Only a few hours after meeting in person for the first time, painter Maja Ruznic and I started to collaborate. At the time we didn’t really know what the project would look like, and even now the parameters aren’t fully defined. But it would involve small paintings and even smaller stories. The narrative would emerge out of the image. It would be called Avet: phantom caravan, though we only discovered this detail a week ago.
Spending time with Maja’s work is like peering into a phantom universe through the wrong end of a spyglass. The deeper you dig in, the further out you go. Each painting is made up of overlapping and sometimes contradictory dimensions coyly seducing their voyeurs into sorting out the affairs of their existence. Discover our secrets, they say. They hide within drenching atmospheres of alien color, and also within each other. Sometimes it’s hard to tell where one phantom ends and another begins. Listen to the chatter between the brush strokes. They are determined to communicate.
Maja and I met through her partner and my good friend Josh Hagler, another brilliant artist who recently allowed me to use his painting When Knight Turns Dancer: A Western Romance as the cover of my new short story collection, Nothing in Mind.
Avet will release a new story/painting pair every week. The first 5 are already up on the website. My intention with these vignettes is to write the way Maja paints, by creating scenes that suggest an expanse of unexplored stories hiding between the lines. Stories that wriggle with potential for readers to imagine new worlds on their own and for themselves.
Today I’m excited to announce the publication of my first collection of short stories and poetry. Nothing in Mind, published by Asymmetrical Press, contains some of my earliest published stories as well as my latest experiments with fiction, poetry, and photography.
“Light as air and deadly serious.” -Molly Laich, The Independent
- A secret mythology of American pioneers.
- The tale of a suicidal dragon who makes a remarkable self-discovery.
- A play about a man digging up the bones of his old partner.
- The quest of a fake Jehovah’s Witness who goes door to door to find a friend
- A fable about a moon full of water.
- The saga of a simple man who decides he no longer needs to breathe.
…Along with essays on inspiration and courageous living, short fiction that is surreal, whimsical, and sometimes horrific, poems of nature, passion, justice, and more…
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