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Showing posts from November, 2019

An Earth Elegy in Memory of Katherine Min

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The new issue of Conjunctions collects stories, essays, and poems that are, in some way or another, "Earth Elegies". It includes my most recent story, "A Liberation", which I chose to dedicate to the memory of my friend and mentor Katherine Min.

She was generally known as Katherine, but to me she was Kathie. Or just K. (Kafka was one of the interests we shared.) She died in March, one day after her 60th birthday. It was the end of a long, hard struggle with cancer. I've wanted to write a tribute to her ever since the day of her death, but could not summon words that felt accurate or adequate. I'd known her since I was in college, when she worked in the office next to my mother, and one day she said to my mother that she was thinking about writing a screenplay but didn't know how, and my mother said, "My son's at NYU studying playwriting and screenwriting. I'll put you in touch." And she did. Though neither of us went on to do much scre…

Stephen Dixon (1936-2019)

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Sometimes, I would get annoyed when I saw Stephen Dixon's byline, because sometimes it felt like he was everywhere. Pick up a literary magazine, scan the table of contents: familiar name, unfamiliar name, Stephen Dixon. For a while, too, I thought there was a uniformity to his style: long, headlong sentences, endless paragraphs, the minute thoughts of boring white hetero guys. Everywhere. Stephen Dixon.

These feelings of annoyance never lasted very long, because I'd always end up going back to one of Dixon's collections, particularly The Stories of Stephen Dixon and, more recently, What Is All This?: Uncollected Stories. Open a random page of either of those books and you will find energy, weirdness, insight, humor, tragedy, wonder. And while, yes, there's often page after page of hetero white guy yammering, we mustn't forget that Kafka was among Dixon's favorite writers, and Dixon never gets too far away from Kafka's sense of the absurd, the horrifying, t…