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. 


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Tribes with the best wife materials

So…somebody stumbled onto Liquid Ink by accident after searching for the words sex kilba. Seeing this, how could I not run my own search? If you run the search as a single phrase, the results are rather different and arguably a better use of one’s time on the internet.

Mind you, someone *really* must have been wild for sex and kilba to stumble onto Liquid Ink, as you’ve *really* got to scroll down to get to my website.

When I’m next asked what was unexpected about the reception of my novel, I’ll have to talk about tribes with the best wife materials.

For those who don’t know, Kilba is a character from The Fugue, a priest who plays an important role in the fate of Yuri, the metals sculptor. To date, two people have told me Kilba is their favorite character. Never in their wildest dreams would they have associated the old priest with the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, or with food and sex so good it will trap you forever.

Right?

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Next appearances: City Lit Books and Volumes

If you’ve not yet had a chance to hear me read, or you would like to buy a copy of my book from me personally, have it signed, this week is your chance.

I’ll be appearing at two of the best bookstores in America: City Lit Books in Logan Square, Chicago, and Volumes Book Cafe in Wicker Park, also Chicago.

At City Lit, I’ll be reading as part of the Logan Salon Series with the likes of Rachel Slotnick (the visual artist/poet responsible for the stunning mural near the Logan Square “L” stop), Mark Magoon and Ralph Hamilton.  I’m the only author of prose at this reading, so I’ll try to compliment these fine writers by reading a lyrical section of The Fugue, one I’ve never read in public before.

At Volumes, as part of Independent Bookstore Day, I’ll be selling copies of The Fugue between 1:00-3:00, and I’ll probably stick around afterwards to help support other writers. I’m very excited to team up with Volumes, about whom The Chicago Review of Books raved.

Except for a reading in May, these will be my last appearances in Chicago until the summer, as I’m going to Europe for a few weeks to shut my busy ass down.

Logan Salon Series: April 28, 6:30, City Lit Books, 2523 N Kedzie, Chicago

Independent Bookstore Day: April 30, 1:00-3:00, Volumes, 1474 N Milwaukee, Chicago

Volumes

Photo provided by Volumes.


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The tender hell of unrequited adolescent infatuation

I’m pleased to announce that my latest work of short fiction, titled “Nothing Extraordinary, Nothing of Note,” is now available in Issue Seven of The St. Petersburg Review. This is a story inspired in part by my Zen practice but also by a brief return to central Illinois when I attended an academic seminar and got to spend the night in Urbana.

The story’s main character is Milt Ilsa, an optometrist and socially awkward amateur poet who spends his time obsessing over lines he knows are loathsome. He has virtually no social life and lives a mundane, tiresome daily routine of meals in diners and visits with patients. One day, of course, he’s met with a realization—it actually happens while he is masturbating—that provokes an experience not unlike a satori, or a Zen awakening, in which the impermanence of all things becomes ultra-clear to him.

Here is a sexy excerpt:

The other woman Ilsa had known only as a teen. This was Deanna, the freckled and red-haired girl for whom he had felt the tender hell of unrequited adolescent infatuation. The youths had never shared any more than a few awkward dances at their high school mixers, nights when Deanna had come with actual dates while Ilsa had to muster all his courage just to show up to the gymnasium, then clench his raging heart into a fist and ask Deanna for a single slow dance. Sure, she sometimes sat with him at lunch, but she did it out of conceit, to feel how powerfully he wanted her. Ilsa knew but sat hoping for some miracle of Cupid. On Homecoming and Prom nights, Ilsa would lie in his boyhood room with the tortured thoughts of what Deanna was doing with the imbeciles who always took her out. On the spectrum of imbeciles, they were far worse than Ilsa, the sons of the Caltoon’s wealthiest: doctors, lawyers, one guy a former college quarterback, another the owner of a factory that packaged frankfurters into plastic.

Although he had never even kissed Deanna, and while he had last seen her more than two decades ago, he still fantasized about her, imagining an adult woman between twenty-five and thirty. The helplessness he felt to these automatic fantasies could actually drive him to fury. This Tuesday night he wanted Melanie, but as if on train tracks, his consciousness left her bed and curled down to the valley station where thoughts of Deanna waited. Of course, he imagined Deanna far more often than Vera.

Interestingly, he often didn’t touch her in his fantasies. The thought of her sitting naked for him at breakfast or on a boat in the middle of an isolated lake could drive him to agonizing climax. In a reoccurring fantasy, he saw her posing for him in a birch forest as he photographed her body, her pubis unshaved, a few yellowed leaves in her wild, frizzy red hair. He was having that fantasy now, himself in the birch forest, a fully manual 35mm Leica in his hands, Deanna leaning against a tree, then arching her back and lifting her arms toward the forest canopy. Now she knelt for him, knees pressing into soft moss, mouth open only gently, green eyes a shade lighter than the verdant background divided by narrow white trunks. For the next sequence of shots, she spread her legs and flashed an intoxicating glance, allowing him to adore her, remaining wildly beautiful for him, freely giving her beauty over so that he could possess it in photographs, return to it whenever he wanted, whenever she was absent.

Purchase Issue 7 here, or order it from your favorite bookstore in July.

Photo on 6-24-15 at 9.51 PM


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Americans fear creativity

I was taken by the story of Paris Gray, a high school student in Georgia disciplined for bombing her yearbook quote. She cleverly used chemical symbols from the periodic table to code the title of a hip-hop song by Juvenile. The song is vile and disgusting, but I think that’s beside the point. This girl beat the censors with a code that obviously embarrassed the school. I comment on it in this week’s True Community.

Check it out. And please do share.

Cap-and-Gown-

Photo by TAMUC


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Wish me a happy birthday

Today is my birthday. I am 41. I know that you really want to express yourself glowingly. Luckily, I’m easy to please.

Just like my author page on Facebook. That’s the gift that will return wonderful karma and wit back to you a million times over:

Generosity is only one click away.

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Teen pregnancy epidemic

Today’s True Community article deals with teen pregnancy, an issue that’s very important to me, and not merely as an educator. I’m using an extreme word, epidemic, in the title of this blog post perhaps unfairly; efforts to bring down the teen pregnancy rate have been working, and currently we’re at historic lows for all US ethnic and racial groups.

Still, in my environment I see it all the time, and it causes problems we’re all familiar with. I really think we need a shift in the consciousness surrounding our concept of sex education. We have to get over our puritanical point of view and give people information that can keep them from making poor decisions.

This week I profile a pair of students that I had some time ago. Their stories are sad but important. I hope you’ll check it out.

young-couple

 

Photo by Mike Baird