Liquid Ink

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


Reading from Ghetto Blueblood

In January, I had the pleasure of reading at Waterline Writers, among the most welcoming communities for writers. The venue at Water Street Studios is worth visiting on its own.

Fans of The Fugue and Finding the Moon in Sugar might be curious to know what I’m working on now. This reading offers a sneak preview. This excerpt comes from a recently completed manuscript, titled Ghetto Blueblood, which I’m currently shopping.

Yes…my beard was shaved. My kids had lice, so I sliced it all off as a precaution.

Enjoy. If you’re an industry professional who stumbled on this and became interested, please contact me.

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Take a meditation course

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be teaching a course this spring at the Zen Life and Meditation Center in Oak Park. The course is called the Core Primer Series. Here’s the description from the Center’s website:

Learn Mindfulness Meditation Today. Our Core Primer Series consists of 8 classes and two practice sessions. These classes will ground you in the fundamentals of living a Zen-inspired life.

If you’re wondering what a “Zen-inspired life” is, you’re asking exactly the same question I asked when I first signed up for a Primer course back in 2012. I’m not going to answer it here, except to say that the Core Primer Series teaches participants to develop a practice that allows for living proactively. Meditation improves one’s well being in countless ways.

You can see the calendar here. I’m teaching the class that begins April 7th, Saturdays from 10:00-11:30.

If anyone has questions about this class, they can send them here.

 

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Signed copies of The Fugue for the holidays

The good folks at Chicago’s Volumes Bookcafe will ship a signed copy of The Fugue anywhere in the United States. Interested? Just click here and place your order directly with Volumes Bookcafe. You’ll be supporting a small press, an indie writer, a small business and an independent bookstore all in a single click. Proceeds from The Fugue also go toward the education of two beautiful children (mine).

Those of you who’ve read The Fugue know what an absorbing experience it is, and you certainly know someone in your life who’d like to take the trip. If you order before the 13th of December, I might even be able to personalize your order.

Besides The Fugue, Volumes is offering many titles signed by Chicago-area authors. They include Rebecca Makkai, Charles Finch, Megan Stielstra, Camille Bordas, Mary Robinette Kowal, Linday Hunter, Jac Jemc, Giano Cromley, Alex Higley, Melanie Benjamin, Deborah Shapiro, Nate Marshal, Maryse Meijer, Jamie Freveletti, Kevin Coval and others.

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Literature has always been a form of resistance. In the current climate, reading in order to have your point of view irrevocably changed is a radical act. Sharing literature is an act of radical love. Get out there and love.

My secret to avoiding procrastination

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Here’s my video response to the challenge, 30 seconds to impress. I don’t know if I’ve impressed anyone, but it was a fun thing to try making.

Beyond the point I make in this video is that I’ve come to embrace procrastination as part and parcel of the writing process. My meditation practice has revealed some things about procrastination that are actually worth thinking about.

What do I actually do when I procrastinate? Usually, I’m going over writing scenarios in my mind.

Sometimes I’ll waste time on social media. Of course, these days, I’m writing about an issue, racism and bigotry, that I get to study when I look at social media. I follow very few cat video people, and I’ve long-since blocked or unfollowed people and pages consistently full of drivel.

Other times, I’ll procrastinate by listening to music or—I mean this sincerely—by grading student work. It’s easy to say, “I have work to do that pays me money,” when in truth I’ll turn to grading because it’s a careful means to help me avoid some crucial decision or difficult moment my writing is about to reveal.

That’s the most common reason I procrastinate. It’s because my writing is about to show itself to me, and that’s often a terrible moment. What if it sucks? You come face to face with yourself in your writing. If that frightens me more than news about our narcissist president, his unfortunate followers or the general decline of our culture and collapse of our values, I know I’m onto something.

Procrastination, then, is a teacher.

Sneak preview of my next book

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I’m currently working on a memoir about my upbringing in Cicero.

I have shared virtually nothing of the manuscript, neither with family nor friends, and I hardly talk about it with other writers. Earlier this month, on November 7th, I read an excerpt before an audience at Tuesday Funk.

Enormous thanks to Eden Robins and Andrew Huff, the brains and savvy behind the reading series, for having me again. Reading at Tuesday Funk is always a treat.

 


To hear a Republican politician’s prayer

With so many of our leaders once again offering thoughts and prayers following another mass shooting, I find myself wondering what those thoughts and prayers sound like.

What are you praying for, and what does the shape of your prayer reveal about God? When people lie slaughtered, today in Texas, yesterday in Vegas, the day before in Orlando, what words do your hearts send to God? When school children are sliced and diced by weapons designed for no other purpose, how do you shape a prayer?

You cannot possibly have been praying for these shootings to cease. If you’ve been begging Please, Lord, stop the killing—so many times now to have lost count—you should naturally be doubting your faith. That prayer isn’t being answered. If you believe all things happen through God, the slaughters are obviously part of His Great Plan. Your prayer, then, is a hopeless breath, slain silent in the chaos of so many rifle reports and final cries before death.

Do you pray for the souls to find heaven as the bereaved find solace in the wake of our sins? How does God hear that prayer, and only hours after you’ve prayed for further donations from those who profit from America’s addiction to weapons and fear? How does God allow comfort to the grieving when tomorrow yet another parent will lose her child, yet another son his dad, all part of His Great Plan?

Do you pray for the killers to burn forever in hell? Oh, but you couldn’t. That wouldn’t be Christian.

Your prayers aside, honestly, what are these thoughts you keep sending? What are you thinking? Do you imagine the children strewn across the floor of a classroom splattered with blood? Do you keep in mind the portraits of those shot and trampled during a concert? Do you note their names, think of their humanity, wonder what they might have done the next day, had the gunman’s plan run aground? Do you imagine your own loved ones—or, perhaps, you yourself—shredded by the weapons your political allies peddle?

Or do you think the bereaved can now be counted on for votes? Because, let’s face it, in this dangerous country, where every Fate and Fury can buy a gun, they’ll need guns to keep them safe. And who’ll protect their access to guns, the very guns that kept their loved ones safe in school, at the concert, in church and on the dance floor, if not you, messenger of God, disciple of the word? Where would America be without you?

Where would God?

Prayer

Photo of Praying Hands by Albrecht Dürer from Wikipedia.


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Reading this Tuesday: Tuesday Funk, Chicago

If you’re in Chicago this Tuesday, I hope you’ll join me at The Hopleaf for Tuesday Funk #110. The exciting lineup includes Parneshia Jones, Henri Harps, Jeff Ruby and Britt Julious

I’ll be reading an excerpt from my manuscript-in-progress, which I expect to finish by the end of the year. I have not shared a single word of this manuscript with anyone yet, so Tuesday Funk revelers will be treated to a public premier. My current project is a memoir that deals with perceptions of race, and links between racism, trauma and forms of abuse.

The vitals:

Tuesday, November 7th.
Admission is free, must be 21 to attend.
Doors open at 7pm sharp, show starts at 7:30pm. 

5148 N. Clark St., Chicago

Please RSVP on Facebook — and if you haven’t yet, please like Tuesday Funk’s page so you get their announcements right in your stream.

This is me writing at Volumes:

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Photo by Rebecca George.