Update || Behind The Desk & "The Smog Geist"
In place of a full blog post (maybe later this week?), here are some updates on what’s new in my life.
Behind the Desk
A few months back now, I interviewed Iain Reid for The Cardiff Review's "Behind the Desk" series. I met Iain when I was briefly living over in Kingston, Ontario. He’s the author of the novel I’m Thinking of Ending Things, which was published last year, as well as two other memoirs — all of which I can recommend. We spoke about finding time to write, how he thinks about the craft as a profession and/or a hobby, genre trouble, and so on. I also spoke to him about the conflicts between introversion and the necessarily public nature of publishing a work… and really badly, shamelessly, referenced something David Foster Wallace once said. In short, I talked about the questions that keep me up at night re: writing. But I think the interview turned out well, in my opinion, and that’s because I was asking him questions I really, really wanted to know the answers to — stuff I’d been thinking about since I met him last.
You can read the interview in issue 6 of The Cardiff Review, alongside some great short stories and poetry, and a review of Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (a book I also really loved, with a deliciously creepy New England setting).
Speaking of which, after being an editorial intern and columnist at The Cardiff Review for a little while, I’ve been made Assistant Editor. It’s great! (Though sometimes, deep down, I worry that I prefer reading and commenting on other people’s work to writing my own…) We’re currently taking submissions for the next issue, so please submit. It’s a review that prioritises graduate writing and encourages unsolicited submissions, and so it’s pretty useful to us barely published folk.
Which brings me to the next update...
"The Smog Geist"
A story I wrote a few years ago now, “The Smog Geist”, is being published in The Ghastling. It's a (very short) short story about a girl who gets lost on the way back from school, in a town that's covered in a thick, dense smog. You can get a copy of book five to read here.
This is the first short story I’ve ever had published, so I’m pretty excited. The story was mostly written in a feverish library session all in one spurt, before I lost it entirely to the abyss (a laptop malfunction – I urge you to never trust OpenOffice. Ever). I had to rewrite the whole thing. One can’t help but think that the first version is now almost certainly a lost masterpiece.
To be totally honest, though, I haven’t written any new fiction since I graduated, and I’m not really sure why that is. I decided to submit “The Smog Geist” as a way of motivating myself to write more. But it hasn’t, yet. There’s stuff on the backburner. I haven’t sat down in front of my laptop, in a while, with a real zest to write. And now I’m wondering if I ever really did do that, in the way that you wonder if you reinvented and edited your own memories to match ideas you have about the past. Maybe I just forced myself before, out of necessity, and if I want to keep doing it, I’ll have to find a new motive of forcing myself again. We’ll find out.