Monthly Archives: April 2011

The thesis; she is complete!

In celebration of getting the OK seal of approval from my MFA mentor, I thought I’d post the preface of my thesis collection of essays here!

Author’s Preface

I’m almost at a loss for where I’d like to begin, with respect to this collection and it’s (in all likelihood, woefully inadequate) preface. Almost. My thesis represents not just a two-year journey through a terrific graduate program with the intent to earn a degree at its conclusion, but a culmination of life events and a journey that spans from the highest heights of literal mountain tops to the lowest lows of human depression and anxiety. This collection of essays represents, I think, a fresh look at a critical five-year slice of my life that has unquestionably shaped me, not only as a writer, but also, and perhaps more importantly, as a human being—all of this being possible, of course, with a healthy dose of new insight and some refined storytelling capabilities I’ve evolved throughout my two year MFA experience.

Throughout the creation of this collection, I’ve kept in mind two particular goals for every single piece included: I wanted to make sure the essays are both a) engaging and b) entertaining. Maintaining fidelity to these goals was not always easy since they are, at their core, pieces of creative nonfiction filtered through the lens of my individual experience—my senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. These essays are reproduced how I personally saw and experienced them. The line between fiction and nonfiction, because of this human experience factor, is certainly a blurry one (as I discuss in my critical examination of Hunter S. Thompson toward the end of this collection). However, I think understanding the suppleness of the English language and how to make it work in telling a story is as important as the story itself.

Continue reading

Advertisements

“The Old Thing” is dead. Long live “The New Thing”!

Or something to that effect.

Those who have been following this blog for a while or those who know me in my day to day life, knw that THE NEW SOPHISTICATES has been my novel-in-progress for the last year and a half. For better or worse, I’m putting THE NEW SOPHISTICATES’ rough and as-yet unfinished pages aside, possibly for good. There is a fair amount of decent stuff in there, but when it comes down to it, I’m not in love with the project anymore. The fire is gone. THE NEW SOPHISTICATES is now simply “The Old Thing.” What I’m saying is I’ve moved on.

Moved on to what though? “The New Thing” (which is currently untitled) has really re-stoked the writerly fires in me. Where “The Old Thing” dealt with a lot of topics and issues I knew very little about (e.g. investment banking, SEC investigations, rampant illicit drug use, real estate, etc.), “The New Thing” covers ground and ideas I’m intimately familiar with: Human Service (i.e. social) work, 8:00 – 5:00 workdays, an austere office setting, “the hood,” rumor mills, personal anxieties and dichotomous themes such job burnout conflicting with a real desire to help people. The flavor of “The New Thing” is very “Contemptibly, A Hair,” which is actually the new first chapter (for now anyway).

So far, I’ve got a 30 page rough draft, copious hand written notes, character sketches, ideas galore, but most importantly, an enormous drive simply to work on the damn thing!

All of this is not to say you won’t see parts of “The Old Thing” resurrected in “The New Thing, not at all. There is some dialog I happen to like very much that could totally work when transplanted into CONTEMPTIBLY, A NOVEL (ed. note: not its real name). Stay tuned for more!

Just so you know, I am, in fact, not dead.

So far 2011 gets mixed reviews from me. There has been a lot of turmoil in my personal life (thus my not so conspicuous absence from the blogosphere), but I’ve also had some pretty kickass literary experiences as well.

First, of course, was getting published in PANK Magazine (you can read/ listen to the story here: http://www.pankmagazine.com/contemptibly-a-hair/), and then getting interviewed for PANK (interview = here: http://www.pankmagazine.com/pankblog/interviews/ask-the-author-joseph-michael-owens/). But that was just the tip of the proverbial iceburg…

I also jumped on the opportunity to review films for InDigest Magazine which is really kickass and should not be slept on if you are the kind of person to sleep on totally awesome stuff if you haven’t heard of it before. My first review of an independent documentary called BLANK CITY is here: http://indigestmag.com/blog/?p=7722

And most recently, I found out that my short story “We Always Trust Each Other, Except For When We Don’t” is in the running for storySouth‘s Million Writers Award (link here: http://www.storysouth.com/millionwriters/millionwritersnotable_2010.html — Scroll down to the “Gs” for Grey Sparrow Press.) where a winner is chosen from the top 100 short stories published online during a given year (i.e. for me, 2010). This same story was also nominated for Dzanc Books2011 Best of the Web Anthology. All in all, not a bad year for that story!

Tagged , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: