On 2 November 2012, I travelled to the US to do a residency at Vermont Studio Center. Since that time, aside from the occasional return to Australia, I’ve been travelling – in fact, I’ve sometimes been moving about so much that friends and family have regularly asked me where I am.
Of course, where I am is not really the same as where I am at, and I have often not had time or insight to elaborate much on the latter. Much has happened, professionally and personally, since I’ve been travelling. These events – such as the publication of Look Who’s Morphing by Arsenal Pulp Press – have driven much of my travels (where I am). Of course, they have also driven the bigger stories of where I am at.
Where I am now is Taos, New Mexico, and I am in the final 3 weeks of my residency. As you can see, where I am is quite the place to be:
Where I am at is harder to articulate. I have had a stable geographical location but, artistically, am far less moored. I am writing a work that doesn’t yet exist – and not only as a finished manuscript. While writing this book, there have been few and perhaps no precedents for me to look to, which has made my creative process often feel quite isolating. That said, it occurs to me that perhaps my source materials can suffice as highly suggestive precedents in themselves.
This book that I am writing – which is, after all, a book about the meaning of life, among other philosophical matters – seems almost a parody of The Notoriously Difficult Second Book. The extent to which it over-reaches (i.e. a lot) is definitely part of its charm, which I continue to love, even as its preposterousness boomerangs back at me every time I return to it. As I have told the occasional funding body and prospective residency host, this book project is simultaneously laughable and of great consequence. And as I write this, I’m thinking: as artistically unmoored as I currently feel, this simultaneity is a good place to be at.
Where I will be after Taos is Tucson. I’ll be doing a reading with two writers, one of whom is Samuel Ace, who gave an incredible performance at the Writing Trans Genres conference in Winnipeg earlier this year. I feel honoured to be sharing a bill with him and I’m also excited to see the work of Stephanie Brunson.
An abbreviated event description follows, with full details available at the Facebook event:
Trickhouse Live with Tom Cho, Samuel Ace, and Stephanie Brunson
Friday, December 12, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Casa Libre, 228 N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ
Suggested $5 donation
Trickhouse Live is an integrative arts series that brings together people working with words, images, sounds, videos, and a variety of performances. The series serves as a venue for visiting artists to interact with local artists and for the borders between genres and mediums to be permeable. Trickhouse Live is a physical world extension of the online cross-genre arts journal, Trickhouse.org which is based in Tucson.
Samuel Ace is the author of three collections of poetry: Normal Sex (Firebrand Books), Home in three days. Don’t wash., a hybrid project of poetry, video and photography (Hard Press), and most recently Stealth, co-authored with Maureen Seaton (Chax Press). He is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, two-time finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in Poetry, and winner of various awards including the Astraea Lesbian Writer’s Fund Prize in Poetry and The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. His work has been widely anthologized and has appeared in or is forthcoming from, Ploughshares, Eoagh, Spiral Orb, Kenyon Review, Rhino, and others. He lives in Tucson, AZ and Truth or Consequences, NM.
Stephanie Jo Brunson is an artist of many media, inspired by the landscape of the West, travel and ideas of home, and the awesomeness of community. Whether making fine art prints or cards from found paper scraps, her work is about appreciating the little things, the simplest things that remind us of the poetry of life. She is currently working on her BFA at the University of Arizona.
[See Facebook event for full details.]
This year, I’ve written a bit more of my own non-fiction than usual. Very recently, I wrote a piece to mark the 25th anniversary of Writers Victoria. Earlier this year, I had a series of articles published for the National Post, a Canadian national newspaper. I’ve been meaning to mention these pieces again, as I feel quite proud of them and they in themselves tell some good stories about where I’ve been:
- Cho, T. (2014). Tom Cho: Tom and me, part two. National Post, Afterword, 2 May, http://arts.nationalpost.com/2014/05/02/tom-cho-tom-and-me-part-two/
- Cho, T. (2014). Tom Cho: Tom and me, part one. National Post, Afterword, 1 May, http://arts.nationalpost.com/2014/05/01/tom-cho-tom-and-me-part-one/
- Cho, T. (2014). Tom Cho: Why I publicly share all reviews of my work. National Post, Afterword, 30 April, http://arts.nationalpost.com/2014/04/29/tom-cho-why-i-share-reviews-of-my-work/
- Cho, T. (2014). Tom Cho: Tom speaks with his high school English teacher. National Post, Afterword, 28 April, http://arts.nationalpost.com/2014/04/28/tom-cho-tom-speaks-with-his-high-school-english-teacher/
After Tucson, I’m returning to Melbourne for a little while (how long depends on many things, including the outcome of an application for Canadian permanent residency). While in Melbourne, I’ll be seeking some more jobs to add to my freelance writing and editing work, so if you have anything in mind, please get in contact.
I’ll also be returning to the USA in March next year to do an east coast USA tour (that may also include some Canada dates) with LGBTQ arts tour Sister Spit:
Let’s face it: where I am and where I am at are very good places to be.