NEXT Up: Nick Courage

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Photo by Rachel Ekstrom Courage

Nick Courage is a New Orleans-born writer who splits his time between Pittsburgh and Brooklyn, where he lives with his wife and two cats. His work has recently appeared in The Paris Review DailyStory and Full Stop. The Loudness (Sky Pony Press), his first novel, is on sale April 7th.

Monday, March 30

I make time to write every morning, but I’ve never been able to focus in coffee shops. Recently, my favorite place to go is the Oakland branch of the Carnegie Library. I’ll go in with the best intentions, but on a Monday, I’ll usually spend an hour or so in the stacks, on my laptop, catching up on book news from The Millions, Electric Literature, Book Riot and The Paris Review Daily.

For an afternoon break, I’ll walk down to Caliban Book Shop to check out the children’s book section. I found beautiful first editions of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and The Island of The Blue Dolphins here; I’m always on the lookout for Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death. Bonus: Desolation Row Records, is in Caliban—rock & roll and classic kid lit!

City of Asylum is having one of their Salon Readings tonight. If you’re not familiar with City of Asylum, they’re an organization that provides sanctuary to exiled writers, and their events are always worth checking out.

Tuesday, March 31

So many great looking books have published recently (the new Ishiguro, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, the new Richard Price), and I’ve been so preoccupied with working on my own that I haven’t had a chance to read any of them. I like to mix up my shopping so I support all the great independent bookstores in Pittsburgh: Penguin Bookshop (Sewickley’s a drive, but Susan is the best!), Amazing Books, Classic Lines. East End Book Exchange is right across the street from Paddy Cake Bakery, though, and their éclairs are literally the size of my forearm … so that’s where I’m heading today.

The last time I was at East End was for a Stewart O’Nan reading and it was happening. If you want to see the Pittsburgh literary scene in action, stop by one of their events.

Tomorrow is the last day you can enter for a chance win a copy of The Loudness on Goodreads. If you’re on Goodreads, what’re you waiting for?

Wednesday, April 1

Wednesday is new comics day! Right now I’m most interested in the new Ms. Marvel and Saga, but I always love to go to a comic book store—in this case, Eide’s—on a Wednesday and see what’s on the shelves.

If I can convince my wife to take a break from literary agenting, I’ll try to work in a trip to Ritter’s Diner afterwards. As a Pittsburgh newbie, I admit to having been—at first—a little concerned about Ritter’s hospital scrub uniforms (“What, exactly, are they doing in the kitchen?”), but now I’m a regular.

Tonight is the Pittsburgh Banjo Club’s Acoustic Wednesday at Allegheny Elks Lodge. This is the event that everyone in Pittsburgh seems to agree on, and I’m looking forward to my first time.

Thursday, April 2

I’m running a pre-order campaign for The Loudness, so I have to go to the post office to buy more Batman stamps so I can send out the last of my signed bookplates and buttons.

I have an article on Tor.com today—“Five Books In Which Pop Music Is Trying To Kill You”—and I’m definitely going to make some time to read the comments (ignoring the number one rule of writing for the internet).

Lunch meeting with my friend Lindsay (I Heart PGH) at Spice Island Tea House!

Friday, April 3

I used to work on a weekly email on writing and craft, Work in Progress, that’s sent on most Friday mornings, and I still look forward to reading it. If you’re interested in books and writing, you should consider subscribing!

Afterwards, I’ll be designing a website for my friend Justin’s new sports podcast, The Big Game. I’ve been trying to fit this in between other freelance gigs … so I’m going to spend the morning being a good friend and the afternoon patting myself on the back.

Later: coffee at Biddle’s Escape with my wife and our friend Katie, who I used to work with at Farrar, Straus and Giroux (we both recently moved to Pittsburgh—it’s only a matter of time until the rest of the ‘burghers in NYC publishing join us).

Saturday, April 4

I usually end up working on the weekends—if I didn’t, I don’t think I’d ever have finished a book … but The Loudness is officially coming out next Tuesday and I’ve resolved not to open my computer or check my phone. I’m just going to play guitar and skateboard all day (the Polish Hill skate spot is next to Mind Cure Records, so that’s in the cards). Otherwise, this is just one of those days where you get on your bike and let your heart be your GPS.

I recently realized that life would be better with a Michael Lotenero painting, so I’ll also try to schedule a studio visit at Lotenero Art + Design.

Sunday, April 5

Note to self: buy tickets to WordPlay at Bricolage (April 10). Also, Alexandra Fuller’s Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures event (April 13). I read Fuller’s memoir—Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight—a number of years ago, and it’s one of those books that just sticks with you.

Later: go to Row House Cinema and play their Creature From the Black Lagoon pinball machine until I run out of quarters.