Buzzfeed Buzz & Summer Plans

As the semester draws to a close, I’m excited to “finish” up revisions of my second story collection and pursue other creative projects while my agents review a draft of my novel. While the gift up summer time is motivation enough, I was honored to be included in a list of 19 books that “prove indie presses deserve your attention” on Buzzfeed. It’s always wonderful to get this kind of boost esp. for a book that is three years old. And, if I’m super honest, I needed the boost as I’ve been very selective/discerning about where I send the remaining stories in this second collection, which translates to not a lot of acceptances/wins recently. Add novel writing to the mix and my Submittable queue has become painfully quiet.

That said, I’m okay with quiet. I’ve spent so many years checking off publishing boxes that I’ve come to a point where the rhythm of write, edit, submit, publish in terms of journal publications no longer excites me all that much if I’m not allowed the time to actually let a story evolve on its own terms instead of the terms of a writer who feels like he needs another feather in his cap, another injection of good news to share.

I’ve been lucky to work with some wonderful editors and to be included in some of my dream journals, and I think I’m at a place where I just want to wade in the complexity of story longer. Maybe this is part of the growing pains of a short story writer making the transition to longer work. Or maybe it’s just a matter of been there and done that and knowing that new challenges and goals just require more space, more time, and more help from others.

Apart from writing and lots of reading, I’ll be in the San Francisco Bay Area and Monterey area for a little over a week with my wife, so we can spend time with my aunt. I grew up, in part, in the SF area and lived in SF for several years. When people ask me where home is, I usually think of California, but I’m not so sure what “back home” really means for me now since I don’t feel especially connected to any place and the people who have defined places for me are all scattered across the globe. I guess home is my wife and my cat. This will no doubt be a bittersweet trip as I give my wife a tour of what my life used to be, what still remains in the city, and what has already been lost. Bonus: Lots of time at the Otter tank at the Monterey Aquarium and perhaps kayaking in the bay.

Select Summer Reading:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

The Largesse of the Maiden Sea by Denis Johnson

Light from Other Stars by Erika Swyler

Some Possible Solutions by Helen Phillips

Number 9 Dream by David Mitchell

Notes from the Fog by Ben Marcus

Sequoia Nagamatsu