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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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Lion Heat

I'm finishing up a little story this week. I was listening to the Harvey Danger song "Jack the Lion," and it kind of all rush forward at once, the situation, the voice. It's the first story I've written since probably April, when I started working on the novel in earnest. Here's the first paragraph:

When you arrive he will say that your mother made you come, and no matter how hard you protest, he will shake his hand and walk away, done with the conversation, done with you. If he can even walk now. When his wife, Darlene, called you, it wasn’t looking good. It had spread; who knows how long he had it before he told anyone, and he didn’t tell anyone, you bet. It was the blood-stained tissues, the retching in the basement bathroom, the boxer shorts and t-shirts soaked with sweat, the new notch in the belt, the slack hanging, that had Darlene calling her friends, searching the Internet, finally convincing him to go to the doctor. For the patch, she’d suggested, knowing they’d give him a physical.


It's supposed to be really hot again today. The sky is bloated grey, like it's going to downpour torrentially, but there's nothing worse than a hot thunderstorm. I was on a plane once coming back to Baltimore when the South American-sounding flight attendant made a comment into the microphone: "Welcome to tropical Baltimore." You laugh, but it's true. We can get as humid as a Louisiana swamp in summer. And here I am, afraid to move to SF because it's so cold there this time of year. But what I'd do right now to throw on a jacket and take a walk in the cool.

I need to get to the gym today. I've been struggling between two running philosophies—one that tells you a day of rest between runs is most beneficial, and the other that you should run every day, with a "big" run (5+ miles) once a week. I'm still leaning toward the former, I guess because I developed an overuse injury (ITB band) back in May that took several weeks to heal. I would like to try and run maybe 40 minutes a day with one big 60-minute run, though—I really need to break out and take it to the next level. The problem is finding the time. There is never time to do anything. :(