A whole world smacked me, hot and heavy, when I arrived to Iowa City, August 2014. A world of books. I dove in atom-deep, head first, signing up for Marilynne Robinson's class, getting in, and then worrying what on God's green earth I could possibly submit. So I sat down to write.
The erratic, disturbed and lively voice of a strange Boer washed into my shores. He was a deeply wounded character but also a man who had survived it all to tell it all. I was enthralled. Writing his story, The Virus, was among the hardest and most thrilling things I've ever done. And also, the nerdiest.
I became intrigued with cyberwar listening to a 2012 panel hosted by Brown Advisory. Anne-Marie Slaughter (former Secretary Clinton advisor and author of an Atlantic Monthly article on how women (mostly white women) still can't have their cake and eat it too; "Aluta Continua" Marie Antoinette sang from her grave), lead a rich conversation about the real threats of cyberwar. I took cyberwar to its natural end: a post-apocalypse world where only the least inter-webbed continent is spared, Africa. I was quite surprised at my giddiness over all this cyber stuff. Yes, I'm a full-time proud nerd, but I don't speak Hutesse and Return of the Jeddi meant nothing to me. Sorry Lupita (Gurrrl, I know you be reading this). It only seemed right for the strange Boer in my head to unearth a buried file on cyberwar labeled, Future Use.
Then, a really funny thing happened. Paul Harding substituted for Prof. Robinson and read The Virus. He was very encouraging. When he Guest Edited Harvard Review, he asked me if he could publish the story in the 49th issue.
Paul is a rare gift on the page and in person. It's such a delight being part of his Harvard Review issue. And all the more so given the Iowa Writers' Workshop takeover happening on the Contributors' Page. I will read anything Regina Porter writes. I'd happily go through her grocery list if she let me. Margot Livesy--a great and generous spirit--is also in the issue. As is Ben Shattuck, another Iowa writer, alongside others I'm eager to discover.
If you'd like to read The Virus, you can order a copy of Harvard Review here. You can also pick up a copy at your local literary bookshop. But let's keep it 100. If $13 is all that's getting between you and supporting your girl, hit me up and we'll work it out.
And if you do read The Virus, would love to hear from you. Use the Contact form or send an email.