Album artwork for Jesse Young

Feel incredibly proud and honored to have done the artwork for musician Jesse Young‘s new album, Heart of Me, out March 1, 2019. I’ve known Jesse for almost eighteen years; he’s an incredible friend and a mesmerizingly-talented musician.

And this is something new to me, seeing something I illustrated on iTunes. Pretty pretty pretty neat. 

Here’s the front and back of the album (and there will be a physical release, too):

You can pre-order Heart of Me on Bandcamp or on iTunes.

“We Know So Little 001: Common Fig” at Pidgeonholes

I’m doing a recurring series at Pidgeonholes called “We Know So Little”—featuring micro-essays and original art—about being awed by the world around us.

In this first post, I explore a miraculous fig tree on Cyprus (that grew out of the remains of a dead man), and what it means to be alive.

And while researchers retrieved some of Ahmet’s clothing in the soil, beneath the tree—allowing his family to properly mourn and make peace decades after his disappearance—his mortal remains survive now in these branches, this smooth white bark, these deeply-lobed leaves, this particular woodsy-sweet fragrance.

A huge thanks to Jen Todhunter for making this recurring series happen, and to Dina Relles for helping me shape it into something. Read part 1 here, and follow along with the series here.

New fiction piece “Son of Paul Bunyan” at matchbook

I’m incredibly honored to have my mythical flash “Son of Paul Bunyan”—about torrential storms and Lake Superior islands and sunken ships—up at matchbook literary magazine. I’ve wanted to write a Michigan fairy tale for a long while, and am so grateful.

After he buried his father in an enormous coffin made from towering cured pine logs, he thought often of leaving the island, of swimming the chopping inland sea, to proclaim his inheritance from man, proclaiming he was half them, half something else—to be worshipped, absolutely—but also to seek love, yes, to be held. Then the drink would take him, drag him down and, instead, he would wrestle the bears and hunt with the wolves and break the necks of the geese for sport and chide Babe until he felt sickly satisfied in his depravity.

A huge shout-out to Brian and the team at matchbook for making this an incredibly easy (and rewarding) process—this is, absolutely, a dream publication.

New flash fiction piece “Red Rope” at Pidgeonholes

My breathless flash fiction piece “Red Rope” is up at Pidgeonholes today and I’m so so grateful. It’s about regret and a rollerskating rink about to be demolished. Plus, I got asked to contribute the below art to the project: double excitement. 

When we pulled up to the skate rink I was reciting Motownphilly from memory and she wasn’t impressed but I kept going and the rink was exactly how I remembered: it looked like a corrugated metal airplane hangar with a crooked white banner hanging off the side advertising in blocky red text the FREE COMMUNITY SKATE—right behind it, still, the American Legion post sat sagged and tired and it was mostly the same, but now the paint job’s gone from seafoam green to red and white stripes…

I’ve long loved the work that Pidgeonholes publishes, and I’m grateful to editors Jennifer Todhunter and Cathy Ulrich for picking this up.

 

2018 Pushcart Nomination – “Anthropocene Moves” (decomP)

I’m honored: My creative nonfiction piece “Anthropocene Moves”—about life and loss and bringing extinct animals back from the dead + paired with original illustrations by John Vestevichwas nominated for a Pushcart Prize by decomP!

You can read “Anthropocene Moves” here (or, there’s audio of me reading the piece at the top of the story page, if that’s your bag!). I’m just so grateful to be a part of this amazing cohort. A huge thanks to Jason Jordan (and the rest of the decomP team) for being so gracious.

2018 Best of the Net Nomination – “Rhinestone Cowboys Part 1” (Coil Mag)

I’m grateful: Part 1 of my essay series “Rhinestone Cowboys”—where I muse about Western films and dismantle the genre in order to understand this critical period in American history and the important voices that have been re-written out of this time period—was nominated for a 2018 Best of the Net by Coil Mag.

…we don’t understand the many broken treaties, the taking of land, the attempt and failure of reaping the West’s resources, the failed city-states, the disastrous laws and monstrously heinous xenophobic thoughts and actions, the many dead paving the way for the Modern West, oh goodness, so many dead.

I”m thrilled to be a part of this stellar cohort. A huge thanks to Leah Angstman of Coil for the recognition.

You can read “Part 1: All Down But Nine” online here.

“Rhinestone Cowboys”—A Seven-Part Essay Series

I wrote a 7-part essay series for Coil Mag (Alternating Current) exploring my love of the problematic Western genre. Part-memoir, part-historical, with original watercolors, “Rhinestone Cowboys” looks at erased stories, forgotten films, rewritten history, and memory, asking: AT WHAT COST? WHY AND HOW IS THIS GENRE, STILL, SO SIGNIFICANT?

You can read the full, seven-part series here (and each chapter below). You can find some of the watercolors (and more of my art) here.

Part 1: All Down But Nine
Part 2: Crooked as a Virginia Fence
Part 3: Acknowledging the Corn
Part 4: Shoot, Luke, or Give Up the Gun
Part 5: Beat the Devil Around the Stump
Part 6: Rode Hard and Put Up Wet
Part 7: Flannelmouthed Liars

Eternally grateful for Leah Angstman and everyone at Alt Current/Coil for giving me the space to discuss these films, the Western genre. Eternally grateful to y’all that came on this ride with me.