Liquid Ink

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


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Video: live interview

This is about a 24 minute video of me answering moderator Amy Danzer’s questions following my reading at The Looking Glass Bookstore in Oak Park, Illinois on February 18, 2016. Yes! That gorgeous bookstore in the background is right here where I live. It’s worth visiting just to see the decor (and to  buy a bunch of books, obviously).

In this video, I answer questions about why I’d want to write a literary fugue, what place setting plays in my writing, how art helps with trauma, and what audience I had in mind while writing.

Enjoy, and do share.

Also, be sure to check out my fledgling YouTube channel. It’s sure to grow as I gather more videos.


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The next threat to American Educators: Murder

Questions:

What’s a good way to keep an educator from provoking a group of young people to think about a point of view that’s unwelcome, unusual or foreign to them?

How could we limit the capacity of a critical thinker to urge youth to explore ideas?

Is there a way an institution of higher education could censor its staff with a high rate of efficiency?

Might it be possible to dissuade a professor from encouraging youth to live an examined life, to urge them toward inquiring whether the ideas they grew up with, the assumptions of their society make sense?

How can we further lower morale among faculty members while further raising it among top-level administrators, particularly those who rarely see or work with actual students, and in some cases earn 15 or 20 times the amount of the lowest paid adjuncts?

Answer:

Threaten faculty with death.

Capture So, it’s not enough to pay your instructors slave wages. It’s not enough to flock them into meetings where overpaid top-level administrators present grids and graphs to highlight just how little money there is for instruction, faculty development or recruitment of talent for the faculty pool. We must also now face the possibility that students will kill us for doing our jobs.

In the meantime, the colleges shrug this off. What can the oligarchs of the American educational system do against the law of the land? They’d better warn the faculty to tread carefully. That, or as the Onion suggests, keep a gun pointed at the students at all times.

Image lifted from GunFreeUT


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Live, moderated Q and A this Thursday

This Thursday’s reading at The Looking Glass Bookstore in Oak Park will feature an interesting twist, something I’ve not done before. Amy Danzer of Newcity, one of Chicago’s alternative weeklies, will interview me live before opening the evening to questions. Amy was the longtime editor of Newcity Lit, and has a ton of experience in the publishing world.

I first met her at Tuesday Funk back in December. If you have not read her review of The Fugue, which she calls “A must read,” you can find that review here. She’s an obvious fan of my work and thought of this herself. I’m really excited to do this, and I hope you’ll come.

An Evening with Gint Aras

The Looking Glass, 823 S Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, IL. 7:00.

(708) 434-5515

You can RSVP by clicking here to access The Looking Glass Facebook page.

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Photo of me standing against a wall in Vilnius, 2007. I took it with a timer, leaving the camera on a dumpster.


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Two new articles today

I’m excited that two new articles about The Fugue appeared today, one of them in time for Lent.

The first is from Newcity, the Chicago alternative press. Amy Danzer calls The Fugue a must read.

Aras’ novel examines the persistent haunting of traumatic pasts, the burden of bearing dark secrets, the lightness that comes with confession, the profound desire to feel understood, and the varying degrees to which people are responsible to one another.

The second is Leland Cheuk’s interview of me. You can read it in Entropy. I talk to Cheuk about Catholic guilt, the state of publishing, trauma and how to remain accessible while writing about topics like visual art and classical music.

I have no training in visual art and only a year of piano. I’m neither a composer nor a sculptor—for that matter, neither am I a priest or a physician, two important players in the narrative—but I really wish I could be everyone at once and learn everything they know. Writing a novel is, for me, a vicarious experience. Life forces us to pick a limited number of roles. But a novel is an antidote to life’s pigeonholing.

Please check out these publications and share the articles.

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Things I understand in my adult years…

This is some stuff I thought about today while cooking chicken for the kids. I have not organized these items in any pattern of note. They just work to reveal what’s invisible to a young mind…or what had been invisible to my young(er) mind…

1.) Queen sing, “To avoid complications, she never kept the same address.” Yeah. Indeed. Complications.

2.) Everything has side effects. Even health. Even death. 

3.) My favorite books take your “writers advice” and shove it up a rectum. 

4.) There is no such thing as a children’s story. 

5.) Virtually all arguments over a pop star’s message are just arguments about the fans’ feelings. 

6.) Prince invented SMS jargon. 

7.) The world’s greatest opera singer can talk to the world’s greatest opera singer only when she’s alone. That sucks. 

8.) When you’re wishing you were someone else, you’re being yourself. The alternative is impossible. 

9.) Cracklin Rosie is a store-bought wommon who makes Neil sing like a guitar hummon just so the rhyme would work. Guitars can’t hum. And you can’t sing if you’re humming. Nobody protests against this song because it was not featured during a kids’ game which is actually a homoerotic metaphor for war. 

10.) Halftime and commercials. Really? 

11.) The ceiling fan should be on the floor. Think about it. 

12.) Corruption, lies, deception, theft, exploitation, greed, waste and stupidity make it possible for me to pay my college loans and feed my children. 

13.) Most of us work making overpriced crap so that we’d have money to buy overpriced crap. 

14.) The restaurant employee will never eat at his place of employment but will take a lover to some other restaurant. That one must be different. 

15.) Your spending habits matter more than your voting habits. 

  


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Reading in Oak Park, IL next week 

Next Thursday, Feb. 18, I’ll be reading at The Looking Glass Bookstore in lovely Oak Park, IL.  The Looking Glass is a gorgeous bookstore, only two years old, located less than a block from the Oak Park Avenue Blue Line station.

The details:

The Looking Glass, 823 S Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, IL. 7:00. 

There are two quality pubs down the street, and I hope to join some friends and strangers for a beer afterwards. Hope to see you! 

  


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Should writers write for free?

In the last two days, two separate people asked me this question. I’ve also seen it up on discussion boards in places like LinkedIn and other sites, so I thought I’d chime in publicly.

Having thought about it, I find the question shocking. Are there any writers left who have not, in some capacity, at some point, written for free? The most common “pay” an author gets for contributing to a literary journal, for example, is a few copies of the journal itself. You get to claim that your writing appeared there, and that makes your introduction at a reading a bit more interesting.

I wrote for free for years. I had an editing job with the potential for a big payout—it was based on clicks and hits—but realistically never came close to earning even minimum wage. While doing it, of course, I had something in mind, and that was the growth of an audience and access to groups of people I’d normally never find. So there was an economic angle on it, albeit a long term one.

I guess my simple answer is that you do what you can with what you have. If you’re writing for free out of a sense of masochism, and without a long-term plan, that might not be the best strategy. There’s a difference, obviously, between writing literary fiction and self-help (or whatever) so you have to weigh your goals and options. People who want your content believe, rightly or wrongly, that it will help them achieve some end. You should have the same thing in mind. What end will providing content to x help you achieve? If you can’t answer that question, you need to figure out why.

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