Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras


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Independent Bookstore Day: Volumes Book Cafe

I’m very happy to team up with Volumes Book Cafe to sell some books tomorrow afternoon. It’s Independent Bookstore Day, and Volumes is Chicago’s newest bookstore. I recently visited to take some pictures and just fell in love with the gorgeous space. It’s bright, uplifting, heavily caffeinated, and the shelves are stacked with great books. I was especially impressed with the extensive fiction collection.

Come tomorrow between 1:00-3:00 PM to meet me, buy a book and get it signed. If you haven’t heard, the Chicago Tribune called my novel, The Fugue, “magisterial,” and Centered on Books said it’s a “masterpiece of literary fiction.”

My publisher, Tortoise Books, will also be on hand to sell many of their titles.

Here are some impressions of Volumes:

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Volmumes 4Volumes toilet

 


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Next appearances: City Lit Books and Volumes

If you’ve not yet had a chance to hear me read, or you would like to buy a copy of my book from me personally, have it signed, this week is your chance.

I’ll be appearing at two of the best bookstores in America: City Lit Books in Logan Square, Chicago, and Volumes Book Cafe in Wicker Park, also Chicago.

At City Lit, I’ll be reading as part of the Logan Salon Series with the likes of Rachel Slotnick (the visual artist/poet responsible for the stunning mural near the Logan Square “L” stop), Mark Magoon and Ralph Hamilton.  I’m the only author of prose at this reading, so I’ll try to compliment these fine writers by reading a lyrical section of The Fugue, one I’ve never read in public before.

At Volumes, as part of Independent Bookstore Day, I’ll be selling copies of The Fugue between 1:00-3:00, and I’ll probably stick around afterwards to help support other writers. I’m very excited to team up with Volumes, about whom The Chicago Review of Books raved.

Except for a reading in May, these will be my last appearances in Chicago until the summer, as I’m going to Europe for a few weeks to shut my busy ass down.

Logan Salon Series: April 28, 6:30, City Lit Books, 2523 N Kedzie, Chicago

Independent Bookstore Day: April 30, 1:00-3:00, Volumes, 1474 N Milwaukee, Chicago

Volumes

Photo provided by Volumes.


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Writing advice from Alan Watts

This is kind of classic Alan Watts. I just stumbled on it while looking for a text for a student. Watts says he has no advice and then gives the best advice you’ll ever get.

Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.

Alan_Watts_age7

Photo of Alan Watts, age 7, from Wikipedia.


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I love the Twin Cities…

This past weekend, I got the opportunity to address students at Hamline University’s MFA program, then to read from The Fugue to an audience gathered at the gorgeous SubText Books in downtown St. Paul.

This was among the most successful events I’ve ever had. I was so impressed with Hamline’s students, with the staff at SubText—they take extra steps to support the readers and presenters who offer their wares—and with the Twin Cities in general. I can’t wait to go back.

Fans of literary fiction in the Twin Cities area who stumble on this post should know that SubText currently has two signed copies of The Fugue in stock. So if you had been interested in going but couldn’t make it, a consolation prize awaits.

I must express enormous gratitude to the West Egg Literati, the student organization at Hamline that invited me, and to SubText for giving an independent author an opportunity.

This is Hennepin Bridge:

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Reading tonight: SubText Books, St. Paul, Minnesota

The good folks at Hamline University’s MFA program were kind enough to invite me to talk to students about publishing and writing. I’ll be meeting with them today in the afternoon.

In the evening, I’ll give a reading at SubText bookstore in downtown St. Paul.

  6 West 5th Street, St. Paul, MN, 6:00 PM

If you’re stumbling onto my blog for the first time, be sure to read this glowing review of my novel, The Fugue, in the Chicago Tribune.

By the way, it’s Record Store Day, and Eclipse Records are right next door. 

Here’s a photo of my pen’s difficulties:

  


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Ben Tanzer’s SEX AND DEATH

Sex and Death, by Ben Tanzer. Buffalo, New York: sunnyoutside, January 2016. 72 pages. $13.00, paper. With a title as provocatively Freudian as Sex and Death, a reader might expect a book of stories that never ends, or one that encapsulates the life of every person who has ever existed on the planet. Well, a […]

http://heavyfeatherreview.com/2016/04/12/ben-tanzers-sex-and-death/


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A very difficult question

Just a few weeks ago, I was in New York (to read at the Guerrilla Lit Reading Series at Dixon Place). While it was a mini-vacation for me, I ended up taking a phone call from a reporter who wanted to write me up for the Suburban Life. You can read that story here.

I took the interview while wandering around Central Park at dusk. Save for occasional brisk gusts, the evening was ideal, with the lights of the buildings along Central Park West and then 5th Avenue shining through leafless trees, the moisture in the air anticipating spring. For a part of the interview, I sat on an outcrop and, as night had fallen, did not encounter a single soul.

The reporter asked me some very difficult questions, perhaps more difficult than the ones Amy Danzer asked in this live interview of me. As these things go, obviously, some of the answers were cast aside in the drafting process. But one question stayed with me ever since that private moment on a Central Park boulder, perhaps because I had such a hard time answering it.

What does writing mean to you?

I had no idea how to answer this. I remember sighing and looking at the grass. What does it mean? I said something but can’t remember what.

I love writing fiction because it’s enough to ask a big question, poor form to try to answer it. But shouldn’t I know the answer to this?

I think, to answer it, I should compare writing to something I care very little about, like my shoes. My shoes mean almost nothing. They keep my feet from pain and offer me some capacity to look decent in public. Writing means much more than this.

But what?

I could get Zen about it. Meaning is a construct. But that’s a cop-out, especially when a reporter intuits that writing means some very important thing. After all, I wrote a 480 page book.

Since that time, I’ve found myself wondering if I would go on living were I to lose the ability to write. Let’s say I ended up suffering brain damage and could only know I’m unable to write stories burning themselves out in my mind. If I could see those stories and know them, feel their narratives like rivers or currents in my body, but never release them, would I keep living?

Surely, this bombastic question points to some meaning. I can’t answer it because my imagination can’t take me to the necessary place.

Central Park

 

 

 

 

 

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