Optimism vs. Delusional Thinking

I’ve had Terry Gross in my shower countless times.

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I Am Officially a Paid, Published Writer

Okay, so now I can stop bugging you all about it. An Unlikely Companion is out and in it is my story “An Emptiness That Burns.” If you pre-ordered, I’ve been told the book starts shipping today. If you didn’t pre-order, you can still order a copy here.

To celebrate, I want to boost some of the people* I’ve been working alongside over the last year. In no particular order:

Taylor Lea Hicks has been in almost all my classes. As in, I have fake memories of Taylor being in classes she didn’t take. She has a vignette over in the Portland Review titled “Boneyard,” a flash absurd historical fiction piece called “The Vanishing Table” in Circa, and in Gandy Dancer she has a story called “Neon Tigers” that really hit me in the gut.

KD Williams is impossible to write anything about because I want to say all the nice things and we just don’t have time for that sort of thing. She’s kept me sane this last year. You can read KD’s poetry at Big Words.

John Stintzi is by far one of Canada’s best exports. He was the first classmate to really read my stuff. I particularly like “A Diasporic Population in Southampton, New York” a poem John wrote while adjusting to living on the Island, now published in my school’s very own Southampton Review.

Tyler Allen Penny took me to see the ocean the first week I met him and that was terrifying. Do you know how big the ocean feels when you can’t see it at night? Infinite. Five poems of Tyler’s are on Columbia‘s Catch & Release this month and you can find them here.

Martina Clark hasn’t been in any of my classes yet but she’s always posting links to resources and is a delight to run into around campus. She’s a contributor to The MFA Years, which is definitely one of the best MFA blogs there is, and you can read Martina’s writing at her website.

Whitney Gaines is one of the cool second year students that intimidated the hell out of me when I started classes last fall. Fortunately, Stony Brook Southampton is a program where supporting each other is valued far above petty competitiveness. Whitney writes an excellent blog called Highest Form of Whit. It’s funny, easy to relate to, and the writing is top shelf.

Adrian Bonenberger doesn’t need much introduction or editorializing. You can read his satire at sayagainover and his essays and articles over at The Wrath Bearing Tree.

I am terrible at regularly doing anything, let alone regularly updating this blog, but we’ll see what the summer brings.

Shout out to all the classmates I didn’t or couldn’t list in this post.

*There are considerable gaps in this compilation. Partially because not everyone is published or has a blog and partially because Taylor was the only one who sent me links.

MFA is Basically Puberty

I survived my first year of grad school.

Celebratory Sbux Time. I am the stereotype.
Celebratory Sbux time. I am the stereotype.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the growing pains I’ve had this year. My first semester felt so rotten and wonderful at the same time–suddenly I became a part of an actual community of actual writers and it was beautiful and intimidating like a nebula.

click to go to JPL NASA photos
That’s right my fellow SBS writers, I just compared y’all to a beautiful interstellar cloud of dust. [[Click through for more awesome space photos.]]
I feel that I’ve grown up as a writer this year. I’ve been brainstorming and taking notes more (collecting pieces of life for inspiration), I have a clearer approach to revision, and I feel less intimidated by other writers.

Hell, I can even refer to myself as a writer without throwing up. It’s the little victories.

The process hasn’t been painless, though. Growing pains, like I said. And as in adolescence, sometimes I feel about a million things at once over my work. Maybe a billion. So many emotions that I get irritable and feel like I’m going to burst.

Attending the MFA program so far feels something like a second puberty. A writer’s puberty. Except the raging hormones are just complex feelings about literature. I love you Chekhov, I hate you Chekhov. I love you Munro, I hate you Munro. Although at least I don’t have to ask books out and face potential rejection and ridicule. Books always say yes to readers, the strumpets.

So that’s that. I’m looking forward to a summer of reading and writing and sunning. And acquiring more rejection letters from magazines. Just so long as no one asks me what my thesis is going to be.

You can still pre-order the anthology An Unlikely Companion in which my short story “An Emptiness That Burns” appears. The anthology will be released May 31st and if you use the code “4TRAVIS” you’ll get 10% off your order.

If anyone is in or near New York City next week, my visual storytelling professor from this semester Jules Feiffer is going to be in conversation with Neil Gaiman at the Kaufmann Concert Hall on Thursday, May 14th. Jules is one of the funniest, sharpest people I’ve ever had the opportunity to study with. It’s going to be a fantastic evening so if you can make it and afford the ticket (I think the only seats left are $35-$39 but there might still be a $15-$30 ticket in there) then I definitely urge you to go!

And hey, did you know you can follow me on twitter? Here’s just a taste of what you can expect from that:

Quality nonsense right there.


Publishing Update

Spark: A Creative Anthology  has updated its pre-order page for An Unlikely Companion to reflect its hard release date as May 31st, 2015! And the price for the trade paperback plus ebook has been reduced from $14.95 to $12.95!

You can also pre-order just the ebook for $2.99!

From the order page:

Use the code 4TRAVIS during checkout to receive a 10% discount on your purchase of An Unlikely Companion and the E&GJ Foundation will donate a matching 10% to the Travis Hubbs Memorial Scholarship Fund administered by Kristi Hubbs.

The short story of mine appearing in this anthology is called “An Emptiness That Burns” and is an unsettling take on the term “man-eater.”

An Unlikely Companion is a collection of powerful work hand-picked by editor Brian James Lewis from the slush pile at Spark: A Creative Anthology. Imaginative, gripping, and at times transgressive, these selections did not fit Spark‘s guidelines or audience goals—and yet, each was compelling enough that Brian knew it had to be published.

Why are you still here? Go reserve yourself a copy!

I Seem to Have Skipped a Week

Sorry for the lack of post this last week. Everything’s been in stasis for me at school and I completely lost track of the days

This week I intend to do a review of the movie Gone Girl, so look for that in the next couple of days.

Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of An Unlikely Companion so you can read my short story “An Emptiness That Burns” as soon as the book is released next month. Use the code “KOLCOW-FRIENDS” at checkout to receive 30% off your order.

Use This Code to get 30% Off “An Unlikely Companion”

I am pleased to announce that my short story “An Emptiness That Burns” is slated to appear this November May 2015, in the anthology An Unlikely Companion put out by Spark.

You can pre-order the book now and use the promo-code “KOLCOW-FRIENDS” at checkout to receive 30% off your order.

This code can be applied to both individual copies or a subscription to Spark.

From the website:

Please note: unlike the broadly-accessible content of Spark, this collection is recommended for more mature readers.

An Unlikely Companion is a collection of powerful work hand-picked by editor Brian James Lewis from the slush pile at Spark: A Creative Anthology. Imaginative, gripping, and at times transgressive, these selections did not fit Spark‘s guidelines and goals—and yet, each was so compelling that Brian knew it had to be published.

The pieces in this collection are included by personal invitation only.

The first author invited to participate in this project was Travis Hubbs, a professor of English and a PhD candidate at Louisiana State University. His passion and enthusiasm for writing fiction inspired many others—and continues to do so. This collection is published in his memory.

The promo-code expires on January 1st, 2015. It cannot be combined with a donation to the Travis Hubbs Memorial Scholarship Fund, unfortunately, due to the website’s limited virtual shopping cart platform.

Choose which you’d like: the trade paperback and ebook bundle, just the ebook bundle, or the collectible hardcover and ebook bundle and then add the code “KOLCOW-FRIENDS” at checkout.