Long time no see!
Though it’s been a year since our last issue, we are alive and well and happy to announce the new extra-thick issue including terrific work by: Lana Austin, Robert Avery, Cecile Barlier, Robert Busby, Grant Clauser, Chauna Craig, Kyle D. Craig, Molly Damm, Chelsea Dingman, Gulchin A. Ergun, Bryana Fern, Greg Girvan, Juliana Gray, Sarah Janczak, Philip Jason, Erin Jones, Danielle LaVaque-Manty, Abby Lipscomb, Lauren Mallett, Nathan McClain, N. West Moss, William Notter, Irene O’Garden, Naheed Phiroze Patel, Andrew Pryor, Lee Ann Roripaugh, Michelle Brittan Rosado, Suzanne Roszak, Shoshauna Shy, Marjorie Stelmach, Matt Sumpter, E.L. West, and Nathan E. White.
We’ll be posting excerpts and other news soon, but we wanted to get out the news right away.
If you’ve been hankering to check us out, here is the perfect opportunity. You can buy this issue for only $5! Wow!
Note that we will continue in print as an annual journal.
Recently, I talked with Afsheen Farhadi, whose hilariously dark “Green” can be found in our Fall 2014 issue (an excerpt can be found here as well). Here, he reveals his own writing process, some of his favorite recent books, and even teases who he might cast if “Green” were to be made into a movie. Afsheen has also recently completed a new novel, “Voices of Oblivion.”
“Teeth are practically the gateway to the soul,” says Natalie Carson, one of the two thieves who stole dentures for the sake of their artwork. Much of what makes “This Precarious Hive: Denture House at MOMA” such a fantastically disturbing story is Shena McAuliffe’s ability to connect the living and the dead through something as familiar and abject as our own teeth.
“Denture Shop Window”
Eric Parker, used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Jessica Afshar’s “The Lake” is startling with its series of absences: a drowning child, a distraught mother, a missing father, and a Dive Rescue Specialist on an absurd search of his own. The sentences are often abrupt and startling, but asks readers to consider the connections between death and survival.
“Ullswater – Lake District” Emma Barr, used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Christine Hamm’s “answers” raise more questions than answers. Who is she talking to? What is being asked? Why are the thumbs sewn together? Still, it leaves you asking questions about our own connections. The language is blunt and even a little curt, but with a tinge of desperation for any sort of meaning in our lives.
Rudolf Vicek, used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
The best humor often comes from horrifying ironies. In Lauren Foss Goodman’s “Frank and the Shark,” Frank is not just an old man who doesn’t understand cell phones, as that would be too easy. Instead, she intertwines Frank’s fate with the shark – two solitary creatures on display, stranded, left to their own devices, and just barely hanging on to their remaining connections.
Albuquerque Biopark, used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
One of the hardest but also the most rewarding things about having a book out [For out of the Heart Proceed] has been getting asked to talk about it. I don’t mean that to sound coy or falsely modest. I think it’s hard to talk about my writing, but it’s also rewarding, because having to do so sends me back into a story or into my memory of writing that story; invariably I learn something new. Likewise, I think it’s difficult to find the right way to talk about other books and about other writers, which is something that’s absolutely central to being able to discuss, say, how I might place short-short fiction in relation to prose poetry on some kind of map of literary genre. This is also really rewarding because it sends me back to books I love, where I get to relearn all over again just why that is. Sometimes these conversations happen in interviews, or in posts like this one, and sometimes it’s just through talking with a friend or a colleague who’s read the book. I’m asked about my influences or about what I was up to in particular stories, and so on. These are good questions, and it’s my job to try to come up with answers that make me seem, well, not dumb. For a guy whose first instinct is almost always to answer “I don’t know” that’s no small task.
Here’s an example: the title of my book is taken from a verse in the Book of Matthew that, as I read it, is about how we demonstrate who we are by our actions. Alan Heathcock puts it better in his book Volt, which is there in the stack on my desk. “We are what we do,” a character tells his son in the story “Smoke.” I like this idea and I like this sentiment. I think it’s true. Anyway, in an interview recently, I was asked to talk about this in relation to some of the characters in my book, about how thematically the title represents something cohesive about the collection as a whole. And that’s no easy question. Because of course part of the answer really is I don’t know. Or at least I didn’t know when I was writing the stories. So I had to go figure it out. To answer a question in an interview like this is an act of reflection, of revising intent, of analysis.