For those of you who read, write, paint, dance, act, play music, draw, create—let’s stand up for the arts (along with all the other things we have to stand up for such as women’s rights, immigrants’ rights, lgbtq rights, because common decency, right?) The NEA and NEH are under attack even though they help the economy way more than their relatively small budgets would suggest. According to the Americans for the Arts Action Fund, “The NEA is also an economic powerhouse, generating more than $600 million annually in additional matching funds and helping to shape a $730 billion arts and culture industry that represents 4.2% of the nation’s GDP and supports 4.8 million jobs.”
Was surprised and flattered to stumble upon this podcast in which two London writers talked about my story “What Is Lost”! They first discuss Amal El-Mohtar’s Seasons of Glass and Iron before discussing my story and nostalgia around 12:42. Check it out: Storyological 2.01
Also, I have one of my favorite stories that I’d written in Shanghai earlier this year coming out from Day One tomorrow! You can pre-order (or regular order tomorrow…) or get yourself a subscription to the magazine for like $1.59/month. For a lit mag that comes out weekly, it’s a pretty great deal. My story is called “Dream Machine” and is set in a factory on the outskirts of Shanghai. I’m so excited for this one and love the cover and Kate Peterson’s poem which shares the pages of this issue with me.
I’ve just returned from AWP in DC this last weekend and had a great time catching up with old friends and meeting new people, talking to literary magazines and going to panels. Helping out the Center for Fiction was surprisingly fun and I was able to say hello to Gavin at Small Beer Press and the folks at Tin House where I’m a reader. Listened to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (so poised, so elegant!) speak with Ta-Nehisi Coates, Emma Straub and Ann Patchett, saw Roxanne Gay just hanging out at the hotel bar— you know, just normal writing conference life. Also, ate way too many biscuits at A Baked Joint because they were SO GOOD (and spicy!) All in all, a fun and educational break.
Super excited that my story, The Monkey King Sleeps, about climbers and the monkey king and Yangshuo has just come out in Strange Horizons! I’ve been a fan of theirs for years—they publish amazingly strange stories from speculative fiction superstars—so it’s wonderful to have a story published there (after 9 rejections, no less!) Plus they even did a podcast reading of it! You can read it here. Or listen to it here.
I started off 2016 eating fried chicken in Seoul with a friend named Nathan and ended it eating shrimp ceviche and fish tacos in Brooklyn with a different Nathan. Maybe this will become a new tradition, a new Nathan for every year. (just kidding, friends! I am not on the lookout for more Nathans!)
My website is also finally up and running: www.suyeelin.com
And 2017 has some exciting things in store. Some traveling to see a good friend on the west coast, an off-site reading during AWP in DC, a family trip, and two stories coming out soon, ones I’m super excited about and in really great publications.
And now, here’s my yearly list of books I’d read. I could’ve done better in terms of quantity but man, are there some gems in here:
1. The Sympathizer- Viet Thanh Nguyen
2. The Circle- Dave Eggers
3. Onion Tears- Shubnum Khan
4. On A Moonless Night- Dai Sijie
5. Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings-Stephen O’Connor
6. The Next- Stephanie Gangi
7. Modern Romance- Aziz Ansari (NF)
8. Square Wave- Mark De Silva
9. Nimrod Flip Out- Etgar Keret
10. A Walk in the Woods- Bill Bryson (NF)
11. A Tale for the Time Being- Ruth Ozeki
12. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up- Marie Kondo (NF)
13. Kitchen Confidential- Anthony Bourdain (NF)
14. A Little Life- Hanya Yanagahira
15. The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn- Boris and Arkady Strugatsky
16. The Rum Diary- Hunter S. Thompson
17. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh- Michael Chabon
18. What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours- Helen Oyeyemi
19. Gold Fame Citrus- Claire Vaye Watkins
20. Black Glass- Karen Joy Fowler
21. The Star Side of Bird Hill- Naomi Jackson
22. The Heart Goes Last- Margaret Atwood
23. The Story of My Teeth- Valeria Luiselli
24. Re Jane- Patricia Park
25. A Separation- Katie Kitamura
26. You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine- Alexandra Kleeman
27. The Bad Girl- Mario Vargas Llosa
28. The Dream-Quest of Velitt Boe- Kij Johnson
29. The Face: Strangers on a Pier- Tash Aw (NF)
30. Intimations- Alexandra Kleeman
31. Map of the Invisible World- Tash Aw
32. The Throwback Special- Chris Bachelder
33. Marrow Island- Alexis Smith
34. The Regional Office is Under Attack!- Manuel Gonzalez
35. Two Serious Ladies- Jane Bowles
36. All Over Creation- Ruth Ozeki
37. Burial Rites- Hannah Kent
38. Girl in Glass- Deanna Fei (NF)
39. The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be- J.B. MacKinnon (NF)
40. Wonders of the Invisible World- Christopher Barzak
Happy 2017, everyone!
It’s snowy and slushy here in New York for the first time this winter and I’m late with my news. I’ve got several pieces that came out/are coming out this season so here’s a quick list:
- A poem titled “Garden Party” in Meniscus 4.2, a cool Australian lit mag. You can read the whole issue here.
- Two micro-fiction pieces titled “Tiger in the Mountains” and “Tulou Secrets” in the latest issue of NANO Fiction, which also happens to be their 10th anniversary and last issue.
- My story “A Ceiling of Sky” is coming out on Dec. 26th from The Forge Literary Magazine and they were amazing enough to nominate it for a Pushcart Prize! My first nomination!
Besides all the writing news, it’s been an autumn of work and reading and gymming. And today, I made a Hasselback potato gratin recipe blithely assuming it’d be like potato chips on top and potato gratin on the bottom but I was wrong. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with a delicious potato gratin covered in cream and cheese but I don’t know how I fooled myself into thinking it’d be super crispy on top. Still wonderful though.
Autumn is a series of dreams remembered when you wake. The first, a dream within a dream, describing to a friend’s sister the way you traverse the streets, floating, flying several feet above the ground. The city is not yours, more old world, like a combination of Paris and Providence. The friend keeps trying to tug you back down; you don’t know why he insists on staying earthbound.
The second a giant studio/bedroom for you within a building set in a forest. You can watch different animals come and go through the two large windows set on two walls. Along another wall is a door with shutters and a row of thin windows with shutters that all face out into the hallway. A head pops in and says hello—another artist—but he does this with all the windows and you tell him how disconcerting it is. The bed is high up off the ground, tilted because it partly rests on a row of overturned chairs that, when taken away, turn into bicycle parts.
In the third, you are in Italy with your family. You arrive at a restaurant where the mussels are tasteless and the pasta nothing special except for its shape like old fashioned candies, oblong and frilled on the ends. Where are we, you ask, and your older sister says, we’re in Sicily. I thought the food would be better, you say carefully. She says she’s never been to this particular restaurant before. There is something wrong with the car which has an exposed engine. And then you think, oh, we were supposed to go to Italy in March but right now, it is autumn! We shouldn’t be here! Turns out your older sister forgot to make the fall cancellation and so here you guys all are, in Italy, with another Italy trip in the spring.
Rainy and gloomy here in New York, a drop of 30 degrees since Wednesday. My view, the building across the street, all wide windows and patio furniture. Thinking about thinking, about capturing a feeling, an atmosphere, on paper. Thinking about how to see that New England autumn foliage again, how it shocks you with its beauty, as though you’d never seen such a thing before. Thinking about the conference I went to last weekend at Brown on media and culture, the people I met, the inspiring way others move and think in the world. Thinking about time and then wondering when the Asian American Writers Workshop will post the video for the Tash Aw and Ruth Ozeki talk because damn, was that a good talk and I want to share it with everyone.
Back to work now.
Just a quick post to say: Hello! I’m still alive! But I’m working on a new website which is one reason why I haven’t really been posting here.
Anyway, now it’s fall, and I haven’t even updated since summer! Summer was lovely but went by way too fast. There were trips to Long Island and one long trip to Costa Rica (again!) complete with car misadventures, iguana sightings, and many many beaches on the Pacific coast.
There were bicycle rides to the beach and museum outings and readings. And at the beginning of September, a trip to the midwest for family, friends, the Minnesota State Fair, then the most wonderful one week residency a girl could ask for at Tofte Lake Center at Norm’s Fish Camp. Loons and bald eagles and the Milky Way and s’mores with new friends and kayaking on a crystal clear lake. It was truly magical.
This autumn is turning out to be pretty packed, too, with a new job and several new pieces coming out in some literary journals I really admire. Also, hey, I’m an artist-in-residence in Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace program! With my own studio and everything! So I think my work goals of finishing this collection early next year is definitely doable. I’m even already thinking about my next big project…
As you may know, I was a 2014 fellow at The Center for Fiction in NYC, an awesome organization that supports readers and writers with great free events, a beautiful bookstore and library, and writing classes. The people working there are amazing and know everyone within the literary community.
Anyway, they’re holding a kickstarter to create a podcast series with a super diverse selection of talks by authors who have done events there in the past, such as Jennifer Egan, Jhumpa Lahiri, and E.L. Doctorow. With only 5 days to go, they still have to raise another $3500! Go support them here!
Friends! Small Beer Press, the amazing indie press run by Gavin Grant and Kelly Link have put up their first Kickstarter! They’d love to publish beautiful editions of A Chemical Wedding, a 400 year old story John Crowley called “the first science fiction novel.” Go support it here. They’re almost halfway there and only have 8 days left!
*Edited to add*
And they made it! Woohoo!