Joseph Grammer is a writer and editor who lives in Alexandria, VA. He attended the University of Maryland, College Park and studied to be a psychologist until he decided, quite unwisely, to stick stories on paper. He likes music from every decade, strangely paced movies, and journeys around Washington, D.C., with his bride-to-be Anna. Cocoon Kids is his first book of short stories, which is actually a gigantic source of shame because self-publishing is usually seen as this secondary garbage dump lying below the primary refuse pile of traditional publishing. It comforts him to know that everyone, sooner or later, becomes inert trash — although he still loves the world and finds the mundane good in it. He likes expressing his emotions even though it makes him want to die, and he also enjoys (pretty casually, it’s not like he’s technologically knowledgeable or in any way on the pulse of the culture) memes.
Help Joe find other readers who like this kind of fiction in any or all of the following ways:
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Read Interviews with Joe
On reaching the reader:
To me, directly attempting to teach the reader is heavy-handed. It’s too close to moralizing, and I think one of my criticisms about myself is that I unconsciously do this from time to time. At best, I hope to show readers a glimmer of what is possible through the lens of another person—often someone who appears different from them.
→ Read the rest on Strand’s Simply Tips
On forming characters:
I tried to take characters who were similar to me and characters who were very different from me and force them to interact. My opinion is that diversity breeds peace and love, but there is almost always an initial friction or awkwardness when individuals of different mindsets, worldviews, or backgrounds come into contact with one another.
→ Read the rest on Missy Writes
Why I Write
I write to push myself to connect. It’s not an easy business for me—not in a whining, self-pity way, but realistically. My hardware has issues with it. I also write to give others a worthy sense of participation with something that breathes and moves in their head. It’s fun to imagine and follow a plot, and my goal is to give you that experience.
The stories I make can seem weird, or disturbing. I’d like to qualify those perceptions by saying I strive for satisfaction and inner peace on a daily basis. I cook food with real nutrients, talk to random people on the subway, identify what I’m feeling and why. When my brain says, “Do this, it’ll make you happy,” I ask it questions.
My basic purpose in breathing and moving is to forge healthy relationships, and to help others do so, too. That said, some of the things I write deal with unhealthy aspects of connecting and being alive. I dislike bland optimism, and I enjoy a full portrait of the human crapshoot.
Is this a lame way of justifying why I might offend someone? Hopefully not. But to write is to divide, in many ways, and it can only be helped to some extent. I ask you to remember that, at heart, I’m coming from a goal of peace and other passé notions from Earth’s major religions.
The author is indebted to Anna Tulchinskaya, for her artistic skills, devotion, and patient mind; his family, for their unconditional support; and to his friends, who accept his odd ways and only occasionally heckle him.