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.

“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.

The Snackpot & School

Hello! Finally taking a second to catch up on a few things around here. School is finished for the year. This quarter thing took us into June, so after a while it was like What are we still doing here? But I rallied and did some solid revisions for my Speculative Fiction class (taught by the fabulous Rebecca Johns) which was a whole lot of nerdy fun. I knocked out my essay revision discussing nostalgia in Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story for my Independent Publishing class. I also finished my work for a Small Press Sampler project we’re working on. My essay on Unabridged Bookstore in Chicago plus other contributions will be included. A website for the project will soon launch, and eventually it will all come out in e-book and possibly print form. More to come! I also got an A on that Language and Style test I told you about in February. Winter also saw my interviews with Stroger Hospital trauma nurse Ernie Purnell all come together for a Chicago youth violence project. The narratives will be featured in a published anthology and a Steppenwolf Theatre production. More to come on all that as well! Finally, my play, Coffee Boy was included in the DePaul English Department’s Thresholds 2012 lit mag. Way cool!

So. The Snackpot.  I’ve been pestering my Facebook and Twitter peeps with links. But now finally, the official MichaelVanKerckhove.com announcement! 🙂 The Snackpot is a way cool new snack and culture site I’ve been writing for these past several months. The site is the brainchild of music publicist Jacob Daneman. I was recruited by the fabulous Keith Ecker to be part of the inaugural writing team. I’ve been reviewing snacks all winter and spring in preparation for the May 2012 launch. I’ve covered things from strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups to Maple Nut Clif Bars. The tone of the site is a healthy balance of information and snarky humor. There are news bits and longer form writings. I need to figure out some essay ideas for sure. The snacks I take on are little writing prompts which have also taught me a few things. It’s food writing with an edge. I’m digging it. To check out my contributions, visit my author page. Note: as of this posting, only the ten most recent reviews show up. Hopefully the interwebby content field thingy (a technical term!) can be expanded to fit everything. All reviews are available in the reviews archives. The site has been doing well, and I’m proud to be part of such a cool project. Please check it out and share with all your peeps. That’d be awesome.

Looking ahead to the next couple months, I’ll be catching up on various projects, reading, revising, and hopefully generating some new CNF material to share with the Chicago Storytelling scene. A little traveling and playing with my new “stupid” iPhone. 😛

Have a rad summer. More to come. 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.

“Dance of the Ring” online at Q Review!

Hey Friends, just a few days after mine and Ernie’s 7th wedding anniversary AND on the first day that Illinois’ Civil Unions bill kicks into effect, the Chicago-based online literary magazine, Q Review, has published my story, Dance of the Ring, for its June 2011 issue.

Check it out HERE.

This story from our Indiana years was first presented last June in NewTown WritersSolo Homo 8 performance event (and is looking to be a part of my full length solo show, Battles With Boys). The next installment–Solo Homo 9–will be presented June 20 & 21, 2011 at Strawdog Theatre’s Hugen Hall.  RSVP at the event’s Facebook page HEREI will be presenting a “sequel” of sorts in that it tackles the next traditionally chronological milestone….

Thank you much to Q Review for including me!  And welcome to any readers who found this site through reading my story.

Happy writing, and Happy Pride!

UPDATE October 2017 – The Q Review is no longer on line.

Smith Mag Love

Last week, I found out by flipping through my Facebook home page, that one of my Six Word Memoirs was chosen as the Memoir of the Day by the fine folks at Smith Mag.  So I thought I’d archive the love (screen shots from the Smith Mag site, which you should totally visit.  Click them to enlarge!). Funny thing is, I posted this almost two years ago!  So things WILL catch someone’s eye eventually.  Put the work out there and be patient. 🙂

As for the memoir itself, this has always been my inner response whenever I’d hear the now culturally entrenched “You’re a poet and didn’t know it!” phrase.  While my actual poetry writing days are behind me, I’d like to think I’ve carried on the poetic torch into my playwriting and prose.

THEN, I discovered this round-up page just the other day.  This is pretty awesome too.  I’ve won a handful of things in my life, but being named  “Most Poetically Meta” is one I’m particularly proud of.

So, Thank you, Smith Mag!

By the way, Next up for me: I’ll be a featured reader at next month’s Story Club on November 4.  ‘Twill be way cool!

Off The Rocks 14 Released!

NewTown Writers is proud to present the 14th volume in our on-going print anthology, Off The Rocks.  It also coordinates with  the group’s 30th anniversary this year.  This edition includes my piece, The PB Club, which I’ve previously presented to audiences of Solo Homo and Story Club.

For this time around, we’ve set up shop at Lulu.com to handle printing and world wide distribution. Seriously, we’re going to take over the world. 🙂  Copies will also be available at future NTW events.

Click HERE to order you copy!

Enjoy!