Modern Love Podcast 102

credit: Michael Buckner/Deadline; Brian Rea/The New York Times/WBUR

Folks, this is one of the most amazing things that’s ever happened to me.  The Oscar-nominated duo behind last year’s film The Big Sick, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, teamed up to perform my New York Times Modern Love essay.  It’s this week’s episode, which is doubly special because it’s Valentine’s Day!

Here’s the podcast!!!

Much thanks to the great people at WBUR (where Modern Love the Podcast is made), especially Caitlin O’Keefe who was gracious and patient as I prattled on during our interview.  Also thanks to WBGO for hosting me and providing crystal-clear communication between Newark and Boston.  Huge thanks to Dan Jones and The New York Times for publishing my essay in the first place.

Lastly, thank you to my wife Dawn and my mother, who provided the fodder for my essay. 🙂

Kelly Crigger’s The Comfort Station

I got an early look at Kelly Crigger‘s latest book, The Comfort Station, and I was not the only one who found an engaging, well-crafted novel:

The Japanese enslavement of Korean women during the occupation is seen through the keen eyes of Ki-Hwa Kim, our heroine who learns the true meaning of courage and perseverance. Packed with memorable descriptions and enticing characters, Kelly Crigger’s The Comfort Station is the kind of historical fiction that teaches as well as entertains.
-Sung J. Woo, author of Everything Asian

Good historical fiction doesn’t just bring us to another time and place to make us consider the lives and journey of the past – it brings us into the past and immerses us in those lives and journeys. Kelly Crigger’s The Comfort Station is such a book. Crigger writes with passion for, and knowledge of, World War II and Pacific bastion of Rabaul. More importantly though, he writes the characters that make up The Comfort Station with fullness and dimensionality. Not to be missed.
-Matt Gallagher, award winning author of Youngblood

A lyrical novel about a young girl taken captive and forced to serve as a comfort woman. The plot is fast paced and intriguing, but still takes the time to explore the people and places in a beautiful, poetic manner. It’s hard to know if I appreciated the quality of the prose or the excitement of the story more.
-Alana Terry, author of The Beloved Daughter

Now here’s a photo of my cat Mac with the book, since we all know how much the internet loves cats.  Looks like he’s already halfway into the book…

Slice Magazine – Issue #19, Distraction

Happy to report that the good folks at Slice Magazine will be publishing my ekphrastic endeavor later this month.  The issue is titled Distraction, and it’s got some heavy literary hitters as you can see from the cover.

My part will be small, which makes sense as the paintings I wrote about are small, too.


This is a print magazine, so if you wish to revel in the glory of paper, you can order your copy.  Once I have it in my hands, I’ll put up some pics.

Cycling Guide to Lilliput (1-10), on Juked



Back in January, I encountered the works of a miniaturist painter, Dina Brodsky.  Some of you may have read an essay I wrote about her project, “Cycling Guide to Lilliput,” this past May in KoreAm Journal.  Simply put, I love her work.  And when I love something, I want to write about it.  Which is what I did, but it turns out I wasn’t done.

Thanks to the editors of Juked, you can now read ten tiny short stories based on ten of these Brodsky paintings.  This year, I’ve interviewed Dina twice to hear about her cycling journeys.  These stories of mine are based on her trips, but they are also works of pure fiction.  If that sounds like a contradiction, you’re right.  I’m not sure what is real and what is not anymore, as the tales she recounted and the tales in my head have fused together.

During the submission of these stories, an editor from another journal taught me a new word: ekphrasis.  Apparently this is what I was doing.  Wikipedia’s definition is “a graphic, often dramatic, description of a visual work of art,” but what I really love is the etymology of the word: “From the Greek verb ekphrazein, to proclaim an inanimate object by name.”

To proclaim an inanimate object.  That’s it, exactly.  That is why I have written these stories, because I wanted to make these paintings come alive in my own mind, in the best way I know how, the only way I know how.

And now it’s your turn.  See the paintings.  Read the words.  Get on your bike and take a ride.