Reading at the Hi-Fi Bar on January 13th

I’ve been invited to read “Antarctica” for The Disagreement, a curated reading series here in New York. I’ll be reading alongside some other great writers – Alexandra Kleeman, Rumaan Alam, and Marianne Mckey – on the theme of denial.
The Disagreement presents: “I kept telling myself you’re ok; you’re not that bad.”
The Hi-Fi Bar, 169 Avenue A.
Tuesday, January 13th
8 pm

I give a reading about once every five years, but I’m told I’m pretty okay at it. If you’d like to hear a pretty okay reading about lonely research stations, I hope you’ll come by.

Right now the weather forecast predicts ice pellets.

Cold Places


Remember that Antarctica story I was working on? It was picked up by Hobart, and you can now read it here. It’s one of the longer pieces I’ve written lately, but you can probably still read it in under half an hour.

Hobart is a journal I have like liked ever since I spent hours at an old internship reading back issues and looking for authors to solicit. I’m really happy to be a part of it.

Who Is Invincible

Who Is Invincible

I have a very short story in the latest issue of Corium. It’s called “Werewolf”.

I finally sent out that Antarctica story. It’s one of the longer things I’ve worked on lately. I am crossing my fingers and toes that it finds a home.

Sometimes in my job I spend a lot of time playing with numbers and listening to music in a haunted mansion. I bought a notebook and started writing longhand again. I have more space in my life to write than I did when I was juggling three jobs, but I’m still learning how to carve out time for myself. I keep taking on freelance projects and side jobs. I spend some nights and weekends writing things for some people and teaching things to other people. It’s difficult to unlearn the perma-hustle.

In between work and work and running around Brooklyn, I’ve been thinking about comic books. I started listening to Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men on my way to and from work. The X-Men are one of my favorite superhero teams of all time, and I am a sucker for completely bonkers continuity. Comics are a huge influence on how I think about fiction, and I am itching to write some superhero fiction after I get done with the tiny haunted house piece I’m working on.


My Winter Journal Hoard

Journal Hoard

Much like a small rodent hoards nuts and seeds for the long winter, I tend to stash away lit journals for a rainy day. My unread journal hoard is starting to outgrow my bedside table, however, and winter is definitely here. I spent the last six years in the mild climes of Oregon and Texas. I left my Brooklyn apartment this afternoon to get groceries and I don’t think I will be leaving my apartment again until the sleet decides to stop doing whatever it is that it thinks it’s doing. Snow does not charm me. It just makes me want to huddle indoors. Good thing I have a bedside table full of lit journals and a cupboard full of tea. Here’s what I’ll be reading this week.

NANO Fiction Mars

I’ve moved three times in the last six months, so my contributor’s copy of NANO Fiction 6.1 only just reached me. This is the first time I’ve seen my fiction in print outside of college art and lit mags. I’m a feckless youth who cut my writing teeth in undergraduate workshops, and it’s always wonderful to get positive feedback from people who’ve never met me and aren’t socially required to be nice and encouraging. NANO has given this story a lot of support, including making it one of their weekly features. Thanks, NANites.

I got a copy of PEN’s journal when I visited their offices recently, and I’m looking forward to reading some great fiction, essays, and interviews this week.

I’ve been carting my copy of Hobart #13 around for a while, saving it for a special occasion. As Hobart #14 has been out since December, I think it’s time to finally crack it open so that I can order the next issue.

I also received my editor’s copy of Unstuck #2, and I am very excited to curl up with this weighty collection of short fiction and read a journal I’m proud to have helped produced.

What journals are you reading right now?

Microfiction? Microfiction.

Remember when I said that NANO Fiction was going to publish a story of mine? Luckily, they didn’t abruptly change their minds in the subsequent weeks.  NANO Fiction Volume 6, Number 1 will be shipping next month. “Mars” will be in it, as will other stories by other wonderful people. If you would like a copy, you can preorder it.

I’m looking forward to receiving my own copy. The cover is absurdly gorgeous, and I can’t wait to stretch out on my couch with a cup of tea and read many sharp bits of small fictions.

In other news, a fine fellow I know created a website that allows you to comfortably ogle at the red planet from the comfort of your favorite chair. It is called The Mars Ogler, and it is very much worth a look.

It’s Alive

Remember in the old days, when dinosaurs ruled the earth and you had to pulp up a bunch of trees to print stories with a big hulking machine?  And then you had to go to a store and find that story and plop down some half-crowns and buy it?

Well, no more.  You can go read my story “Goodbye, Invisible Man”  in Issue 46 of Storyglossia with the click of a single button.  You can even read it on your smartphone or telescreen or brain shunt or whatever it is that the kids are using these days.

You can, of course, print the story out yourself and get the tactile experience that way. But think of the trees!

I should, of course, say that I do love print journals.  In fact, this fall I’ll be interning with American Short Fiction, a mostly print journal with a few digital exclusives.  Print is lovely.  I love working with it and I hope to appear in it one day.  But there’s something about digital publication that I find particularly exciting. Hypertext, you guys.  Hypertext!

If you’re interested in reading more digital journals, I recommend PANK Magazine and Word Riot in addition to the ever wonderful Storyglossia.

It May As Well Be Me

A few months ago I mentioned that I was submitting stories for publication, and that the process was like “banging your head against a wall until you make a hole and climb through”.

Well, I made a hole.

A story from Satellites, my 2010 undergraduate thesis collection, has been selected for publication by the fine little digital journal Storyglossia.  It’s called “Goodbye, Invisible Man”.  If you’ve been following me here over the last two years, you’ve seen this story go from concept to notes to drafts and beyond.  Now it’ll go live on August 5th in Issue 46 of Storyglossia.

Thanks for sticking around.

More to come.  Watch this space.

Laika (Transmission)

Here’s a story.  Laika was a stray like Sharik.  She lived in Moscow.  The program used street dogs because they thought the dogs would already know how to be cold like space is cold.  Laika was a mongrel.  She was part terrier.  Her other names were Kudryavka, Zhuchka, and Limonchik.  The American press called her Muttnik.

The other two dogs were Albina and Mushka.  One of them flew in a rocket but neither of them went to space.  Gazenko put Laika in a centrifuge and fed her high-energy gel.  The dogs were trained to live in smaller and smaller cages because in space they wouldn’t be able to move at all.

Laika was put in the satellite on October 31, 1957.  Laika left the earth on November 3, 1957.

There are three stories about what happened to Laika.

First she died when the oxygen ran out, or when she was euthanized with a serving of poisoned food.

Second she died on the fourth day when the cabin overheated.

Third she died five to seven hours into flight from overheating and stress.

On April 14, 1958, her body and her ship disintegrated as it fell through the atmosphere.

There is a statue to Laika in Star City.  Star City is a real place.  They train cosmonauts there.  It feels good to say, “Laika is in Star City now.”

Gazenko said, “The more time passes, the more I’m sorry about it. We shouldn’t have done it… We did not learn enough from this mission to justify the death of the dog.”

No one cares about space anymore.  Laika, you were supposed to be important.

Laika I believed in you.  Laika I still believe in you.  Laika we miss you.  Laika we have been writing about space for a long time because we know this world is done with us.  Laika there are no more ships behind you.  Laika we are stuck on the ground.

Laika good dog Laika.  Good dog good dog Laika good dog.


Better late than never.  Included in my thesis collection were two thematic vignettes.  One of them was what you just read.  The other is called “Lake Monsters of North America”.  I think this is the better of the two.  The overarching theme of my thesis collection was what I called “the disappointing fantastic”.  I wanted to take unusual or fantastic situations and take them apart until they were at least a little sad.  One of the inspirations for this feeling was the Cold War, particularly the technological race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.  The space race in particular seemed to embody a scientific optimism that ultimately didn’t take us very far at all.  Given my age, I experienced the Cold War only in retrospect: in history, media, and propaganda.  The way I perceive it might as well be the same as how I perceive fiction.  I was also interested in history as narrative, an ongoing body of work that is constantly edited and revived as new narratives replace old ones.  The goal of this vignette was to take historical facts and fictionalize/emotionalize them.

Obviously, if you haven’t already, you should read Nick Abadzis’ LaikaIt does exactly what I’m talking about.

I’ve been slow about posting my thesis stories because I’m not entirely happy with how some of them turned out.  I was pleased with the project as a whole, but there are definitely some clunkers in there.   I’m tempted to just post my favorites and leave out the mediocre ones. I think posting it in its entirety, though, may be helpful in exorcising it from my brain.  I’ve taken lots of notes this summer, but I  haven’t written a single full story.  Maybe when I put my thesis behind me I’ll be able to start fresh.