Excerpt of Short-Story Collection

Over at Daily Dose of Lit, they have excerpted a section of one of my short stories. “The Lake” was originally published in Gargoyle and then slightly revised for When You Find Us We Will Be Gone. I hope you check it out and let me know what you think!

Here’s an excerpt of an excerpt (!):

The Lake

Ruth held up a large roadmap of Kansas against the passenger-side window. Bright sunlight bled through the thin paper, washing out the towns, blending together the endless miles of farmland. “I think we’re here,” she said, pointing to a red line in the middle. She seemed annoyed that I had glanced over and hadn’t said anything. We were driving to a lake I visited as a boy. I didn’t care much, but Ruth insisted on us taking a vacation, going somewhere different and away from the noise and dirt of the city. This was my first time back in Kansas since I moved across the country for graduate school in the late eighties. She had never been out this far west, living the last few years on the Upper East Side.

The Rumpus

On Christmas day, the wonderful online publication The Rumpus published my review of the poetry collection Blitzkrieg.  Here’s the opening:

“Strangely, with the entire multimodal dazzle that adorns Blitzkrieg, the poems of John Gosslee exist in a vestigial nook, a calm ache of textual space blissfully unaware of the ripples created by its presence. This is not a criticism. Rather it is an attempted elucidation of the juxtaposition inherent in such an ambitious project. Less a book, and more a sensory experience, the collection comes paired with a soundtrack by the composer Taras Mashtalir and a movie by Thomas Agostino.”

Story in Whiskey Island

One of my stories–a playful reworking of the contributor note form found in literary journals–has been published in the new issue of Whiskey Island. The issue (No. 62) is available to purchase here. The journal also features the fantastic work of work of Alissa Nutting, Nate Pritts, Russ Woods, and many others. Here’s a sample:

Contributors’ Notes

Carol Clemente teaches writing in the Chicago area where she lives with her two Bichon Frises, Dolores and Fu-Fu. She has published poems in The Paris Review, Crazyhorse, and Feminist Studies. She also has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

This is Tom Fritz’s first published story. He divides his time between drinking espresso at Blue Bottle in Williamsburg and hatching Internet start-ups at his mom’s ranch house in Queens. She has a cat, Pringle, which he’s not allowed to pet. Though he sometimes secretly feeds her handfuls of gluten-free granola and occasionally tosses her a catnip mouse. He’s not sure what else he’s supposed to say here or which achievements he should note down. Sorry, I’m dropping the third-person shtick. I don’t know why you guys require it. But it’s creeping me out. It’s like this note is an obituary or something. I’m here, you know? Alive. Well, just about. I already admitted I live with my mom. It’s kind of a downer, especially on my love life. It’s been a while since I got laid. I’m twenty-three now, but back in college I was an A-grade bullshitter. On the steps of Alexander Library, I held court, often rapping lyrical speeches on the future of the Internet and handing out flyers that detailed my own social networking ideas, and directed people to visit my website. And, sure, I dated plenty of girls, usually hipster types who wrote poems on napkins and then used the corners to wipe the crust from their eyes. Man, that turned me on. I majored in Communication while my friends specialized in Fine Art or Architecture. Their classes were titled “Seventeenth-Century Nudes” and “Onanistic Spaces: A History of the Architectural Phallus.” Sounds cool now. Back then, I never wrote much—just essays on Marshall McLuhan and the lesbian scenes in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even made the Dean’s List one semester. Recently, I’ve been looking for a way out. Maybe an M.F.A. Perhaps from Iowa, or somewhere corn grows like that. When I sent my story to the Tenure Quarterly Review, I thought a literary agent would read it, sign me up, get me a six-figure book deal. I mean that Chad Harbach landed sweet bank. So far, for me, this hasn’t been the case. Here’s the skinny: so my story is a glorified to-do list—a to-fuck really—and six months ago, the editors (Hi Gary! Hi Twyla!) emailed to say “Errands” had been accepted. Champagne-in-a-can followed. I tell you, it’s funny. I remember my ninth-grade English teacher, Mr. Hausman, berate me: “Tom, I’m not convinced you read Hamlet. In fact, I’m not sure you know who Shakespeare is and why he’s so important.” Well, old Hausman was right. I didn’t read Hamlet, but I did study Business Week and Forbes and think about how I could accumulate a Google-level fortune before I graduated college. Even though I went to Rutgers (my safety school), I knew I’d be headhunted by Silicon Valley. Post-college, when that didn’t happen, I fell into a gnarly funk. I hit the streets, zonked on Xanax, and looked for inspiration—something to let me know I should carry on living. Well, one cold morning outside the 42nd Street Library, I thought maybe I should have listened to Hausman and I checked out a North Face backpack’s worth of classic novels: Madame Bovary, The Stranger, Catcher in the Rye, etc. That’s how I ended up writing, and dreaming of literary conquest.

Michael Butler nominates Pringle for a Pushcart.

 

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New Essay

I have a new essay published in Squalorly today. Here’s a sample:

Scuttling through the undergrowth, examining the waxy green leaves of the rhododendron, seeing if the plants are an alien life-form masquerading as beings-of-this-world, I realize I am no botanist. I carry on, leather notebook in hand, and glare at the people on the asphalt loop. Young couples in matching maroon hoodies and blue jeans faded at the knee drink in the romance of the sweeping water. Fishermen kidding no one in camo, including the walleye and the pickerel frogs, stoop over the shoreline with their hands grasping straight rods. Their fingers fidget, missing the rifles secured in the parking lot. The pond looks deeper than my last visit—its belly swollen from the run-off. Around me the dampness of the melted frost has left a pungent smell in the earth, like discarded chewing tobacco. With a final glance at the water, I write reflection is an illusion and head deeper into the woods.