Exhibit 1.6.19

The Next Big Thing



What is the working title of your book?

Masochistically, I recently started a new novel which I am after, O maybe two weeks or so, about 11k words into despite holidays and travel and job interviews and planning next semester. I feel fairly proud of myself for my ability to ignore more immediate, fulfilling concerns in favor of a years long project about ghosts or whatever it is I write about.

Anyway, it’s currently called The City One Winter which will not be the final title. The final title will also not be Winterset which is also what I sometimes call it. That’s where John Wayne is from and since he’s not in the novel, it feels unfair to promise The Duke if I can’t deliver The Duke. Nor is it set in Winterfell from the Game of Thrones universe which is also what that evokes.

Although now it seems so obvious that I should have written a novel about John Wayne kicking heads in the Game of Thrones universe. I’ve done it all wrong. Writing, titling, life, all.


Where did the idea come from for the book?

Let’s see, it’s about sickness and entropy and family and America and failed utopia…I have no idea. I do write about that stuff a lot. It’s possible I just drew a few cards from my mental deck and that’s what came out.

More seriously: I imagined a city on fire and a girl in the arms of an older man who’d forgotten her name. I started there.


What genre does your book fall under?



Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Let’s all hope it never comes to this.


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A girl follows the wanderings of a sick man who is trying to remember a love he lost in his youth.


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My book is flattered just to be so often referred to as a book. For something that has a typo in the first sentence, it really is quite the honor to imagine it represented, published, filmed, taken to the prom, reclaimed by the post-mo(on)dernists, etc.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I may have chosen the wrong project for this questionnaire. Let’s say I hope to have a draft done by the end of the summer. Or sooner. Or later. I’m not sure. It’s going to be a short novel–as is my want–so let’s say if I can keep up the current pace I’ll be done by then but, in all likelihood, I’m going to have to start over and overwrite and turn it into a screenplay and turn it back into a novel and will finish sometime around next winter. That’s good. It’s a winter book.


Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I don’t know if inspiration ever plays into it, but, well, I guess I can say that the books I’ve been looking at while writing it are The Scarlet Letter, The Good Soldier, and Lolita. Not that it has anything to do with any of those amazing books, exactly, but they’ve been language guides. That’s pretty much what inspiration means to me.


To carry on the game, I tag:

I’ll tag my fellow Cupboard editors Dave Madden and emily danforth because I know they’re working on some stuff.


And thanks for the tag, Chris.


1 Comment / Posted in Fiction, Questions, Winter

Exhibit 15.1

What I Talk About When I Talk About Cold

Before Sunday I would have told you one of three things.

* Winter camping as a boy scout. Possibly because of the hot SUV ride there or the awesomely warm sleeping bag I took, but these “Klondike Camps” always felt colder while packing the sled in the church basement than they did screwing wheels on the sled by the campsite because there wasn’t any snow. I don’t recall how many times I went, at least twice, but there was never snow or cold that might be considered dangerous. Still, the camps were unrelenting in their camping and even at a sunny 20° F, an 11-year-old’s body quits after a few hours. This is where I first started drinking coffee though the adults never shared the whiskey they didn’t even try to hide. At the time I thought maybe they were just disrespecting our intelligence, but now I realize it’ s just hard to hide anything when you’re wearing mittens.

* Sleeping outside of a hostel in Switzerland. Now, it was May, but still. It isn’t actually as interesting as it sounds–except to me, I suppose–so I’ll keep this all temperature related. All I know is that after an hour of sleeping on a concrete stoop, when I woke up my heart was cold. You should add “From Exposure” to your list of most feared deaths. And then you should never show your list to O.J.

(I’m totally still gunning for a gig with Leno. Jokes like that work even better at 10, Jay.)

* Ice fishing. Fairly self-explanatory if you’ve done it. I understand from movies and television that ice fishing is often done in some kind of enclosed cabin, but the time I went it was only a bunch of us exposed on a lake augering about thirty holes in an area the size of a high school classroom. Here’s how cold it was: I had a great time, but I would make the car crash if you ever tried to drive me to a lake and make me do it again. I don’t know how I would make the car crash, but rest assured, now that I’m remembering how it felt, I’m coming up with a plan just in case. Just a guess, but the plan will probably involve lunging at the steering wheel. Or possibly hypnosis. I’ll keep working on it.

But there is nothing–nothing–like standing for three hours in windchill cutting down to -20° F. It was like someone stole my toes and fingers and replaced them with terror. It was like wearing a suit made out of brain freezes. It was like volunteering to guard a penguin who, instead of doing heart warming penguin shenanigans, spends the afternoon telling racist jokes. It was like suddenly knowing how the last dinosaur felt at the moment of its death.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I ever pick you up in December and tell you I’m taking you to a football game, you should make the car crash, possibly by using your watch to deflect light in my eyes or by shooting a poison dart into my neck.

3 Comments / Posted in Experiences, Sports, Winter

Exhibit 14.21

Problems with Winter 1-3

1. I am pretty sure I’m not the correct temperature. My arms are warm, my toes are cold, and the inside of my head–about where I imagine my elementary school memories are–is on fire. I’ve already forgotten about that time we went on vacation and that other time a bad thing happened to a kid I knew. Also, I think my fourth grade teacher smelled like spent matches, but maybe that’s just my memory turning to kindling.

2. My ice scraper was felled by this morning’s lake-like sheet of ice on my windshield. This problem is much more solvable than #1 which is too bad as #1 seems to indicate something unsettling about my physical and/or mental health.

3. My apartment is 58 degrees. This is unsolvable but goes a long way to contribute to #1 and has no impact on #2. I actually don’t mind this so much as it allows me to wear the sweatpants I’ve had since that time in the fifth grade when everyone was horribly burned.

Comment / Posted in Fired, Problems, Winter