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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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"Conjugation" at Smokelong

I was excited to find out that my story "Conjugation" was accepted by Smokelong Quarterly. It's a publication I have so much respect for and yet get rejected quite regularly from, so it was nice to know a second piece of mine made the cut. The first was Roots, back in 2009.

"Conjugation" is actually an excerpt from a novel I started in June consisting of Wikipedia entries that link together to form a story about a girl named Alex. I've written about fifty pages of flash stories for it, but it's taken a back seat recently so that I can finish the first draft of The Tide King. I've got almost 215 pages and hope to wrap it up at 350 or so.

I've been listening to an oldie but goodie recently, Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection. A friend gave it to me after college when he upgraded to CDs, when most of my knowledge about Elton John came from his greatest hits collection and his albums in the eighties, when I was a kid. But Tumbleweed exposed me to a whole new, underappreciated side of Elton John, before he peaked in the early eighties and everything went to crap.

I often wonder when I will hit my peak creatively. I mean, it must happen, right? I've seen friends try to rehash what worked for them the story or the year before last, and I often wonder whether they can't push the boundaries of their work anymore or whether it's something else, something that they don't even realize, like they're digging a comfortable trench line, the same way some days I only run three miles because I can, because it will hurt that day to run five and it will be nearly impossible to run six so why even try.

I suppose it doesn't matter, though. Even if I'm eighty and writing horribly that's what I'll be doing, because that's what the writer part of me does.