A funny thing happened in Miami at the Book Fair. In addition to all the hijinks reported in an earlier post, I found myself thinking what has been missing from my professional life. (Damn poets! Never satisfied.)
401K contributions, paid vacation, free office supplies? Sure. But not just that. While I love thinking in terms of assembling collections and pitching freelance, I'm like every writer--I came to this craft in stolen moments, drafting with the freedom of never expecting an audience. I've missed writing in some unlikely genre, untamed in theme, utterly un-monetizable. Writing as indulgence.
I also thrived on the camaraderie of the Book Fair, and thought about the need to rebuild my community. Everyone needs a home base. Though I have great friendships with writers in DC and Oxford, a recent spate of marriages and moves--not to mention my own tour schedule--set me a little adrift. If I were a journalist, I'd know which watering halls to haunt; if I taught in an MFA program, I'd share tired nods & chat by the coffeemaker. Hard to know where to steer without that kind of compass.
Enter TRIP CITY: an old-school art circle in a new-school format. This Brooklyn-curated online journal offers a treasure trove of free, exclusive content ranging from comix to prose to interviews to podcasts to video. I've become particularly addicted to Seth Kushner's pop-as-personal essays (such as the great "Patrick Stewart and My Father") and the luminous, oddly gentle visual style of Nick Abadzis (as in "Perfect Imperfect"). The site launched in November of this year and has already garnered buzz in the comic world, the Los Angeles Times, and beyond.
When I met several TC contributors through Literary Death Match (Dean Haspiel, Jeff Newelt, Jennifer Hayden), I recognized the glow of people who have a deep respect for one another's work--and also truly, deep down, like each other. It helps that a lot of them share a physical space via the HANG DAI studios in Brooklyn's Cobble Hill neighborhood (next to famed indie store BookCourt). So when Dean asked if I might be interested in contributing a monthly feature, I thought, Hell yeah.
But what to write for them? Ever since I first began tried my hand at the Washington Post Magazine's "XX Files," I have loved the musculature of the 700-900 word essay. What if I used that same length to explore...(deep breath)...fictions? And that's how MODERN ALICE was born. It's a space devoted to capturing both the realities and fantasies of the 21st Century Alice–a woman who is independent, curious, and ready to step through the looking glass.
So check out today's debut: HOT FOR SANTA. Yes, you read that title correctly. I hope it's fun to read; it sure was fun to write.
While you're at it, check out TRIP CITY's Podcast #4, which features me alongside author/filmmaker Miranda July (!), sound artist Krista Dragomer, & Williamsburg music project Edison Woods. I had a great time being interviewed by Dean Haspiel, author/artist of the Billy Dogma series (e.g. "The Last Romantic Antihero") and Emmy-winning contributor to Bored to Death. You can stream the podcast or download it to iTunes.