Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras

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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.


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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?

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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 




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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:

 

 

 


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What I learned at faculty seminar days

Yesterday, on Presidents Day, (In America, we celebrate “presidents”, all of them.) I attended our bi-annual seminar day. On this day, faculty and staff are treated to presentations and other events like raffles and the distribution of service awards, seniority gifts, a dessert social, etc. We also had Union and English faculty meetings.

Here is what I took away from the event. I’m presenting these epiphanies in no particular order, just as they return to my memory:

1.) The best way to treat someone addicted to cocaine is to give them even more cocaine than they currently have. Use it in the classroom.

2.) If you are entertaining, people will pay you tuition. You are entertaining when you are loud and know the secrets of the internet. Entertaining teachers teach an important lesson: volume and internet secrets are important.

3.) If you find yourself in an emergency, read the guidebook. It’ll explain what to do about the emergency. There are eight varieties, all of them with endless variations. (So I guess that makes them similar to musical notes.)

4.) Enrollments rise and fall. When you accept more students into your classes, enrollments will rise. If you reject students from your classrooms, enrollments will fall. This is true right around 100% of the time.

5.) A good way to pass the time is to point out the obvious to a group of people whose degrees place them steadfastly in the 98th percentile of educated Americans. An example of this: take ten people with masters degrees in math, put up a graph before them and say, “Here are the numbers.”

6.) If someone brings a toy to class, turn the toy into a lesson. For example: today’s lesson is on the Second and Third Laws of Thermodynamics. Please pull out your cell phones. Look up the following “Second and Third Laws of Thermodynamics.” I’ll take your questions. Anybody? No? Class dismissed. (Collect paycheck anyway. Call yourself “innovative”. Brag endlessly. Charge money for your knowledge.)

7.) If  you are pissed off at a colleague, you need a good reason. Example: this colleague makes me angry. Why? Because I’m pissed off.

8.) What you actually do in classrooms is not really all that important. What’s really important is what you will never be able to do in an important classroom. The important room does not yet exist but is in the process of being built for students who do not yet exist but are in the process of being recruited (from nowhere).

9.)    Somebody’s soon going to write a book called 50 Shades of Greyhound that depicts a sado-masochistic orgy on a bus traveling from Toledo to Tuscaloosa.

10.) Everybody’s doing a great job!

 

Image from Wikipedia.

 


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The evening we shared snowflakes (new translation)

It’s official. I am now a translator of poetry.

This past summer, I was delighted when Diana Rebirth, a poet participating in the SLS seminar in Vilnius, approached me about translating a few poems. She had a chance to publish in Quarterly West, and I happily took my hand to them. The results were very interesting, to say the least.

Now I get to put “translator” on the resume. Translating poetry is much more fun than interpreting bar room conversations outside the Vilnius bus terminal, if you know what I mean. One of the poems, Glassland, required learning the structure of a dual pane window, something I never thought I’d investigate.

At any rate, if you enjoy poetry, I hope you’ll share these texts with your friends.

Here are my children, sharing snowflakes, albeit in a different way:

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My publisher’s 2015 catalog

I’m happy to announce the release of The Chicago Center for Literature and Photography’s (CCLaP’s) catalog.

This year, the indie press will publish a very ambitious book-a-month, ending the year with my novel, a book I’ve been working on (and off, and back on again) for over twelve years. I’m still shocked—thunderstruck, rather—to know it’ll be in readers’ hands by the end of the year. And the publisher has some very flattering things to say about it, which I hope you’ll find by checking the catalog.

In the meantime, check out the rest of CCLaP’s titles. It’s humbling to be on a list with these people, all of whom I admire, some of whom I’ve read with before: Ben Tanzer, Karl Wolff, Matt Fuchs, Steven Garbas, Matt Rowan, Joseph G. Peterson, Daniel Falatko, Leland Cheuk, Douglas Light, Mike Sauve, Kendra Hadnott and Michael Strelow. Also in the mix is the anthology of “City All-Stars,” young writers working in Chicago these days.

Also, have a look at the extraordinary cover art. Take this example:

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Now, what’s my book actually about? The novel’s titled THE FUGUE. It’s a family epic that spans several generations and takes readers from Western Ukraine and Lithuania to a poetically treated Cicero, Illinois of the 2nd half of the 20th century. The main character is a metals sculptor—most would probably call him an outside artist—convicted of murdering his parents. The book begins with his release from prison, and the novel’s narrative then travels through various strands of memory, some reaching way back into the years of WWII.

Anyone who liked Finding the Moon in Sugar will be very interested in the novel. I will be working very hard to promote it, and I hope I can have your support.

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