Water, Water, Everywhere

It is I think impressive how stressful unemployment can be.  In an effort to make up for the lack of on-paper job-related responsibilities, or maybe simply to punish myself for getting laid off, the voice in my head that tells me I am not writing enough, or reading enough, or doing anything enough, has been yelling more loudly than it has in years.  That’s not true– it has basically been this way since I graduated from college in 2011.  I think that is probably what happens to most college graduates who do not immediately enroll in graduate school.  Something about reinforcing a structure that the receipt of a diploma abolishes.

I have started this blog (it amazes me that “blog” is widely used) to keep anyone who reads it informed about my published work and to have a space in which I can explore the ideas and subjects that inspire my writing.  I have gotten mostly my book reviews published, though in the next couple of months several new pieces in different formats will be released.  I still consider myself primarily a fiction writer, though I have to date gotten only a single story out in a magazine.  “Sillyhead” was a finalist for the DIAGRAM 2012 Innovative Fiction Award and was published in issue 12.3.  That story was also the reason I was interviewed on The Eggshell Parade, a student-run literary radio program on WHRW in Binghamton.  If you haven’t listened to the interview, you should.  Skip to 21:42 (everything before that is a recording of me reading the story) to hear a pained, sometimes awkward conversation.  Also, right at the end the interviewer makes a joke about my name, which made me want to kill him.

I have been trying to get my novel, Jump Ship!, published for three years now.  I wrote the first draft of it as my undergraduate thesis and since then, I have made major edits and written let’s say maybe 30 query letters to agents and editors and publishers.  After the most recent rejection, I decided to stop working on it and start something new, sections of which I will be posting on this blog.

You may also see some posts about watches.  I take apart and fix wristwatches in my spare time, which, as you might have guessed, I have a lot of.  It is a meditative, challenging activity that keeps me from going insane when I find myself staring down feelings of inadequacy, etc.

For now, I’d like to point you to my most recent review.  I wrote about Haruki Murakami’s deeply flawed Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage for The Millions.  It only occurred to me after the review was published that the “years of pilgrimage” in the title are from Franz Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage, a set of three suites, the first of which comes up occasionally in the novel.  Here, listen to the aloof, quiet dissonance for yourself.

This Monday, 9/8, my review of David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks will be in The Rumpus.  A couple of weeks after that, a big feature I wrote about Southwestern Ontario and the Canada-U.S. border will be published in Block Club, a local magazine.  Around that time, a massive article that I spent months researching will be serialized in The Massachusetts Review.  The piece is a thorough investigation of massive open online courses [MOOCs].  I discuss the history of online education and my own experience with a MOOC that I took last year.  I wanted to see if I could still pass the course if I 1. did none of the reading and 2. wrote an error into every sentence in every essay I wrote for the class.  I passed the course and the reasons why were illuminating to say the least.

For now, here is a beautiful music video for a beautiful song.  More soon, and thanks for reading.

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