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“Jen Michalski’s second novel is an intense emotional commitment, but a worthwhile one.” – Ploughshares


“Jen is an astonishingly sensitive writer.” – HTML Giant


“Jen Michalski excels in subtlety that is made possible by her nuanced understanding of voice.” – The Rumpus


“Jen is a writerly heavyweight.” – Nate Brown, American Short Fiction


“We’re lucky to have Michalski before the rest of the world discovers her. But they will.” – Baltimore City Paper

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Dog, God, or something

Dogs bark way too much in modern novels, according to an article in Slate. And birds always chirp, but cats never meow (at least, in my own unscientific survey). But what does it all mean? Are we too uncreative in our grounding of scenes, do we overrepresent the canine metaphorically? Do we care? How come no one ever writes about canaries anymore?

I, myself, wish I could keep the swimming pool out of my work.

I'm working on this novella of flash/wiki entries about a girl, Alex. I don't know what I'm going to do with it, if anything (and I really should be working on my actual novel), but it's been fun to play with. I try to write a flash piece every day for it, although some get sucked into longer things and others get scrapped. Here's today's piece, "Mix Tape":

Mix Tape

Your brother would be Evan Dando if he were a rock star, Alyssa said once after he’d visited Alex at SMC for the weekend.

What about me?

You’d just be Alex.

Alex wants to be someone cool and ethereal, detached, like Lush or My Bloody Valentine or the Cocteau Twins, but, embarrassingly, her heart is the Indigo Girls. If she could be Ricki Lee Jones or Joni Mitchell, not care what other people thought, she would settle for such. But her clothes are too store-bought. She can’t stand the smell of the co-op. She still cries no matter how many times she’s seen ET, when the flower is dead, even though she knows ET will live. She still believes everything she is told.

How did you turn out so well-adjusted? Her mother asks her years later, after her father moves in with Steve, Nathan disappears in LA.

Indigo Girls, she says. Her mother pretends not to hear her, or maybe she really doesn’t. Her eyes are looking out the window, far beyond the trees.