Carolina Quartly has published my story, “Ready for Glory,” on their website this week. This is the first I’ve published from an ongoing project I’ve been working on as part of my Ph.D, which is to “adapt” (I put quotes because I’m still trying to figure out what that means) the stories in James Joyce’s DUBLINERS to stories about present day Detroit.
It’s exciting to have “Ready for Glory” out first, because it is based on the first story in Dubliners, “The Sisters.” Take a look if you wanna.
The second story, based on “The Encounter” has also already found a home. News about that is coming soon.
The first few were easiest because they are about childhood, something I love to write about, and because they are in first person. As the project progresses, it gets trickier, but I’m also embarking on the challenges that have drawn me to the project in the first place: to learn how Joyce uses point of view. With every story, I’ve been enjoying finding parallels with early 20th century Dublin and early 21st century Detroit. There are more than I’d imagined.
I’m excited to share what is probably the wildest thing I’ve ever published, a short lyric essay about Thailand, Sunday School, Detroit, and dead bunnies. You can read it in this issue of Cahoodaloodaling, which is all dedicated to lyric essays. Pretty cool.
My creepy story, "Trespassers," is now live on the Sequestrum website. It won runner up in their New Writers contest.
It's about Detroit in the wintertime, so a good one to read while you're sweating in August, especially sweating in Atlanta August, like I have been.
From the introduction of “The Origins of the Urban Crisis” by Thomas J. Sugrue:
No one social program or policy, no single force, whether housing segregation, social welfare programs, or deindustrialization, could have driven Detroit and other cities like it from their positions of economic and political dominance; there is no single explanation for the inequality and marginality that beset the urban poor. It is only through the complex and interwoven histories of race, residence, and work in the postwar era that the state of today’s cities and their impoverished residents can be fully understood and confronted.
Economic and racial inequality constrain individual family choices. They set the limits of human agency. Within the bounds of the possible, individuals and families resist, adapt, and succumb.
Yesterday I found out that a local Detroit performer, Blair, passed away over the weekend. A blogger for the Metro Times did a nice write-up on him, which will give you a sense of who he was and what he accomplished in his too-short life.
I first met him while working with this theater group in the city in preparation for a trip to South Africa. He taught a poetry class for senior citizens at Hannan House, and I observed/assisted when I could. I knew nothing about poetry but learned a lot about it from him–mostly about capturing emotion in description. He was good at that.
The trip was rough for me. The first time I’d been out of the country. I didn’t get along well with the people who brought me (to be cryptic about it…) and was a real mess during the plane ride home. As I was sorting the experience out, he told me some hard truths that I’m still trying to grapple with, about catching problems early and solving them right away. About being quick to communicate. I didn’t want to hear any of this but of course he was right. I can’t say I was a good listener but I did hear what he said. Right after that, he offered me an opportunity to open for him at a music concert the next week after we returned. This was my first musical gig, and though I still write songs and perform them, my fiction has lately dominated most of my time and artistic energy. Thinking about him makes me want to pick up my guitar again. That’s beside my point–I am remembering Blair for his amazing kindness to young artists, for his generosity. He probably thought I was really young and naive, which I certainly was, but in that conversation he helped me out every way he could. I want and try to be like him.
The last time I saw Blair perform was a couple of years ago, when he released a debut CD with his band, The Boyfriends. Though he was a fantastic musician, it’s his poetry that I will remember him by the most. He performed this poem as a tribute to our city:
He was important to us. We will feel his loss for a long time.