Dear reader, let me tell you about some excellent happenings.
First and foremost, Unstuck #3 is out in the world and available for purchase. It is an absolutely killer issue full of weird fiction, nonfiction, interviews, and poetry. I’m really excited to see so many returning contributors in this issue, as well as brand new names. There’s one story in particular that really grabbed me when I was reading submissions last year, and I’m super happy that it made it all the way into print.
I’ve got a very short story forthcoming in Corium. It’s a little bit about lycanthropes and a lot about the anxiety of hereditary illnesses. Corium is a journal I’ve long admired. I’m looking forward to being part of one their future issues.
Also, I got myself a full-time job doing something I actually want to do. I started this week. I like it a lot. I don’t talk a lot about my working life in this space, though I did write that one semi-satirical piece about job applications for The Billfold. I’ve been cobbling together temp jobs, contract jobs, and part-time work for the last four years. I think that working one job, as opposed to working 2-4 jobs, is going to leave me with a lot more space in my life to do the things I enjoy doing. I am looking forward to dental insurance and writing on my lunch break.
Sometimes I stand in front of words and make wild-eyed faces while visiting friends take my picture.
Sometimes I write words down.
I signed on to be a staff writer for Unstuck’s shiny new blog. My first assignment was “art”, so I wrote about my experience going to Kaiju Big Battel with my apartment’s resident wrestling expert. If giant monster wrestling and narratology are things you like, you may enjoy reading “Real People in Fake Monster Costumes”.
I’ll be writing about a different topic once a month. Non-fiction isn’t something I feel super comfortable with. That’s one of the many reasons this blog tends to languish for months at a time. I do, however, love deadlines. I think this will be a nice way to dragging me away from my comfort zone while getting me to actually write about all those neat things I’ve been meaning to write about.
Interfictions, a digital anthology of interstitial arts, is open to submissions from now until July 31st. I’m one of the people reading these submissions, so I’d be much obliged if you’d send some great stuff directly to my eyeballs. Our Submittable page and guidelines are here.
To get a feel for the sort of liminal things we’re looking for, check out the inaugural issue.
Actually, it's because David Lynch told me to.
Pete Rock asked me to take notes on my process. So that’s what I’m doing.
I’ve been meeting with Whitney Otto once a week, turning in drafts and batting around ideas. Yesterday I talked about how I wanted to be funny. Or, at least, funnier. She recommended Lorrie Moore, which brought me back to “How To Be A Writer” for the first time in years. It’s still good. I’m also reading the David Foster Wallace collection Girl with Curious Hair. It gives me the creeps and I love it.
We’ve been talking about structure. Even when I try to write discrete stories, I end up leaving little trails of breadcrumbs between them. Familiar phrases and faces turn up again whether I want them to or not. The overall collection will be loosely threaded together, but certain stories will hang together in particular little clusters. The theoretical little clusters have the following working titles: “The Desperate Man Appreciation Society”, “Low Country”, and “Satellites”.
I’ve been a good little worker, pounding out a few pages a week. Soon I’ll have my first complete story draft. I feel almost hyper-productive, driven by bottomless cups of coffee and the pursuit of impossible objects. These sorts of muses probably aren’t great for me in the long run, but they’re sure making me write. I like to think that they build character.
I’m working mostly on “Goodbye, Invisible Man” and a little on its sister story, “Win”. They are both about love and the lack of it. Some of the characters are a little monstrous. (The female of the species is more dangerous than the male.) “Goodbye, Invisible Man” started out horribly true and then became more and more fictitious as I continued to write it. “Win” started out entirely fictional and later came true.
Life is strange like that.
I'll take a quiet life and a handshake of carbon monoxide.
I’ve neglected you, dear readers. Forgive me. I was distracted by exams and other such terrifying things. Now I’m on vacation. I’m visiting family on the edge of South Carolina and soaking up some lovely Southern rot.
I’m writing a lot because I don’t have much else to do. If I’m not writing I’m sleeping, drinking, watching films, or being driven to irregular parts of town. On the side of a building on Calhoun St. there is a massive mural. It depicts a massive, muscled black Jesus in a mullet-afro and a superhero costume carrying a child to safety. A rainbow arcs behind them. The mural proclaims, “Jesus is the only fire escape.”
There are things in the works. I’m editing another story in the saga of the townies, called “Knock Down Drag Out”. I’m finishing the first draft of another Tim Blank story. It’s called “Population Control” and it involves a few of my favorite topics: cryptozoology, conspiracy, and waiting. You may not not be able to see it for a while, because I’m intending to be brave and submit it to a few alternative short fiction markets in February. I’m working in fits and starts on a dark piece of mainstream-ish fiction about failure, sex, and skulking on the fringe of things.
I’m also indulging myself and writing a post-apocalyptica soaked short story. It’s currently called “No Alarms and No Surprises”. I’ve been listening to OK Computer a lot and it makes me think of imminent environmental, economic, and social collapse. In “No Alarms and No Surprises”, the stalwart genetic engineer Dr. Edwards entertains a filthy junker in order to procure a series of graduated industrial lenses. How thrilling!
Watch this space.
Sometimes there are things that happen.
There is now a brief About section in existence. It may be expanded at a later date.
If you so desire, you can now subscribe to the A. is A. feed.
(I’m still working on that index.)
More fiction to come soon. I’m working on a larger project right now. It’s a collection of 3-4 linked stories. They are, in a very general sense, about love, displacement, time, and loneliness. And alligators. And dogs. And also sidearms. “Townie” was a draft of one of them. When they are all workshopped and polished I will post them in a staggered series over the course of a few weeks.
Patience is a virtue.