Tag Archives: philadelphia

Looking back / looking ahead

8 Dec

I can count on one hand how many publications I had this year, but it was a year full of tremendous personal highlights. Mainly: M. & I became parents in January! One day when I catch my breath I will write about that journey. There’s a lot to say, and I need a lot of childcare to get it done. 🙂

In February, Capra Review published my short story “The Samoyed.” Here’s an excerpt I like:

In a large glass case beside a tapestry where the beast was hunted and speared, the horn of a narwhal gleamed. “To prove the existence of unicorns, men would drag back these tusks from poor old narwhals. The horn of a unicorn would have remarkable curative qualities, they claimed, for anything from rheumatism to insomnia to impotence.” Robert and Jane walked on into other rooms. The docent’s voice trailed behind them. “You could grind it up into a powder.” Jane imagined sprinkling narwhal horn powder atop her head, imagined coarse, white sand falling through a shaft of sunlight, an iridescent shower of skittering grains.

keep reading

In June, Orion Magazine published my lyric essay “A Dill in Every Soup.” Following the medieval theme of the prior excerpt, here’s another excerpt I like:

“During the Middle Ages,” WebMD tells me, “people used dill to defend against witchcraft and enchantments.”

keep reading

Finally, in November, Scablands Books, based in Spokane, put out their beautiful anthology Evergreen: Grim Tales & Verses from the Gloomy Northwest, edited by Sharma Shields and Maya Jewell Zeller. I have two short fairy tales in this volume. Why not pick up a copy from Spokane’s Wishing Tree Books or Auntie’s? Here’s an excerpt from “Moss Child”:

A lace of bright lichen crept up her arms, chin, cheeks. The green crept from her limbs up the sides of the thickened tree trunks, under so much soft moss that the echoes of footsteps and animal sounds grew muffled in the gulch.

Another very bright spot of the year was chatting with Karen Russell at Hugo House’s Novel Nights. Here is Italo Calvino’s essay “Lightness,” which is a favorite of mine and which she brought up in conversation.

There’s much to look forward to in 2022. Among other things, I am especially hoping there will be a COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5. In the meantime, I’m teaching a few virtual classes for Hugo House and Atlas Obscura, January-April, both over Zoom and in an asychronous format. Maybe I will make to AWP in Philadelphia in March? As that is Lanternfish Press‘s homebase, it would be sweet. Then in the fall Lanternfish Press will release my second novel. Huzzah! I also have a couple short publications in the pipeline, another lyric essay and a short story.

But before all that, I am turning back to revising my third novel and sinking deeper into Maggie O’Farrell’s beautiful and absorbing novel Hamnet. Hope you have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season!

Lanternfish Press To Publish My Debut Novel

6 Mar

I am beyond thrilled to announce that Lanternfish Press is publishing my debut novel, Dirty, in late 2017 or early 2018. Dirty is a magical realist work about a teenage runaway whose father is disappeared during Argentina’s Dirty War.

The seedlings of this book emerged long, long ago, in 2001. And I worked on the first draft in fits and starts for years until I decided an MFA at the University of Washington would help me get it done. Then, mid-way through the program in 2010, Michael and I managed to travel to Argentina. (There was a pitfall to super cheap plane tickets; I wrote about it for Airplane Reading.) At graduation, my thesis advisor David Bosworth compared the process of finishing a novel to the gestation of a whale. Fast forward to 2017. Not sure which beasts gestate for 15 years. But this labor of love will see the light of day!

Lanternfish is based in Philadelphia and makes gorgeous, genre-blurring books like Vikram Paralkar’s The Afflictions and Christopher Smith’s Salamanders of The Silk Road. The moment I read Lanternfish’s cred0, I knew it would be a good fit:

READ. READ VORACIOUSLY. READ WRITERS WHO DON’T LOOK LIKE YOU. READ FOREIGN WRITERS. READ DEAD WRITERS!

Writing is a conversation. It can offer people who lead wildly different lives a window on each other’s worlds. It can bridge gaps between cultures and gulfs in time, overcoming unbearable solitudes. We tend to click with writers who’ve grappled with many stories and whose work is informed by that broader perspective.

I am so delighted they agreed.




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