Pieter Bruegel the Elder – Hunters in the Snow (Winter) – 1565
This winter, I’m teaching Writing About Place at Hugo House. In this six-week class, we’ll read stories by Flannery O’Connor, Louise Erdrich, and Ursula LeGuin, among other illustrious authors. We’ll write about places we know, places we don’t know, and places that exist only in our imaginations. And, we’ll talk about memory, research, and world building.
Class meets Wednesdays 5-7 pm from 2/22-3/29. Hugo House is located in First Hill, an easy-peasy trip from downtown and right next to the always-free Frye Art Museum. Speaking of place, if you’ve not been to the Hugo House’s temporary home, you’re in for treat, with a light-filled atrium and mysterious winding hallways. Registration is now open. The scholarship deadline is 12/16 and there’s an early bird discount until 12/19! Hope to see you there.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of chatting with Steve Barker for the 76th edition of Ordinary Madness, his Arts & Entertainment podcast. We talked about novel writing, rejection, The Furnace, the effects of winning awards, and a bit about my time at McGill University in Montreal. I also read two short-short stories, one of which is quite new. Fun!
“Coney Island beach July 4” by Jaime Haire, Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
My short story “I Loved You in New York” is being released as a chapbook in alice blue books’ fantastic series SHOTGUN WEDDING. It’s a story about cities (New York, Montreal, D.C.), bodies, relationships, history. It glances fleetingly at Coney Island, George Grosz, James Brown, and, uh, Marquis de Sade. This is the fourth volume of the SHOTGUN series, a special double issue which includes my dear friend and excellent poet Janie Elizabeth Miller, as well as Dennis James Sweeney, Lillian Ruth Nickerson, Amy Ratto Parks, Brian Cooney, Stephen Danos, Sarah Gallien, Will Gallien, Evelyn Hampton, Graham Isaac, and Ashley Benson.
I’ll be reading an excerpt from the story at Vermilion on October 22 at 6 pm as part of the Seattle Lit Crawl–our event is called Quick & Dirty. The chapbooks will be available at Fred’s Wildlife Refuge during the after party’s mini-book fair. You can also pick up a copy at the Seattle Center during Short Run, a small press and comix expo, on October 31 11-6. I expect the Seattle Center on Halloween to be super fun! Finally, you can also snag a copy via Etsy.
Many thanks to Amber Nelson for giving this story from my in-progress collection MORE LIKE HOME THAN HOME a home.
In case you couldn’t make it or wanted to watch again, here’s the video from my final Made at Hugo House reading. I read half of my story “Healers,” which I workshopped at the Tin House Writers’ Workshop this summer and which may be the final story in my collection MORE LIKE HOME THAN HOME. Many thanks to Samudre Media for recording!
The 2012-13 Made at Hugo House Fellowship is coming to an end (sad day!), and the first of our three final readings is this very Tuesday.
Come see what we’ve been toiling away at all year:
- Poetry! September 10. Katie Ogle will read from THE SMALLEST GUN I COULD FIND which follows a conversation between a speaker and her homonculus (Latin for “little man”). Bill Carty will read from YOU TROUBLER (Ahab to Elijah: “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” Taylor Swift: “I knew you were trouble.”)
- Fiction! September 25.Irene Keliher will read from her dystopian novel THE VISIONARIES, Eric McMillan will read from CLEAR, his novel about the Iraq war, and I will read from my story collection MORE LIKE HOME THAN HOME.
- Nonfiction! November 21. Elissa Washuta will read from her second memoir, STARVATION MODE, along with Claire Jackson and Catherine Slaton.
These readings will be amazing! Come, come, come!
It’s been a wonderful year meeting with these talented writers, hearing guest speakers on topics such as grants and first book publications, taking free Hugo House classes, and snatching up surprise opportunities along the way, like Hedgebrook’s Spring Salon. This year, I started to feel much more integrated in Seattle’s literary community. And the fellowship encouraged me to roll up my sleeves, get more writing done, and get my writing out into the world more aggressively than I have ever done before. “The Zoo,” the first story I wrote with the fellowship in mind (while nervously waiting to hear back about the fellowship, actually), was published in January, and two stories I’ve revised this year will be coming out later this fall (details to come). I workshopped what I believe will be the last story in MORE LIKE HOME THAN HOME at the Tin House conference, and I’m excited to read it on the 25th. Many thanks to Brian McGuigan for coming up with this program and to Hugo House for making it happen!
And check out the 2013-14 fellows!
(Whew. I think I exhausted my monthly allotment of exclamation points.)
For the APRIL festival, The Furnace teamed up with the Bushwick Book Club Seattle, asking three musicians to create original music inspired by the three pieces presented by the series so far. Bradford Loomis wrote “Come Dance With Me,” an enchanting lullaby inspired by my story “More Like Home Than Home” and full of so much tender longing and hope.
In February, the Made at Hugo House fellows read from our works-in-progress. I read “The Zoo,” which I had written in October while nervously waiting to hear whether I’d gotten into the program, and which was published in Washington City Paper’s D.C.-themed fiction issue in January. It was a lovely evening!
I’m honored to have my story “The Zoo” included as one of four stories in Washington City Paper’s D.C.-themed fiction issue . Here’s how the story begins:
That’s what my brother calls it. The quarantined room at the end of the hall. It has two sets of windows: one looking into an air lock, where two white bunny suits hang on the wall, then another looking into the room kept pristine for the most fragile.