A Creature of Habit

Mark my words, I will never again write a story with a character whose name ends with “in.” I cannot stop myself from automatically adding a “g” at the end of any word that ends with those letters. As such, my story “Top Shelf” featured a character named Justin who was Justing every single time I typed it. I’m working on a story now that has a Quenting who keeps appearing on the page. It’s infuriating.

I was raised in the south. I ought to be conditioned to drop the “g” anyway. But no, this is something pavlovian. So apologies to my brother Kevin, but I will never name a character after him (he will probably be quite relieved to hear that). Laptops are expensive, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to break my backspace key before this story is finished.

In other news, the aforementioned “Top Shelf” is going to appear around mid-October in Graze // Issue 6. Graze is a lit mag published out of Chicago that, in their words, “focuses on what’s on the table as much as the folks sitting around it. We’re interested in the stories that food tells about us–after all, our collective and individual human histories were nourished by the food that we made, smelled, ate, threw up, fucked up, and loved.” That’s just a really cool concept, and “Top Shelf” features a protagonist who is a chef at a struggling restaurant, so I’m thrilled to see it placed in a magazine like Graze. I’ve added a brief teaser from the story in the Short Stories section along with a link to Graze. Be sure to pick up a copy when it comes out in a couple of months.

Starting in October, I’ll also be teaching another round of “Foundations of Fiction” at StoryStudio Chicago, but this time with a shocking twist! For the fall session, the class is going to be online, so you don’t even need to wear pants to take it (though the class does involve weekly video chats, so please be careful where your webcam is pointed). Check the link above for details, and please pass along the info to anyone you know that might be interested in a fiction writing class geared toward new writers or those looking to sharpen their skills or get back into the game. I’ve had a great time teaching it in the classroom, and I’m quite excited to see how it translates to the inter-tubes. Bonus points goes to the student who takes it and lives the farthest from Chicago.

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