I’d published Randa about year at Guernica. I remember thinking that her writing was evocative of Arab American culture—yet also very American (if such facile labels can be given; such labels are annoying, I know).
Read her opening essay on Arab American writing and read how, as she says, “Arab American fiction is American literature.”
It was tiring, but also valuable: I booked a few writers for upcoming issues of Guernica, and found some magazines that say they’d be interested in my own work. I also had a reunion with many of the my fellow 2007 Bread Loaf waiters.
My own hotel room was so hilariously awful, that I can’t not comment upon it: high stairs were required to enter the bathroom (it was some 3 feet about the floor for some reason, and jammed against the ceiling.
My room was also raised above the floor (and forced up against the ceiling). Furnishings: brown tones, accented with chrome. The bed was crammed into a tiny alcove.
Overall, the place was like a whorehouse (that is, how I imagine one to be) in Minsk. But is was the best one, I decided, because it was (thankfully) clean, and far away from the madness of AWP.
Guernica‘s fiction intern found this story (she gets the credit, not me, although she says she’d rather remain nameless). I accepted Melissa’s “Loose Morals” for publication, because liked how it was confrontational from the get-go. And how it’s certainly nontraditional.
Sometimes, we (or rather, I) can get caught of in that traditional stuff, wherein there’s an epiphany of some sort at the end of the piece. The epiphanic style is my usual choice for Guernica, but sometimes, you know, you’ve got to break boundaries (and so on).
Anyway. . . this story will wake you up, right in its first sentence.
Michael is the author of a short story collection, The Ice Forest (Marlboro Press), named one of the “best books of the year” by Publisher’s Weekly. His stories have appeared in The Paris Review, The Hudson Review, New Directions in Prose & Poetry, and elsewhere.
His plays have been produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Mark Taper Forum of Los Angeles, and at other theatres. They are published by Broadway Play Publishing.
A faulty plug-in crashed my site and left it a total wreck. It was awful, but all is fine now.
In the intervening period, I’ve been editing a short story collection from a Canadian writer that’s set in the area just north of Detroit.
I’m also preparing for a new job: writing a piece about a Renaissance family that’s far more interesting “family” than New York’s Colombo Crime Family; compared with them, the Five Families look like the Brady Bunch.
Ethel was raised in Ireland and now lives in San Francisco. Her story collection, Cut Through the Bone, will be released from Dark Sky Books this December. A second story collection, Hard to Say, is forthcoming from PANK, in 2011. She blogs at ethelrohan.com.
I’ll be reading at the Freerange Nonfiction series this May 5th. I’ll be reading from something new: an essay about a particularly horrible event that happened to me when I was much younger: I interrupted a roommate who’d captured another, tied him down, and threatened to saw his head off with a chainsaw.
I dislike overly dramatic memoirs, so I’m going to try to make the piece about something larger: the nature of nonfiction in general. (But I’ll also try to give you the drama.)