A number of months ago I got a sentence in my head that pleased me and it kept repeating itself.

“The bar was blacker than the inside of a chain smoker’s lung.”

It repeated until I wrote it down and when I wrote it down I kept going and it turned into a 2,000 word story. It was a bit dark and quite different from what I’d been working on the last few years, which were mostly love stories.

Yesterday the fine folks at Gravel published the story, which I called The Blackest Lungs of Virginia. It’s all about being stuck but having no one to blame for our situation but ourselves. The bar in the story was taken from a place I only went to once in Orlando with some friends, I have no idea where or what it actually is beyond the flashes of memory I have left. We were the only ones there and it had a very strange vibe to it.

For those unfamiliar with Gravel, it is put out by the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. I had been submitting pieces to them for several years before they picked this one up and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the work they do.