The Giving Tree: A (half-century late) Review

So I’ve been co-hosting a monthly reading series in Chicago – Tuesday Funk – and as part of my co-hosting duties, I read very short “micro-essays” every month. Or, well, almost every month. I’m not much of a non-fiction writer…writing personal essays gives me the willies. So that seemed like a good enough reason to do it. Why not talk about personal stuff to a bunch of strangers every month?

Anyway, most of the time, I read the essay and then promptly bury it on my hard drive, but this month, my co-host Andrew Huff asked if I would post it on Gapers Block, his Chicago-centric blog extraordinaire. And since it’s already out there, I figured I might as well post it here too.

I give you… my musings on the 50th anniversary of The Giving Tree.

Oh and while I have you here… if you’re in Chicago on October 25th, won’t you come see me perform a two minute answer to the question “How do you do?”

Some new stories you can read!

What’s that? Only eight months since my last blog? I think I’m getting good at this.

Actually, feel free to skim. This is just another boring update.

I’ve got new stories published! Check out “Cape to Cairo” at Apex Magazine #61… and if that’s not enough of me, here’s an interview.

Folks seem to like it too. Here are some reviews!

And over at Shimmer, you can buy the whole Issue 20 for a measly $2.99… and the cheapskates amongst you can now read my story, “Ellie and Jim vs. Tony the Nose” for free.

Update: A nice review!

Some small newses

I’ve noticed a lot of people coming to my website in search of my recipe for chicken hearts. And by a lot, I mean at least two or three. Who knows what desires lurk in the hearts of Googlers?

Anyway. A couple brief notes for those not looking to fry chicken hearts (but you should anyway, they’re actually pretty tasty):

1) As of January, I will be taking over as co-host of my favorite Chicago live lit series (but perhaps I’m biased) — Tuesday Funk. I’m devastated to witness the end of the Bill Shunn era, and I hope to do his legacy justice.

2. Another story of mine, “Cape to Cairo” (a Clarion West 2008 creation), will be available for public consumption sometime mid-2014… this time in the gorgeously weird Apex Magazine. I’m sure I’ll make another brief list of updates when that one comes out.

 

 

This government shutdown is no joke.

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A few small updates

I try to give tidbits of news in one fell bloggy swoop… not sure why. One would think that the more successful technique would be to write as many blog entries as possible. But not me, boy, I know you’ve got jobs and kids and TV shows to watch and pad thai to inhale. In other words, I got your back, time-wise.

So, on to the news!

1. Sometime in mid-2012, I had a story called “Camouflage” accepted at Kaleidotrope, and it looks like it’ll be in the next issue, which, I believe, comes out in October. Stay tuned!

2. About a month ago, I had another story accepted by the high-class folks at Shimmer… super-psyched to be a part of that publication too! The story, long-windedly entitled “Ellie and Jim vs. Tony ‘The Nose'”, will be in Issue #19, which comes out sometime early 2014.

3. And finally, I’ve started writing for Chicago’s mega-blog Gapers Block, in the books section! I’ve even undertaken the herculean task of compiling and then reviewing a list of Chicagoans’ favorite books by Chicago authors. You can check out the first two reviews (for Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars and Crossing California) if you’re so inclined.

Eating things off trees

The ladies at Nerdette Podcast agreed to let me participate in one of their episodes! Check out this week’s episode, where I discuss the do’s and don’ts of urban foraging and reveal my secret past as a high school Speech Team wunderkind.

I haven’t listened yet… still working up the courage to listen to my own voice, but you can check it out here. Listen to their other episodes too! They talk about movies and TV and other nerdly things you might enjoy.

Freelance Writing and Editing

In addition to fiction writing and the occasional ramblings, I am also a freelance writer and editor. Check out the appropriately named page on this site for more info and links to my online portfolio!

http://www.monkeythumbs.com/freelance-copywriting-and-editing-services/

The Clarion West Write-a-Thon and some other stuff

Am I the only one who feels mocked by the comment spam that talks about how great my posts are? Anyway.

I am, as ever, trying to figure out what to do with this site and also keeping it as a sort of placeholder. My apologies to all ye searching for smoothie recipes (quite a number of you, as it turns out).

But in the meanwhile, it’s probably worth mentioning that I’m doing the Clarion West Write-a-Thon again this year… a worthy organization that is RIGHT NOW training the future writers you’ll love. Doesn’t that deserve your hard-earned cash? You can find my page here.

But in case your fingers are too tired to click right now, the brief rundown is that I will be writing the first 50 pages of my new novel, a weird Western tentatively entitled As Big as the West. This novel features a transgendered cowboy, a family of Jewish homesteaders, an epidemic of ghosts, and Teddy Roosevelt. For the first time ever, I have completed an outline, and wouldn’t you know, with that in my back pocket, the writing has been going swimmingly. In the first week of the Write-a-Thon, I’ve already chalked up 5000 words/20 pages. Not too shabby.

And since I’m already here, how about a bit of unrelated weirdness? I applied for a job at dictionary.com, and part of the application was giving those fine folks three ideas for their online word-related slideshows. You know, a little bit of a good-faith effort to show you’re not a one-trick pony. Well, I did not get the job, but apparently my ideas are stellar since one of them (English words you didn’t know were actually Yiddish) was yoinked from my application and is currently and prominently on display on their main page. So. Caveat job searcher. Apparently some folks are so lacking in ideas, they’ll steal yours straight off your unsuccessful job application. Gross.

But, to end on a (yet another unrelated) high note, I’ll be doing  another reading! This time at Tuesday Funk, my personal favorite reading series in Chicago, though maybe that’s the booze speaking. July 2nd, 7:30, bring your drinking pants. And your listening shirt.

 

Unexpectedly delicious smoothie ingredients, an evolving list

Note: Do not put all of these in a single smoothie.

  • Butternut squash
  • Garam masala
  • Cayenne pepper
  • A blueberries and oranges combo
  • Oatmeal
  • Turmeric
  • Tea
  • Mushrooms (don’t try this at home — I’ve only had it added by a professional)
  • Quinoa

Something that is decidedly NOT on this list: Kale. Whose terrible idea was that?

WisCon Reading

Will you be at WisCon? I will! And I’m doing a reading on Sunday. You should come!

Here’s the deets;

Exotic Worlds group reading

Sunday, May 26th, 10:00am-11:15am (location TBD…. check your programs!)

Featuring: Bradley Beaulieu, Holly McDowell, Wesley Chu, Tom Underberg, Dustin Monk, and me!

We’ll read things. It’ll be glorious.

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