Liquid Ink

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


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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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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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Take my workshop, help Volumes Books

There’s now an added reason to sign up for my Prose Writing Workshop that starts in April. I’ll be donating 10% of collected tuition to Volumes Bookcafe. The Wicker Park bookstore, one of my favorites, reached out to the community help it stay afloat in an atmosphere that provided challenge after challenge to the small business.

Volumes’ struggle is not one that comes because of any error or poor intention. You can read about it here also also here. When Volumes opened not two years ago, it became an instant cultural institution—an intimate community of writers and readers formed there, as if overnight. The support this store continues to offer local writers, independent and small presses, under-represented voices and young people who gravitate to books, ideas and art is simply unparalleled.

So, if you love Volumes and you have been thinking of getting some feedback on a text  that’s in-progress, or even if you just need someone to provoke you into writing through the difficult start of something, ten percent of your tuition fee will go to Volumes Books.

For the record, yes, I have donated independently to their campaign. Folks interested in simply making a donation to Volumes of any amount can do so here.

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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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The writer who doesn’t read books

I was at a book sale and signing event recently, sharing a table with another writer. The bookstore, located in a place with virtually no foot traffic, was near-empty, and the only people who came to our tables were interested in getting our signatures so that they could use them to enter a raffle the store had organized. My table partner and I spent the time talking about the usual things: book marketing strategies, the publishing industry and our current projects.

Eventually, I asked the guy, “What are you reading?”

He shrugged and said, in a tone so casual to be almost dismissive. “Eh, I don’t really read books. I’m just not really into them right now.”

I had no way of preparing myself for this. The guy was young, in his mid-20’s, right at the age when I had discovered writers who would remain favorites for the duration of my life, whose influence on my writing will never evaporate. He was at the age when I—no children or frightening responsibilities in my life—read between two and three hours each day, towers of books on my nightstand, desk and toilet tank. To this day, I don’t ever leave the house without a book in my bag, so I simply couldn’t hide my shock. “You don’t read?”

“I mean, I do research for projects. I like to study, mostly, so I get stuff from the internet. But I just don’t read books right now.”

I started stuttering. Perhaps I appeared offended. The experience was painful, stinging, unfathomable, inexplicable…I felt strain in my stomach and was overwhelmed by an urge to clench my teeth. “So, how do you work on craft without looking at stuff written by people who are better than you?”

“Eh, I get feedback. I’m in a writer’s group.”

“And…these writers. Do they also reject books? Do they ever tell you things like, ‘Your writing reminds me of such and such?’”

“Maybe they like books, but we don’t talk about it. The group is all about writing, so we focus on that.”

I sat with his answer for many minutes, feeling the silence stretching between us like a bungee cord about to kick back with the force of a falling elephant. I imagined the guitarist who did not listen to guitar, the painter who did not look at paintings, the doctor who rejected convalescence, the teacher who had nothing to learn. On any level, in any environment, the sculptor who had no use for sculpture would be considered a buffoon. If a singer came to a singing coach to reveal she had no interest in listening to song, the coach should send her packing. Yet this young man sat cocksure and certain of his intrinsic talent. Reading would be an admission of either weakness or incapacity.

I finally asked him, “How do you rationalize selling books to people when you don’t want to buy or consume books yourself?”

“Yeah, I get that point. I mean, it’s true, I guess, kinda. But I just got so many things on my plate. I don’t need to read someone else’s stuff to sell my own.”

I realized I was the only person to have ever asked this man that question. His education and culture must have reinforced his position as reasonable and rational. Still, I’d have a much easier time with the pharmacist who knows her wares are poisons just as I could get my head around the grocer who sold high fructose corn syrup without ever eating it himself. But…dude…these are books.

Books.

In America, in the 21st century, it’s not just the president and his followers who don’t read. Some writers have also joined their ranks.

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Photo of a contemporary book burning from Wikipedia.


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Take my Prose Writing Workshop, 2018

Following the super-successful writing course that occurred last year, I’m teaching another prose writing workshop this spring. This time I’m changing a few things around, including the time of the week and venue. I’m excited about the details:

The Gint Aras Prose Writing Workshop
Wednesdays, April 4-May 23, 7:00-8:30
L!ive Cafe and Creative space
163 S Oak Park Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302
Cost: $395

Interested parties should register quickly. Last year’s workshop slots filled in after only a week. The way you register is by sending me the tuition via PayPal. The first eight people to send me tuition and their names will be registered. Because there are limited slots, and because I need to get organized, all registration purchases are final.

The prose workshop will also feature a reading and presentation of our works, held right at L!ve Cafe. The reading preparation will include coaching in public presentation skills, reading practice, pacing and contact with the audience.

If you’re stumbling on this blog for the first time,  you can learn more about me here.

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 write in prose. I will not offer commentary on poetry.

A word about L!ve cafe:

We’re renting the space after hours, which means the whole cafe is entirely ours! This includes the services of a barista who will serve amazing coffee, tea and food. L!ve Cafe is conveniently located steps from the Green Line (Oak Park Station) in beautiful Oak Park.

If you have any questions, please email me.

o