I’m humbled and honored to be a Fellow at this year’s New Harmony Writers Workshop, June 21-27.
I’m in awe of the company I’m in (Rebecca Gayle Howell and Stuart Dybek and Andrew Meredith and Ada Limón and Ross Gay), and it’s looking to be a tremendous week, so come on out, we’ll get together, have a few laughs.*
*I”m always looking for excuses to quote Die Hard.
I was recently interviewed by the online magazine Concentrate about the state of the the publishing industry in Ann Arbor, Michigan (hint: it’s great).
I’m only in it briefly (at the end!), but there’s some really great stuff in here by the folks at Dzanc, Splitlevel Texts, and others. Do check it out.
So very excited to have my very first article “Hidden History: Alley Bar” in the Ann Arbor Current:
No pictures are known to exist of Charles Binder. Yet, you can just picture him leaning against the pine bar top that stretches nearly half the length of the building at 112 W. Liberty St, dispassionately browsing through advertisements in the now-defunct Ann Arbor Argus—Hangsterfer’s French hand-made bonbons, Clark’s Mile-End Spool Cotton, and Eisenbarth Liver Pills meant to “stimulate a sluggish system.”
I’m stoked for a couple of reasons: First, I love history, and this gave me a chance to really dig into the goings-on of Ann Arbor. But also, this is my absolutely favorite bar in town, so getting to write about a place I love with so much history was a win-win. I should also mention this is my first time writing an essay/article like this, and I had a blast. So that’s something, I guess.
And if you live in/around Ann Arbor, you can also pick up a copy of this month’s Current that features the story, too.
I’m absolutely delighted and honored that two of my stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2014:
“An Immense Desert” / Mojave River Review
“The Rough and Tumble Sort” / Joyland
I’m grateful to Michael and Anna—really means a lot.
Leesa Cross-Smith asked me seven questions over at WhiskeyPaper to run along with the announcement of my new collection Don’t Ask Me to Spell It Out that’s due out from WhiskeyPaper Press in 2015:
You travel a lot. Tell us about one of your favorite places in the world. Okay, so this is tough. I usually reference Paris in some form, since it’s my most favorite city, but I’ve been thinking about Up North—that’s what we refer to the great swathe of green that makes up most of the upper portion of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Specifically, the Traverse City area, dense green potted with the bluest lakes you’ve ever seen, each only a stone’s throw, winding roads that zip you across Lake Michigan’s gorgeous shoreline, through three story-tall sand dunes. I’m thinking, specifically, of these little beach towns in the early summer months, ever so quiet (before the tourists flood in), how at peace I feel up there, among all that green, all that natural life. It’s a wonderful place in the world that I (try to) visit often—and wish I was there now.
Thanks to Leesa and Loren for everything. A fun set of questions, for sure. And read more about my collection here.
So happy to announce the publication of my collection of stories Don’t Ask Me to Spell It Out by WhiskeyPaper Press (due out April 2015).
Here’s a synopsis: A great storm and its effect on a young family; a woman with a rifle in a barren landscape; boys discovering the world of possibility in online sexuality; a couple at a scenic overlook, their relationship at the verge of dissolution. Each story in Don’t Ask Me to Spell It Out is a sliver of time pulled from the life of a young man, each a fragment of feeling, each a pivotal intersection of relationships. They are stories about the desperation of trying to fit in and find a kindred, to understand the elusive essence of love in all forms, to fill a void of solitude that only seems to grow as we do. They navigate the mysteries of relationships between men and women, of family and geography, and find a recurring theme of abject longing throughout.
Some authors I really greatly admire (Amber Sparks, Ben Tanzer, Adam Schuitema, Jared Yates Sexton, Sara Lippmann, Aaron Burch, Gerry LaFemina) were kind enough to read it in advance and say some nice things about it. Really means so much.
And I’m floored to be the first book put out by WhiskeyPaper Press! WhiskeyPaper (the journal) is a tremendous publication, and Leesa Cross-Smith, who runs it, and is a helluva writer and I’m floored to be a part of WP’s universe.
Delighted to have my story “Ain’t Living Long Like This” up at Akashic Books as part of their Mondays are Murder series:
They sat in silence for another quarter of an hour until he heard the clunk of a beat-up blue pickup with a busted axel as it arrived from the east. He sank down in his seat and watched as the truck pulled into the parking lot, past the stationary semis and into a parking space next to the small gas station. He watched as a birch-skinny man crawled out of the driver’s side. He was wearing black jeans, black boots, and no shirt.
I’m honored that this piece was able to find a home at the wonderful Akashic, a press I admire greatly. Thanks to all.
The folks at SLICE Ann Arbor, an arts and culture blog featuring slice-of-life interviews with creative people that live in the area, were kind enough to reach out:
Why does this form of artistic expression suit you?
It gives me the chance to tell stories and to build worlds. Writing satisfies this craving in a way nothing can. I’m able to breathe life into places, into people — while trying to emote in such a way that anyone reading will feel and understand. When I’m in the zone and the writing is just pouring out of me, nothing compares.
Really, with so many fantastic artists in/around Ann Arbor, I’m absolutely honored to have been included.
Thrilled an honored to have my story “Recompensate, He Said” up at BULL:
The cabin took to burning and the roof collapsed in on itself within a half an hour and he watched in wonder as his horse paraded and rummaged through a stray clump of tussock. Everett scouted the area and followed a path that continued past the cabin through a narrow precipice that spilled out onto the flood plains. He leaned against a copper-colored hill of rock and vegetation at the trailhead and took the map out again, tracing his finger from where he presumed he was currently stationed. He would head south from the flood plains and then cross the Rio Grande at its most narrow and then he’d be in Mesilla.
I’ve been a fan of Westerns nearly my whole life, and went through a monstrous Western writing phase a few years back. “Recompensate, He Said” was a story I loved for a long while, but never thought would see the light of day—not many places dig Westerns, in addition to it being on the long side—so I was beyond excited when BULL—a journal I’ve long admired—accepted it for publication. Couldn’t be happier with how it turned out, and let me tell ya, this has me wanting to revisit this genre again…
I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been selected as one of the artists in residence during the University Musical Society’s inaugural Residence Program for the 2014-2015 season.
I’m honored to be able to support the arts in this way. Music and performance have always been a big part of my life, particularly inspiring for my writing, and it’s great to be able to give back, to share my love and my work with others. I’m humbled, too, to have been included among this wonderfully talented cohort. I’ll be using these performances as inspiration for a new novel, one I am absolutely excited about and can’t wait to get into. More to come, I’m sure.