Monthly Archives: September 2014

Surviving a bears game

Da Bears? Those bums! But here’s what I did during the game yesterday to avoid that feeling I have that I’ve wasted 3+ hours whenever I watch them play:

1. Early lunch with Nonna and Russian-Ukrainian friend while discussing the situation in her homeland. (TV off until 12:30.)

2. Work out in front of the tube while Lev draws picture of Jay Cutler with stickers on his helmet that read “I’m stupid” and “Total Failure.”

3. Clean gerbil cages while Cutler throws another interception. Lev says, “I can’t stand this anymore!” and rushes outside to see if his friends are around.

4. Trim warts on bottom of foot and dribble them in Dr. Scholl’s wart acid as Bears collapse in overtime.

Great afternoon.

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Self featured in new edition of Crab Orchard Review

While I’m tooting my own horn, the latest issue of the Crab Orchard Review is just out, with a story of mine on a disabled Korean-American day laborer. It’s not online but can be found the old-fashioned way, at your local bookstore.

Here’s the award announcement from the Illinois literary journal:

We are pleased to announce the winners of last year’s Special Issue Feature Awards for our special issue “The West Coast and Beyond,” CRAB ORCHARD REVIEW, Volume 19, Number 2 (Summer/Fall 2014). The winners were selected by the editors of Crab Orchard Review.

In poetry, our winner is Terry Lucas of Mill Valley, California, for his poem “Contra Costa.” In fiction, the winner is Russell Working of Oak Park, Illinois, for his story “The Day Job.” And in literary nonfiction, the winner is Debra Gwartney of Finn Rock, Oregon, for her essay “Her Hair.” The winner in each genre category—Poetry, Fiction, and Literary Nonfiction—is published in “The West Coast and Beyond,” CRAB ORCHARD REVIEW, Volume 19, Number 2 (Summer/Fall 2014) and received a $2,000.00 award.

Congratulations to my fellow winners, and thank you to Managing Editor Jon Tribble and everyone at Crab Orchard for the chance to publish in their great review.

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‘Us’ listed as ‘notable’ among Best American Essays

This was a nice surprise to learn via a tweet from Narrative: A memoir of mine is listed as notable by Best American Essays 2014. Thanks to Narrative for publishing the piece, a new direction in my literary writing (my first stab at memoir).

Here’s the beginning of the essay “Us,” about my parents’ adoption of my Korean brother:

The boy was small, his knees sharply cornered by the hinges of the braces he wore under his jeans, as if he had pulled his pants on over the legs of a robot. He walked with aluminum crutches that had a pistol grip and holes lining each side so that one could adjust their length. If you took off the rubber tips they doubled as army rifles. He had only two of these weapons and needed them to walk, so we, his new brothers, did not expect to get in a lot of firing practice, but they would afford him a martial aura among the boys of Bishop Lane in Walnut Creek, California. Also, he had broad shoulders and a powerful right arm, although he could not step into a throw. He could launch a dirt grenade farther than any of us, and scare a crow, cawing and shedding feathers, from a branch. It was 1965. He was five years old. So was I.

 

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