Clean Hands

I have a new story up at Monkey Bicycle!
March 2018

He’s only a park gardener. Shaves, makes coffee, watches porn, wipes up the mess.

She’s only a traffic controller. Does her crunches and pushups, skips breakfast, curses everyone on the bus before charging out into the street.

They both love Johnnie Walker and unsoiled sheets. They wash their hands before going to bed—soap them, scrub them, rinse them. They don’t want the dirt and grime of life to defile their sleep.

There’s a kid, too, their kid, although they didn’t make him. He’s only twelve and already no good.

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Animal Puzzle

DenverQuarterly2016My short story “Animal Puzzle” was published in Volume 50, Number 4, Year: 2016 of Denver Quarterly.


Preview of “Animal Puzzle”

It all began on Scheveningen beach with the sea rolling toward them in long waves, leaving foam behind and broken shells and plastic scraps and what all not. You’ll see. The sun was out and the wind was in everything, blowing an air of cockles and fake coconut. Nothing reeked of death.

The family of four had arrived in the early morning to beat the coastward traffic and now, in the late afternoon, they were exhausted. Doing nothing is no joke. Mother mostly read with eyes closed, an open book in her hands. Father did something similar, reading the same page of his magazine over and over, his eyes swerving to the legs that passed in front of him. It was dizzying, so many legs there were. Closer to the water, Son and Daughter were in cahoots together building an abstract sand sculpture. Or perhaps they were trying to build a rhinoceros. (The family is a member of Amsterdam’s Artis Zoo, some fifty kilometers North.)

Continue reading? Copies of the magazine can be ordered online.

The Empty Space in Front of Your Hand

GMR-LogoGreen Mountains Review published my essay “The Empty Space in Front of Your Hand.” It’s a personal essay on inexplicable coincidences & the intersection of life and art. It also tells the story of how my husband and I met.

Preview of “The Empty Space in Front of Your Hand”

Michel was an old and charming man as only an old and charming painter in a Parisian atelier can be.  He was our neighbor. Whenever we ran into each other in the courtyard and spoke, I let him touch my hands and in the summer even my bare shoulders. This was a huge thing for me, although I didn’t know at the time whether it meant a compromise or a victory. Michel was also my second novel.

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Folio_Cover_CropMy short story “Surfacing” was included in Volume 31 (2016 – The Surreal and Fantastical issue) of Folio, the lit mag published by The American University in Washington, D.C.

I’m honored and happy: the issue is a great read.

Preview of “Surfacing”

—Do you have any idea how much anger there is in you?

Nine weeks into my escape, I got noticed. My plan was to remain invisible for at least a year. But what was one to do? I couldn’t hide under a rock all my life. So there I was, sitting on top of one, facing the Phare de Gatteville, a historic lighthouse I would later refer to as a firetower (the literal translation from the Dutch word vuurtoren).

I’m from Holland, by the way, and most of this happened in France.

The air above the English Channel was lavishly blue except for a few petty clouds on the horizon. I was cobbling sentences together for a revenge letter I would never mail. Even then I knew my words wouldn’t make it out of my notebook. The point was to get them out of my head. From time to time, I glanced up from my lap at the underexciting view. The granite firetower soared up dispassionately, a seal-gray phallus incapable of seduction.

Continue reading? Copies of the magazine can be ordered online.

Fiction and Nonfiction 2016

  • Animal Puzzle” (short story) in: Denver Quarterly, July 2016 (print)
  • Walls” (flash fiction) in: Okey-Panky (Electric Literature), October 2016
  • The Last Gift” (essay) in: Tin House (online), January 2016
  • The Empty Space in Front of Your Hand” (essay) in: Green Mountains Review, July 2016.
  • Copycat” (flash fiction) in: SmokeLong Quarterly, March 2016
  • Surfacing” (short story) in: Folio, Volume 31, April 2016 (print)
  • “Papers” (micro fiction) in: The Offing, December 2016
  • “The Alps in Fall Time” (short story) in: Mikrokosmos Literary Journal, December 2016
  • Brunch” (flash fiction) in: Jellyfish Review, October 2016
  • The Path to the Future” (flash fiction) in: Pinball, November 2016
  • Playing the sports fan” (essay) in: Prairie Schooner (blog), August 2016
  • Woman of the Week” (flash fiction) in: matchbook, February 2016
  • The Writer and Her Time” (essay) in: Fiction Southeast, April 2016
  • Fistfuls” (flash fiction) in: Superstition Review, Issue 17, April 2016
  • Fraying” (essay) in: Atticus Review, January 2016
  • Locked In, Locked Out” (flash fiction) in: Vending Machine Press, January 2016
  • Earthquake” (micro fiction) in: Unbroken, March 2016
  • The Efficient Lover” (flash fiction) in: Knee-Jerk, March 2016
  • Message from the Forest” (flash fiction) in: Litro, September 2016
  • The Commune” (micro fiction) in: Pure Slush, September 2016
  • Flash Addiction” (blog on writing flash) in: SmokeLong Quarterly, July 2016
  • Condensed to Flash: World Classics” (review) in: JMWW, June 2016

Fiction and Nonfiction 2015

Hoe de muur onder mijn handen verkruimelde

Short story in the anthology: 25 onder de 35, verhalen van jonge, veelbelovende Nederlandse en Vlaamse schrijvers. (25 under 35, stories by young, promising Dutch and Flemish authors.)

Editors: Said El Haji and Annelies Verbeke
Publisher: Uitgeverij Prometheus
Prose by (among others): Abdelkader Benali, Saskia de Coster, Esther Gerritsen, and Ernest van de Kwast

Short Story + Essay (Translated)


The French magazine Deshima published a personal essay and a short story of mine in French translations.   

The essay  “Beauté” is about the differences between French and Dutch people on how they perceive, value, create, and stimulate beauty in all its variations.

The short story “Amour” is about the differences between a French and a Dutch woman on how they deal with love in their lives.

Both texts were written in Dutch on request, then translated into French.

Read them here in PDF: “Beauté” and “Amour.

Hôtel Lutetia

Hôtel Lutetia, in the heart of the Parisian quarter Saint-Germain-des-Prés, does not only impress with its gorgeous façade, but also with its long list of famous and notorious visitors and with the art that fills its corridors.

I wrote an article for the Travel Magazine En Route on the history of Hôtel Lutetia and the current character of this monumental place.
You can read it here, in Dutch.

Short Story (Dutch): De gang van zaken

A short story inspired by Kafka.

Published in: Deus Ex Machina (Literary magazine, Belgium)
Edited by: Erik Verhaar
Prose by (among others): Zadie Smith, Thomas Mohlmann, Yves Petry, and Harold Polis