I lived most of my life in Atlanta. As a young child, I lived for three years in Amsterdam. I have traveled extensively in Europe, specifically France and Paris. I speak French at the advanced intermediate level.
I have a B.A. in English from Georgia State University. I came close to bachelor's degrees in Philosophy and Literature. Currently I live in Pittsburgh, attaining an MFA in creative writing from Chatham University.
I love animals and had a Yellow Lab for fourteen years.
My favorite poet is the Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud. My largest literary influence for fiction at this point is Denis Johnson.
|EDUCATION: MFA Creative Writing from Chatham University||BLOG: None provided|
|CERTIFICATIONS: TEFL / Honor Society||CURRICULUM VITAE: Must be logged in to view|
He woke suddenly, sweating and trembling in a dark apartment southwest of Jabaliyah. Moonlight shone through the window. He could not move. A presence in the room was trying to drag him off the bed. The power had gone out again in this sector of Gaza Strip. Outside, he could hear voices beneath him on the street, muttering, distended: a very old conversation about some verse of the Quran (the violence of it). He knew enough Arabic by now to understand what the men were saying. These were just words, uttered into the darkness. But the voices reminded him that the world around him was not a great lie, that he was not the only one who existed. The voices made this belief somewhat less problematic. I am in Gaza, he thought, but is any of this real? On the table was The Death of God and the Oriental Renaissance by Arthur Schopenhauer.
The men had left, evidently, because he could no longer hear the conversation.
He groped across the bedside table and fumbled with a small, plastic bottle of OxyContin. His hands were trembling. The bottle rattled. There were four pills left. He swallowed two white pills with 80’s impressed on them and drank from a large bottle of Evian water. In the fridge were four or five large plastic bottles of Evian water.
If only he could put his lights on, maybe that would protect him from the demons. He stared up at the ceiling fan. The fan had been broken when he moved into the apartment; he hadn’t bothered to call the landlord and have it fixed. What was the point? It was so torrid anyway. It had occurred to him that if God was here, the electricity wouldn’t go out. The entire city wouldn’t be consumed in darkness. But Gaza was real. He lived here. Jonathan felt somnolent, tired, so he got out of bed and shuffled in sandals across the carpet. Halfway across the apartment, he banged his foot hard against the wooden leg of a table. Ow, shit, motherfucker! he shouted. The pain shot up through his Humerus into the middle of his back. The OxyContin would deaden the pain, or at least modify his perception of it. Provide a vague euphoria, an overpowering sense of well-being, as if everything would be copasetic for the duration of the high. The Oxys would make him feel somewhat fleetingly that his life in this place was okay.
He bought the Oxys from a guy on the southern edge of Gaza. It had been an incredibly difficult and specific endeavor to find a guy for Oxys in Gaza. But he needed more. He opened the locked safe in the corner and counted the Israeli Shekels in a large envelope. They were brightly colored with images of Israeli figures. A little over three thousand. Then he called the man who sold him the OxyContin; he did not know where in Gaza this man lived. The man picked up. After a brief conversation in Arabic, they decided to meet at the usual place, a market in central Gaza.
He wiped the sweat from his forehead. His stomach felt sick, like he wanted to throw up in the toilet. An article online had said that vomiting while using Oxys could be fatal. But this offshoot of heroin would make him feel nothing vis a vis the sudden and purposeless death of his young wife during childbirth.
Martin told him at the funeral, “Everything happens for a reason, Jonathan.”
He had told Martin, “Yes, but you are not the one whose fucking life has just been torn
Jonathan had never believed in God to begin with. But maybe, there was a sense in which, at this time, he was the one who had abandoned God.