesting books, so I hope they make for some interesting reading:
- On Here in Berlin by Cristina Garcia, and its eldritch collection of postwar German voices;
- On The Idiocy of Perfection by Jesús Silva Herzog-Marquez, a collection of metaphorical and sharp political essays; and
- On the story collection The Tower of the Antilles, by Achy Obejas, showcasing the depth and struggles of the Cuban-American identity.
Otherwise I’m reading a couple books I’ve been meaning to get to (but won’t be reviewing) right now: Ronald C. White’s biography of Grant, American Ulysses, and the Tournament of Books-winning The Sellout by Paul Beatty. (Everybody is talking about the Chernow bio of Grant now, and that may be great, but White’s bio really is fantastic.)
Many thanks to Drunk Monkeys for accepting my funny little story “Gaddafi in Drag.” You can read it here. And here’s how it starts:
And then Gaddafi came in, totally in drag. Not just eye shadow, which he was famous for, but a full evening dress, pearl necklace, and hose. Rouge on his cheeks. Four burly female bodyguards tailed him, holstering guns. Besides the slight dip in volume of conversation, no one at the party acted like anything was askance. Gaddafi’s lips were the red, it occurred to me, of that “Say goodbye a little longer” chewing gum, and it was that commercial jingle that played in my head as I watched him walking in heels like he practiced it. It wasn’t like he didn’t have the facial features to cross dress: thin cheeks and high cheekbones like a model’s. (This was before age sunk his face into a permanent scowl, before he insisted on that comb mustache and that sweep of a rug under his chin.) Perhaps this was because I was trained to spot such disguises, but it was obvious to me from the moment he walked in.
Funny enough, this is (oh very very loosely) based on a real story, albeit one that was hearsay on top of hearsay. Of course, for fiction, that’s all part of the fun.
My short story, “Sunsets in Sunny Gardens,” has now appeared in the latest I-70 Review. Thanks to Gary, Maryfrances, Jan and Greg for accepting it. I received my copy in the mail this week and it looks fantastic.
The story opens:
This Thursday, June 2, I’ll be on NET Radio’s All About Books talking about what makes One Book One Lincoln selection Being Mortal by Atul Gawande so great. Such as bits like this bit, talking about the author’s father:
One of his proudest days was July 4, 1976, the country’s bicentennial, when he was made an American citizen in front of hundreds of cheering people in the grandstand at the Athens County Fair between the hog auction and the demolition derby. But one thing he could never get used to was how we treat our old and frail—leaving them to a life alone or isolating them in a series of anonymous facilities, their last conscious moments spent with nurses and doctors who barely knew their names.
I was on the One Book One Lincoln selection committee this year, and am proud to say the committee made a great pick. Like last year, I’m also happy to report that the committee brought a diverse selection of authors to its top three picks.
When the time comes, you can listen here; or if you miss it (if, like me, you have to work during the day) you can download the podcast here.
The new issue of Anomaly Lit, featuring my story “The Thing Speaks For Itself,” just came out, and it looks fantastic. “Thing Speaks” is an older story that I reworked a bit before submitting to Anomaly, reworking some sections that had previously never quite felt right. It’s a bleak little piece, but from the tenor of the other pieces in this edition of Anomaly it seems to fit right in.
The editors at Anomaly also asked me to participate in a podcast and talk a bit about the story and my style. I hadn’t done anything like that before, so it was the source of much hand wringing, but I was eventually able to answer a couple questions in (I hope) a coherent fashion.
Thanks for the editors (Lorcán, Roseanna, Oliver and Joseph) for accepting the piece and allowing it to be in such a great journal. (The photography really is fantastic.)
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼You can read the story online here.
Issue Six of Sediments Literary Arts Journal, containing my story “The Flower Car,” is now available online. I’m very happy with how this issue turned out—great looking magazine and a great home for my story.
“The Flower Car” will be featured on the Sediments home page later this month. I’ll try to update this post when that goes live.
Meanwhile, two other stories have recently been accepted for publication, which is very exciting. Look for “Sunsets in Sunny Gardens” in I-70 Review come later this year, while the other story is (by request of the editors) still a secret…
Issue 9 of Pulp Literature, featuring a story by yours truly, is currently available for download and purchase. I’m elated to have the story see the light of day in such an excellent publication—and with such great illustrations, to boot! I’m also excited to read several of the other stories, as well.
Here’s just small bit from the beginning of the story, if you are interested:
Ruth is floating. Through the observational porthole of the Inter- national Orbiting Space Station, she watches the Shackleton — a ship almost as big as the station itself — draw silently closer. On the window a thin caul of condensation has developed. She wipes it away to get a better look. Docking is a sort of breathless process, fraught with the potential for a myriad things to go wrong. In this case it is all the more difficult as ships like the Shackleton are, technically, never supposed to dock at the IOSS. Ruth’s pulse quickens.
You can buy it here.
Very excited that my short story “The Flower Car,” has found a home at Sediments Literary Arts Journal. The story will debut online in February. Thanks to editor Nortina Simmons for accepting it!
Very happy to announce that my story, “Space Tears Can Hurt,” a little venture—a bit different for me—into sci-fi, has been accepted for publication in Pulp Literature, a really great journal (“Good books for the price of a beer”) that came to my attention late last year and has published some sci-fi greats. It will appear in the Winter 2016 issue. Big thanks to the editors who have been working with me on some edits.
I’ve read basically two classic fantasy or sci-fi novels ever: The Lord of the Rings and Dhalgren. I’d like to think my approach lies somewhere between the two. I’ll be sure to post again when you can read the story.
Happy to announce that my short story, “The Thing Speaks for Itself” was named a Top 25 finalist by Glimmer Train for its February 2014 short story contest. This is the second time a story of mine has been a finalist for a GT contest, although the first that it was named to the Top 25.
Thanks to GT for the nice comments; it’s beyond exciting for the story to get some recognition. (And congrats to the winner—I’ll have to read it.)
Hope to find a good home for “The Thing Speaks for Itself” sometime soon.