I met some of my literary partners in crime for lunch today to plan a new lit performance project here in Baltimore. It's like nothing that Charm City has seen before, and if we play our cards right, the first show will hit the streets in May 2012. It's a big change for my energy and commitment level; since Shirley passed, my heart feels like it's been filled with cement. I realize, though, that I need this project to help me refocus on what I love about literature and what I love about Baltimore. And it's going to be so much fun! I'm excited to work again with people I love, to promote what I love, to be passionate about something. The lush pastures of friends and possibilities make my heart feel not so barren.
Speaking of passion, I'm giving a shout out here for Laura Ellen Scott's debut novel, Death Wishing. It's a fresh idea ("What if your most fervent wish could come true, and all you had to do was…die first.") set in the always-randy and weird world of New Orleans, and I'd hack off my left arm for the ability to write Scott's smart prose with my right. With the commercial fiction market often saturated with sameness, I'm always excited when I read something so completely bizarre and engrossing. Death Wishing, let's get married. Although you're so weirdly good and not presentable to my mother, we might have to elope instead.
Jen Michalski is author of the novel The Tide King, winner of the 2012 Big Moose Prize. She is the author of two collections of fiction, From Here and Close Encounters, and a collection of novellas, Could You Be With Her Now. In 2013 she was named one of "50 Women to Watch" by The Baltimore Sun and won a "Best of Baltimore" for Best Writer from Baltimore Magazine. She is the founding editor of the literary quarterly jmww and host of The Starts Here! Reading Series and the biannual Lit Show. She lives in Baltimore, MD