New Story – The Temple Maiden – Live on Gone Lawn!

My new flash story, The Temple Maiden, is now live on Gone Lawn, Issue 13.

Please read it by clicking here:

Once again, many thanks to Yarrow Paisley for her editorial encouragement and acceptance of this piece.

Fyi – many of the details in this story are based on a trip I took to Oaxaca, Mexico in 2011. Photos of this trip are here:

I saw, and photographed, many of the items mentioned: black pottery specialized to that region; the turquoise encrusted skull in the museum highlighting artifacts from Monte Alban. Also, I personally climbed the pyramid mentioned in the story and visited the church at the top.

A permanent link to this story is on the Published Stories page of this blog, so you can easily find it and read it again if you like!


Ozone is coming and other news

  • Camroc Press Review editor Barry Basden has reached out to let me know “Ozone,” a story he accepted a while ago, has been assigned a publication date of October 16th. When the story goes live I will post the link.
  • In other news, I had the opportunity to revisit the work of Goran Djurovic and will be creating a second blog post dedicated to additional images from his show Prime Time, along with an explanation of how I came to acquire the images. Stay tuned that will be coming out shortly.
  • A good friend of mine is visiting his family in Europe, finalizing a novel mss he’s been working on for a while and which I have been helping him edit. I’m on tenterhooks now that we’re in the end stages with the mss. I can see a time in the near future when the book will be published. I’ve been working alongside him on this project for a few years now and I’m ready for it to be completed.
  • Also, while in California recently I had the opportunity to visit the bookstore in the Ferry Building in San Francisco. That building is probably the least tourist oriented building on the waterfront, thank goodness. The store is called Book Passages, and I purchased a short story collection by Joan Wickersham called The News From Spain based on a recommendation from one of the staff. I’m about halfway through it. One thing I like about it is that every single story is titled “The News From Spain” and it manages to work that idea into the story.
  • But I wanted to mention the bookstore too, Book Passages, because it is so well curated from both a selection and staff perspective. I want to talk to someone who is reading a lot, and knows what I’m talking about when I say I like “Lahiri but not Proulx so much.” Bookstores like that are hard to find anymore. We all know Powell’s in Portland, OR is a national treasure, and The Strand in NYC too. These are established places of literary worship and we’re losing them to hand-held backlit screen devices that can deliver the content of a novel, but that cannot deliver the experience of reading an actual book and those devices definitely cannot replace the encyclopedic knowledge of an amazing bookstore staff. Nuh-uh.
  • Call me old fashioned if you want; but I consider myself a “Gutenberg-ist.” (Yes, I just coined the word.)

Coming out as Bi…

I’ve been hiding in my New York City closet for some time now, alluding to the fact that sometimes I went to a place far away, someplace I was hesitant to admit I was going… but it’s true:

I’m Bi-Coastal.

There, I’ve said it. I can only hope my New York City friends won’t hold it against me, but I’m cheating on them with California.

It’s been a few months now since I started my new job, which has had me on the run to the San Jose/Silicon Valley area. I’ve been spending so much time there for my job – weeks on end – I’m starting to get to know the place better. I’m making friends in California (at work, but it’s a start to establishing my personal network there…) and going out and exploring new places with them, having lunches and dinners, etc. They’ve gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and for that I’m very grateful. There are already a few people I can easily see becoming good friends with, which is a pretty amazing thing to say after such a short period of time.

Eventually, I will have to pick up my belongings from Jersey City/NYC and relocate to the West Coast, somewhere in the San Jose area. So this bi-coastal living is really only a temporary limbo, but an important one because right now I have the best of both worlds… I can come home on weekends and see my friends and maintain the kind of in-person contact that’s so crucial for relationships, and I get to spend time with my new friends in California when I’m there.

I won’t say it’s all roses and rainbows though, it is strange to live out of a hotel room for weeks on end. I can’t call it “hard” because all of my physical needs are taken care of: food, shelter, clothing… but this life is disruptive to having any kind of routine. It also makes it more challenging to maintain the close personal relationships that are so important to me, without those, I become emotionally adrift in my life. Those are the toughest moments. I’ve noticed a tendancy to feel melancholy when I’m alone in the hotel room at night, sitting and reading a book, wondering what the hell I’m doing with my life… then the moment passes. I do my best to refocus on the tasks at hand.

Transitions are, by definition, in-between spaces. They aren’t intended to be permanent places to rest, they are a moment in time when you are in limbo, neither here nor there, neither one thing or another.

That describes how I’m feeling these days, I’m neither in Jersey City or San Jose. I’m not with my closest friends as much as I had been, and I’m not with my new friends as much as I could be.

Yesterday I was on a plane from California to New Jersey. In a week or so I’ll be on a plane from New Jersey to California. And so it will go, and so I will go. It’s not an easy thing, living in this in-between space, in this bi-coastal life, but I’m managing for now and hope to find a place inside myself where I can call home, a resting place that is both here and there… one thing and the other.