Atlantic debut, new book, cool illuminated Bible project + Gatsby soundtrack

You know things have been a bit crazy of late when you can take a three-hour nap on Sunday and still sleep fine that night. And I did.

Talking Taboo cover
Not all my recent writing has been published yet, but the biggest piece has: my debut on The Atlantic website. Coming this fall, I also have a somewhat related essay in the anthology Talking Taboo, in which 40 Christian women under 40 explore the taboos that remain in 21st century churches. To help give the book a solid pre-order start, the editors launched an Indiegogo campaign today, to raise $14,700 for production and marketing costs, internet advertising and so on. You can support the book for as little as $7, but $20 or more secures your pre-order copy.

I confess I was a little confused at first why a book with a publisher still needed to fundraise like this, but when I think back on all I could have done to better market my book -- each part of which would have involved money -- it makes more sense.

Lastly, while this does not entail a full-fledged article, I also my first appearance in the print edition of Christianity Today last month: My top 5 books on singleness. On a related note, Mako Fujimura shared his top 5 books on creativity earlier this year. They feature a new list every issue, covering topics that range as widely as Dickens, North Korea and consumerism.

Don't miss the great short-story serialization below! And the Great Gatsby soundtrack probably won't be a first listen for long.

:: call for submissions ::
  • One of the more interesting projects I heard about at the Festival of Faith and Music was a New York-based effort to create the largest multi-disciplinary illumination of the Bible, organized by Spark and Echo Arts. As you might imagine, it's a pretty immense undertaking, but also a tremendous and very exciting opportunity. Learn more about the project.
  • Christianity Today seeks essays telling Christians' common-good stories -- and 10 winners will each get $1,000 for their story. The top essay will also be featured in the print edition of Christianity Today. Deadline is Friday, June 15; ideal length: 1,000-2,500 words. Learn how to enter.
:: events ::
  • From the Grotto: ZYZZYVA release - MAY 17 @ Diesel bookstore in Rockridge, 7 p.m. ZYZZYVA, the award-winning West Coast literary journal, celebrates the publication of the spring/summer issue. With Molly Giles (Iron Shoes), Alexandra Teague (Mortal Geography) and Aaron Jae-Ho Shin. Wine and snacks, of course. Editors Laura Cogan and Oscar Villalon hosting. ZYZYYVA release parties are always a good time—come early to get a seat and hang out.
  • Song Reader sightreading party: we're now tentatively looking at sometime in June for this low-key performance of Beck's latest album. Let me know if you'd be interested in learning part of a few songs to help us bring the album to life.
  • Author NoViolet Bulawayo will be speaking in San Francisco, May 21 at the Lone Palm (details and tickets here). An award-winning writer, her debut novel We Need New Names is due out next month. Read the first chapter, released as a short story called "Hitting Budapest" that went on to win the Caine prize.
:: your stuff ::
:: tunes ::
:: film & visual art ::
:: reading / food for thought ::
  • This series first debuted in January, but I must confess I don't read The New Yorker that often. So great, though. At a mere 28, the author is a precocious talent, lately of the Bay Area. as this New York Times profile shows.
    • Simon's Sell Out, Part One - One day an immigrant pickle-factory worker falls into the brine ... for a long, long time. When he escapes, the world has changed.
    • Part Two - Herschel grows restless depending on his great grandson for sustenance, and dreams of acquiring land.
    • Part Three: Herschel must find a place to store pickles jars for his expanding business, so he joins an exclusive artist commune.
    • Part Four: Herschel expands the business, sells it to Walmart and helps his great-grandson pray.
  • Keep your day job: a look at how other writers have balanced their art with paying the bills.
  • This is almost a month old, but the the death of storied reporter and legendary stylist McCandlish Philips prompted an unusual obituary in the New York Times. The Wall Street Journal had more on his unusual career. If I didn't actually meet Philips , I remember him from a Gegrapha meeting I once attended in Manhattan. Even then, meeting organizer Tony Carnes' esteem for Philips was evident. Read Carnes' remembrance of his friend and mentor. I must say, in reading the various tributes to him, I was really struck by Philips' work ethic and the care he put into even the seemingly dullest assignments. 
  • While most writing advice is at least somewhat helpful, I really like the succinctness and visual of this list, in which 14 authors wrote writing advice on their hands and then photographed it. Fun to see how people's personalities came through.
  • Looking to read some fiction this summer? This list of 15 "essential" novels about New York piqued my interest, though I'm still early on in the book-world whodunnits of John Dunning.
:: food ::
  • Toward the end of a recent trip, I got sick, which had me graving chicken soup soon after my return. I've never liked the taste of traditional chicken noodle soup, but this more Italian take from Rachael Ray, which adds mushrooms, stewed tomatoes and gnocchi is delicious. Even my Grandpa, a notoriously picky eater, liked it! When I have less time, I also turn to a Greek chicken soup, avgolemono.

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