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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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Keep on the Sunny Side (of the Street)

I dreamed last night about men chasing me through faceless cities with knives. It is not an uncommon dream for me, although I haven't had it for almost twenty years (and the last knife wielder was my father). Uplifting, huh? Actually, these dreams usually signal vulnerability to me, although I'm not sure about what I'm feeling particularly vulnerable. I prefer to savor the small details of dreams, rather than the whole—the knife creeps appeared as the result of my purchase of some tattered pre-slasher pulp paperbacks from the seventies that I found at a used bookstore. One of the books was based loosely off The Zodiac Killer. His name was Scorpio, and when he became alive, he looked a lot like Steve McQueen but with a Ted Bundy-esque personality that drew women into a masochistic journey that led to their death. I thought of getting rid of the books, that this action would destroy the men (or at least sic them on the next book owner), but I thought the books might have value because of their age and condition and couldn't part with them. So I just ran for my life through deserted streets and highways instead. Maybe the dream signifies holding onto beliefs that, although once were beneficial in some way, are now harmful. Maybe I feel guilty because I smoked a cigarette this weekend. Or two.

It's funny how many dreams offer an escape route, but we choose not to take it.

I have to remember this sometimes while writing, too, that even though I am supreme creator of my characters and their circumstance, they need choices and autonomy.

Speaking of which, I'm about 340 pages into my novel and am working on the scenes from the 1950s of a midget country western star. It would be awesome if she came to life. I'd make her a little stage in the basement. I'd bring her out only for my favorite guests. I think she'd eventually leave me to join the WWF. I'd sure miss her.