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"

theghastling.com

theghastling.com

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.

That’s all.