Liquid Ink

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


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An Act of Resistance (Podcast)

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Chicago literary celebrity Ben Tanzer this past Tuesday at the famous Billy Goat tavern. We discussed racism, anti-Semitism, refugee culture, victim mentality, perpetration of atrocities, acts of resistance and paths to convalescence.

The result is this podcast.  Hope you’ll check it out. 

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Photo by Ben Tanzer.


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My special guest: Constance Volk

Chicagoans and weekend travelers, be aware: my book launch party is this Saturday, Oct 12th, at 7:00 PM at Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago. The evening will feature Eastern European snacks, a cash bar, and a brief discussion about the process that led to the composition of Relief by Execution. In addition, it will feature the art and music of the absolutely brilliant Constance Volk.

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Connie is a painter, illustrator, singer and multi-instrumentalist. She bends boundaries some of us don’t even perceive, and remains among the most open-minded and versatile artists I’ve ever met. Check out her website here.

Her paintings straddle the boundaries of form and chaos, often blending the two into spaces where the line between these apparent poles becomes irrelevant to the experience of the art. I love these paintings:

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She’s also a stunningly precise and powerful musician.

Here she is playing flute with Ensemble Del Niente.

Georg Friedrich Haas: In Vain (Ensemble Dal Niente, 02/28/13) from Ensemble Dal Niente on Vimeo.

Here she is singing lead vocals for Vicarious Tool, a Tool tribute band (that uses an electric violin instead of a guitar):

Connie will have recordings and paintings for sale, and she’ll be providing live music for the duration of the evening. I’m sure we’ll hear some fusion between Bach and Slayer, probably played on flute.

Come join us!


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Two new essays about writing and identity

I published a pair of essays this week. Along with the launch of my memoir, this equals the highest concentration of new Gint Aras material ever published over the course of a 72-hour period. If you share this news with merchants, you’ll get a coupon for 10% off your next purchase of potatoes. Just say the code “Gint” the next time you’re buying a bag.

LitReactor published this piece about the value a writer can find while digging in dirt. It’s titled Want to Be Radical? Be Sincere. Check it out.

Vilnius Review published this satire about Lithuanian identity. It’s kind of magazine-specific, and uses all sorts of words only Lithuanians will get. However, if you’re interested in questions of diaspora or ethnic identity, you’ll get the point. It’s called Embracing the Beauty of Being Fake. I hope you’ll read and share.

This is a photo of Mexican Amber, just because:

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Photo from Wikipedia.

Relief by Execution is now available

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My memoir, Relief by Execution: A Visit to Mauthausen, is now available anywhere book are sold. You can buy it directly from the publisher’s website, or you can order it from your favorite bookstore. The launch party is Saturday, October 12th at 7:00 at Volumes Bookcafe, 1474 N Milwaukee, Chicago, IL.

I hope you’ll check out and share the trailer for the book.

 


New interview: Collapsing and Constructed Identity, Lithuania Tribune

As followers of my Facebook Author Page know, I’m spending the entire summer in Lithuania this year, something I’ve not done since 1996. I found it fitting to be out here when I got a request for an interview from Alexsandra Kudickis, a journalist who has previewed my forthcoming book, Relief by Execution.

The interview was published on June 25 by the Lithuania Tribune. It’s in English. It covers cultural and ethnic identity, Zen meditation, The Fugue, the Holocaust in Lithuania, and pressing questions about controversial memorials in Lithuanian cities.

You can read the interview here.

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Photo by Žana Gončiar


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Forthcoming essay

I’m excited to announce that my essay, Marquette Park: Members Only, has been included in an anthology: Chicago Neighborhood Guidebook, available in September of 2019. Fans of urban prose and Chicago history, and those readers interested in questions of race, ethnicity, nation and cultural identity will find this anthology provocative and entertaining.

My essay deals with the racial tensions in Marquette Park in the 80’s and 90’s, and the curious question of why so many residents worried about encroachment from African-Americans but didn’t seem to have any trouble with the Nazi headquarters on 71st Street.

You can pre-order here.

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Here is the complete table of contents:

Introduction

Martha Bayne

WEST SIDE

Austin: Austin and Division
Shaina Warfield

Austin: Cakewalk (poem)
Rasaan Khalil

West Humboldt Park: Queen of the Tunnels
Lily Be

Garfield Park: Perspectives (photo essay)
Gabriel X. Michael

North Lawndale: Interview with Alexie Young, MLK Exhibit Center
Amanda Tugade

Little Village
Emmanuel Ramirez, Gloria “Nine” Valle, and Zipporah Auta with Yollocalli Arts Reach

SOUTHWEST SIDE

Garfield Ridge: Comeback Kid
Sheila Elliot

Back of the Yards: Books and Breakfast at the Breathing Room
Miranda Goosby

Englewood:  Interview with Tamar Manasseh, Mothers Against Senseless Killings
Kirsten Ginzky

Marquette Park: Members Only
Gint Aras

FAR SOUTHWEST SIDE

Ashburn: That’s Amore
Tim Mazurek

Mount Greenwood: Growing Up In, and Reporting On, Chicago’s Poster Child for Racial Tension
Joe Ward

Beverly: How to Integrate a Chicago Neighborhood in Three (Not-So) Easy Steps
Scott Smith

FAR SOUTHEAST SIDE

Roseland: They Killed Him and His Little Girlfriend
Raymond Berry

Pullman: Pullman and Ideal Communities in Chicago, the Rust Belt, and Beyond
Claire Tighe

Hegewisch: Pudgy’s Pizza
Josh Burbidge

East Side: Something About the South Side
Mare Swallow

SOUTH SIDE

South Shore: Between the Lake and Emmett Till Road
Audrey Petty

Woodlawn: Memories of Obama
Jonathan Foiles

Hyde Park: Quarks and Quiche on the Midway
John Lloyd Clayton

Bronzeville: Black Metropolis
Alex Miller

NEAR WEST SIDE

Bridgeport: The Community of the Future
Ed Marzsewski

Heart of Chicago: Sketches
Dmitry Samarov

Pilsen: The Quietest Form of Displacement in a Changing Barrio (photo essay)

WEST SIDE

Austin: Austin and Division
Shaina Warfield

Austin: Cakewalk (poem)
Rasaan Khalil

West Humboldt Park: Queen of the Tunnels
Lily Be

Garfield Park: Perspectives (photo essay)
Gabriel X. Michael

North Lawndale: Interview with Alexie Young, MLK Exhibit Center
Amanda Tugade

Little Village
Emmanuel Ramirez, Gloria “Nine” Valle, and Zipporah Auta with Yollocalli Arts Reach

SOUTHWEST SIDE

Garfield Ridge: Comeback Kid
Sheila Elliot

Back of the Yards: Books and Breakfast at the Breathing Room
Miranda Goosby

Englewood:  Interview with Tamar Manasseh, Mothers Against Senseless Killings
Kirsten Ginzky

Marquette Park: Members Only
Gint Aras

FAR SOUTHWEST SIDE

Ashburn: That’s Amore
Tim Mazurek

Mount Greenwood: Growing Up In, and Reporting On, Chicago’s Poster Child for Racial Tension
Joe Ward

Beverly: How to Integrate a Chicago Neighborhood in Three (Not-So) Easy Steps
Scott Smith

FAR SOUTHEAST SIDE

Roseland: They Killed Him and His Little Girlfriend
Raymond Berry

Pullman: Pullman and Ideal Communities in Chicago, the Rust Belt, and Beyond
Claire Tighe

Hegewisch: Pudgy’s Pizza
Josh Burbidge

East Side: Something About the South Side
Mare Swallow

SOUTH SIDE

South Shore: Between the Lake and Emmett Till Road
Audrey Petty

Woodlawn: Memories of Obama
Jonathan Foiles

Hyde Park: Quarks and Quiche on the Midway
John Lloyd Clayton

Bronzeville: Black Metropolis
Alex Miller

NEAR WEST SIDE

Bridgeport: The Community of the Future
Ed Marzsewski

Heart of Chicago: Sketches
Dmitry Samarov

Pilsen: The Quietest Form of Displacement in a Changing Barrio (photo essay)
Sebastián Hidalgo

Greektown/Maxwell Street/Little Italy: UIC: Chicago’s Past and Future
Ann Logue

River West: Cranes of River West
Jean Iversen

CENTRAL

South Loop: Michigan and Harrison
Megan Stielstra

The Loop: Life in Chicago’s Front Yard
Rachel Cromidas

Gold Coast: The Alleys of the Gold Coast
Leopold Froehlich

NORTH

Lakeview: On Belmont and Clark
Emily Anna Mack

Lakeview: The Blue House
Eleanor Glockner

North Center: Signs in Bloom
Kirsten Lambert

Ravenswood Gardens: Chicago River Life
Rob Miller

FAR NORTH SIDE

Uptown: A Trip to the Argyle Museum of Memories
Vitally Vladimirov

Andersonville: The Precarious Equilibrium
Sarah Steimer

Edgewater Glen: Trick or Treat
Kim Z. Dale

West Ridge: Rebel Girl
Sara Nasser

West Ridge: Paan Stains and Discount Vegetables (photo essay)
Stuti Sharma

Albany Park: Edge Zone Chicago
Benjamin Van Loon

NORTHWEST SIDE

Portage Park: Six Corners, Many Changes
Jackie Mantey

Hermosa: Holy Hermosa (poem)
Sara Salgado

Logan Square: The Best Burger on the Square
Nicholas Ward

Wicker Park: milwaukee avenue (poem)
Kevin Coval

Humboldt Park: Along Pulaski Road, From Irving Park to Humboldt
Alex V. Hernandez

Epilogue: The Last Days of Rezkoville
Ryan Smith

Greektown/Maxwell Street/Little Italy: UIC: Chicago’s Past and Future
Ann Logue

River West: Cranes of River West
Jean Iversen

CENTRAL

South Loop: Michigan and Harrison
Megan Stielstra

The Loop: Life in Chicago’s Front Yard
Rachel Cromidas

Gold Coast: The Alleys of the Gold Coast
Leopold Froehlich

NORTH

Lakeview: On Belmont and Clark
Emily Anna Mack

Lakeview: The Blue House
Eleanor Glockner

North Center: Signs in Bloom
Kirsten Lambert

Ravenswood Gardens: Chicago River Life
Rob Miller

FAR NORTH SIDE

Uptown: A Trip to the Argyle Museum of Memories
Vitally Vladimirov

Andersonville: The Precarious Equilibrium
Sarah Steimer

Edgewater Glen: Trick or Treat
Kim Z. Dale

West Ridge: Rebel Girl
Sara Nasser

West Ridge: Paan Stains and Discount Vegetables (photo essay)
Stuti Sharma

Albany Park: Edge Zone Chicago
Benjamin Van Loon

NORTHWEST SIDE

Portage Park: Six Corners, Many Changes
Jackie Mantey

Hermosa: Holy Hermosa (poem)
Sara Salgado

Logan Square: The Best Burger on the Square
Nicholas Ward

Wicker Park: milwaukee avenue (poem)
Kevin Coval

Humboldt Park: Along Pulaski Road, From Irving Park to Humboldt
Alex V. Hernandez

Epilogue: The Last Days of Rezkoville
Ryan Smith


Take my Prose Writing Workshop, 2019

I’m excited to announce that I’m leading another prose writing workshop starting in late March. I’m also THRILLED to be doing it at Compound Yellow in Oak Park, one of the most exciting arts communities in the Midwest.

The Gint Aras Prose Writing Workshop
Wednesdays, March 27-May 1
7:00-9:00 PM
Compound Yellow 

244 Lake St., Oak Park, IL
Cost: $420

Interested parties should register quickly. I’ll accept the first six (6) participants, and then close registration. Register by sending the tuition via PayPal. Because there are limited slots, and because I need to get organized, all registration purchases are final.

Because there are only six participants, each one will have their prose workshopped twice over a six week period for about 50 minutes.

If you’re stumbling on this blog for the first time,  you can learn more about me here. You should also consider this “teaching philosophy:”

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 be at least 18 years of age and submit prose. I will not offer commentary on poetry.

A word about Compound Yellow (from their website):

COMPOUND YELLOW IS AN INDEPENDENT, EXPERIMENTAL ARTS SPACE IN OAK PARK, IL.

We are a creative learning and research space comprised of a group of artists, educators, parents and engaged citizens. Compound Yellow provides spaces for studio practices, workshops, lectures, talks, collective imagining and exhibitions. We are interested in experimental cultural production, sharing economies, participatory art, and interdisciplinary explorations. 

We want to celebrate a culture of sharing, connecting and collective action! We’d love to hear from you.

Compound Yellow is conveniently located steps from the Green Line (Ridgeland Station) in beautiful Oak Park. It’s also accessible by PACE and CTA bus, and there is either free or affordable parking in the neighborhood.

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Compound room

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If you have any questions, please email me.

Photos provided by Compound Yellow.