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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rav Shalom Sings the Blues

sholom brodtThis is just a quick post, and later than I should've put it up: A few nights ago Rav Sholom Brodt spoke at our house. Here are my notes from what he said -- scanned, although I'm not sure the quality is good enough to read, either in terms of the scanning or my handwriting. If you're interested, totally go for it (click the images for higher quality) -- and if you like what you read, consider checking out the Shlomo Yeshiva, where he teaches.


Friday, July 13, 2012

This Non-Profit Life

Two weeks ago, I told my boss I was leaving. This is at my day job, understand--not my job job (writing poems and books and movies), or my real job (taking care of a bunch of little kids, and doing my best to keep them from killing themselves and each other, and possibly teaching them some stuff), but rather the place where I've spent 8 hours of most days of the past four years. Ten hours, if you add in the commute.

It's kind of an incredible math: There are 24 hours to a day, one-third of which is spent at work, another one-twelfth getting there, one-third to one-quarter (6-8 hours, on average--admittedly, an optimistic average) sleeping, in preparation for the onslaught of your day. What's left should be a lot of time (another 8-10 hours, right?, if you've been keeping up with the math), but where does it all go? Praying. Cleaning. Eating. Posting dumb stuff on Facebook. Trying to write.


Far and away the biggest thing I've done with the past few years is Jewniverse--which, if you haven't been getting it, is a daily email I've been writing and designing that's better, I hope, than the title suggests: something cool and interesting and novel that you've never heard of, that's in some way Jewish. You can subscribe here--too late to catch most of mine, but good people will still be writing (I'll still be one of them, occasionally), and I've still got a month of stuff in the can. The website is not quite live yet, but in a week or two, if you go to, there'll be a ton of these things to check out.

(And then I've done a bunch of other stuff, like these videos and these articles and this blog, and omg I threw years of my life into this blog, and one day I'll separate the cool articles from the stupid video posts, but I don't know when...but it's weird, saying goodbye.)

So that's been the past two years. It's weird to say goodbye to your babies, especially since, unlike actual babies, it's not even like my old posts are going to come back from college or invite me to their weddings or put me into a nursing home or something.

But it's been good. Daniel, my editor, made a point of telling me that, over the past 2 years, I've written and sent out 4.7 million emails. Most of them have been short, under 200 words, but it's still pretty powerful and an amazing gift that I've been able to. And it's totally dumb of me to say thank you to you for reading and listening, but I'm going to say it anyway.

I'm still around. I'll still blog (hopefully more, now that I've got time!) at, and I have a new book coming out next year! I'm moving on--starting Monday, I'll be writing video games for Wireless Generation, and I'm hugely excited, although right now I'm more nervous and anxious about it. But I'll see you around. It's a small Internet, after all, and it's only getting smaller.

Thank you.

(Yeah. That's all I meant to say.)

Thank you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Scavenger Hunt Novel Is Underway

I had a reading last Thursday and Electric Literature was kind enough to write it up: "Roth has a charm about him that entices you, no matter your literary proclivities." They also gave me an award for Best Writerly Facial Expressions that I didn't even know what I was up for.

matthue roth reading

I read my story "The Ambush" (which was originally titled "Bombs over Breakfast," shout-out to my fave influencers) (I think I'm only shouting-out OutKast because Rabbi Fink did last week). It's a short story, and it features Jupiter from Losers, and it's also chapter 4 of this scavenger-hunt novel that I wrote.

Um. Let me explain. Last year, I wrote this book Enemies that I really liked, and my agent sort of didn't. It was conveniently already sliced into chapters, and so I've been publishing them as short stories. This marks the 5th (I think?) piece that's been published:

  1. Girl Jesus on the Inbound Train (in Truth & Dare)
  2. Are You Being Served? (in Apiary) (and it's online!)
  3. xxxxxx
  4. The Ambush (Let me reiterate: in Cornered)
  5. Jupiter Glazer Meets His Maker (in Mimaamakim)
Chapter 3 is going to be published, but it's on hiatus right now, and I probably shouldn't say where yet? But I think you'll like it.

And then there's a second half. I'll try to figure out how to get that to you guys, soon.

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