Today I'm vey proud to have essay up at The Rumpus, which consistently publishes the best non-fiction of any magazine or website I read. The piece is called "Birth Story" and it's about birth stories in general, and one in particular. In many ways, it's a follow-up to an essay of mine they published last year, "On Pregnancy and Privacy and Fear." It's fun for me to see these pieces listed together when you click on my name on the site. It reminds me how much of my life has changed in the last year and how much has stayed largely the same.
Here's the opening of "Birth Story." You can read the rest here.
The birth story must always start the same way: with a woman in pain. There’s no avoiding the pain. The pain is how you know it’s beginning. It’s the overture, the epigraph, the amuse-bouche. You sit up straight. You stand up. You walk around. You move as if the pain is something you can twist away from, like pulling your hand from a hot stove. But this pain is coming from inside. This pain is trying to twist away from you. But first it has to come through you. First it has to open you up.
Air Schooner, Prairie Schooner's podcast series interviewed me about Why We Never Talk About Sugar and weird fiction. You can click hear to listen to me talk about how I discovered the secret truth hiding in the Pinocchio myth.
I will be making a couple of appearances at AWP this year. Here's where I'll be and when. Come say hi!
You can now pre-order my short story collection, Why We Never Talk About Sugar! Here's the publisher's description, which I love:
Get ready. These are not your mother's bedtime stories. In this mesmerizing debut collection, Aubrey Hirsch will lead you into the darkest recesses of human life, where hope and longing and love and loss look all too much like one another. Each of these sixteen stories may be filled with its own kind of despair, but they are not despairing as Hirsch enters with deep sympathy into the souls of lonely women (Cheater, Hydrogen Event in a Bubble Chamber, Made in Indonesia), broken men (Leaving Seoul, Advice for Dealing with the Loss of a Beloved Pet), young recruits (The Specialists), and dutiful daughters (Strategy #13: Journal, No System for Blindness). With a hard intelligence, Hirsch considers the toll of heartache (Why We Never Talk About Sugar, Certainty) and loss (The Borovsky Circus Goes to Littlefield, Paradise Hardware) and the simple cost of longing. Taut and tension filled, these stories will transport you into the heart of what it means to be human. But be careful. Hirsch's compassion arrives on a knife blade. And you just may find your own heart cut open.
Here it is, the first look at the cover of my short story collection. It will be released by Braddock Avenue Books on March 1st!