Continuing Education

Are you taking an educational holiday at the Chautauqua Institution this week (which, thematically—as you’d presumably know, if you’re there—happens to be Week Four: 21st Century Cities)? Are you wondering: What shall I do tomorrow afternoon, after the lecture on a religious theme, and before the evening’s performance by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra? Shall I take a class in ballroom dancing (or knitting, or robotics, or the Amish, etc.), play golf, or go for a swim? So many options!

Well, why not go hear my brilliant wife‘s reading at 4:00pm, which is this week’s Roundtable/Lecture of the 2007 summer season of the Chautauqua Literary & Scientific Circle, “the oldest continuous book club in America”?

And if you’re not taking an educational holiday at the Chautauqua Institution this week—which, I suppose, is statistically more likely—and you, like me, weren’t aware that the Chautauqua movement didn’t fizzle out completely seventy years ago, aren’t you simply delighted to learn that such a place still exists, that it’s still going strong out there on the shore of Chautauqua Lake?

“A Note about This Business with the Bear”

My story “A Note about This Business with the Bear” is in the second annual summer fiction issue of The L Magazine, which came out on Wednesday. The issue also features stories by Darin Strauss, Ned Vizzini, Christopher Kang, Dominique Fabre, Danielle Evans, and the winner and finalists of the magazine’s Literary Upstart competition.

As I mentioned earlier this week, Ned and Darin and I will be reading tonight at KGB! It will be awesome and you should come. On the magazine’s Web site, you can read editor (and blogger extraordinaire) Mark Asch’s “Your Blog About Town” post about the excellence of the issue. You can also read his post about tonight’s reading. And if you’re not in New York City and you can’t pick up a copy of the magazine in one of those little orange bins all over town, you can even read the story itself.

This is a confluence of many firsts: the first time a story I’ve written has been published in a free magazine with an audited circulation over 100,000; the first time a story of mine has been published on the Web as a JPEG; the first time my name has been on a list of contributors with cool little illustrations (by Melissa Rioux) of our heads next to our names; and the first time, I believe, I’ve read with a writer whose work has been translated into thirteen languages (Darin) and one who has been translated into five (Ned), thus bringing the evening’s total—theoretically, anyway—to somewhere near a score of languages. Seriously cosmopolitan, dude.

Paraphrasing Mark, whether you can read English (or any other language, for that matter) or not, this reading will surely kick as much ass as the issue itself does. See you there!

Reading July 13

I don’t know why I haven’t mentioned this before in this space—oh no wait, I totally know why, it’s because we’ve been so completely insanely busy for months now looking for a place and then finding a place and then moving a hundred miles with us and the cat and every last one of our possessions including some we’d forgotten we owned plus a few that have been living out at the end of a peninsula off the coast of New England for a decade or two and then painting walls and mowing the lawn and, okay, I’ll stop—but I have a story in The L Magazine‘s second annual summer fiction issue, which will be out on Wednesday; and in celebration of this awesome special issue, I will be reading with Ned Vizzini and Darin Strauss on Friday, July 13, at 7:00pm or so, at KGB. Please come!