Books Are Magic, 5/24

At Books Are Magic on May 24th from 7-8:30 PM, I’ll be hosting a panel discussion. Come hear Garrard Conley (Boy Erased), T Kira Madden (Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls), and Michele Filgate (What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About) speak on the subject of trauma explored through memoir and essay. Save the date and stay tuned for more details and promo here!

#AWP18: Finding Funding for Your Writing

I spoke as one of four panelists here on the panel, "Finding Funding for Your Writing" at the AWP 2018 Conference in Tampa, Florida. This #AWP18 panel was moderated by Julia Phillips. In this short clip, I discuss practical aspects of a writer's career: relationships, money, time management, fellowships, and competition. And you can read all about our funding advice here, thanks to the amazing Jenn Baker.



What I'm working on right now

A bit of satire. (Oh what a dirty little pleasure it is to publish on Medium.) An essay about my religious upbringing. An essay about the DMZ and my Korean heritage. Short story exercises that I can’t quite call short stories yet. Since it’s winter, I’m going through a heavy reading period, finishing about three books a week. Although I really like that my website is organized in a non-linear fashion – more like a journal, or a conversation, as opposed to a CV of bylines and awards – I’m thinking of an upgrade to this website in the new year that incorporates a CV and short bio page. I’ll be killing off two of my blogs, as they’ve served their purpose – they helped me become a professional health writer (my day job) and a book reviewer. The Strong Women Project is still going strong and stronger – though it will merit its own website at some point, I look forward to sharing more results with you here.

Dearborn Returns!

Please enjoy the video, taken by my dearest friend Will. A joyful coincidence: Will's iPhone went off with a couple of phone calls at the start, so the first 30 seconds are in total darkness. It works because the beginning of the excerpt has to do with my character's experience as a fetus in the womb. I couldn't have asked for a prettier mishap.

I'm happy to say one of the big highlights of 2017 for me was reading at Les Bleus Salon, my favorite reading series in New York City, with my friends D. Foy, Michele Filgate and Emily Epstein. I hadn't read "The Story of Dearborn Russell" for a New York audience before. I feel I've come full circle – I'm an emerging writer, but I've also arrived at an aesthetic, so what could be more appropriate than reading Dearborn, my first short story to have made it into a print journal.

Strong Women Project

I'm feeling excited and passionate about this project, so it's time that I write a bit on my author website about how it's shaping up. Over one hundred women have been interviewed (my original target goal), and because I'm enjoying the process so much, I'm still interviewing more women, asking questions and listening as deeply as I can. The research began with a simple seven-question survey, then came the follow-up stage of Skype interviews, in-person interviews when and where possible, and just spreading the word to women I find influential and inspiring. And there's no shortage of them – I could do this for the rest of my life. And unofficially, that's exactly what I plan to do. Please stay tuned and if you want to share this on your social media networks, hashtag your post as #strongwomenproject. If you want to join the mailing list, please shoot me an email at d.aylett.stewart at gmail dot com. News forthcoming!

Charles and Jungsoo

He stays in the hospital until the man opens his eyes. When the nurse leaves, he washes the man’s feet. He can see the veins spiraling across the man’s ankles, near the base of the feet, at the sides – threads of many colors, strained blood, dancing now, a red-and-blue alarm call. The skin of his limbs, thin as paper. His face is built of thicker, coarser material. Charles holds his hand for awhile, warmth pouring into his fingers. The man’s hand is cold but strong and his eyes are lit with thankfulness, as though he is looking at his own son. Charles returns to the hotel. He receives a call from Catherine. She is irate, how could he possibly ignore an urgent call. He listens. She calms down. She goes into the details of a Georgian-inspired necklace she has collaborated on with a designer friend of hers, a man who has visited their apartment for dinner once before. She talks about social media. Her tweets have atrophied, she says. Her voice fades out. Though he doesn’t mean to, his left ear presses against the surface of his iPhone and the call ends.

Interview Forthcoming with Joel Whitney of FINKS

It is a pleasure and a privilege to be able to interview someone whose work has such resonance for our time of political transition. Joel Whitney's book on the CIA and American literary history in the 1950s and 1960s is impressive, and I'm happy to say our conversation will be going up live very soon. I have learned a lot from speaking with him; the art of the interview is always changing. I expect to see many exciting interviews with Joel popping up in other places, print, broadcast, and online as FINKS makes its way across the country.