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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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Memorial Day

Dreamed of the old dog last night, not the new one, just as one dreams of old lovers, old friends, old schools. There is no present, or maybe multiple presents, where everyone meets and stares at one's hands awkwardly, spinning in my palm. Or everyone dies—everyone dies and one wakes up and ponders the greater significance, the meaning, and there's no way of knowing. It's like believing in God or not, taking the road east or west because you think you'll reach the sea, one has to, God forbid the gut-sinking cliff drop or mountain in the way.

We went the Cylburn Aboreum and smelled the trees and flowers but didn't see any birds. We saw a magnolia with leaves the size of our faces. But so hot. When we got to the snowball stand on Fleet, its first day of the season, a group of fireman, their truck in front, had beat us to it, and they laughed. "Beat you to it," they smiled, and we wished we had our camera, because those kinds of memories deserve more than spotty synaptical weavings. Later we saw them at the gas station, filling up, before our delicious sleep. Delicious sleep! Our hike was over by noon and we spent Memorial day in delicious sleep, behind blinds. And then I wrote, and wrote and dreamed about writing so that my head feels quite tired.

I had a lot fun doing this interview with Dawn Raffel. FURTHER ADVENTURES IN THE RESTLESS UNIVERSE is quite an amazing collection of stories. It's the kind of book I want to keep in my purse and read whenever I've down time somewhere—the voice of the stories, the cadence, is comforting and engrossing. I remember trying to write a story like Dawn Raffel, but how can you? There's the rhythm of the words, the pages, but it's like trying to draw a tree and not just the representative of one. The history, intricacy, the pulse of Dawn Raffel that lives in her words is not my pulse. I should pay attention to my own wet beats, my bird breaths, feather rustles. I should learn that the quite space in us is not really quiet.

I compromised and had turkey hot dogs. Mmmm.