Say Cheese

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I just need to make it through this party. I just need to make it through this party and then I can cry.

Alright. I can do this. Just fix a smile on my face and no one will ever know. Say cheese! Now hold it. Hoooold it. Damn, the corners are twitching. My cheeks hurt. I probably look like I’m snarling. As though I’m about to eat someone just to get out of here.

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Margarine

It’s been a year since Slink Chunk Press published this short story, so to honor the occasion I am reprinting it here. Enjoy!

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They say that everything is made from everything. Matter never disappears, it just becomes new matter. A cell from your skin catches a southeast breeze and eventually gets inhaled by a penguin; an atom expelled in some dinosaur dung finds its way over the eons to your pomegranate tea; a molecule from the sweat that glistened on Caesar’s temple evaporated and is now raining into your car through the window you left open.

We’re all just cosmos junk, recycled. Never ending, only changing. Ever since the universe’s first big sneeze, all that energy has been riding its waves wherever it can go, moving from one place to another. Perpetual tourists, all of us.

So then what happens if a bit of energy changes its mind? Has a change of heart on the metaphysical interstate and decides to detour over the center divider, head the opposite way?

Decides to come back?

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The Selkie’s Husband

A full year ago today, I was honored to have this flash fiction published by Gingerbread House Literary Magazine. This is my personal favorite of my work, so to celebrate its anniversary I am reprinting it here. I hope you enjoy! 🙂

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Rain fell the day he went to the shore, to see the place where his wife left him. Grey weighted the clouds like sacks full of stones, sagging closer and closer to the sea. Grey upon grey, water upon water, the sea and sky took hands. The way he once took hers.

She never held his hand long. Always wrenching from his grasp, her flesh still as slippery as a seal. Sometimes she would oblige him, sit shaking like a penned animal as he made hushing noises and rubbed her knuckles with his thumbs.

Please let me love you, he would say. I’ve earned it. I found your skin.

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Fingers

One full year ago, the awesome Jersey Devil Press published this flash fiction of mine. I decided to reprint it here to celebrate the occasion. Hope you enjoy!

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The purple monkey hugs my kneecap with his armpit. Squashed into my front is the yellow dinosaur, her spinal ridges prickling my belly every time she shifts. The blue elephant’s hindquarters press against my ear, which is unpleasant, but not as much as the child’s face flattened against the glass.

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Let’s DEWEY This! – the 800s (plus that time I embarrassed myself in front of David Sedaris)

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In case you ever got the ridiculous impression that I am suave, let me clear that right up for you with a story.

In either 2007 or 08, I went to a live reading by David Sedaris. Perhaps you know him? Writes hilarious personal essays, often appears on the radio show This American Life, does an uncanny impression of Billie Holliday… Anyway, I first became a fan around 2003 when I read Me Talk Pretty One Day, and have giggled over several of his books since.

Naturally, I was excited to hear him read at Royce Hall in Los Angeles. I got to the theatre way too early and ended up milling around outside for a while. It was pretty empty – one of the few others there was this man wandering around by himself, eating a sandwich. There was something peculiar about him, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Maybe it was the flagrancy of his sandwich-eating. Like who does he think he is, right? Just eating a sandwich, like, right there? Doesn’t he know he’s about to see a David Sedaris reading?

I’m fuzzy on the details, probably because I blew up in a cloud of awkwardness, but what happened next was the man finished his meal, went around chatting to people who were now arriving, eventually made it to me and the person I came with, talked with us while I was like “why is this stranger talking to us, what’s his deal,” and then finally introduced himself as…

… David Sedaris.

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How to frustrate a writer: “Where’s the hook?”

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Writers talk a lot about hooks-the thing in a story’s opening that grabs the reader and makes them want to continue. It’s a popular question among writing groups when critiquing a first page or scene: “Where’s the hook?”

This can be… frustrating.

The problem is that critiquers often don’t treat the term like the broad, vague thing that it is, which makes their critiques broad, vague, and unhelpful. First I’m going to explain how hooks are subjective, and then how to make your critique more beneficial to the writer.

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The Watching Man, now up at The J. J. Outre Review

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My fifth publication is one that I’d been submitting for more than a year, so I’m BEYOND THRILLED to see it finally find a home. They really mean it when they say persistence is key!

In this creepy suspense tale, a lurker takes people-watching a bit too far and sees something he shouldn’t have seen…

Please check it out here!

She is Not a Dancer

2014-10-21To anyone else, this is what they would call her, but she does not think of herself this way. She is not a dancer. She is just a person with a body, a body that writes words on the air, words and sentences and full manuscripts in a language she cannot decode but that she knows in her guts. And others know it too, because when they read it something rips and flaps open inside them, and they think, Yes. I understand. Anyone could write this language, because we all have bodies. The only difference between herself and others is they prefer her penmanship over their own.

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