Fiction, Essays & Miscellanea

“Bad Things That Happen To Girls”  Named by Best American Short Stories 2016 as one of the year’s 100 Distinguished Stories. (Colorado Review -November 2015; Winner of the Nelligan Prize, judged by Lauren Groff; Featured on the Colorado Review podcast) – Birdie’s daughter is turning thirteen, an age when bad things happen to girls, but Birdie has a plan. All she needs is an RV,  macrame pot-holders and six thousand dollars, cash.

Birdie worked at the Rite Aid, and then she didn’t. Like snow clouds coming apart, it was that easy. All she had to say was “I quit,” and it didn’t matter that the blue apron trembled as she untied, folded, and laid it on Guy’s desk, or that he protested loudly in the bewildering, sports-related dialect to which she’d grown accustomed over the years.

Destroyed Flowers Everywhere” (Fourteen Hills – May 2015 and featured online at The Writer’s Bloc – Sept. 2015; Winner of Wilner Short Story Award, judged by Kirsten Valdez Quade; Fourteen Hills Pushcart Prize Nominee) The 1980s-themed, end of the world lesbian teen sex romp you didn’t know you needed to read.

14 hills

The Deep, Gnarly, Ugly Kind of Truth: Against Comfortable Art” (Apogee Journal blog – December 2014) In which Migueltzinta Solis and I wish for a new queer art, possibly embarrass ourselves and definitely offend someone.

…what I think we’re saying is that there’s a silent/subtle expectation about the work we (female-socialized queer creative types) should be doing. e.g.: therapy, social work, elementary school teacher, homeless advocate, activist, fundraiser, nurse, healthy food-providers–any of the traditional female professions would be considered acceptable by that community. Slam poet, yes. Novelist, no.

“The Invention of History” (Midnight Breakfast – July 2014) – In a place that is/is not the Vilnius Ghetto, history is rewritten daily.

The council was a condition of our internment, the first thing we had, its volunteers young men with early-ruined skin. Because of our distrust for conscripts, we ground their names into the frosty streets. “Councilmember,” we called them, but only when necessary.

After the council, boys organized a soccer league; women, a trade in bread and other goods; while the writers, gone ever stranger, folded parchment into coat linings, buried books alive.

I don’t remember who thought of the jail, only that we heard the cell walls settling at night.

“Live Feed” (Slush Pile Magazine – July 2014) – A tomboy, a cyclone, a first kiss–and, of course, supernatural possession.

I MIGHT AS WELL BEGIN with the tornado, even though it’ll lead to all sorts of questions. You’ll want to know how it felt to hang in the taffy-like stretch of time as sure of death as the dead; about how little Kyle entered a bundle of hyperactive incoherence and emerged tightfisted, pinched with crazy poetry; about Jamie, who no one ever helped, ending up at Yale; or how our tragic mother fell down and couldn’t get up; about photographs of guestless twelfth birthday parties, divorced parents’ weddings and unalike sisters goggling for the camera—that Good Samaritans swept into Food-For-Less bags, along with holey underpants and canisters of Mr. Clean. But remember: the best stories, the truest stories, are the ones that hide underneath, that belong to questions you’d never think of asking.

“Assignment of Blame” (Bluestem – June 2013) – love is shit.

“Did we lose the road?” I am careful. Do not say you. Did you lose the road. It’s something I’ve been practicing with my therapist–wording sentences without blame in mind, not even at the back of my mind, no possibility of blame. Instead, observe. State what is. Formulate neutral questions.

“The Disappearance” (The Stoneslide Corrective, 2013) — Mexico City meets Chicago while a lone homo goes missing in Boystown.

Diego rarely returned home to D.F. and when he did, he felt foreign, extracted. His lungs would hurt, the noise of the microbuses drove him crazy, and there was the perpetual waiting: for friends to show up, for the muchacho to bring the bill, for the concert to start, then for the plane to take off, to take him back to Chicago.

“Machete as Noun and Verb” ( blog, 2012)— the story or the lie and its role in the making of identity

“Let me tell you a story…

I come from a family of liars, by which I mean travelers, by which I mean that in the absence of memory, we have learned to create memories. I come from a family of liars, by which I mean that we are the stories we tell—no more or less.


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