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.

Recent Writerly and Otherly Goings On

Frank & Julia

Since last time I posted some photos of WWII era photos of other people’s grandparents, etc, I thought I’d post one of my own. These are my grandparents, Frank & Julia, in front of my grandfather’s family store in Detroit circa 1942. It’s one of the ones I’ve actually scanned. One of eventual goals is to gather ALL these photos and get a digital archive going–as in bringing the laptop and scanner to Grandma’s house and go crazy. Not sure when that’ll happen. But it’s a goal.

One of my goals I did reach in conjunction with watching The War was finishing the transcription of the interview tape a couple of my brothers made with my grandparents in 2004. Last summer, I went through the tedious process of listening, playing, rewinding, etc, to get it all down. Last month, I went through and re-listened to some trouble spots, reformatted the document, did some fact and spell checking with my grandmother, and got it all together. Right now, it’s a simple word document laid out in standard play script format. It isn’t anything too fancy right now. When I do get more of these photos scanned, I could do something shiny with a publishing program or something. But I did get nerdy and include web links within the text to give some background info on various names, places, etc. That was fun. Next up is going through a tape with my uncle about my mother’s side of the family. That should be another trip!

Working on this also inspired a couple new story ideas which I’ve done some free-writing and thinking about. One is inspired by my grandfather’s bathroom at the basement at their last house in Detroit with all his golf magazines. I also had to laugh at one point while listening to the tape while my grandmother talked about driving through New Mexico with my uncle and some friends and how it was hard to find just “plain food” without all the spices. My grandmother’s head explodes if there’s an ounce of any kind of flair. I say this lovingly. 😛 It just made me think about where I come from and how this meat-potatoes-n-carrots diet translated into other things.

Other short stories are in various stages of development as well. I’m really digging the short stories. Not that I’ve never considered them before, but they are what my writerly brain is focusing on–and that’s not a bad thing. Trying to read more of them, too.

In familyness, our “Baby Tour ’08” is now complete. Earlier this summer, we spent some quality time with our niece, Morgan. I’m also her godfather–that was a special weekend for us. Ernie and I just got back from our trip to North Carolina to visit our nephew, Will. Yes, two of my brothers are daddies. Crazy! Will’s my buddy and I wanted to hide him in my suitcase. Since he’s further away, we don’t get to see him as much. The babyness inspired an assignment for my Creative Nonfiction class last semester, a piece called Progeny. I knew it was a piece I really wasn’t going to develop further until after they were born and I’d met them. So I’ll have to revisit the piece again. I do still have Australia photos to sort through and perhaps a few more posts.

The semester is starting up again in a couple weeks! It’ll be busy, but different for me this time around. I will get into all that next time.

Hoping your August is brilliant….

Many Burners on my Stove

{This is not me. It’s this guy.}

You are all on my mind, and I love you all. At the moment, you’re also competing with the various projects that are bouncing around my head. Since it’s late and I’m too brain dead to actually write them, I’ll write about them. It’s still writing. Right?

Fictional: The Fall 2007 semester seems like a zillion years ago, doesn’t it? After the past semester’s Creative Nonfiction class, I’ve been a little like, “I don’t feel like dealing with myself right now; I want to make some shit up.” I just finished re-reading Peter Selgin’s wonderful fiction writing book, By Cunning & Craft (though some of it could help with CNF as well). I re-underlined, remembered, and re-remembered some important stuff. I made smiley faces brighter (or darker, I guess, since I used my pencil). I’ve made new notes and I feel like Peter and I are new BFF’s. Thanks much to Kelcey for assigning it!

Mine and Ernie’s student, Samantha, recently went through her books and gave me her copy of Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird. I first heard of this while reading the Selgin. I know, I’m a little behind, right, especially as one web site said that reading it was this whole huge rite of passage for fiction writers! This theatre guy needs a little catching up on things literary it seems. But hey, it all goes into the same creative pot. Oh, and Kelcey also made available the optional Arthur Plotnik’s Spunk & Bite , a response of sorts to Strunk & White’s Elements of Style, which I also need to read. Both of them, that is. Yoy, maybe I shouldn’t be admitting all my literary greenery in such a public forum, but I’m going to celebrate my writerly journey where ever and whenever I am, so there.

So, like, projects! I have two brand new short stories I want to give some love to. They are in various stages of early development (to put it kindly). One, The Other Corner (working title, natch) is a little more steeped in autobiography, and I’ve written about this relationship–with a neighbor growing up–before, but wanted to free myself from even the most liberal truthiness approach to Creative Nonfiction. It seems like these days, writers need to ask themselves whether a particular close to life idea should be explored by way of fiction or creative non. At least I do. There is that spectrum, and I feel like with this story, it would be too far from CNF for comfort.

The other (embryonic) story is my grabbing onto an image I’ve that’s haunted me for several years. Right now, the story’s called The Mail Slot, but I’m sure that will change. I have more questions than answers right now. This one is in First Person and the other is 3rd Person Serial, so it’ll be cool working with both approaches.

Now that I’ve announced these babies to the world, I better produce! 🙂

Of course, I want to work with my piece, The Smile of Light, a short story I wrote for Kelcey’s class last fall. It’s actually a partial adaptation of a play of mine, A Thousand Without a Word, my “problem child” play which I don’t think I even list on the Plays page. I re-read it again recently, and, well, oof. There is so much there with these characters and the story, but it all needs some work. The short story rather reads like a first chapter, since it’s almost a “prequel” to the play. I would definitely be interested in turning it into a novel of sorts. Or I could expand it far enough where it’s still a short story. I guess I can do what I want!

I know there’s debate out there about Can playwrights be fiction writers and vice versa? I’ll just leave it at (because it’s late) that I think having both of those brains can be helpful.

Another play-into-novel adaptation I’ve begun to explore is of The Eulogy Stalker. A play that’s near and dear to my heart, but still. Work! I recently re-read this one as well, and well, I’ve grown. It would also be interesting to see what I could do with it as a play, now that I’ve had some distance from it. We’ll see….

I want do want to get the short stories down, though, because I find myself having trouble with the short stuff sometimes. I’m always thinkin’ big! I really only have one complete “10 Minute” play. Others are so good at them, and I always wanted to be in it for the long haul.

Revisiting Rip: In addition to feeding kangaroos, there was much creative inspiration to be caught while in Adelaide. I’ve never thought of myself as a Theatre for Young Audiences artist per se–even after my collaboration with Ernie on a Goldilocks & The Three Bears script, many enough moons ago. After seeing some of the “older kid” stuff, particularly Angela Betzien’s absolutely AMAZING Hoods (which I’m feeling the need to devote more time to in the nearish future), I thought about what I do have in my personal canon and decided that with perhaps a few adjustments, my 2003 script, MisteRip, could score some TYA cred. I sat in our garden the other day and re-read it (it’d been a while). It’s not half bad. I cringed less than I feared (less than with the others!) It still needs work and input. Character and plot points need some love. For the shorter TYA format it would have to be trimmed. But something that could work….

I of course have my solo show, Battles with Boys, to work on (but that would, you know, involve dealing with myself) I have other fictional material to work with, including other course work, my NaNoWriMo 2006 monster, The Vacuum Inspector, that needs some serious picking apart. Oh, and my less than half-attempt at NaNo 2007 which never really took off because of that grad school thing. I’ve actually spent more brain cells on that idea than my “Mail Slot” piece, so I’m just going to slide these two fictional NaNo inspired goals right up next to my aforementioned short stories. They make a cozy bunch.

THEN. There’s continued Australia round up (a part of which I accomplished in this post–Yay!) both pictorial and wordly. I have various family oriented writerly projects floating around in there. Etc. There are new family members to meet and visit with too!

So that’s what I’m working on. Lists are good. I like seeing all this stuff all in one place. But tomorrow (well, probably not tomorrow, so much,) I will continue my adventures beyond the list.

Here’s to getting all our stuff done! Cheers, friends. 🙂