Liquid Ink

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


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DOMA goes down!!

Liquid Inkers, don’t miss my editorial about DOMA on The Good Men Project.

In short, you get to live your life exactly as you were living it before this ruling. If you believe that an invisible being loves you more than he loves your gay neighbors, you should find solace in that. Human laws do not interfere with your deity’s laws.

What a day!


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To SLS participants

I’ve noticed that the Summer Literary Seminar website has been directing traffic to Liquid Ink recently. That’s really exciting. I’m going to guess that participants are curious about me as a faculty member and what I’ll be contributing to the seminar.

If you’re curious about my writing, let me direct you to the following links:

This is to Finding the Moon in Sugar, the novel I wrote about an American naif who follows an internet bride to Vilnius. One Lithuanian journalist called it “the best guide to Vilnius nightlife” he had ever read.

This is to a republished (and retitled) version of my essay, Baptism Party, originally published in Antique Children, about my experience growing up with an alcoholic father. It describes some of the symptoms of PTSD, from which I suffer. If you don’t know, Lithuania has a serious problem with alcoholism. Quite a few Lithuanians grew up with alcoholic parents.

I also hope you’ll have a look at my essay, Displacing Forces, originally published in Dialogo, and edited by the vastly talented Achy Obejas, about my grandparents’ flight from Lithuania in 1945, and my subsequent return to their homeland. It’s about the tragedy of loss but also a celebration of what it means for a culture and a place to change and survive.

Thanks for all the interest. I’m really excited about the seminar and can’t wait to get to Lithuania. Pasimatysim (see you)!

 


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Raising kids to speak multiple languages

I have a new article up on The Good Men Project, Raising Trilingual Kids in America. It’s about my attempt with my wife to teach our children to speak (and read) Lithuanian and Russian alongside English.

One of the things I found attractive about my wife, beside her violin playing abilities and her energy as an artist, was her capacity to learn languages, and her fluency in five. I consider languages to be treasures, and if I met a djinni, I’d ask to become fluent in every language that has ever been spoken on earth, even dead languages like Prussian. I can’t explain this fascination. It’s similar to my obsession with planting a garden. I don’t take for granted the human capacity for communication, flawed as it is, and I have never heard a language that I found ugly or crass. I remember sleeping in an airport one time and listening to a group of very tired Moroccan men speaking Arabic together. It sounded like a train ride, long and romantic, through an orange and brown mountain range of ancient rocks.

My daughter has learned more Lithuanian before her fourth birthday than I knew before my fifth, and she certainly knows more English than I did as a toddler (I knew virtually none). Some of the ways she translates language have really educated me about the syntax of English and Lithuanian, and the meanings of certain words. I can’t explain them here without going through a long explication of now negatives work in Lithuanian, and how the concept of “sense” is communicated in my old, archaic language. But I’ll say this: you don’t really understand what language you speak until you try to learn a second one. If there’s any universal, absolute value to learning another language its that you realize the one you’ve grown up with isn’t normal, and that many of the assumptions you have about reality are completely artificial, often based on the syntax you have at your disposal. Alan Watts talks about this in his lectures Learning the Human Game.

So far, the lessons dad has gained in the process are so much bigger than the ones my kids have gathered. I’ll be presenting those lessons in my memoir about PTSD. This article is a warm-up of sorts to some of the topics I’ll be covering.

I hope you enjoy and share it.

 


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What I really really really wanted on Father’s Day

Yes, I know I’ve commented on this before. However, I got to thinking about what would knock me backwards and send me shocked through sheets of lightning if it ever happened. So I came up with this, A Father’s Day Fantasy, published yesterday on The Good Men Project.

You should share it with the other dads in your life.

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Photo by sigma316


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Asado Coffee Roasters

Just taking a moment to point out that Asado Coffee Roasters make the best damn cup of coffee in North America. This is a small Chicago business to become addicted to. I was so excited the first time I drank their coffee that I felt compelled to take my clothes off right there in the cafe. Only Chicagoland sex laws prevented this tragedy.

They’re on Irving Park and now finally on the West Side, Chicago Avenue, 1651 West Chicago to be exact. Drink their espresso daily.

Asado


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Inside joke for Chicagoans

“Your full name is Karolis Gintaras Žukauskas?” the man asked. “If I were you, I’d change my name. This is America. It’s too hard to spell. I wouldn’t want to spell that name all the time. And all the forms we have to fill out these days. It probably takes you so long to fill out those forms. I wouldn’t want to do that.”

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Lane.”

“That’s easy.” I waited. “What about your surname?”

“Stevenson.”

“Lane Stevenson?”

“That’s right. That’s my name. I’m Lane Stevenson.”

“So…when you have kids, are you going to name them something like Shoulder Stevenson? Or Median Stevenson? It’ll be cool if your daughter, Median, marries some guy named Bo Dan Ryan. Then she could be Median Stevenson-Dan Ryan. Or if her husband’s Joe Edens, and she turns out to be old school, she’ll be Median Edens.”

“You’re an asshole.”

“Yes. But my name is 1000 years old, and it doesn’t mean ‘Strip of Asphalt Between County Line Road and Lake Shore Drive.'”

For those of you who don’t get this joke (or those of you who just think it’s bad), here’s a picture of beautiful women chewing on a rubber chicken:

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Photo by Twisted Oak.


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The perfect hat

This can’t be denied: there is something about the perfect hat that announces a man’s adulthood and confidence. If you deny this, it’s because you have trouble with hats.

You know who you are.