Friday, July 7, 2017

Finally, some actual literature from me

A few months ago, I wrote about getting a story accepted where the editor actually asked for a few changes. The biggest change, which I now think of as a really good one, was the name. This Christmasy story was originally called "City of Dawit." It's now called "Silver Spring," after the city in Maryland where a lot of Ethiopian/Eritrean folks live.

There's not much to say about it, other than it's not short (about 7,000 words), so if you plan to read, get comfortable.

I wrote this back when I still thought Trump becoming President was the most laughable idea in politics. I didn't know then how important immigrant stories would become.

Here's the story, courtesy of The Green Hills Literary Lantern.

This story will be one of the twelve in my upcoming book, due out in about two months, so you can consider this a sneak-peak. 


  1. Nice - well, I'm not sure "nice" is the right word, since a lot of it was hair-raising, but it did the job it needed to do. I'm pulling for Daud and Helen, for all the Dauds and Helens, who've been through so much , have so much to offer, and just need to be allowed to find their way through their own personal hells.
    May I ask, what was the inspiration, if that's the right word - or, maybe, a BASS-style contributor note :).

    1. One of the languages I've learned is Tigrinya--spoken in Ethiopia and Eritrea. A few years ago, I volunteered to work with the International Rescue Committee in Baltimore. I got assigned to work with some Eritreans who had crossed out of Eritrea illegally into Ethiopia, entered a camp, then got lucky and been sent to the U.S. (Less than 5% of refugees in camps around the world make it to the West.) It's maybe the best thing I've ever done in my life. I felt really useful just doing things like helping people to handle the necessary paperwork to get a bank account so they would stop getting screwed by getting paid at their janitor jobs in pre-paid cards. (Yes, they worked.) I haven't been able to do this work in a few years, because I'm needed at home and Baltimore is a long drive. I can't wait to get back to it. If I could do it full-time in a cheaper part of the country and get paid half what I get now, I'd do it. I can't wait until the kids are independent so I can go do it again.

      The first story I ever published ( and the third ( were also based on this volunteer experience.

      Thanks for the nice words, Karen.

    2. Are the others in your forthcoming book as well? It occurs to me these are very timely stories, important stories. Of course, the people who need to read them will never read them (or believe them), but they are stories that need to be told and heard.

      You're a good guy. Thank you for your service.

    3. There are 12 stories in the book-to-be. Four are Ethiopia/Eritrea immigrant stories, three of which are the already-published ones I've linked to here. The fourth is the one I've named the whole book for. Of the other eight stories, I'd say four could be categorized as "bro lit," or stories about dudes concerned with their masculinity. The other four I can't categorize, although one of them was published in The Potomac Review and might be my best so far.

      I have to insist you not hold me up as a model of civic service. I did far too little and for far too short a time. I have reasons not to still be volunteering now, but better people than me would overcome those reasons and be doing something. I hope my including my past volunteer work in my bio doesn't sound like I'm trumpeting my own virtue; I just thought people might wonder why a white dude is writing stories about people from the Horn of Africa.

    4. I thought you were a Latina. Thanks for ruining that for me.

  2. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.