6,994 words written using Twords so far.

Inspired by: dogs, undulating bodies of water, soundwaves, human worth

I like to write: the kind of fiction that makes you feel like you're scraping the inside your belly with a stick, and also the kind that feels like a hot carnitas burrito.

I'm currently working on: two books and ~20 short stories

Find me elsewhere on the web:





Hi, I'm Joe (aka user jgrammer).
I'm a writer.

Public snippets of prose:

The point of fiction and poetry is to increase one's connection to the world around her, and to increase self-understanding (and -acceptance, maybe).

I just watched a video of author Zadie Smith speaking at the New York Public Library and got some halfway-cool ideas from it.

Zadie is from London, but became world-famous in 2000 when she wrote White Teeth, a book seen by some as part of a "new generation" of literature -- a generation that includes guys like David Foster Wallace. (Important note: she doesn't write 8-page sentences like Wallace, so Dad may not hate her quite so much.) Now she teaches Creative Writing at NYU.

The video is 90 minutes, but the basics of it are these:

1.) novels and authors evolve with the times

2.) everyone has her own personal reality, so each writer has her own unique foundation of writing (for her, it was reading old-school British authors like George Eliot, which shaped her as a person)

a.) a person's inability to pin down reality exactly as she sees it provides the space for a writer to keep writing (in Nabokov's words, precisely describing reality is "hopeless")

3.) literature's benefit is to make you feel less like a freak, sometimes to the point that you become aware of your own complete, absurd unoriginality (everyone falls in love, everyone goes through the process of thinking their love is totally new and special in a way heretofore unseen in the universe)

a.) this has the added benefit of letting you feel foreign experiences you can't otherwise have (what it's like to be a Sudanese blind man in 1962, how it feels to be discriminated against if you're gay)

4.) it's OK for books to ask something of the reader (patience, a little work)

5.) read outside your comfort zone

There's other stuff, but that's mostly it. Since I watched a lot of action movies and strange cartoons, and read Redwall and Stephen King and weird postmodernist stuff, I sort of distilled all that crap into my own foundation. Thankfully I evolved a little.

What's something you read when you were little that shaped yiz? What's something you read recently that made you grumble and feel awkward, but forced you to expand, however slightly, your entrenched concept of what reality is?

O del mio dolce ardor bramato oggetto,
bramato oggetto.
L'aura che tu respiri alfin respiro,
alfin respiro.
Ovunque il guardo io giro
Le tue vaghe sembianze
Amore in me dipinge;
Il mio pensier si finge
Le più liete speranze.
E nel desio che così m'empie il petto
Cerco te, chiamo te, spero e sospiro.
O del mio dolce ardor bramato oggetto,
bramato oggetto.
L'aura che tu respiri alfin respiro,
alfin respiro.

A sundry group of isolated caregivers and criminals become trapped in an Okinawan typhoon. People deal with isolation through either peace or violence.

Love you baby!

Candace leans an elbow on his woefully inadequate partition and gestures with her coffee mug to the papers on Dan's desk.

"Lehman hit you again yesterday?"

It takes a moment for Dan to register her speech. He is engrossed by his out-of-date desktop, which is to say he stares pointedly into the ghostly white glow while counting pixels in his head. He turns to face his coworker.

"Problems with the Xin report."

"I see all that red there." She waves her mug at the angry red edits visible on the topmost page of Dan's considerable sheaf.

Dan does his best to hide the flush of shame and rage that wants to bubble to the surface and consume Candace in a ball of fire. He smiles, and cocks his head ten degrees to his left, and pops his knuckles in a way his neighbor, Liv Dollarton, fundamentally despises. The wounded are most often totally innocent.

Everyone is miserable and so should you?

Dan Lopeka works in a factory for ideas, but all the actions taken to enact those squiggly mental constructs are driven by fear, implied or direct threat, and catty interpersonal squabbles that try to fuck over the people beside you for a breath of recognition.

He sits in a cubicle of purple hue, black swivel work chair with the little lever to raise or lower the seat. He wears a pressed white shirt (Creamy Eggshell, to be exact), and the same rotation of slacks from Joseph A. Banks, which he purchased during their perpetual 40%-off sale.

Ay yai yai yai yai! said the prospective client, in response to the question: What forms of marketing do you use currently?

Rationalizing yourself into action rarely works. Get up, fool!

Vasily woke up with an egg in his hand, drunk but not full, on the corner of Leningradsky Prospekt and what looked to be a formation of tanks. He scratched his head, unwittingly breaking the shell he had entrusted to himself and wasting a perfectly healthy yolk on a head that was, at least, not exceptionally clean to begin with.

Men and women, luminous in shorts or bathing suits, played volleyball with guttural cries, spiking the white leather or slamming it with their fists. Along the riverbank mallards blatted at the unclaimed mates that still remained in the summer.