Liquid Ink

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


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


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.

 


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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.


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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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.


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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.