Liquid Ink

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


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Reading tonight in New York!

I’m in New York for tonight’s episode of Pen Parentis, the New York literary salon for writers who are also parents. Fitting for this hot day, our theme is “Love”. How did the organizers know I don’t write about anything else?

I’m joined by the mega-talented and enormously successful Jennifer Probst and Marcy Dermansky. The reading is in the ultra-swank Andaz Hyatt on Wall Street, where literary nerds rub elbows with masters of the universe. In the meantime, Jennifer, Marcy and I will entertain questions about how parents can carve out time to write.

Copies of The Fugue will be available for purchase, and I’ll be happy to sign your copy, along with all the copies you buy for the people you love.

If you’re in New York, I hope you’ll show up.

andaz-wall-street-a-concept-by-hyatt-entrancePhoto of the Wall Street Andaz Hyatt. 


Your right to hate speech

This should only be said once.

Dear Nazis, no one is taking away your right to spew your hatred. You’ve been doing it all along: on the Internet, at dinner parties, on bar stools, during Thanksgiving dinner, and now in Portland, where you were met with opposition.

The reason you believe you’re being oppressed or denied rights is because you conflate your right to spew blather, ignorance and mental sewage with the listeners’ need to believe you or agree with you. This is how freedom of speech works. You stand up and spew your hatred, express your ignorance, make public fools of yourselves, and your peers duly note it. When you stage your protest, the counter-group stages theirs. That’s not a denial of your rights. On the contrary: it’s you expressing your right to stand up in public and say “I’m an imbecile!”

We know, and we’ve known all along.

There’s a reason most people don’t believe you. You’re blatantly and idiotically wrong, and your world view is psychological and sociological pollution. Your loathing is based on a false perception, on constructs you’ve never taken the time to investigate or think over. Your ideas would bore most of us if they didn’t lead to violence and the destruction of lives.

It bothers you to witness those you loathe supported politically or enjoying economic success, larger acceptance into mainstream society, or just greater confidence to walk hum-drum down city streets as everyday people and not “others” or “freaks”.  You believe that the success of those you loathe disenfranchises you. That’s to say your power or station in society is not actually the result of anything you yourselves can do or manage. In order for you to feel secure, you need someone else to be struggling or denied their humanity. “How come I’m not wealthier than these people I hate?” Good question. Don’t most of you believe that you get what you deserve, that individuals determine their own fates all on their own?

Your mistake is to think that power and acceptance are ladled out like soup. More soup for “them” means less soup for “you” until the whole pot has been distributed. Forget about the idea for a moment that the difference between “them” and “you” is constructed in your mind. If you woke up to see that your neighbor’s success actually makes your life easier, you’d have no need to raise your right hand in defiance of your society’s democratic values.

But you won’t ever see that. It’s obvious. Every time you speak freely, raise your hands into the air, you make that perfectly clear. It’s clearest when you stand up and wonder why you don’t have the right to speak freely, as if you’re unaware that you’re speaking. That has always been to most baffling part to me. It’s always the loudest and most hateful drunk in the bar screaming “Why isn’t anyone listening to me?”

Soap Box

 

 


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Register for the Northwestern University Writers Conference

Conference registration is now open! The full schedule and bios can be found here. Facebook users can find the Facebook page here. Interested parties can register online and take advantage of early registration rates through July 21. The conference takes place between August 17-19th on Northwestern’s downtown Chicago campus, 339 East Chicago Avenue.

On Saturday, August 19th, I’ll be leading a workshop titled Ear Training for Writers. Here’s the description from the website:

This workshop considers the skill of listening to people speak for the purpose of writing dialogue. Just as observation skills are important to develop for the purpose of description, there are techniques writers can use to hone their dialogue-writing skills. The workshop will work with recordings of conversations and also provoke participants into brief conversations about random topics. Participants will consider how word choices, rhythm, diction and syntax contribute to character.

I’m also available for manuscript consultation. For information about that, please click here.

Of course, the conference features exciting keynote speakers and special performances.

Stuart Dybek is the keynote speaker on Thursday, August 17. His presentation is entitled A Kiss Crosses the City. (Those of us who worship The Coast of Chicago will know what that’s referencing.)

On Friday, August 18, Ines Bellina, Lindsay Hunter, Parneshia Jones, Fawzia Mirza, and Megan Stielstra will give a keynote discussion, Tell it to the Page and Yell it to the Sky: On Writing and Performance.

On Saturday, August 19, the live lit storytelling show You’re Being Ridiculous has put together a fantastic lineup of performers.

Each evening features special events scheduled in connection with the conference that faculty, attendees, as well as the general public may attend.

8/17 – NU Graduate & Faculty Reading @5:30pm

8/18 – TriQuarterly Reading @5:30pm

8/19 – People’s History of Chicago event featuring Kevin Coval and local guests @ 5:30pm

In short, nobody can fuck with this.

800px-University_Hall_Northwestern Photo of University Hall from Wikipedia.


Own it, America

We’ve left the Paris Accords.

Let’s face it, Americans. This is who we are. This is our face. This is what we’ve done to ourselves and everyone else. It’s malignant, profane, destructive, and we’re beyond the point that we should be embarrassed. Our current course should be terrifying.

Left-wing talk on social media and over airwaves today begs the world to understand a variety of platitudes, all meant to separate us from the act.

Not all of us are this way! 

A minority elected him!

It’s just a fringe that think like this!

I recycle!

None of that matters. We have a half-literate madman at the helm, driven by greed and narcissism. He’s not supported by some mythological horde of angry and bitter maniacs who deny reality or know no alternative to their passive aggression. Currently, the vast majority of Republican politicians support him. There is no rational, civil or sensible case to be made for the support of a man who puts short-term profit and thumb-nosing above the destruction of our planet. Yet there he stands, complete with his covfefe (which my autocorrect kept trying to change), his party toeing the line as he stomps about the garden.

Our process elected him. He is the result of our apathy and adoration of ignorance. This is from Business Insider:

Nearly 139 million Americans [turned out in 2016]…but that total suggests that only 60% of the country’s 232 million eligible voters actually voted…

For some Americans, the two names at the top of the 2016 ticket were so unpalatable that they opted not to vote for president at all, instead focusing on down-ballot races.

In 14 states, more people voted in the Senate races than voted for president. The overall results show that nearly 2.4 million people nationwide cast ballots but left the presidential line blank.

Inexcusable. We need to be done with the excuses and platitudes and realize that a critical mass of Americans support a party that sees no problem with our current course of mayhem. Not even the potential for mass extinction humbles them before their desire for profit and power. They see a malignant narcissist and wonder what they personally might gain from his madness. Opportunists are everywhere. Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, who once said our president “doesn’t know anything” about foreign policy, just yesterday tweeted this utter non-sense: “I support President Trump’s desire to re-enter the Paris Accord after the agreement becomes a better deal for America and business.”

Our system is flexible enough that we can change this course, but the first step has to take place in our consciousness. Right now we are a nation led by a party whose only compass is profit and personal gain, whose God is Ayn Rand, not Jesus Christ. Its leader is a man so toxic that he poisons any system he enters. We are, all of us, members of that system, and we can’t change it by putting forth an effort to separate ourselves.

We left the Paris Accord because we elected a man and party who see no course as wrong so long as their wealth is growing and protected, even at the expense of their grandchildren. If we want to change that, we have to take responsibility and action ourselves, and the first step is to look at the mess. It’s in our house.

IMG_4389


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New interview up today

The folks at In the Coming Time were so kind to interview me about my books and photographs of puddles. I hope you’ll check it out.

Here’s an excerpt:

Puddles make for a simple subject to photograph. They’re really straightforward, even cliché, as what’s really happening is I’m photographing reflections. There’s something meta about that, at least for me: I’m reflecting on my writing process while photographing reflections of pond grasses and trees floating on a millimeter of water soon to evaporate from some alley or forest footpath. They’re ephemeral tragedies, like thoughts or feelings that never get shared.

Thanks for reading. Find the rest here


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Free paper for film class

In case there’s somebody who’s in a crunch and really needs a last-minute paper for their Intro to Film class, I wrote this one. Don’t say I never helped you out. Just cut and paste and hand it in. Don’t worry. Your teacher won’t figure out you got this from the internet.

This paper works for any film class, any director and any project. Believe me. I have proof.

The film’s main point is how there’s like a meaning to anything, including the meaning of things you never even thought about, for example flowers or like a guitar sound in the background, or even a famous actor who you think is hot in real life but in the film they’re just like a regular Joe or even a character who needs to figure out the main part about the movie, which usually gets made up by a director, plus all those people who help out in a film, where you need electricity and somebody to set the table and make sure you have all the different props in the right place, maybe even a couple of things just in case you run out, and then you get to start making it, because it’s generally about how if you want to be strong in this world, then you need a lot of strength and passion, or how it’s not fair because they have money in high places and the poor people always get to sweep the floor or they have to figure out the problem all by themselves, which if you think about it is the same as all the lessons on how they made your life for you and you didn’t even do nothing about it, except maybe a couple of things, which now in days get all around big cities, you know, with social class in it, and then you can’t even see the theater anymore because what are you supposed to do if it costs like ten bucks to go in a film and they ask you for that money right at the window, not outside where the cars are still getting parked, and if you bring your own popcorn pretty much you’ll get told no, you can’t, so that’s why I only got to see like two out of the four films this semester even though I got a lot out of them and I am happy about it since now I know how to talk about film with anybody.

If you fail, just say, “Fuck off. I got this from a film teacher. I put social class in it.”

Good luck.

BolexH16

Image from Wikipedia.


The 21st Century Holocaust

The video below is from December. Lucy Aharish told us then that we were facing a holocaust, and the world is witnessing that holocaust right now, amplified and accelerated before us: a barbaric, categorical slaughter of citizens.

While American leaders demonize these innocents, using them to fan fears among imbeciles and racists in an effort to secure votes, our global adversaries dare us to stop the slaughter, thumbing their noses while children lie dead on concrete and dirt, their mouths open like suffocated fish, their skin bleached and burned.An_Aerial_View_of_the_Za'atri_Refugee_Camp

Our grandchildren will ask us why we did nothing to stop the slaughter, why we allowed it to get to this point, and why we did not welcome the victims, offer them refuge. The answer isn’t complicated: we didn’t care. We believed in the delusion that these people were “over there” while we were “over here,” that there was some massive difference between them and us. We saw the videos and photos, read the testimonies, understood the geo-political game and sat back to say, “It doesn’t affect me.”

Whatsoever you do to the least of My people, that you do unto Me.

Realize who our most influential thinkers have been. We are not followers of Hamilton, Franklin, Lincoln or any of the people on our money. We are certainly not followers of Christ, who told us whatsoever we did to the least of His people we did unto Him.

There he is, Jesus of Nazareth, asking to be let in to our home, and we refuse because he might be a terrorist, this Middle Easterner with a beard.

Our most influential thinker is Ayn Rand. She would shake our hands right now and say, “Well done. Help is futile. Fools get what they deserve.” And look at the evidence! The stock market is rising, isn’t it? Haven’t the prices of homes gone up? Aren’t we “bringing back coal” and reducing regulations, cutting aid for the poor, ruining our presently bad schools, getting tough with unions, keeping terrorists out, making sure married people don’t sit at the table with members of the opposite sex, taking rights away from women, from minorities, from people we hired ourselves to work for less than minimum wage? All while shrugging at the images of a holocaust a half-hour after the electorate shrugged off a madman’s racism, rationalizing their vote by claiming they wanted “change” and had “economic reasons,” lying to themselves all in to the trope of bringing America back to some former greatness?

Greatness is just around the corner. Our grandchildren will be interrogating us sooner rather than later. They might not ask us why we did nothing to help. They might be wise enough—er, great enough—to ask the obvious question: “Grandfather, grandmother, why didn’t you care?”

 

Lucy Aharish – nobody stopping holocaust in Halab, Syria from EurOpinion on Vimeo.

Photo of the Za’atri camp in Jordan from Wikipedia