The Great Offshore Grounds – and organizing unions

My new novel, The Great Offshore Grounds,will be out on Knopf, August 25th, 2020!!

The real cover is yet to come. For the curious, you can find a description here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/618210/the-great-offshore-grounds-by-vanessa-veselka/

It has been so long since my first novel, Zazen, came out that it….

record cover

But in reality, it’s a little more like this…

old foreigner

I deleted all my old posts in a fit of annoyance.

To recap the last decade, for some years I lived in a cave…

cave

I became increasingly anti-social and fell into despair…

werther

I decided art (or at least my art) didn’t matter, only politics…

capital-das-kapital-karl-marx-first-edition-rare

I cut off almost all social media contact…

audiogram-chart-color-coded

A year ago, I returned to union organizing, work I did in my 20s and early 30s. As a result, eleven months later, I have mostly forgotten I was ever a writer. Some of that feels good. Perspective. Not POV.

Bosses have so much power. With one small change to a worker’s schedule, they can collapse a single-mom’s childcare and strain all their relationships. By just shaving half an hour off their schedule here and there, they can drop workers below benefitted hours. They can fire them, trigger evictions, throw their lives into a total cascade of chaos, just for organizing. However, remarkable leaders are everywhere, and people will and can fight for their own dignity. In this moment when I am nervous about how my new novel will be read or interpreted, I am reminded of how small such things are.

A writer suffers the winds of fate…

fate writer

The average person on Medicaid suffers the winds of fate…

fate medicaid

Of course, these aren’t so much winds of fate so much as the price of unfettered capitalism. I have to admit that I do find it strange that people with the most socioeconomic resilience often show the least courage. Perhaps if you aren’t forced to do courageous things every day just to survive, your capacity for courage atrophies.

seanate

Many of our best leaders are cleaning feces off the elderly for minimum wage, getting grab-assed by grandad while they try to keep him safe in the shower under a barrage of racial slurs.

lakesia collins

Still, I miss writing. It is a strange thing to be on the edge of publication again with all its attendant nakedness and anxiety.

aug 25

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