One of my favorite parts of writing is reading proofs. It’s something that can be checked off the list as finished, an elusively satisfying task when in writing it always seems nothing is really finished, because more can be done, but then there’s that indefatigable question of “how much?”
This is from a new essay, “A Better Mousetrap,” coming out in North Dakota Quarterly. Thanks so much to the editors for picking it!
I have a new book review up at Heavy Feather Review of Adnot-Haynes’s book The Year of Perfect Happiness.
As I say at the end, by chance this is the second book I’ve reviewed recently from a creative writing graduate of the University of Cincinnati. There is exciting work coming out of that program!
Thanks to Heavy Feather Review for letting me review for them! I’m super pleased to be in such good company.
I’ve had two stories taken recently. “The Baby” will be published in Permafrost in Winter 2015 and “The Days of Eggs” will be out in Autumn 2015 in The Southern Review. I’m super excited about these stories because in both I’m trying something new to me. “The Baby” is somewhat of a horror story about a woman who finds a baby in the attic and, in the course of the day, the baby grows to an adult woman. “Eggs” uses points-of-view from two neighbors perspectives, which is two times the perspectives I usually have.
It’s funny to hear students say sometimes that they always write this kind of story or that kind of story. I want to say, oh friend, you have no idea how much your going to change as a writer over the years. I admire how firmly they believe in who they are but know you’re never so confident or wrong in this assessment as when you’re twenty.
I have a new flash fiction piece up at Jet Fuel Review. You can check it out here, along with the entire issue 7 for free! A big thanks to fiction editor Sarah Ford and the rest of the magazine for including me.
The last story in It’s Not Going to Kill You, And Other Stories is about a guy in an airband in Wisconsin in the 80s, and that guy really exists: Brian Young, one of the masterminds behind Fifth Street Brewpub. A lot of it is made up (for instance, I can’t imagine any girl ever being dumb enough to dump someone as awesome as Brian, and the real Brian ended up with a woman even better than Patty) but the details about being in an airband, about traveling to shows, about being a member of the Carz, and earning beer money through college–all true.
God bless Brian, he ordered four copies of the book for me to sign and send on to his airband mates.
Here’s to the reunion tour! I totally think they should open the first leg at Fifth Street.
I dedicated It’s Not Going to Kill You, and Other Stories to Kelly Hansen, an awesome sister and avid reader. She has taught me a lot about life and humor and timing and grace and friendship, and I hope all of those lessons are in the book in ample supply.
Copies for sale at Amazon, UNP, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere both in paperback and electronic formats.
You may remember I posted awhile back about Sixfold, the new peer-reviewed-in-the-largest-sense literary journal started by Garrett Doherty. It was a great experience reading for this magazine and I’m happy to report my story, “The Learning Theory,” ranked high enough to be published in the Summer 2013 Fiction issue.
It’s a weird story for me, written specifically to discuss post-traumatic stress disorder which was recently retooled in the DSM-V to include trauma to first responders and those under constant pressure hearing about or witnessing life-threatening situations, such as some social workers, rape and suicide therapists, those in ERs.
For the past five summers my friend and colleague Sarah Twill (in Social Work) and I have taught a course at Wright State called “Mental Health and Contemporary Fiction” where we look at how literature represents mental illness and what these representations tell us about society. We’ve had a hard time finding diagnosable examples in short stories. “Notes to My Biographer” by Adam Haslett is a great one for bi-polar and “A Temporary Matter” by Jhumpa Lahiri is great for depression but that’s about it. So we asked writers to contribute a story around a specific illness and paired them with a social scientist working in that area to help them with details and accuracy. Katrina Kittle wrote about eating disorders; Daryl Farmer wrote about depression in older adults; I wrote about PTSD; a former student of the class, Ryan Ireland, wrote about Oppositional Defiant Disorder. It’s a great project but we’re still looking for a home for the collection so I’m happy to see at least one of the stories make it to print.
May 16 is “Give to Lincoln Day” to support nonprofits in Lincoln, Nebraska. As they say on their website, this is “your chance to make a real impact on Lincoln’s quality of life. . . . Every donation you make on May 16th helps your favorite charities even more because they will also receive a proportional share of our $200,000 challenge match pool”.
It’s like free money for a good cause!
If you get a chance, please consider giving to the organization of your choice, and I’ll make a special shout out for the Friends of the University of Nebraska Press.
It makes me wish Duffy’s Tavern, one of my favorite hangouts as a grad and undergrad student at UNL, was a non-profit. They serve mixed drinks in fishbowls, I kid you not. Here’s a list of the options, because it’s such a good idea to drink a Jack and Coke bigger than your head. Back in the day we’d order these as a group, hover around the extra long straws like a school of piranhas, and see how fast we could drink them. Our record was three minutes. The same amount of time it takes to empty a dishwasher.
I could not be more thrilled with the cover for my new collection It’s Not Going to Kill You, and Other Stories. First off, it’s blue, which I look terrific in, so I’ll be able to match my outfits for any readings. But perhaps more importantly, I think it really captures something about the book – the playfulness but with a sense of danger lurking, the instability of the characters’ lives, a different view of an everyday object. I guess I can’t say (at least succinctly) why I like it so much, but I do, and I’m so thankful to UNP for coming up with the perfect image and design.