Eight Works By Jason Pettus

Jason Pettus is a writer, designer, and chef based out of Chicago. He contacted me wondering about the city of Cochem in Germany, I had posted some stuff about my recent stay there, and he had been invited by some European admirers to go on a writing/reading tour in that area.

He's a hell of a good writer, one of those guys where I scratch my head and say "I wish I could write like that". You can see more by Jason at his website-- and even support him on his trip to Germany... he leaves in a few days!

Two out of every three stories I've ever written have been about romance. I just find it to be an endlessly fascinating subject to write about: the surreal beginnings of relationships, the cliched endings, the infinite middles in between. It wasn't difficult for me to choose eight of my favorite pieces about romance; they span from the very beginning of my literary career all the way up to a few months ago. For this special mini-feature, I thought I would also write introductions to the pieces, explaining where I was at those points in my life that made me want to write those particular poems and stories. My thanks to Kirk for allowing me to present this mix tape of sorts here at his website for the first time.

One of the very first stories I ever wrote, back in 1996. Gets mistaken a lot for a true story, when in fact the story is completely fictional. Seems to really affect a certain amount of people at my live shows.

Yo La Tengo
A formal poem, written in a style of my own invention called the "Jasonette," involving a lot of math and rhyming and lettering schemes. This particular poem is about a woman I briefly dated in spring of 1997. Sigh...my little indie-rock queen.

The Night We
Pretended We
Were Married
A sweet, happy little love story, loosely based on a true event from early 1998. This one always makes me smile and feel wistful at the same time.

You and I
will never
love again
An early audience favorite from my poetry slam days (more specifically, winter 1998). The "We've been having sex sporadically for two years now and we should really come to a resolution about it all" poem. Don't all goddamn poets have one of these?

Jane the Geek
Written for a special invitation-only show at Quimby's Bookstore here in Chicago, sponsored by the literary e-magazine fengi.com. The idea was for all of us to write about the worst breakup we ever had. 85 percent of this story is true, although the events are culled from many stories concerning a dozen different ex-girlfriends of mine over the years, added together into one sexy, neurotic mess.

A sad poem, written after living through a sad experience, winter 1999. Strangely, this is one of the most autobiographical poems I've ever written, although most people think it's fiction or even fantasy. Always makes me cry when I perform it aloud.

Open Letters (Kathy)
Written for the old literary journal Open Letters, although then rejected by them. I still think it's a good story, damnit. Funnily enough, another true story that people think is made up. I have an ongoing weird relationship with this woman, and I'm sure future events will inspire future stories.

Written for another Quimby's/Fengi invitation-only show, this time with the theme "Snowmen." There's a lot of men out there who seem to be touched by this one; at least, I get a lot of email from men saying, "Man, I knew a woman just like this. You've just made me understand their actions better than I've understood them in years." That's always pleasant to hear. Following the trend of the rest of these, this is another made-up story that a lot of people think is true.

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