Tag Archives: Tim Elhajj

Tim Elhajj @ Unity on Union Bookstore in Seattle


I’m going to appear in Seattle later this week at Unity on Union Bookstore, a really fabulous space in the central district. If you’ve never been there, you should come. I went down to see Carol Latimer, the owner, and fell in love with the store—big open spaces, gleaming hardwood floors, and just a really friendly vibe. I’m going to read from the book and sign copies. It’s going to be catered. I know Holly is baking treats.

Where: 2420 East Union Street, Seattle, WA 98122

When: Saturday, March 10, 6 pm to 8 pm.

Unity on Union Bookstore
Unity on Union Bookstore
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On Writing An Unfortunate Discharge Early in My Naval Career

I got my copy of Best Sex Writing 2012 earlier this year and was very pleased to have my work featured alongside so many great writers. Like they used to say in the old Penthouse Forum letters, “I never thought it would happen to me!

For my part in the Best Sex Writing Virtual Blog Tour, I wanted to talk about how I came to write my submission, An Unfortunate Discharge Early in My Naval Career.

This was a difficult story for me to write. As nonfiction, I have long thought the story would work better if I had been gay. Consider the synopsis: caught having casual sex with a shipmate, a troubled teen collides with an out-of-control and powerful homophobic authority. This, in turn, makes our intrepid young protagonist confront his own homophobic fears, which allows him to realize that he is… STRAIGHT?

Humm. I hear you. You probably want to say something like: Your synopsis doesn’t seem quite right, my friend.

That’s exactly what I said. For years. Too many years. But then I read a brilliant craft essay by Kerry Cohen, a former Best Sex Writer herself, and discovered that the story really is mine, even if it doesn’t map cleanly to what a reader might expect. I can own it. I don’t have to tell it the way it would be told if it were in a Hollywood movie or a cheap novel. If I can overcome my own personal shame long enough to see the truth, I can make the story mine.

With that revelation, the only thing left to overcome was the social stigma.

As the author of a memoir about my recovery from heroin addiction, I know a little something about social stigmas, how damaging and infuriating they can be. In one of the first pieces I ever published, I refused to acknowledge I was an addict because I was afraid of what people would think of me. I published the piece—a great story about my relationship with my oldest son—without mentioning my addiction. But I started to think seriously about how much of my life I wanted to share in my stories. What does it mean to write nonfiction? What impact comes from openly sharing true stories about socially stigmatizing issues? Nonfiction gives our stories a little extra something that fiction can’t manage. That’s not meant as a ding against fiction writers, but as encouragement to writers of nonfiction: Our work matters in ways we can’t always know or understand. As Kerry Cohen points out, we have to be brave enough to “locate the truth,” to own our own stories.

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Tim Elhajj @ Redmond Association of the Spoken Word


I’m going to appear at RASP later this month to read from Dopefiend and sign books. I’d love it you came over and said hello. I’ll have a bunch of books and the readings usually include a little Q&A at the end.

Where: Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center, Room 105
When: Friday, February 24, 2012, 7 P.M. (and the last Friday of every month)

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Tim Elhajj to Guest Lecturer @ University of Washington

I’ve been asked to return to Theo Nestor’s memoir class at the UW! I’m so excited.

October 25, University of Washington

I think you have to be part of the class to attend, so I won’t list the building and time.

I studied with Theo a few years ago and have sat down to discuss my book and my journal on her blog.

The last time I visited Theo’s class, I came away so jazzed about memoir. That class was mostly students my age, who all have jobs or families, and everyone is showing up late at night to get their memoir written. It’s a very satisfying, creative space and I look forward to enjoying all that good writer energy.

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Tim Elhajj @ Northwest Bookfest, Kirkland, Washington

I’m appearing at Northwest Bookfest, Seattle’s celebration of books, authors and readers. Join me for a panel on memoir. I’m pleased to appear along with Richard LeMieux, Brenda Peterson,  Chuck Randall,  and Ed Lincoln.

Sunday, October 2, 2011
1:00pm – 2:00pm

352 Kirkland Avenue, Kirkland, WA 98033

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Dopefiend, Now Available for Pre-order on Amazon


Here it is!

The cover art is ready. The book is in the final stages of copy edit. In a few weeks, the galleys should go out. Amazon lists the release date as September 1. Amazon also says my book is number 1,449,102 in Books. Already.

Well, it’s good to know where you stand, I suppose.

I have setup an Amazon author page, a blog, and a Facebook page for the book. If you are on Facebook, give me a Like. I could use it.

I am still trying to figure out what I ought to post to the book blog. I have categories for People, Places and Things. In treatment, the standard warning we issued to one another was to watch out for people, places, and things. It was a reminder that one ought to be wary about the people you hung out with, the places you allowed yourself to visit, and the things you got involved with. On the blog, it hasn’t quite gelled into a posting strategy.

But I’m optimistic.

I’m mostly posting about book related things. I have one post about Steelton. At some point, I’m going to post a story about the night this mug shot was taken.


And, of course, as we pull our plans together for a book tour, I’ll add those to the blog. Keep coming back. It’s going to be grand!

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