Hello to those of you on my email list or following me on social media. I know it’s been a long while since I’ve updated my website about my writing career, so I thought I’d do a quick one.
Where the heck have I been? You might recall the Reading List took a hiatus last May. I have a new batch of novels to read this year and will get to them after I finish the incredible nonfiction journalistic work Manufacturing Consent.
Speaking of journalism, in case you missed it I was lucky enough to work with Mel Reeves (RIP) and the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder last September on an important piece concerning the Minneapolis Charter Commission. I’m now finishing up a final piece that will (hopefully) drop within another month or two.
A major event that happened last December was my having a mental health crisis over the holidays. Thankfully my wife Mary helped me through it, but it did raise some uncomfortable questions about my life and how I endure it. I was diagnosed as bipolar and am now on medication, but the path has not been easy. Please take care of your mental health as we experience this pandemic on a societal level. I know it’s cliché to say “if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything” but after living that for a while I’d have to say it’s true.
Finally, the novel. I am diving back into the twelfth draft of Spheres of Influence, using my editor’s notes as a guide to expanding it. I will have more updates as I finish the draft. I am also planning on revising and writing new short stories once I get to that point.
I mentioned on Twitter recently that I've been working on a blog post called “What’s a reader for?” This dovetails with a similar query to my readers on a possible new series: A Note on Sourcing. That is, what are the many (many) sources that we as writers (or readers) try to take in each day, week, or month to understand what is going on in the world? Personally I try to focus on Minnesota/Minneapolis news and then expand to national news, but it’s a constant struggle to keep up with everything (else).
So for a query to you: what are the most important sources you follow each day? This could be email newsletters, actual newspapers, websites, blogs, whatever. Heck, it could just be Twitter or Instagram. Not everyone uses “old school” services like Feedly or Instapaper as I do. Feel free to respond to this with your lists, and I hope to compile them into a blog post someday.
And if you’re looking for something to read you can check out either of my novels, which are available from North Star Press or as e-books through B&N as well.
Thanks to all of you for reading my work over the years; there will be more blog posts in 2022!
Mary and I met at Target in 2008, a year after we had both moved to Minneapolis (she’s from the Iron Range and I’m from *ahem* Iowa). A year later, we began dating. I still remember one of the first times we hung out. I drank some fake Absinthe and ended up crying because I didn’t know what I was doing with my life. Oh yeah, in her bedroom. Still not quite sure why she didn’t just leave me high and dry back then.
I was a drunk. Thankfully I had the good sense to make the right decision. Haven’t had much taste for alcohol since.
For most of my life I didn’t know how to express or show emotion. Coming from a very cloistered, cultish and indoctrinating family I learned to substitute ritual and superficiality for actual feelings. This led to some early calamities. I almost broke up with her in New York City, for goodness sake. I was a moron, and wasn’t even aware of what I had.
Each time, I knew deep down inside that this woman was the one for me. I had to trust that instinct each time, and it always worked out for the best.
We moved in together in 2010, got married the next year. A small ceremony attended by a few members of each our families. Reception at Bunny’s in St. Louis Park.
Challenges since then. She has bipolar disorder. She chose to take her medication, feeling I was worth it. She helped me finally break free of the influence of my family. Helped me see my former job was making me miserable.
So many memories. The Law & Order weekend, and the food poisoning weekend. Going to dinner at that terrible Italian restaurant near 50th and France. Watching your reactions to certain movies, like in Ted when the bear starts getting ripped in half at the end. Seeing you struggle with that Kirby game, and with your addiction to cheese. And the heartbreak you’ve had in dealing with your (new) egg allergy. There are so many things with eggs in them! It’s not fair. You love our cats, Marble and Morrison with a passion I at first did not understand. That was until we had to say goodbye to Scout last year, and I realized I was really going to miss that feline.
Seeing you fully as a person who is special enough to contain such a wide range of emotional territory.
Mary’s birthday has been a challenge for me, as I’ve been pathetic at picking out gifts. Now I recognize it’s more in the spirit of what she means to me.
This marriage goes so far beyond that. She is the real gift.
She is an amazing, loving, caring woman who also happens to have a mental illness. I made the decision that the only way to handle it was to just love her unconditionally. No matter what.
Happy birthday, baby. I look forward to many years of happiness with you. I love you.
(Long time readers may consider this a companion piece to a previous note I wrote to Mary four years ago.)
John Abraham is a published author and freelance journalist who lives in the Twin Cities with his wife Mary and their cat. He is writing a speculative dystopian novel and is seeking representation and a publisher.