The Joy of Collaboration

Earlier this year, the wonderful Shasta Grant and I decided to collaborate on a short story, and our resulting tale of a Jazzercise franchise in decline, “Grapevine,” was published in Little Fiction in July.

Having been scarred by many group-project situations in school, not to mention being somewhat control-freakish about my own writing I was a little nervous when Shasta proposed collaborating on a story, but the whole process was incredibly fun. I highly recommend collaborating with a trusted peer as a way of letting another perspective shake up your creative work. 

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New short story “Bela Karolyi” at Blood Orange Review

We chose Bela Karolyi for his smile and his bushy mustache, his blue and red polo shirts, how he swept Mary Lou up in a bear hug after her winning vault, even before the judges had tallied the score, shouting “That’s a ten! That’s a ten!” He was an exotic Daddy Warbucks come to life. Our fathers shouted, but rarely with joy. They shouted at Ronald Reagan and his smug expressions, they shouted at the A’s for blowing the playoffs, they shouted at our mothers for trying to have the last word, they shouted at us to chew with your mouth closed, goddammit.

This short story, now up at the wonderful Blood Orange Review, involved my re-watching the entire 1984 Olympic women’s gymnastics competition on YouTube. And wow, it was so much more disturbing than I’d remembered!

New Essay, “Instructions for Losing Your Mind” now up at Cosmonauts Avenue

In the heyday of his collection going home for a visit was like living inside a used bookstore curated by someone who loved you, who’d shaped your sensibilities and sense of humor through dinner table puns and drinking-song lullabies, who’d taken you on walks when you were sad or anxious for some forgotten teenage reason.

I have a new, very personal essay up at the wonderful Cosmonauts Avenue this week. I’m excited this story has finally found a home but my excitement is also bittersweet. This piece has been through many revisions over the past few years as I tried to capture the anxiety, denial, and helplessness we all felt in the years leading up to my dad’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

It’s also a love story about books as artifacts, as talismans, and the way my dad’s love of books and reading has informed, and still informs, our relationship.

Publication news!

I’m pleased to have a little CNF flash piece I wrote about the Challenger explosion, anxiety, and the use of terrible jokes to process unfathomable tragedy up today at Jellyfish Review. Check it out!