This morning, I had an essay in The New York Times‘ Lives column. The essay appears in the magazine insert and also online.
Huge thanks to the editors for believing in the essay and offering great edits. Also, a big thank you to Melinda Josie for the great piano illustration.
I’ve never had so many people read my work before, which is exciting! But I’ve also never gotten incoherent hate-mail from strangers before, which is less exciting.
I imagine that people like Roxane Gay and Arthur Chu, who write really well about difficult and controversial things, must get a lot of unfriendly mail. I have so much respect for what they do.
Thanks to everyone who chimed in to offer congratulations or to let me know that they enjoyed the essay. It means a lot.
My story, “The Punk Rock Parking Lot Cremation of John Purdie,” is out now in the most recent issue of Redivider. Big thanks to the editors for taking it!
The story is about a high school punk band. Whenever they play music together, the world starts to unravel around them.
You can find out more at the Redivider website.
I’m really pleased that Judge Kate Christensen selected my story, “The Deer,” as this year’s Winner of the $1,000 Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction. “The Deer” will appear in the Fall 2016 issue.
Here are Christensen’s incredibly kind comments on my story:
“The Deer”… is breathtaking and original and gorgeous. Striking, unerring, weird. I was so glad the writer didn’t tip his or her hand, ever: the reality of the story is unbroken. I read it holding my breath.
Another thing. “The Deer” is a riveting fable in its own right, but it also leaves me with a larger sense of a profound human struggle, something universal and shared having to do with our lost connection to our animal natures, our need to dominate and domesticate, because we can’t go back, we can’t regain what we gave up to be human. The narrator is implicated in both sides of the struggle and is therefore tragic in an elemental way I recognize from mythology. Trying to analyze it makes me want to go back to the story. That to me is the sign of a story that’s working on many levels.
Congratulations to the other winners and finalists!
This spring, I was also a finalist for the 2016 Yemassee Writing Prize, judged by Claire Vaye Watkins, and for the 2016 Nelson Algren Literary Award.
My story, “Our City on the Roach’s Back,” just went live at Miracle Monocle. It’s even weirder—and grosser—than it sounds.
I’m so honored to have been invited to read at the Little Grassy literary festival alongside Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Gregory Kimbrell, Danielle Evans, Austin Kodra, and Roger Reeves.
Big thanks to Allison, Jon, Kirk, Emily, Meghann, Jen, the booksellers, and everyone.
There’s a map of Arkansas authors, and I’m on it, and it’s amazing:
In 1994 the poet C.D. Wright created a literary map of Arkansas, and the University of Arkansas Press published it as part of her Lost Roads project. The map highlights and affirms the great number of worthy writers whom Arkansas has nurtured. This updated version, redesigned and with new parameters for inclusion, was created with full permission of Wright and the UA Press.
Thanks so much to Hope Coulter, Kevin Brockmeier, and the whole committee who made this project happen.
You can order your own copy of the map and find out more at ArkansasReadersMap.com. Here’s what the whole thing looks like:
I had a wonderful time visiting Clayton State University a few weeks ago. Thanks so much to Brigitte Byrd and the English department for bringing me to campus.
While there, I gave a craft talk on character in fiction and did a reading. Links to video recordings of both are below:
A Conversation with Micah Dean Hicks
Micah Dean Hicks: A Reading
It’s been a busy semester of conferences and readings, so I’m really late on this, but big thanks to the editors of EPOCH for publishing my story, “Wolf Coat Mine,” in their most recent issue.
Here’s a sample:
My man looks afraid, wants assurance that everything is fine, but all I can think about is my coat. I shove my arms in the sleeves. Inside it is wet and hot and red, like bloody velvet. I drop to my knees and pull it over my back, over my head, looking out through its eyes. My sister leaps on my back, and I come up hard, throwing her onto the floor and barking so hard that flecks of drool run down my fangs.
My sister rolls on her belly in front of me, remembering who I am. My mother and father clean my ears with their tongues. The rest of my siblings stay back, nervous. I am bigger and longer-toothed than they, and they haven’t been around me for a long time. I can hear their heartbeats, smell their individual breaths. I am my wolf coat, and my wolf coat is mine.
I had a great time at the Sigma Tau Delta conference in Minneapolis this past weekend (aside from the snow. The snow was rough).
We had some truly wretched poetry on display at the yearly Bad Poetry event (that’s a good thing: it’s supposed to be bad).
I got to hear fiction by many talented young writers, and I enjoyed getting to share info on the grad school admissions process at our panel.
Also, Magers and Quinn Booksellers were amazing. I bought more books than I probably should have.
Kao Kalia Yang is my new favorite nonfiction writer and an incredible speaker. You should buy her book: The Latehomecomer.
I’m looking forward to the next convention: Louisville 2017.
Thanks to Ross McMeekin for his kind comments on my story, “Ghost Jeep,” on the Ploughshares blog.