Liquid Ink

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

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Wicker Park Fest, Day 2

So…today Chicago faces isolated thunderstorms and another +90 degree day. Yesterday a crowd of a few hundred stood before the main stage at Wicker Park Fest and sang Que Sera Sera along with a band, this while battleship-gray thunderheads approached. The sky opened. Lightning struck. Adults and children danced. It was beautiful.

Also, some came around Volumes Book Cafe to cool down, grab a drink, then purchase and have their copies of The Fugue signed. I spoke to readers from as far away as Germany and Puerto Rico (and Madison, Wisconsin…and Laredo, Texas…and Aurora, Illinois…and a town in Maine whose name I will never remember).

I’ll be at Volumes again today (er…at an indoor table). Come check out Chicago’s newest bookstore between points of festival frolic. 1474 N Milwaukee Avenue. There’s a chance I might sell out before 4:00, as we have a limited amount of copies left.


Come grab one of these copies before they’re gone


What are people saying about The Fugue?

“Magisterial…like Dostoevsky…” (Chicago Tribune)

“A welcome addition to the bookshelf of Chicago authors…” (WGN Radio)

“A masterpiece of literary fiction…” (Centered on Books)


Writing advice from a terrified man

You should write the thing you would really like to be reading.

You can’t claim you don’t know what that is. That’s like saying you don’t know what you want to order from the menu. Of course you know. If you were by yourself, you’d order it.

Unless you’re one of those people who doesn’t know what to order when you’re by yourself. It’s because you’re playing the bullshit game, believing there’s something better than what you want. There simply isn’t. There is nothing better than what you want. You think, I want to order the best meal. I want to know that, when my food comes, I’m eating the best thing. Who’s going to judge what’s in your mouth? Don’t play games with yourself. No one can taste your food for you. And if you’re tasting something other than what you’re eating, you’re having a delusion, and you’re alone in it.

You’ll say that writing isn’t food. I should be writing for the audience. Which one? You’ll know people who claim to be experimental, sublime, vulgar, minimalist, maximalist, postmodern, classical, formalist, post-punk, marxist, nihilist, spiritual, bleeding and cauterized. Good. Know them. They will never taste the food in your mouth, and they will never know what you would like to be reading unless you show them.

When they read and say you’re not postmodern enough, the experience teaches you little about yourself. Instead, you learn this critic believes he’s really postmodern. He’s a tyrant wishing the world to be different from itself, but he is a walking paradox and has not learned what generates the world in the first place. He looks at mailboxes and fire hydrants and condoms and thinks, “These things are not postmodern enough. I’m not interested in them.” Fool! You want a postmodern condom?  Look at a rubber and say, “Now there’s a Postmodern Condom.” There’s a Marxist Maibox. There’s a Bleeding Hydrant.

You are the hydrant. It’s you. It is also the reader, just as you are the reader. When someone reads this sentence: “The fire hydrant is bleeding,” the hydrant bleeds both because an author has written and a reader has read. If the reader is pissed about a bleeding hydrant, it is because s/he has failed to imagine the hydrant bleeding in a satisfactory way. Writing about a Marxist Mailbox will not solve anyone’s problem. It simply contributes a distraction from the first, and now we have two identical problems instead of one.

Yes, it’s frightening to admit what you would like to be reading, then to show it to someone. It is identical to seeing that pretty girl, the one with the ribbon on her back and the French braid, and walking up to say, “I love you.” Chances are she does not love you. You know this. You knew it the first time you saw her. But there are two reasons to tell her the truth. One is to be done with it. The other is to see what happens.

What is the worst outcome? She’ll murder you in disgust. But death is absolutely certain. Better to be killed for expressing love than to wait for death in a fortress. Better to write the sentence you would like to be reading than to write the one you hope everyone loves. You cannot tell love what it wants to hear; that is a fraudulent start, the relationship headed for doom. Instead, when you write, you want someone to say, “I thought I was the only one who saw bleeding hydrants.”

Of course you’re not. Hydrant blood puts out fires.


Photo by Darin Barry.

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Jim Lopez: “Hacking his own language out of everything at hand…”

There’s always a special place in a writer’s heart for the first editor who reaches out to him with the inquiry, “I’m wondering if you’d like to write something for me.” In my case that man is Jim Lopez, editor of Antique Children. If you’ve never read Antique Children, you’re simply missing out on a truly unique literary magazine, exceptionally compelling and engaging. Jim’s full length book, Abstracts of an American Pageant, is one of those works of art that straddles the line between the depraved and the sublime, often pointing out that depravity is actually sublime while, to the right kind of eyes, the sublime is depraved.

I’d tell you something more about Jim’s work, but I’m afraid Andrei Codrescu cannot be topped:

Jim Lopez is a philosopher/writer who is inventing an extraordinary form of politically radical literary journalism. Violent urbanism and eerily psycho suburban offshoots vein his rich, vernacular prose. Jim Lopez is hacking his own language out of everything at hand, including the work of Friedrich Nietzche, fresh graffiti in a derelict Los Angeles, and kinky sex. Visual, ethnically explosive and unsentimental, Lopez is also fun to read, like Kathy Acker, like an extreme porn mag in history class. -Andrei Codrescu

You should watch this bit of guerrilla filmmaking in his honor: