My short story “Harlequin Resting,” published by SUNY Press, was inspired by a painting by Byron Browne with the same title. It was fun to connect the idea of attention-seeking clowning with the exhausted ennui evident on the harlequin’s face.
Boise State University awarded 2nd Prize to my novel “Summer, Sun & Fire” in the Basque Literary Writing Contest. The novel explores how Basque mythology still permeates their culture and brings to life several folkloric characters from a unique pantheon.
My flash fiction piece “America in Crisis, 1969,” published by SUNY Press, was inspired by a photograph of the same name by Roger Malloch. To see the Sixties through the eyes of a right-wing biker took a lot of squinting.
Habitat for Artists awarded me a residency to produce a story that incorporated interactions with passersby while writing in a public booth. “A Golden Opportunity” turned out to be one of the oddest and most fun writing assignments to date. I explain the unusual experience further on the Habitat for Artists blog.
My flash fiction piece “Impresario,” also published by SUNY Press, took its inspiration from a wry painting by Grace Hartigan. I envisioned the portrait’s subject as Hartigan’s estranged child, who had a few spicy things to say about his mother.
My short story “Different” won Chronogram’s Fiction Writing Contest for submissions inspired by Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. While Dash Shaw’s illustrations captured the scenes perfectly, bestselling memoirist Da Chen had these kind words to say about it:
“The winner is ‘Different.’ It is brave, raw, and utterly lyrical. It reads truthfully like some black-and-white Sundance documentary. The author skillfully unpeels every layer as we go along. Thus each paragraph ambushes the reader with grenades of more shocking revelations. What amazes me the most is the sweet tone, of a boy different but never bitter, depressed but never hopeless. One knows that a better weekend awaits him somewhere….”