JACOB M. APPEL ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Jacob M. Appel

Hi Everyone,

I could not be more thrilled…today I am welcoming one of my all-time favorite writers to the podcast! Jacob M. Appel is so prolific it’s truly mind-boggling. I thought I’d read most of his books and it turns out I have read less than half!

I really loved “The Frying Finn” and hope you will too, but I also encourage you to check out Jacob’s website where he has many other stories available for free.

Before you listen to our discussion, please read Jacob’s story, “The Frying Finn” available at Agni online right here.

Also, I read a terrific article about how important it is for writers to study the work of writers they admire, which is what we are trying to do here on “Let’s Deconstruct a Story,” so here you go!

After you’ve read the story, please listen to our discussion here on Anchor, Spotify, Amazon, Apple, or any of the sites where you normally get your podcasts.

Jacob M. Appel on “Let’s Deconstruct a Story” on Spotify.
Jacob M. Appel on “Let’s Deconstruct a Story” on Anchor.

On October 1st, I’ll be talking to Peter Ho Davies

November 1st: Peter Orner

December 1st: Toni Ann Johnson.

Happy fall, everyone!

Kelly

PS: If you enjoy this podcast, please consider a contribution. I’m saving up for better editing equipment. I love hosting this podcast but, let’s face it, the sound quality could be better 🙂

Thanks to the Grosse Pointe Public Library in Michigan for committing to the purchase of ten books by each author I interview–and they are purchasing the books from our local bookstore, Pages Bookshop in Detroit. Wouldn’t it be amazing if more libraries followed suit? I’m working on it, and if you feel so inclined, you might ask your local library as well. I’d love to see short story writers earn a living wage.

The Liar’s Asylum by Jacob M. Appel

Bio:

Jacob M. Appel’s first novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Award in 2012. His short story collection, Scouting for the Reaper, won the 2012 Hudson Prize and was published by Black Lawrence in November 2013. He is the author of seven other collections of short stories: The Magic Laundry, The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street, Einstein’s Beach House, Coulrophobia & Fata Morgana, Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets, Amazing Things Are Happening Here, The Amazing Mr. Morality, The Liars’ Asylum and Winter Honeymoon; an essay collection, Phoning Home; a poetry collection, The Cynic in Extremis; four other novels novel: The Biology of Luck, The Mask of Sanity, Surrendering Appomattox, and Millard Salter’s Last Day; and a collection of ethical dilemmas, Who Says You’re Dead?
Jacob has published short fiction in more than two hundred literary journals including Agni, Alaska Quarterly Review, Conjunctions, Colorado Review, Gettysburg Review, Iowa Review, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Southwest Review, StoryQuarterly, Subtropics, Threepenny Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and West Branch. He has won the New Millennium Writings contest four times, the Writer’s Digest “grand prize” twice, and the William Faulkner-William Wisdom competition in both fiction and creative nonfiction. He has also won annual contests sponsored by Boston Review, Missouri Review, Arts & Letters, Bellingham Review, Briar Cliff Review, North American Review, Sycamore Review, Writers’ Voice, the Dana Awards, the Salem Center for Women Writers, and Washington Square. His work has been short-listed for the O. Henry Award (2001), Best American Short Stories (2007, 2008), Best American Essays (2011, 2012), and received “special mention” for the Pushcart Prize in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2013.
Jacob holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Brown University, an M.A. and an M.Phil. from Columbia University, an M.S. in bioethics from the Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College, an M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, an M.F.A. in playwriting from Queens College, an M.P.H. from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He has most recently taught at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he was honored with the Undergraduate Council of Students Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003, and at the Gotham Writers Workshop in New York City. He also publishes in the field of bioethics and contributes to such publications as the Journal of Clinical Ethics, the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, the Hastings Center Report, and the Bulletin of the History of Medicine. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, The New York Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Detroit Free Press, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Times, The Providence Journal and many regional newspapers.
Jacob has been admitted to the practice of law in New York State and Rhode Island, and is a licensed New York City sightseeing guide.

Check out all of Jacob M. Appel’s books here on Bookshop.org or here on Amazon.

SELENA ANDERSON ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Selena Anderson

Hi Everyone,

Sorry this post is arriving a little late in the day, but I came home on Thursday to rain in the dining room and kitchen courtesy of a broken pipe in the upstairs bathroom–it’s been quite a weekend.

I loved talking to Selena Anderson about her Best American Short Stories (2020), “Godmother Tea!”

Please read the story below and then enjoy the podcast. I cannot wait to read her first collection sometime in the near future.

All best,
Kelly

Please read here:

Godmother Tea, Oxford American

Godmother Tea PDF

Please listen here on Anchor or here on Spotify.

Please contact me if you would like a transcript.

Bio: Selena Anderson is a writer from Texas. Her stories have appeared in Fence, BOMB, Conjunctions, The Baffler, Oxford American, and The Best American Short Stories 2020. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, The Henfield/TransAtlantic Prize, and The Texas Emerging Star Award. She is working on a novel.

LYDIA CONKLIN ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Hi Everyone,

This is a special edition of “Let’s Deconstruct a Story” recorded live on June 24, 2022, at Pages Bookshop in Detroit featuring Lydia Conklin in conversation with the novelist, Lillian Li, about her short story collection Rainbow Rainbow and specifically about the story “Sunny Talks” which first appeared in “One Story” in January of 2022.

You will love this conversation! Lillian Li (author of “Number One Chinese Restaurant”) was such an amazing interviewer! It made me think I should have guest interviewers on the podcast more often. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Because this is a live recording, the sound quality is a little bit wonky and if you would like the recording transcribed just reach out to me and I will be happy to send one to you!

This episode is part of a series of podcasts offered in collaboration with the Grosse Pointe Public Library in Michigan. The GPPL has committed to purchasing ten books by each author this season to give to their patrons! If you are a short story writer who has tried to make money in this game then you know what a big deal their support is to us! My hope is that other libraries will follow the GPPL’s lead and be inspired to buy books by these talented short story writers. I will be contacting many libraries this year to suggest this programming. Please feel free to do the same if you enjoy this podcast.

This podcast is also supported by Pages Bookshop in Detroit, and we would be extremely grateful if you purchased the book online through Pages. Local bookstores won’t survive without help from customers like you!

Thanks, everyone! See you on August 15th with Selena Anderson and “Godmother Tea.

Kelly

Please listen here on Anchor:

or here on Spotify. (You can also find this podcast on four other platforms)

Bios:

Lydia Conklin is an Assistant Professor of Fiction at Vanderbilt University. Previously they were the Helen Zell Visiting Professor in Fiction at the University of Michigan. They’ve received a Stegner Fellowship in Fiction at Stanford University, a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, three Pushcart Prizes, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, a Creative & Performing Arts Fulbright to Poland, work-study and tuition scholarships from Bread Loaf, and fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, Djerassi, Hedgebrook, the James Merrill House, the Vermont Studio Center, VCCA, Millay, Jentel, Lighthouse Works, Brush Creek, the Santa Fe Art Institute, Caldera, the Sitka Center, and Harvard University, among others. They were the 2015-2017 Creative Writing Fellow in fiction at Emory University. Their fiction has appeared in Tin House, American Short Fiction, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, and elsewhere, and is forthcoming from The Paris Review. They have drawn graphic fiction for Lenny Letter, Drunken Boat, and the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago and cartoons for The New Yorker and Narrative Magazine. Their story collection, Rainbow Rainbow, will be published in June 2022 by Catapult in the US and Scribner in the UK.


Lillian Li is the author of the novel Number One Chinese Restaurant, which was an NPR Best Book of 2018, and longlisted for the Women’s Prize and the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Granta, One Story, Bon Appetit, Travel & Leisure, The Guardian, and Jezebel. Originally from the D.C. metro area, she lives in Ann Arbor.

Please purchase a copy of Rainbow Rainbow here from Pages or here from Bookshop.

MAURINE OGBAA ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Maurine Ogbaa

Maurine Ogbaa

Hi Everyone,

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast where we read and discuss one short story with the author. For this episode, please read “Goodbye” by Maurine Ogbaa, first published in Agni

**Please note we will be talking about suicide on this episode.**

This summer I am posting two episodes with writers who have not yet published their first short story collections. This podcast is dedicated to the work of Maurine Ogbaa and on August 15th I will be posting a conversation with Selena Anderson about her short story “Godmother Tea,” which was chosen for the Best American Short Stories anthology in 2020. I’m thrilled to highlight the work of these two new voices!

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is offered in collaboration with the Grosse Pointe Public Library in Michigan. The GPPL has committed to purchasing ten books by each author this season to give to their patrons. If you are a short story writer who has tried to make money in this game then you know what a big deal their support is for us! My hope is that other libraries will follow the GPPL’s lead and be inspired to buy books by these talented short story writers. I will be contacting many libraries this year to suggest this programming. Please feel free to do the same if you enjoy this podcast.

Next up in the published authors series is Lydia Conklin on August 1st.

This podcast is also supported by Pages Bookshop in Detroit, and we would be extremely grateful if you purchased any of the books featured here through Pages. Local bookstores won’t survive without help from customers like you!

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is available on six platforms. Please listen to the podcast on your preferred platform or on Anchor or Spotify below.

I hope you enjoy this episode!

Please listen here on Anchor.

Or here on Spotify.

Kelly

Bio:

Maurine Ogbaa is a writer-scholar. Her current project is a short fiction collection which broadly examines intimacy, reconciliation, maturation, and intraracial diversity through stories about Nigerian Americans in Houston, Texas. Stories from this collection have been published in Callaloo, AGNI, and Prairie Schooner, which awarded her the 2020 Glenna Luschei Award. An alumna of the Tin House Summer Workshops, Rivendell Writer’s Colony, and the Pan-African Literary Forum (Ghana), she will be a writer-in-residence at Jentel Arts Residency in summer 2022.

Previously, Maurine earned an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from Washington University in St. Louis and a Ph.D. in Literature from the University of Houston. Currently, she teaches graduate and undergraduate prose workshops and literature seminars at The University of Texas at Dallas.

And One Last Note:

Julia Glass visiting Pages Bookshop this past week. Her new book, Vigil Harbor, is terrific! I highly recommend it. 

She also had some summer reading recommendations for us, so I thought I would pass them on to you. Enjoy! 

The Golden Season

Homeland Elegies

Six Walks: In the Footsteps of Henry David Thoreau

Uncertain Ground: Citizenship in an Age of Endless, Invisible War

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

Five Tuesdays in Winter (Also you can listen to the podcast episode of my interview with Lily King.)

SARA MAJKA ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Hi Everyone,

I’m excited to share my interview with Sara Majka about the title short story, “Cities I’ve Never Lived In.” Here’s a brief description of the collection from the publisher Graywolf Press:

“Fearlessly riding the line between imagination and experience, fact and fiction, the linked stories in Sara Majka’s debut collection offer intimate glimpses of a young New England woman whose life must begin afresh after a divorce. Traveling the roads of Maine and the train tracks of Grand Central Station, moving from vast shorelines to the unmade beds of strangers, these fourteen stories circle the dreams of a narrator who finds herself turning to storytelling as a means of working through the world and of understanding herself. A book that upends our ideas of love and belonging, and which asks how much of ourselves we leave behind with each departure we make, Cities I’ve Never Lived In exposes, with great sadness and great humor, the ways in which we are most of all citizens of the places where we cannot stay.”

Before you listen to our discussion, first please read “Cities I’ve Never Lived In” here.

Then enjoy our discussion here on Anchor:

 

Or here on Spotify:

 

Or wherever you get your podcasts!

Thanks,

Kelly

Sara Majka

Bio:

When she was young, Sara Majka’s family moved along the New England coast, living in Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and small towns in Maine. She received graduate degrees from Umass-Amherst and Bennington College and was awarded a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her first book, Cities I’ve Never Lived In, was published by Graywolf Press / A Public Space in 2016. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island where she teaches writing at RISD.

Sara Majka’s book can be purchased here on Bookshop and here on Amazon as well as directly from the publisher, Graywolf Press.

Upcoming shows:

June 1st: Ellen Birkett Morris

July 1st: Rion Amilcar Scott

July 15th: Maurine Ogbaa

August 1st: Selena Anderson

September 1st: Jacob M. Appel

October 1st: Peter Ho Davies

November 1st: Peter Orner

December 1st: Toni Ann Johnson

NATALIE SERBER ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Natalie Serber

 

Hi Everyone,

Welcome!

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast for the story nerds!

This is a podcast for aspiring writers who know that examining the components of a good story is the key to writing one. In each episode here, I interview a writer about one of their own stories, delving deeply into their choice of POV, plot, setting, and tone. The stories are available for listeners to read (below) before they listen to our discussion.

Today’s guest is Natalie Serber. We are discussing her story “Children are Magic” which was originally published in One Story Magazine and is a part of her upcoming short story collection.

You can read the story Children are Magic here.

Enjoy! Kelly

And our discussion available on Anchor here:

Note use of strong language and adult content.

or on Spotify here:

Transcripts of our discussion are available upon request.

If you have any additional questions for Natalie, or suggestions for future shows, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Natalie Serber is the author of a memoir about her experience with breast cancer entitled, Community Chest, and a story collection, Shout Her Lovely Name, New York Times Notable Book, and an O, the Oprah Magazine Summer Read. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her fiction has appeared in One Story, Zyzzyva Magazine, Hunger Mountain, The Bellingham Review, Gulf Coast, and othersEssays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, O, the Oprah Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Rumpus, and others. Currently at work on a novel with the working title, Must Be Nice, and a memoir entitled, Go Back to Sleep, you can visit her online at natalieserber.com and subscribe to her popular newsletter, read.write.eat.

News:

I’m including a donation button on my website these days because I am saving up for podcast equipment. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast but have noticed the audio quality is not always top-notch, it’s because I am dealing with old headphones and a free editing program. I am flying by the seat of my pants!

At the same time, as fellow writers, I’m sure you know how little we make in this business, so it will take me a while to save up for the equipment.

If you feel like donating, I would greatly appreciate it. Every little bit helps! Thanks!



SEJAL SHAH ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Sejal Shah

 

Hi Everyone,

Welcome!

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast for the story nerds!

This is a podcast for aspiring writers who know that examining the components of a good story is the key to writing one. In each episode here, I interview a writer about one of their own stories, delving deeply into their choice of POV, plot, setting, and tone. The stories are available for listeners to read (below) before they listen to our discussion.

Today’s guest is Sejal Shah. Her story “The Half King” is a part of her upcoming short story collection.

You can read the story online below.

Enjoy! Kelly

Story available here:

The Half King by Sejal Shah in The Literary Review

Discussion available here:

or on Spotify here:

Bio: Sejal Shah is a poet who works in prose, writing across genres and disciplines. She is the author of the award-winning debut essay collection, This Is One Way to Dance (University of Georgia Press, 2020). Her stories and essays have appeared in The Guardian, Brevity, Conjunctions, Guernica, the Kenyon Review, Literary Hub, Longreads, and The Rumpus. The recipient of a 2018 New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in fiction, Sejal recently completed a story collection with images; her newer writing is about friendship, school, and mental health. She lives in Rochester, New York.

Sejal’s book is available here on Bookshop and here on Amazon.

News:

I’m including a donation button on my website these days because I am saving up for podcast equipment. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast but have noticed the audio quality is not always top-notch, it’s because I am dealing with old headphones and a free editing program. I am flying by the seat of my pants!

At the same time, as fellow writers, I’m sure you know how little we make in this business, so it will take me a while to save up for the equipment.

If you feel like donating, I would greatly appreciate it. Every little bit helps! Thanks!



CLIFFORD GARSTANG ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”


Cliff Garstang

 

Hi Everyone,

Welcome!

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast for the story nerds!

This is a podcast for aspiring writers who know that examining the components of a good story is the key to writing one. In each episode here, I interview a writer about one of their own stories, delving deeply into their choice of POV, plot, setting, and tone. The stories are available for listeners to read (below) before they listen to our discussion.

You can read the story online or you can download the PDF below.

Enjoy! Kelly

Stories available here:

Lost in Translation Online Here

Lost in Translation by Clifford Garstang

Listen to our discussion below. Please contact me if you need it transcribed.

 

Or on Spotify here:

Bio:

Clifford Garstang is the author of the novels Oliver’s Travels and The Shaman of Turtle Valley, a novel in stories, What the Zhang Boys Know, winner of the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction, and two short story collections, In an Uncharted Country and House of the Ancients. He is also the co-founder and former editor of Prime Number Magazine and the editor of the anthology series Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet. A former international lawyer, he now lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

In other news:

Natalie Serber and I are collaborating on a workshop based on her story “Children are Magic,” which was published in One Story. The first part of the workshop will be a roundtable discussion with participants about the story (in the vein of “Let’s Deconstruct a Story”). The second hour will include a writing prompt based on the story and time to share our work. Hope you will consider joining us for this fun event. Here’s the link to register.

Also, I’m including a donation button on my website these days because I am saving up for podcast equipment. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast but have noticed the audio quality is not always top-notch, it’s because I am dealing with old headphones and a free editing program. I am flying by the seat of my pants!

At the same time, as fellow writers, I’m sure you know how little we make in this business, so it will take me a while to save up for the equipment.

If you feel like donating, I would greatly appreciate it. Any little bit helps! Thanks!



 

SUSAN PERABO ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Hi Everyone,

I’m thrilled to host the acclaimed short story writer, Susan Perabo, on the blog today. “Why They Run the Way They Do” is one of my all-time favorite short story collections!

As usual, please read the story posted below before listening to our discussion.

Also please send me reading recommendations! I’m always looking for good short stories.

All the best,

Kelly

Susan’s story available here:

This Is Not That Story in The Sun

This Is Not That Story PDF

 

Our discussion of “This Is Not That Story”:

On Anchor:

Or on Spotify here!

And here is a rough transcript of our discussion brought to you by the dictation service at Microsoft Word:

Susan Perabo and Kelly Fordon transcript

 

 

 

 

Susan Perabo

 

Bio: Susan Perabo’s most recent books are The Fall of Lisa Bellow (2017) and Why They Run the Way They Do (2016), both from Simon & SchusterHer fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize Stories, andNew Stories from the South, and her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications, including One Story, Glimmer TrainStory, The New York TimesThe Sun, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Her work has been featured on the podcasts Modern Love and Selected Shorts. She is a professor creative writing at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.

Why They Run the Way They Do: Stories and The Fall of Lisa Bellow are available at Bookshop and Amazon.

In Other News:

I am hoping some readers will help support this worthy cause! I love Inside Out Literary Arts in Detroit 🙂 I’m writing in support of them, and I will send anyone who donates $100 an original poem 🙂 You can even send me three words you’d like included in the poem!

ESPERANZA CINTRON ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

 

Today on the blog, Esperanza Cintrón and I will be talking about her story, “The Beard” from her award-winning Wayne State University Press collection, Shades, Detroit Love Stories, which was chosen as a 2019 Michigan Notable Book.

It’s best to read the story before listening to our discussion so we don’t spoil the ending for you.

 

Just click on this link for the full story, “The Beard,” here.

 

I hope you enjoy our discussion of “The Beard” below! Or directly on Spotify here.

 

 

Bio: Esperanza Cintrón is the author of Shades, Detroit Love Stories, a collection of interconnected short stories published by Wayne State University Press (2019) and selected as a 2020 Michigan Notable Book and a finalist in the 2020 Midwest Book Awards.  Her three books of poetry include: Visions of a Post-Apocalyptic Sunrise (Stockport Flats Press, 2014), the 2013 Naomi Long Madgett Award winner What Keeps Me Sane (Lotus Press, 2013) and Chocolate City Latina (Swank Press, 2005). Boulders, Detroit Nature Poems won first honorable mention (2021) and will soon be published by Finishing Line Press. Her work is anthologized in Manteca! An Anthology of Afro-Latin@ PoetsOf Burgers & BarroomsAbandoned AutomobileDouble Stitch: Black Women Write About Mothers & DaughtersErotique Noire/Black Erotica and others. She has been awarded a Michigan Council for the Arts Individual Artist Grant, a Metro Times Poetry Prize, Callaloo Creative Writing Fellowships at Oxford and Brown Universities and a National Endowment for the Humanities scholarship. A native Detroiter, she is co-founder of The Sisters of Color Writers Collective and creator of its literary journal Seeds for which she served as Editor until 2006. Cintrón holds a doctorate in English Literature and teaches writing, film and literature at WCCCD in Downtown Detroit.

 

Shades, Detroit Love Stories is available for purchase from Wayne State University Press, Bookshop, and Amazon.

In other news:

Check out Robin Luce Martin’s fantastic story, “Through the Hole,” on Pendust Radio.

I am reading at the Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle on Wednesday, June 23rd at 7pm and there is an open mic event following my reading, so please think about attending and reading your own work as well!

Here’s the link to sign up.

JOHN MCNALLY ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”
John McNally
Hi Everyone,
I know it’s been a while since my last post but you know how life goes by…especially during the pandemic.
It feels like one day has passed but it’s been three months.
Or is it that three months have passed in the space of a day?
Or is that a different way of saying the same thing?
If you, like me, are having trouble grasping paradoxes that would not have troubled your pre-Covid-era brain, then I’m sorry, but I am sending one more your way, and I hope it doesn’t cause your brain to implode.
“The Phone Call” by John McNally, is a story that will deposit you deep in a closed timeline curve and though it is quite a trip, I have faith that you will make it back to reality in one piece.
In fact, I think you will find it quite enjoyable.
As a bonus, after you’ve read John’s story and watched our video, please loopback (!) and check out this video on time travel/time loops that I happened on by Vi Hart, which completely blew my already addled mind.
Here’s a refresher on #letsdeconstructastory because I have not posted anything new since December 1st:
#letsdeconstructastory is all about unpacking short stories to see how they work on a cellular level. It’s a place for writers to geek out about the work of other writers and hopefully add some new tools to their own toolbox.
Here’s how it works:
1.  Please read the story here first.
2. Listen to our discussion
CHECK OUT OUR OTHER EPISODES ON SPOTIFY here.

Biography:

John McNally is the author or editor of eighteen books, including The Fear of Everything: Stories, The Book of Ralph: A Novel, and The Boy Who Really, Really Wanted to Have Sex: The Memoir of a Fat Kid. His craft book Vivid and Continuous has been adopted in many college creative writing courses. He has also had screenplays optioned and in-development and his work for a Norwegian film company in 2019 took him to Norway’s Arctic Circle for research. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, John is Writer-in-Residence and the Dr. Doris Meriwether/BORSF Professor in English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He is presently writing a thriller set in Thailand, where he plans to retire.
Buy the book:
John’s book is available for purchase: On Bookshop here or The University of Louisiana Press here or Amazon here.
Also! George Saunders has a new book out about deconstructing stories called “A Swim in a Pond in the Rain“:

“One of the ideas in the book is that, when we read a story, we read with the same mind we use to read the world. So, concentrating on a story and the way we’re responding to it can tell us a lot about ourselves. I’ve found it so pleasurable and clarifying to tune out everything but that one story, those specific lines. Reading a story is, really, an exercise in believing that other people exist and are valid—the writer of the story, but also those fictive people. We get to practice caring about some people we don’t know—good practice for real life.”

—George Saunders

BILL HARRIS

harris picture

Bill Harris, Art by Nicole Macdonald from her Detroit Portrait Series

Today on the blog, Bill Harris and I will be talking about his story, “That First Year the Business Was Wood,” from his award-winning Wayne State University Press collection, I Got to Keep Moving.

Bill Harris is a Wayne State University emeritus professor of English. He is a playwright, poet, and arts critic. His plays have been produced nationwide and he has published books of plays, poetry, and reappraisals of American history. He received the 2011 Kresge Foundation Eminent Artist award. http://www.billharriswrites.com.

It’s best to read the story before listening to our discussion so we don’t spoil the ending for you. Just click on this link below:

That First Year the Business Was Wood from I GOT TO KEEP MOVING

 

**

 

 

i-got-keep-moving-103670

 

“I Got to Keep Moving” is available from Pages Bookshop here or Wayne State University Press here or Bookshop here or Amazon here.

**

I plan to continue discussing stories through the fall. Please let me know if you have a new book of short stories out so we can talk about it!

**

I HAVE THE ANSWER: MARKETING HELP NEEDED! 

I Have the Answer has been out since April 11th. It was hard to market or even think about a new book this past spring, and if you are so inclined, I would love your help.

There are two main ways:

  1. Write a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Reviews at these places make a big difference and help drive sales. My hope is that people read the reviews and then purchase the book from their local indie bookstore like Pages Bookshop in Detroit!
  2. If you have already read and enjoyed the book, please let your friends know on social media with either a picture or just a suggestion that they might want to buy the book. Here’s a link to WSUPress for more information: https://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/i-have-answer Please use the hashtag with #IHAVETHEANSWER and please tag @WSUPress and @kfor24. 

 

I recorded a podcast last week for Without Books and if you haven’t heard of them, I highly recommend the short messages they record by authors reminding us all about the importance of books.

Stay safe and well.

Love,

Kelly

 

Second Audio Clip: I HAVE THE ANSWER

When I have the Answer but

Hi Everyone,

I’m happy to share my second audio clip from I Have the Answer, recorded by the phenomenal audiobook narrator, Denice Stradling. Here’s a link to her website for more information. I highly recommend her services to any other writers out there!

The story Denice is reading from is called “The Devil’s Proof” and is a fictional story about a sexual assault that takes place in Washington, D.C. during the 1980s. I wrote about the true story of what happened to me in River Teeth and that essay is coming out next month. This story is quite different from the true story, but features the same basic elements of fear and shame, which have dogged me ever since.

Also, the story features many of the same locations from my youth, chief among them Georgetown, where I lived, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School where I attended high school, and Georgetown University, which was a frequent destination.

The other aspect of this fictional story that is technically true is that my father graduated from Georgetown University in 1949 and Bill Blatty, who wrote The Exorcist graduated in 1950. According to my father (and many other sources) Bill Blatty based “The Exorcist” on a story one of his religion professors told him about a supposedly “real-life” exorcism. My father was in Billy Blatty’s religion class and heard the story first-hand as well.

Here’s a link to the true story

And now without further adieu, Denice Stradling reading from “The Devil’s Proof”:

OTHER NEWS:

Tomorrow night, Wednesday, April 22nd, I will be reading online and answering questions at an online book launch via the Grosse Pointe Library. It’s free and you can register here.

This week, I posted a list of recommended reading via Electric Literature. They thought I lived in a flyover state, and, quite frankly, until I researched it, so did I 🙂 

You can buy a copy of I Have the Answer from Pages Bookshop in Detroit or Wayne State University Press or Bookshop(if you want to support local bookstores) or Amazon.

Stay safe and well, everyone! Thank you for reading!