In October of 2016, Unbridled Books published his novel, People of the Broken Neck. He teaches for the Writers Institute at Susquehanna University.  

 

Now let's move on to some less practical points in my biography. For instance:

 

I grew up poor, but I was not unhappy being poor. We went to food pantries, and had food stamps, and I ate government cheese. Do you know about government cheese? It was (is?) a processed American cheese that, according to the government, "slices and melts well." It is  

  

 

 

MY BROTHER AND ME

SILAS DENT ZOBAL

Should I begin with the practical parts of my biography? I should.

 

Silas Dent Zobal was born in Bellingham, Washington in 1973.  He was raised in Rockford, Illinois. He earned a bachelor's degree from DePaul University, an MFA from the University of Washington, and a PhD from Binghamton University. He has been published in the Missouri Review, Glimmer Train, New Orleans Review, North American Review, Green Mountain Review, Shenandoah, and elsewhere.  He has been awarded a NEA fiction fellowship, won the Glimmer Train Fiction Open, and been a scholar at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.     

His collection of short stories, The Inconvenience of the Wings (Fomite Press) came out on June 15, 2015.  

true that government cheese melts easily on a grilled cheese sandwich. It is not, however, any good.

 

I started working when I was nine. I worked as a paperboy. I had one paper route, and then I got a second paper route. My second job, when I was fourteen, was as a dishwasher in a pretty nice restaurant. In the summers I picked strawberries with migrant workers. It did not pay well, but they would hire me and that seemed good enough. At the time, my best friend was a pickpocket named Doug. (Note: I have never picked a pocket.  I think it is wrong.)

As a bicycle messenger in Chicago, I was hit four times by cars. Or more rightly, I have been hit by three cars and one bus.  

I worked at a home for the developmentally disabled. This was sometimes very fun, and sometimes not very fun at all. Sometimes the developmentally disabled people hit each other. Sometimes they hit me. I took a class on how to restrain people. It turned out that the developmentally disabled were pretty shrewd. For instance, they liked to take off all their clothes. Nudity makes people uncomfortable. They got naked to get what they wanted. One guy had grown up on a pig farm, and so he really liked pig magazines. Did you know that there are pig magazines? (They have names like Modern Hog Farmer and Pig Progress.) This guy liked the pictures. If he couldn't have a magazine, he would strip naked. If he still didn't get a magazine, he might hit someone. Sometimes that someone was me. Sometimes I had to restrain him. If I restrained him, he would bite. His mouth, like all of our mouths, was slimy. But it was pretty safe, because he didn't have any teeth. 

I like woodworking. Recently I started handcutting dovetails. (I'm learning with help from a great book by Peter Korn. See it here.) Do you know what a dovetail is? Here are a few of the things that I have made. Boxes. Pizza peel. Rose trellis. Gates. Storm windows. Bench. Gumball machine. Cornice. Chicken coop. Cutting boards. Toy helicopter. Fork. Spoon. 

 

I don't like swimming. My mom used to tell me that it was because of my asthma. She thought I didn't like the feeling that I couldn't breathe. I always had this question: Who likes the feeling that they can't breathe?   

 

My mother had five strokes, lived in a coma for fifty-four days, and then died. I was twenty-four and then twenty-five, because I had a birthday while she was in the hospital. (I have no memory of that birthday at all.)

 

I grew up violently, but now I am a failed pacifist.  

 

I have two children (Emerson and Lake), two dogs (Fisher Peach Raspberry and Little Tree), three cats, five chickens, and thousands of bees. I have been very lucky. I have a spouse, Catherine, who was, and is, the very best thing. But she is not a thing, she is a life.

 

She is my life.    

  

COGITATION:

Writing these tidbits about my life makes me wonder who you are. Have you been hit by a car? Do you own a car? Do you live by yourself? Do we know each other? Do you have a dog? What have you lost? Do you like this picture of a bird?  (It's a Bullfinch. Do you think that's a funny name?)

© 2015 SILAS DENT ZOBAL