Because of your name, and mine. Because we were seated in the A’s in class, until your mother changed your name back to W when she found out what your father did. Because of your shoulders.
Children do not think of memory. What use do they have for nostalgia?
The Late Music of Morton Howell
Dad always said that it was all about the standard. He thought that purely free jazz was like building the ground you’re standing on at the same time as jumping off it. There’s too much to think about, and thinking gets muddy. The standard does the thinking for you, he said. You’ve got to have common ground in order to fly. You’ve got to have something to return to.
She said this was for my own good—if I was kept in the dark, I would never be afraid of it.
An excerpt from my novella-in-progress, The Spirit Photographer in the Guernica/PEN America Flash Series. (Read more at Guernica or PEN America.)
There isn't enough time in this world to grow your own tree.
NPR 3-minute fiction finalist. You can read and listen here.
The family store went down like a sinking stump in the swamp. Mama and Little Key and Daddy Key walked the entire four miles to the store together, Daddy shrieking like a chicken all the way. Then Mama and Daddy made Little Key walk the four miles home while they cleaned up the body. Down that dirt road Little Key kicked his feet, all alone. The flat, fat, swamp road walk. Fields on either side. In the Mississippi Delta, the earth is water-line flat. The earth is no egg. Horizon so far off you have to imagine it’s there to keep your heart steady.
LA Weekly: Post-Apocalyptic Art Fest
The Guardian: Topography of a Novel
EndPain: The Gift of Witness
FutureAir: One Solution to Climate Change
Glimmer Train: Do We Become Better People as We Become Better Writers?
Largehearted Boy: Book Notes
American Short Fiction: Editorial Outtakes
The Suicide of Claire Bishop:
Greenwich Village, 1959. Claire Bishop sits for a portrait—a gift from her husband—only to discover that what the artist has actually depicted is Claire’s suicide. Haunted by the painting, Claire is forced to redefine herself within a failing marriage and a family history of madness. Shifting ahead to 2004, we meet West, a young man with schizophrenia obsessed with a painting he encounters in a gallery: a mysterious image of a woman’s suicide. Convinced it was painted by his ex-girlfriend, West constructs an elaborate delusion involving time-travel, Hasidism, art-theft, and the terrifying power of representation. When the two characters finally meet, in the present, delusions are shattered and lives are forever changed.