They/he. Writer of fiction, screenplays, plays, reviews, essays, and poetry. Chicago. https://linktr.ee/jshetina

on media discourse, personal taste, and defensiveness.

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For all its meanings, the word “taste” is, perhaps rightly, connotative of classist, elitist, and more accurately anti-populist sentiment.

It is often used to distinguish between high art and low art, which is most often a separation of class, money, and access that most of us do not have. …


The body of a book.

Hello, I hope this post finds you.

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Jane Addams Book Shop in Champaign, Illinois

Since I can remember, when I sat down to write, I’ve always had a couple of books on my work surface next to me. Every so often, I hold one, open it up, and don’t read so much as witness the words. I’m not looking for ideas. I think it’s just nice to know, to hold in my hand, the labor that a stranger put into a book. It exists. It is worthwhile. It’s the breadcrumbs in the dark forest. It feels comforting to know someone’s been here. …


“I couldn’t help but wonder…”

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A disclaimer for those of you who are sensitive to body image talk, fat talk, food talk, and disordered eating. I talk about all of that in here.

I am a fat person who has very little to say about my body.

But, being someone who enjoys exhibitionism on social media, I used to feel that my fatness required an excuse every time I wanted a fraction of the attention thin or muscular gays got for a hundred times less effort. They could post a shirtless pic, throw up a Lana Del Rey lyric, and go. …


On the pleasure of watching things work the way they’re supposed to.

TW: mentions of child abuse, sexual abuse

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Five years ago, the nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced and, to the complete and utter disbelief of us all, Carol was not listed among the eight Best Picture nominees. It was easily one of the very best movies of 2015. Some might say one of the best of the decade (I would).

However, the film that would end up nabbing the Best Picture Oscar was a worthy — and ultimately deserving — substitute.


Mom, why is Dad singing queer longing songs?

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My father sings a lot. Or at least he did. I haven’t lived with him full-time since I was eighteen. The most common songs in his repertoire were Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and a few different Meat Loaf tunes: specifically “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth” and “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” from his Bat Out of Hell album.

Weirdly, he was good. My dad’s not an artistic man, although he might have had the temperament (temper?) for it. But he had a nice voice.

The only thing is: he doesn’t project when he sings. Singing…


A book proposal

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A book proposal by Kevin Ethan Johnson Peterson, former-accidental White House temp

An elite group of books has sought to pull back the curtain on the trials and scandals of the Trump Administration:

  • The Room Where It Happened by John Bolton
  • Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House by Omarosa Manigault Newman
  • Disloyal: A Memoir by Michael Cohen
  • Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House by Sarah Huckabee Sanders
  • Yes, I Did It by Ted Cruz
  • Wait, Not THAT by Ted Cruz
  • My Life in Politics: A Memoir of…

A complication that gets little air time

Happy New Year and welcome to 2021. Have some coffee.

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One complication of the COVID crisis that I don’t see talked about as much is the trouble, effort, and frustration of drawing boundaries. Maybe it seems like small potatoes in the face of a deadly and worsening pandemic, but if individuals are expected to bear the brunt of stopping the spread of the virus because of gross national negligence, I think it’s important to talk about the things that complicate that process. …


When do I just get to say “I’m a writer”? Right now? Really? No, that can’t be right.

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Melanie Griffith in the Reagan-era Girlboss Movie ‘Working Girl’

I made my first website last month. Whether or not I’ll have enough money to upgrade to one of Squarespace’s plans remains to be seen, but I suddenly feel very serious about being a Capital W Writer.

That’s not to say I haven’t been serious about my writing. I’ve been writing since I was seven years old. One day, I came home from the second grade determined to write a short story for an English class assignment. “It’s gonna be at least thirty pages!” I told my parents. Not the last time my plans would outweigh my ability. Still, I…

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