1. My story "Escape and Reverse," a story of wrestling both literal and metaphorical, found a home in the Ploughshares Solo series. I wrote the first incarnation of this story back when I was in Iowa. I watched many Dan Gable instructional wrestling videos (VHS!) from the public library in the course of writing it, and called upon the sensory memory of my own singular (well, single) wrestling victory at a Brooklyn lucha libre party Gavin and Gillian Russom took me to in 1997, where I threw myself into the task so vigorously I didn't even realize I had pinned my masked opponent until someone pried me off of her, euphorically oblivious with adrenaline.
I suppose this is an opportunity to make a nostalgic comment about how this was back when Williamsburg was still full of cheap raw lofts and broke weirdos who would cobble together a room full of mattresses to hold a massive tag-team wrestling tournament, with no social internet to perform it for, just the moment itself, but I'm over the old shine of secondhand glory, I was just one of the millions who happened to be there at that time, I just showed up to the party other people led me to.
I learned a lot writing that story. My sixth-grade social studies curriculum ("Minnesota: Land of Sky-Blue Waters") was dog-eared and ended around the 1950s so I hadn't really known what became of the Iron Range, except that it had shrunk in population and generated exceptionally tough Pee Wee hockey players. I loved watching those videos and reading wrestler message boards and calling my brother for insider info on the high school boys' locker room and reading about the crushing work (literally) of taconite mining. That's one of the most pleasurable things about writing anything, fiction or non: the research. You come out of it with way more knowledge than even makes it into the story.
You can find it in Amazon's Kindle Singles store for ninety-nine cents. You don't need a Kindle to read it, anything digital will do.
2. I also wrote this essay for Airplane Reading back in February, about the strange yet sort of amazing time in my life when I used to fly every week from Portland to Stanford. "Take Flight."
3. Also I contributed an essay to UNBORED: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun, which came out in November. This book, I must say, is fantastic. Even on a purely physical level, it's large and solid and printed on good paper and the design and drawings are terrific. And the content too is so great. It's all about making your own fun and your own life instead of consuming and following. If I were a kid, I would love it. As an adult, I love it.
Here's the Powell's link, where it's currently a staff favorite and so 30% off, but if you look at Amazon you can also see some screen shots that include the essay I wrote, "Rock Out," based on my many years of volunteering at the Rock'n'Roll Camp for Girls.
The website for the book has tons of good stuff too, like Gary Panter's drawing tips. (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, that one.)
TO BE CONTINUED.