Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras


Leave a comment

First blurb for The Fugue

The first blurb for The Fugue, my forthcoming novel (December, CCLaP) is a kicker:

Gint Aras’ epic novel ‎is nothing less than a tour de force masterpiece. In a morality play that takes place against the bleak backdrop of Cicero, Illinois, we see the lives of an amazing set of characters (“displaced people”) haunted by nightmares and dark obsessions. Like a musical fugue, the complex recurring thematic materials of the story carry the reader on a nail-biting journey that sustains incredible suspense until the very end of the novel. The imagery is masterfully portrayed throughout, and the deep sadness of the story is also juxtaposed with the possibility for beauty and redemption. All I want to do now is read it again!

David Krakauer
Grammy nominated international performing and recording artist‎

st a's


Leave a comment

The tender hell of unrequited adolescent infatuation

I’m pleased to announce that my latest work of short fiction, titled “Nothing Extraordinary, Nothing of Note,” is now available in Issue Seven of The St. Petersburg Review. This is a story inspired in part by my Zen practice but also by a brief return to central Illinois when I attended an academic seminar and got to spend the night in Urbana.

The story’s main character is Milt Ilsa, an optometrist and socially awkward amateur poet who spends his time obsessing over lines he knows are loathsome. He has virtually no social life and lives a mundane, tiresome daily routine of meals in diners and visits with patients. One day, of course, he’s met with a realization—it actually happens while he is masturbating—that provokes an experience not unlike a satori, or a Zen awakening, in which the impermanence of all things becomes ultra-clear to him.

Here is a sexy excerpt:

The other woman Ilsa had known only as a teen. This was Deanna, the freckled and red-haired girl for whom he had felt the tender hell of unrequited adolescent infatuation. The youths had never shared any more than a few awkward dances at their high school mixers, nights when Deanna had come with actual dates while Ilsa had to muster all his courage just to show up to the gymnasium, then clench his raging heart into a fist and ask Deanna for a single slow dance. Sure, she sometimes sat with him at lunch, but she did it out of conceit, to feel how powerfully he wanted her. Ilsa knew but sat hoping for some miracle of Cupid. On Homecoming and Prom nights, Ilsa would lie in his boyhood room with the tortured thoughts of what Deanna was doing with the imbeciles who always took her out. On the spectrum of imbeciles, they were far worse than Ilsa, the sons of the Caltoon’s wealthiest: doctors, lawyers, one guy a former college quarterback, another the owner of a factory that packaged frankfurters into plastic.

Although he had never even kissed Deanna, and while he had last seen her more than two decades ago, he still fantasized about her, imagining an adult woman between twenty-five and thirty. The helplessness he felt to these automatic fantasies could actually drive him to fury. This Tuesday night he wanted Melanie, but as if on train tracks, his consciousness left her bed and curled down to the valley station where thoughts of Deanna waited. Of course, he imagined Deanna far more often than Vera.

Interestingly, he often didn’t touch her in his fantasies. The thought of her sitting naked for him at breakfast or on a boat in the middle of an isolated lake could drive him to agonizing climax. In a reoccurring fantasy, he saw her posing for him in a birch forest as he photographed her body, her pubis unshaved, a few yellowed leaves in her wild, frizzy red hair. He was having that fantasy now, himself in the birch forest, a fully manual 35mm Leica in his hands, Deanna leaning against a tree, then arching her back and lifting her arms toward the forest canopy. Now she knelt for him, knees pressing into soft moss, mouth open only gently, green eyes a shade lighter than the verdant background divided by narrow white trunks. For the next sequence of shots, she spread her legs and flashed an intoxicating glance, allowing him to adore her, remaining wildly beautiful for him, freely giving her beauty over so that he could possess it in photographs, return to it whenever he wanted, whenever she was absent.

Purchase Issue 7 here, or order it from your favorite bookstore in July.

Photo on 6-24-15 at 9.51 PM


Leave a comment

Last minute culture

Mobile phones have changed the world in ways that exhaust and confuse me. Today’s experience is a perfect example.

I made an appointment to meet with a repairman this morning at between 9:00 and 10:00 AM. Because it’s summer, my children got up a bit late, and we had breakfast at around 9:00. I don’t sit around at the breakfast table with my mobile phone or any electronic devices out. In fact, I had no idea where my phone was at that moment. What I knew was that a repairman was coming any moment and I’d have to let him in.

It turned out that this repairman was outside. He was sitting in his car right in front of my house and texting me, calling me, leaving messages. When he heard nothing from me, he decided to drive away and deal with other appointments. This despite being a few yards outside my front door, quite literally in a position to hear me talking beside a wide open window.

Back before mobile phones existed, this man would have come up to the door and rung the doorbell. That’s what I, an old time geezer, expected him to do. But now we’re expected—even when someone is depending on our business—to be tied to our phones, to respond to messages from someone who’s standing outside.

I called him at around 10:00 to find out what’s going on. He asked if I could reschedule today, that all he’d have to do is cancel some afternoon meetings. So, someone else would have to rework their entire day because this man cannot ring a doorbell. He actually said it was against company policy to ring doorbells. The rationalization was more absurd than than a chapter out of Camus. “Sometimes people cancel last minute, and they get angry if you ring their bell.”

Perhaps that’s true. It seems true that, these days, the appointments we make need to be checked five minutes before their to occur, because appointments made weeks in advance are only theory. Something better might have come along; someone might have texted us in the meantime to let us know they wanted to take us to something so cool we couldn’t miss it, and that person we spoke to a week or a fortnight before should just understand.

“Hey, are we still meeting today?”

No. We’re not. Thanks for checking.

Here’s a picture of some creatures who’ll show up so soon as you bring them food.

DSCF2994

77140_466648636051_821031051_5543688_2932261_n


Leave a comment

Reading at KGB next Thursday, 4/2

If you’re in New York and have been following my writing for a while (or even if you haven’t), I hope you’ll come to KGB on Thursday, 4/2, to hear me read from my forthcoming novel, The Fugue.

Click here to see the Facebook invite.

This is part of the Columbia Faculty Selects series. I’ll be reading with two talented writers, fellow graduates of Columbia University’s MFA program, poet Hilary Dobel and essayist Marin Sardy.

To have been selected is an honor. Also, god damn, I realize I have really missed New York, last visited in 2012.

Hope to see you, and hope you bring friends.


Leave a comment

A series of good questions

What should I do if I can’t come during your office hours?

Also, if I can’t hand in any of my homework, what should I do?

Another thing, I need to know if it’s possible for me to miss class next week because there’s like a trip to Texas my mom is looking forward to taking. You know, the whole family. She’ll be real sad if one of us can’t go.

Oh, man, this computer just crashed. What should I do?

IMG_0451-0


Leave a comment

Concert for Ukraine in Chicago 

Saturday, March 28th at 7:00, my wife, Maria Storm, will be playing a benefit concert for Ukrainian relief organizations. The first half of the concert, in Chicago’s gorgeous Second Presbyterian Church, will feature classical music by Maria and New York pianist Emiko Sato. The second half will feature intense and moving performances by Constance Volk, Matthew Santos and Foma (from Ukraine). 

If you’d like to donate to this important benefit but cannot attend the concert, please log in to Facebook.com/KyivCommittee 




Leave a comment

Russia at the UN: matter of a faecal nature

A Lithuanian Facebook friend sent me this chain letter—its author unknown—that had made its way through Lithuanian e-mail and Facebook messages. My friend felt I might translate it. After reading, I realized that, as a global citizen, it was my civic duty to translate and share this important document.

I only wish I knew the original author so that I might buy them a drink.

___

Stenographic records of a recent United Nations Security Council meeting:

Chairman: Are there any proposals?

Churkin (Russia): Do you mind if I shit on the table?

All: Nooooo!

Churkin: (Shits on the table before Klimkin, Ukraine) Thank you.

Ukrainian representative: Everyone saw it, right? Russia just shat on our table!

Churkin: You have no evidence.

Ukraine: It was your ass. The shit left your anus.

Churkin: Please present us with facts.

USA representative: Our experts have completed an analysis of the contents of this material. We have assembled coordinates to estimate its point of release. We conclude, without a doubt, that this is shit shat by Russia.

Churkin: Please provide us with proof

UK representative: This is appalling. Russia undoubtedly shat the shit. This cannot continue.

German representative: I suggest we consider the possibility of expressing our common concerns regarding Russia’s current behavior.

Churkin: Veto! (Shits again on Ukraine’s table.)

Ukraine: You saw, yes!? Here, again! Russia just shat on our table. Here’s the shit! Here’s the ass. Here, he’s pulling up his trousers!

UN chairman: If these facts are confirmed, we’ll have at our disposal a variety of possible responses.

Churkin: I’ll repeat. Provide us with a single bit of evidence!

Germany: We believed that sanctions would be effective. However, the stench here is only intensifying. We suspect that Russia is potentially shitting on Ukraine’s table.

Churkin: Provide us with the proof.

UN chairman: I move that we accept the resolution that we are all deeply shocked.

Churkin: Veto. (Shits on UN chairman’s table.)

Ukraine: You saw it, yes?! Here and now! Russia just shat all over the chairman’s table. Russia is dangerous and can at any moment shit on any European table.

Churkin: You’ve failed to provide a single bit of evidence we find acceptable.

US representative: The Pentagon has recorded the risking levels of stench wafting from the direction of Russia. We’ll have to consider the option of revoking Russia’s rights to shit during UN meetings.

Churkin: Veto. (Shits on Ukraine’s table.) You don’t have any proof. In fact, most of the evidence points to Ukraine shitting itself.

Ukraine: You saw that Russia just shat on our table once again.

German representative: It’s becoming increasingly complex to remain here. We invite both sides to a dialogue.

Churkin: Russia elects to exercise its right to a supplementary announcement. (Takes a plastic folder, employs it to scatter shit onto all UN member states.) Russia is a magnificent country and will not allow anyone to pressure us. Without providing us with any evidence, you have no right to dictate conditions. It’s best you now have a look at yourselves. You’re all shitheads. You’re sitting in shit, and the stench is wafting from you. Given this, how can you prescribe any behavior? Thank you for your attention. (Leaves the chamber, throwing the stained folder to the UN chairman and spitting on the US representative’s shoes)

UN chairman: Thank you all for expressing your positions. The next meeting scheduled to consider our concerns over Ukraine will begin after we have ventilated the room.

___

And now for something that only appears completely different. Here are some dashcam videos:

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,300 other followers