Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras, Finalist 2016 CWA Book Award


Take my Prose Writing Workshop, 2019

I’m excited to announce that I’m leading another prose writing workshop starting in late March. I’m also THRILLED to be doing it at Compound Yellow in Oak Park, one of the most exciting arts communities in the Midwest.

The Gint Aras Prose Writing Workshop
Wednesdays, March 27-May 1
7:00-9:00 PM
Compound Yellow 

244 Lake St., Oak Park, IL
Cost: $420

Interested parties should register quickly. I’ll accept the first six (6) participants, and then close registration. Register by sending the tuition via PayPal. Because there are limited slots, and because I need to get organized, all registration purchases are final.

Because there are only six participants, each one will have their prose workshopped twice over a six week period for about 50 minutes.

If you’re stumbling on this blog for the first time,  you can learn more about me here. You should also consider this “teaching philosophy:”

My workshop is not based on any expectation I have of what writing “should be” or any aesthetic I favor. Instead, I use a method that asks writers to consider their goals and what methods or techniques best help achieve them. While I write literary fiction and essays myself, I’m a hungry reader and have plenty of experience with genre fiction, memoir, philosophy, etc. The only limitation is that participants be at least 18 years of age and submit prose. I will not offer commentary on poetry.

A word about Compound Yellow (from their website):

COMPOUND YELLOW IS AN INDEPENDENT, EXPERIMENTAL ARTS SPACE IN OAK PARK, IL.

We are a creative learning and research space comprised of a group of artists, educators, parents and engaged citizens. Compound Yellow provides spaces for studio practices, workshops, lectures, talks, collective imagining and exhibitions. We are interested in experimental cultural production, sharing economies, participatory art, and interdisciplinary explorations. 

We want to celebrate a culture of sharing, connecting and collective action! We’d love to hear from you.

Compound Yellow is conveniently located steps from the Green Line (Ridgeland Station) in beautiful Oak Park. It’s also accessible by PACE and CTA bus, and there is either free or affordable parking in the neighborhood.

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Compound room

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If you have any questions, please email me.

Photos provided by Compound Yellow.

 


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Art is resistance

It’s always an exciting step when your publisher tells you the cover of your book is finished. Here it is.

Relief Execution Cover final

The release date is October 8th. Pre-order begins on Amazon and Barnes and Noble some time late next week, February 21st. Follow Liquid Ink to keep up with the details, including news about the launch party, scheduled for October.

Here’s what Mikhail Iossel, the founder of the Summer Literary Seminars, and a samizdat writer born in the USSR, had to say after reading it:

This short text packs a powerful punch. A searingly raw exploration of one’s roots, one’s original milieu, one’s upbringing and one’s own conscience. At times difficult to read, it is nonetheless entirely engrossing. Hard to look at yet impossible to look away. A remarkable piece of writing.

From the back cover:

Between the years of 1996-1999, Gint Aras lived a hapless bohemian’s life in Linz, Austria. Decades later, a random conversation with a Polish immigrant in a Chicago coffeehouse provokes a question: why didn’t Aras ever visit Mauthausen, or any of the other holocaust sites close to his former home? The answer compels him to visit the concentration camp in the winter of 2017, bringing with him the baggage of a childhood shaped by his family of Lithuanian WWII refugees. The result is this meditative inquiry, at once lyrical and piercing, on the nature of ethnic identity, the constructs of race and nation, and the lasting consequences of collective trauma. 

Fussweg


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My new book, available Autumn 2019

Some people have been wondering why Liquid Ink has been so silent. Instead of writing here, I’ve spent the last year working on a variety of projects, including a manuscript currently under contract with Homebound Publications.

It’s titled Relief by Execution: A Visit to Mauthausen.  As you might imagine, the book is about a trip I took to Mauthausen and what sort of consciousness I discovered there. It’s also an intimate look at fixed ideas I inherited while growing up in a xenophobic and bigoted environment. Those ideas influenced my perceptions, but they finally shattered completely during my visit to a concentration camp.

Expect more news as the publication date approaches, and follow me here on Liquid Ink for updates.  You can also follow my author page on Facebook and hear my banter on Twitter.

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Are you going to hell?

Americans are confused about this question, so I’ve come up with a way to simplify it for us.

Here’s a brief quiz. Today, you can learn if you’re going to hell in only two easy steps.

Step number one: take the brief quiz.

1.) Do you know the Earth is older than 4,000 years?

2.)  Can you name a single book

3.) Are you making America great?

Correct answers:

1.) Yes

2.) Yes 

3.) Yes  

Step number two, let’s debrief.

If you answered “no” to any combination of the questions, here’s news: hell’s not on its way. It might already be here.

Let’s take a close look at the questions:

Question 1

You’re aware that it takes a tree 50 or 100 years to grow, right? You know a fetus gestates for 9 months, no matter the pregnant woman’s religion? Your body requires 6 to 8 hours to go from chewed-up Italian Beef to Chicago-style bowel movement. It takes an ice cube 20 minutes to melt on a summer day. Rome rose and collapsed over the course of centuries. It takes you fifteen minutes to fill a bathtub with water, yet you think the oceans are 4,000 years old? It takes a child 30 minutes to build a sand castle, but the Himalayan Mountains popped up instantly 4,000 years ago?

Question 2

Where did you get that story about how old the Earth is? How do you win friends and influence people, and where did you first consider the possibility that dealmaking is an art form? Unlike those who think things are black and white, book readers consider the possibility that gray might have 50 shades. That possibility extends itself, quite naturally, to believing that values might also be fluid, that evil might put on a disguise.

Question 3

So…you’re not making America great? Well, what exactly are you doing? How are you going about it? If you need the qualifier…if you need to make America great again—back, for example, to the days when the masses could neither read the Bible nor compute beyond the most basic equations—you need to reconsider. To believe we were ever great is to think we never had anything to improve. It’s to suffer from a sin of pride, which at least one famous book identifies as a grave transgression.

And what, according to the book, is that transgression’s punishment?

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Image of the Medieval illustration of Hell in the Hortus deliciarum manuscript of Herrad of Landsberg (about 1180), from Wikipedia


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New short story: Visits

I’m happy to announce that my short story, Visits, has been published in the current (Spring, 2018) issue of Hypertext Review.  You can buy the magazine at the link, or you can attend the Hypertext Release Party at the Book Stall in Winnetka:

Hypertext Review Party
The Book Stall
811 Elm St. Winnetka, IL
Sunday, May 20th at 2 PM

The story behind this short piece of fiction is, just like the story of how I published The Fugue, a case in patience. I completed Visits over 18 years ago. It was one of the first short stories I had written to completion while living in New York and attending Columbia University. I had tried to place it numerous times but eventually put it away as a failed story. On a whim, I responded to a call for submissions, digging it out of the bowels of some hard drive. Now it’s available for all to read, and you can find a preview here.

Yes, that’s a loon on the cover, or a confluence of loon and string. Fitting, I think…

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Reading some smut

Next Wednesday, May 23rd, join me and a host of other Chicago authors to celebrate Volumes Bookcafe and its first-ever publication, Between the Covers, an anthology of lascivious lashings and erotic spew.

That’s May 23rd at 7:00 PM at Volumes Bookcafe, 1474 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago (where else?). Entrance is $10. Click here to order.

I’m joined by Rebecca Makkai, Renee Rosen, Kathleen Rooney, C. Russel Price, Adam Morgan, Sara Cutaia, Susanna Calkins, Maryse Meijer, Tara Betts, Jeremy Owens, Lauren Emily, Thea Goodman, McKenzie Chin and Megan Stielstra.


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Reading with Anca L. Szilágyi

This Saturday, March 3, I’ll be reading from The Fugue, joining Anca L. Szilágyi, author of Daughters of the Air. Anca and I met back in 2016, when I was reading in Seattle, part of the release tour for The Fugue. Since that time, she has published Daughters of the Air, a beautifully crafted novel about a young woman’s flight to New York City, wartime migration to the United States and Latin American identity.

Saturday, March 3, 2018 – 6:00pm
The Book Cellar
4736 N Lincoln
Chicago, Illinois

About DAUGHTERS OF THE AIR

“Anca L. Szilágyi’s intense debut novel, ‘Daughters of the Air,’ locates a deeply personal story against the surreal backdrop of [Argentina’s Dirty War].”

-The Seattle Times

“Anca Szilágyi’s Daughters of the Air is a fantastic debut…a product of alchemy, a creation of unearthly talents.”

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