New Publications Roundup

Happy New Year! Before I solidify some writerly goals for 2018, I thought I'd start the year off by sharing a Publications Roundup for the past few months, starting with my most recent (this week!) It's been a pretty exciting time!

Check out these latest print and online publications. See all publications information at my Publications Page. Thank you for reading and for all your support!

Survival

Off The Rocks, Issue 21, January 2018.

My first official published short fiction piece Survival is included in the 21st edition of NewTown Writers' journal of LGBT writings. I'd like to thank them for welcoming me back into the fold for this issue.

Everyone Should Go to Live Lit Events

Proximity Magazine's TRUE Blog, December 7, 2017.

TRUE is Proximity Magazine's space for conversations around true stories. I write about the importance of attending live lit events for writers and non-writers alike.

Swim Lessons

Waxing & Waning, Issue 02 (_print_), Fall 2017.

Waxing & Waning is the literary magazine of Nashville-based April Gloaming Press. My nonfiction piece Swim Lessons appears in this issue.

A Love Poem for Sleepaway Camp

FreezeRay Poetry, Issue #14: Putting a Band-Aid on 2017 With Sweet Nerd Poems. November 2017.

The editors of FreezeRay Poetry, an online quarterly literary journal dedicated to the poetry of pop culture, have included my "A Love Poem For Sleepaway Camp" in the latest issue (#14). The piece was originally written for and performed at Flick Lit: Reel-to-Real Storytelling at the Logan Theatre, Chicago, May 11, 2016.

You can also listen to me read it via a new audio recording of the piece. I let out my inner Judy. The audio is a little NSFW.

Other Me Can Sing

Eclectica Magazine, Vol. 21, No. 4 - October/November 2017.

The Editors at Eclectica Magazine published my new poem "Other Me Can Sing" as part of their Word Poems special feature. The words for this issue are: parallel, tide, knot, and lantern.

The Pantry

Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology, Belt Publishing, August 2017.

I am thrilled to be a part of this exciting collection! This piece about my experiences volunteering at the Lakeview Pantry began life in 2013 as coursework for my Truths & Lies in Creative Nonfiction class at DePaul University. Thank you to my instructor Rachel Shteir and my classmates for their help in shaping it. I presented it at the 2013 DePaul Univeristy English Conference.

Works In Progress

Happy site make over! It’s been on my post-graduation to-do list for a while now. I still feel like I’m in post-graduation (DePaul) mode really. I think I’m allowed to feel that way for at least one full school year after, right? When I still know folks in the program and I’m still feeling the momentum and the wind of my freshly minted degree still on my back (unless that’s really the Arctic wind this winter’s brought upon us.)

In addition to Mortified, I was a part of Defining Moments, Broken Road Theatre’s storytelling benefit for their first show. Thanks again, Dennis! While I did an encore of sorts of my Mortified piece, I am working on some new material to submit or have on hand for future invitations. I’ve also been trying to make it out to shows I haven’t been to. Finally made it to Story Sessions! And in the past few weeks, I’ve “officially” met folks around Live Lit Land I’ve only before known of either through seeing them at an event or around the Facebook groups. Always good to have some real connection. You probably know who you are. 🙂

A couple nonfiction things in the works hopefully soonishly coming to a show and/or publication near you:

Drama 101 – Morning radio improv game, high school, automotive knowledge or lack thereof…

Stolen – Of a childhood home break-in and other loss.

I have some nonfiction work from school that needs some love as well for publication and/or performance (some of it works better for performance than others.) I’ve thought about posting here the piece I wrote about the passing of my friend Cookie Crumbles, though with some editing it may work for live events. So we’ll see… There’s the story of my volunteer work at the Lakeview Pantry last year (The Pantry) There’s also my piece on going home to Detroit to learn more about Rouge River conversation efforts (On the Rouge), which in some ways is less about the river itself and more about Home and connection with my Dad. So hopefully I’ll have news on those stories in the near future…

I need to start entering more contests. There are some deadlines coming up this month. I gotta get on that for real…

I have some fiction work going on as well. This week (and this weekend…) I’ve gotten back into edits of my “Todd & Wendell” story, a story of a grandson and a grandfather I’ve been working on since the summer before school started. I workshopped it in my first writing class at DePaul, and worked on it some more in a literary editing class. And with some much appreciated feedback from my classmate Raul Palma, I’m going full-ish steam ahead on round, um, I really don’t know what round I’m on at this point. I also have The Red Car, an Indiana story, which I included as a work sample for my DePaul application. That draft is long buried, but it’s good to know it was still good enough at the time. There’s also my Triptosis, the story of a couple best friends as told through an unexpected point of view written for Rebecca Johns-Trissler’s Speculative Fiction class (a program highlight for me–take it!) Hopefully you’ll hear good news about these stories as well.

And of course there’s all those other drafts and half-started ideas and first sentences waiting for me to focus my “writerly A.D.D.” back onto them. We all have those!

I suppose this public declaration can act as a motivator. I better follow through for you!

I’ll keep you posted.

Cheers.

Photo: Charlotte Built my Hotrod, 2007.  A favorite from my South Bend, Indiana days. See it on Flickr.

“Dance of the Ring” in Midwestern Gothic

MWGissue11Midwestern Gothic  is a quarterly print literary journal based in Ann Arbor, Michigan dedicated to featuring work about or inspired by the Midwest, by writers who live or have lived here. My essay Dance of the Ring is part of Issue 11 (Fall 2013) their first devoted to Creative Nonfiction. I originally presented this Mad About You-inspired  story as part of Solo Homo 8 with NewTown Writers in June 2010. The now defunct Q Review published it online in June 2011. I’m honored to be a part of this exciting issue and to have it as the new literary home for my story.

Pick up a print or digital copy at MidwestGothic.com. Cheers.

That’s All She Wrote

Hey Friends! I’m helping launch a brand new Chicago live lit series called That’s All She Wrote.

I’ll be premiering a brand new story called “Blaming Richard Marx.” I know you want to find out what that’s all about.

Details:

Sunday, October 14th at 8:00 pm at Swim Cafe in the West Town/Noble Square neighborhood — 1357 W. Chicago Avenue. Food is available for purchase and the show is BYOB (Lush Wine & Spirits is just up the street!)

Line up includes Jessica Palmer, Angela Benander, Keith Ecker, and Tom Wolferman.

Can’t wait to see you there! 🙂

Radio DePaul Reading & Interview

Hey friends, it’s finally this site’s official Radio DePaul post!  On January 20, 2012, I joined hosts Colin & Marcy and my classmate Bethany for this term’s second edition of DePaul Student Writers Series.

I read two of my personal essays, Dance of the Ring and More Than Words. Following the reading, we discussed the pieces and the writing process.  Definitely a cool way to spend a wintery Friday morning.

Listen via the show’s new site Welcome post, or go directly to the site’s embedded audio.  Please Note: the first couple minutes featuring announcements got clipped, but the main event is all there.  Also, I’m second guest in the line up.

It’s been a busy quarter, and I should be studying for my Language & Style test right now.  But I still have time.  I’m also involved in a really cool project for my Art of the Interview class.  More on that to come!

Be well, and enjoy the show.  Cheers.

“An Ernie Yes or No” @ The Everyday Gay

Currently living in the six hours between my dad heading back home to Michigan and going to work.  In post-SOLO HOMO 9 mode, but also must get things together for more visitors and Pride.  Thanks to all who came out to the show this week–you rock!  Hope you had a good time.

So my Solo Homo 9 piece, An Ernie Yes or No, was recently published by my writerly pal Byron and the rest of the fabulous folks over at The Everyday Gay.  The publication happened a bit “fast” even if the piece has been in the works for a few years now.  Byron and I had been emailing about contributing–and then I noticed EG was doing a Father’s Day week celebration, so I struck.  Byron loved it, and wrote a touching introduction, which I am so thankful for.

The piece covers my evolving attitude about the possibility of being a Dad, incorporating family history, pop culture, my relationship with Ernie, and various other introspection.  Read it by CLICKING HERE.

The piece started in winter 2008 as a class assignment in my friend Kelcey’s Creative Non-Fiction class at  IUSB, where I did a year of graduate work. Over the last three years, I’ve been working at it here and there, and by the time this year’s Solo Homo came about, I knew I wanted to use the opportunity to finish it.  I think  of all the pieces I’ve done, this was the easiest to memorize, because so much of it, especially the final thoughts, have been bubbling in my brain for so long, that I’ve known it for a while.

In thinking about my family, it’s actually a comfort to realize that all parents have their doubts, fears, and demons to deal with when it comes to being parents.  Our parents are people too!  Who knew?  In the 24-hour period before my dad came to visit and see the show, I had a bit of panic and a case of writer’s remorse.  This piece gets raw and real–about my family and myself–moreso than any work.  And it freaked me out a bit.  Especially with my dad hearing it.  But Dad is well aware of his personal goings-through in being a young parent, and talking about it definitely calmed me down.  We’re good. 🙂

As per one of my final thoughts in the piece, about attempting to help raise any child of mine to not be an asshole, my Strawdog Theatre friend, Hank (who also bar tended Monday night)  pointed me to this article from Details Magazine: Are You Raising a Douchebag? It’s funny at first, but also gets real.  It’s no fluff piece.  While no kid of mine will ride around in a $2000 stroller, one of the more accessible things that the article touches on is the parenting trend of over protecting.  One of my mantras these days is Kids are so coddled!  Let them live and discover and take risks.  Falling off a bike will make them stronger.  As I approach 40, I hear myself saying “Back in my day….” more than I’d perhaps like….  The article cites a forthcoming book called Let them Run With Scissors…. which I’ll have to pick up “if we get there.”  I also like some of the user comments following the piece (a rare thing these days of so much general negativity in comments sections everywhere).  One in particular is by a mom of 19-year-old twins who was a single mom since the boys were 3.  Go her!

I hope you enjoy the essay.  Feel free to leave non-douchebag comments here and/or at the EG site. 🙂

Happy Pride!

UPDATE: October 2011 ~ Follow my new blog project, Memoirs of a Guncle: adventures in gay unclehood, to follow up on the themes (and more!) touched on in this essay. Cheers!

UPDATE: October 2017 – The EG site is now down. I’ve also taken down the Memoirs site but am looking to re-post entries here.

“Playing Guns” @ Essay Fiesta!

Hello Friends!  The latest News is my up-coming reading at this month’s Essay Fiesta!  7:00 PM, Monday, February 15, 2010 at The Book Cellar, 4736-38 N. Lincoln Avenue in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

Essay Fiesta is a new FREE monthly reading series (which kicked off this past November).  Raffle tickets will be sold to benefit the work of the Howard Brown Health Center, Chicago’s leader in GLBT health.  Check out Essay Fiesta’s Facebook Page for more info, to become a Fan, and to RSVP (Official Event to be posted soon, I’m sure….)

The line-up will be announced bit by bit.  So far, myself and author Randy Richardson have been made official.

I will be reading my piece, Playing Guns, which has its tiny roots in the Arlene Malinowski’s solo performance class at Chicago Dramatists in 2005, and was later workshopped for real via my coursework at Indiana University-South Bend.  I’ve written about the piece here on this site a coupla times.

Join us for a Valentine’s Day hangover cure, or to celebrate President’s Day, or for whatever old reason you feel.  Can’t wait to see you!

Update of an Artist in August

It’s almost the middle of August, and summer is definitely trucking along.  We had a delightfully cool July but are definitely feeling some dog days this month.  A hot summer makes the relief of Autumn even more special.  For those who know me, Autumn is high holy season around here.  It’s my first back in the city.  I’ll definitely miss Indiana for it’s Autumness, but will seek out the city’s delights–but that’s a nerdy post for later.

To follow up on my Band of Brothers Revisited post, shortly after I posted it, a fellow WordPresser lead me to Alan Sepinwall’s blog, What’s Alan Watching?  He’s the TV critic for the New Jersey Star-Ledger.  This summer, he did an amazing series on Band of Brothers. I recently finished going through his posts and many of the comments.  Had I known about it (we were watching it at the same time!), I would’ve definitely joined in the conversation.  Alas, he wrote his last post about the same time I wrote my own BoB post.  I still want to comment on his final entry.  The whole thing is a wonderful in depth conversation for BoB nerds everywhere!

I’ve spent part of the last month haunting neighborhood used book stores (plus my indie bookstore down the street) looking for Malarkey’s and other related books. I think I want to read at least Malarkey’s before I borrow my brother’s copy of the BoB book, which I still haven’t read.  I want to despite the gnawing voices of the Ambrose haters on Amazon (which does have everything I want…).  I should stop reading things like that.  Just upsets me. 😛  I’m also interested in reading E.B. Sledge’s With the Old Breed, which is one of the sources for the upcoming The Pacific film.  How exciting that Sidney Philips will be a character in the new project!

I’ll save my WWII reading for the Fall, as I’m trying to focus on other reading this summer. My “To Read” list is growing with older and newer books (like, I still need to get to Sarah Vowell’s latest!), recent acquisitions, and books on Ernie’s shelf.  I’ve taken a couple times to sit outside–even go to the lake–and read my Walt Whitman collection. Perfect for summer on a blanket on the grass with the lake’s breeze.  Definitely won’t finish it this summer, but it’s good to have at my side when I’m inspired.  I also have the Best American Short Stories 2008 collection at my side when a dose of short fiction is in order.  I finally finished the 3rd (with six more to go!) Sookie Stackhouse book, Club Dead, and totally loving the new season of True Blood!  My current non-fiction reading is Michael Davis’ Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street. What a joy!  And it had me in tears in the first paragraph of the prologue for real.  I’m three chapters in, which is a fascinating account of the history of children’s television in general.  The Captain Kangaroo stuff is cool.  I’m trying to make more time to read actual books.  Less sitting in front of this computer and more reading, yo!  But the computer is good too.

On the writerly front, I’ve been focusing on two short stories this past month or so.  I’ve also been working to organize all my works in progress.  I’ll always be adding ideas, but I’m trying to focus on further developing my most developed work so I can start taking it to the next level.  One story is inspired by my neighborhood in South Bend.  I really love this piece (which I started in November for my short story edition of NaNoWriMo) and am getting more and more into it.  It’s also been good to harness my Indiana experience creatively–something I want to continue.  Another story is more fantastical and quirky and inspired by an Indiana friend of mine.  That’s all I’ll say for now. 🙂  These stories are written in 1st and 3rd person respectively, and if I’m going to flip flop between strories, I like that variety.  On the CNF front, I made it through the first draft of a story about Truman’s bar in Indiana.  I’ve also rebounded from Playing Guns rejection and am preparing it for another submission–to a place that’s perhaps a better fit.

I’ve also typed out my grandfather’s journal like I said I wanted to.  Very cool.  With that, I’ve registered another WordPress site which will be more family oriented.  Not sure how public it will be, but it will definitely be a cool place for family and friends hopefully.

With all this Indiana talk, I did take the time to reflect on my time there.  Here’s an excerpt from my Friends Only blog:

It was this random, amazing, frustrating, weird, beautiful, creative, inspiring, annoying experience in our lives. While we can definitely tell our “Indiana stories” boiled down to some laughable cocktail party tales, I get a little Stockard Channing at the end of Six Degrees of Separation where she seeks to make sure her experience truly becomes a meaningful part of her life. I know I will continue to do this myself in my work–whether in short stories, solo pieces, journal entries, or what have you. Just like I try to do with everything else. I can’t deny the new perspective our time there offered.

All the wonderful people I met along the way–those I’m still in touch with and those I’m not–will not be forgotten. 🙂

Finally, in NewTown Writers news, after a successful Solo Homo 7, the Fall 2009 event is in the works.  We wanted to do some sort of short plays event, and it looks to be gearing toward a Reading event with some brand new works.  I’m currently working with a number of members on developing their pieces–and looking to include a few more.  I’m wearing my producer & director hats on this one so I can focus my writerly energies on other things.  We’re looking to go up mid-October.  Will post more later!  I’ve also started attending the bi-weekly literary meetings.  I’d never done that before, mostly because of my old work schedule and not living in the city for a few years.  It’s been fun–I’ve been able to workshop one of my current stories as well as hear some of the work in progress for the fall.  And now that meetings are looking to be at the Center on Halsted, that’s a bonus since I can walk there.  Awesome!

Upcoming fun things are in the works. Looking forward to them and to getting more work done.  Will tell  you all about it….

Onward—->

NewTown Writers Presents: Solo Homo 7!

Solo_Homo_7_Postcard

Hello Friends!  You should come see my latest show.  I am co-producing it with the wonderful Josef Steiff, as well as performing a “new” piece, Is Jimmy Stackpool Singing Too? I say “new” because it’s something I’ve been working on for a while now, on and off.  Like writers do.  I hope you like it.  Here’s all the official info:

Solo Homo 7: NewTown Writers (newtownwriters.org), Chicago’s oldest GLBT writer’s group, presents the 7th installment of its hit solo performance series, Solo Homo.  Mon-Wed June 22-24, 2009 at 7:30.  Join us in Strawdog Theatre Company’s Hugen Hall at 3829 N. Broadway, Chicago.  Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at strawdogtheatre.com.  Please, no phone calls to the Strawdog box office.  $12 or 2 for $20 on Tues-Wed; $6 or 2 for $10 for Monday’s “Preview.”

This year’s line up of storytellers includes Cookie Crumbles, Byron Flitsch, Sara Kerastas, Deb Lewis, Timothy Rey, Mike Rogers, Lisa Scott, Josef Steiff, and Michael Van Kerckhove.

And there will be a cash bar too!  Can’t beat that, yo. 🙂

* * * *

Lit Fest 09-2

Here’s a shot of me reading at this past weekend’s Printer’s Row Lit Fest.  NewTown Writers had a slot in the Arts & Poetry tent.  I read a pieced called Out of the Collective Blur. The events in the story took place in the spring of 2000.  I’ve revisited the story a handful of times over the years.  Still looking for a home for the story.  Interestingly, it’s about the homeless in general, and more specifically about a homeless woman I would often see in the Grand Avenue Red Line station.  It will find a place.  Even if I post it here on this site. 🙂

And here’s another photo.  Cos the Chicago Tribune banner makes me look more important, right? 😛  My photomate is Jill, NTW’s current president.  She’s cool.

Lit Fest 09-1

All right, off to do more show stuff….