Welp, Schadenfreude drops a week from today. I don’t know if it’s the general pall of awfulness in the world or my own psychological coping mechanism — where I have a complete meltdown shit-fit like 4 weeks in advance, and then when the real Event I’m Stressed About comes, I’m cool as a fucking cuke — but I’m feeling pretty regular. So here’s something to get us all psyched.

And here’s something else. I’m of course depressed that this warranted writing, but hey, if anyone was going to write it, I’m glad to be that anyone. “In the Trump International Penal Colony and Golf Resort” is a double-debut: My first piece on one of my all-time favorite humor sites, The Hairpin (part of the Awl family), and (gasp sounds) my first piece of published fiction. That’s right, I wrote a story. I have, after all, an MFA in story-writin’, it’s just not a muscle I’ve felt like using in the past 15 years or so. Funny, that; for the first 25 years, it’s all I wanted to do. I wrote my first short story at six or seven (earlier than that, if you count the ones I narrated and my mom wrote down for me), and wanted to do nothing else with my life for as long as it took for me to realize that “short story collection” equals YOU WILL NEVER BE PUBLISHED EVER. Then a decade in academia neck-deep in the greatest literature in the world gave me a complex about fiction, by which I mean it reminded me that some people are sublime at it and I am not one of those people. When I left academia I just sort of landed on creative nonfiction and it stuck, and here I am. I like to think of Schadenfreude as a novel I didn’t have to make up, and I hope you do, too. And meanwhile, I hope you enjoy my Kafka parody; given both my antipathy to Trump and my lifelong affair with Herr Dr K (not to mention my longtime admiration of The Hairpin), this is the conflation of many dreams at once.

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