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Savannah Schroll Guz Archive

Savannah Schroll Guz

Reprising an Old Story about the King of Pop

June 26th, 2009
by Savannah Schroll Guz

WEIRTON, WV -

This morning, I was amazed to see an entire edition of The Today Show devoted entirely to Michael Jackson. It was a veritable love-fest for the same man, whom,  just five years before, they happily vilified in response to the repeated molestation charges and Berlin baby-dangling scene. So, this about-face following his death reveals a great deal about our culture. Was it Heath Ledger who told an aspiring actor to approach fame with caution because ’they build you up in order to break you down’?

In 2004, after watching the subject-relevant news stories and attendant parade of less-than-laudatory Jackson images in the media, I wrote the following story, which was posted at Hobart. If I were to write the story now, it would be entirely different because the stories that inform my perceptions have a decidedly upward swing. Anyway, here it is, a literary version of the Michael Jackson we were served on a silver platter by the media in 2004.

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Savannah Schroll Guz

Notes from JMWW’s Third Anthology Launch

June 8th, 2009
by Savannah Schroll Guz

WEIRTON, WV-

Charm City’s excellent literary magazine, JMWW, held a launch party for its Third Anthology on Saturday, 6 June. Jen Michalski, editor of JMWW, organized the event at Cyclops Books, a sharp-looking store with pimento-red walls and expansive performance space that stands along steadily reviving North Avenue (neighborhood: “Station North”).

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Savannah Schroll Guz

Review: Monkey Bicycle 6 Delivers

June 5th, 2009
by Savannah Schroll Guz

PITTSBURGH, PA-

Unlike Monkey Bicycle’s previous issues (No. 4 presented thematically-connected short stories by 40 contributors and No. 5 was devoted exclusively to humor, both dark and light), No. 6 is an arresting crazy quilt of subjects and voices, many of them masterful.

In Jing Li’s “Forever,” calligraphy is the means by which the poet penetrates memory and creates metaphor. And while the images in “Forever” are powerful without any consideration of possible retrospective influences, they still seem to echo the poignancy of works like “The River-Merchant’s Wife,” which was Ezra Pound’s translation of a poem by Li Po (*cough* Pardon me, the English professor part of my persona is leaking out my right side…Okay, there. See, duct tape helps everything). Jing Li’s last lines, which depict the sublimation of shadows into transient flock of starlings is itself a calligraphic arabesque that points to the poem’s theme: the relentless and elliptical movement of infinity.

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Savannah Schroll Guz

In Praise of the Radish Burp

May 29th, 2009
by Savannah Schroll Guz
WEIRTON, WV -

I have a tendency to become….mmmm, how shall I say this?….a little paranoid. It’s not anything out of the ordinary. I think, under the circumstances, many people probably feel inherently uneasy right now (and maybe always have). There’s, you know, that nuclear threat posed by North Korea, the recent swine flu outbreak, the continued recession, local political battles, larger social dynamics over which I have absolutely no control. I could list a thousand things that push my personal panic button.

However, what happily tows me back to earth (besides my comforting and levelheaded husband) when I jet into one of my overly-reflective or speculative orbits, is a walk to our garden. We have gradually increased its size over the three or four years since we started growing our own food. We have beets, eggplants, carrots, peppers of all sorts, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, potatoes, sunflowers (for seeds), squash, pumpkins, even cantaloupe. Soon, we’ll plant black beans.

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Savannah Schroll Guz

Man of Adventure Visits on Eve of American Soma Release

May 16th, 2009
by Savannah Schroll Guz

WEIRTON, WV -

In several days, my husband and I will be headed to Pilcrow Lit Fest in Chicago, something we’re very excited about. But also, it’s the eve of the release of my new short fiction collection, American Soma, which is now available for pre-order from So New.

Indulge me, please. I’ve got a story to tell. Okay, it’s (*cough* partially) fictional, but that’s my schtick, see? ‘Revelatory’ fiction. And no, I’m not nuts. Honest.

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Savannah Schroll Guz

Silenced Dissenters

March 22nd, 2009
by Savannah Schroll Guz

WEIRTON, WV–

This morning, I began reading about the Supreme Court Case,  Citizens United v. FEC, 08-205. So, what is it, you ask? It involves a movie about Hillary Clinton by Citizens United. “Hillary: The Movie” takes a very dark and glowering look at the former presidential candidate and current secretary of state. Called a documentary film by creator David Bossie, a former Republican congressional aide, the 90-minute film was originally intended to air during the 2008 presidential primaries. However, the film was revoked because it was classified as a long-form campaign ad, and therefore, subject to campaign finance laws.

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Savannah Schroll Guz

Most Children Left Behind

December 30th, 2008
by Savannah Schroll Guz

WEIRTON, WV-

In late November, the first of my final English 101 papers rolled in. I asked for a persuasive paper, explaining that writing is always an act of persuasion. The students’ audience: a Congressman. Their format: a letter. We’d had a regular essay-format persuasion assignment a month before. This time, I required students to turn in a series of drafts before submitting their final copy.

The first one, from a student who had pretty badly flubbed her literary analysis paper just before, arrived in my email box extra early. Running three pages, it was longer than the ‘effective paragraph’ I’d assigned. The chosen topic? She was asking for the mandatory sterilization of unfit parents.

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Savannah Schroll Guz

Holy Smoke, Carnality, Transcendence

November 10th, 2008
by Savannah Schroll Guz

WEIRTON, WV-

Although this sounds like a paradox, in an effort to be more economical, hubby and I just got additional cable channels. I have no idea how many we have now, I just know is that if I bundled everything together (she says, pulling the fish hook out of her mouth), it was much cheaper than my cable and phone bill combined.

So (or perhaps sadly is the more appropriate transition here), in the evenings, instead of doing something constructive, we have begun to sit on the sofa for several hours and watch TV. No, we do not dribble at the mouth. We might look like we do, but this is more a result of our consistent sense of slack-jawed wonderment at the glowing box positioned before us than evidence of Big-Brotherific conjuring. Or wait…maybe conjuring is the same thing as consistent wonderment. Well, who knows!

 

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Savannah Schroll Guz

Excuses, Taking Confession, and the Academic Slack Factor

October 10th, 2008
by Savannah Schroll Guz

WEIRTON, WV—

I teach English at a community college in West Virginia. (Hey, I heard that giggle. You know, we do have books here. <crossing arms and looking away> Anyway, I’m a transplant from another state.) This year, more than any other, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend: an unprecedented rise in the slack factor.

 Granted, it’s mid-term, and I can tell the enthusiasm for classes is waning by the fact that I am able to get a parking space in the upper lot even at 8:15 a.m.. At the beginning of the semester, a parking space in this particular lot is absolutely out of the question by 7:45 a.m. Now, I have half the lot’s spaces to choose from. And how do I interpret this? Well, based on the number of kids populating my classroom yesterday, people simply aren’t coming to class.   

Yesterday, I had a line of kids that stretched around my podium and continued along the side table towards the door, all of them waiting in line to take confession: “I’m sorry, Prof. Guz, but I didn’t get my paper(s) done.” And the ever-popular refrain: “I don’t know when I’ll be able to get my paper(s) to you.”

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Savannah Schroll Guz

Lost in Rural Bavaria

September 18th, 2008
by Savannah Schroll Guz

WEIRTON, WV–

It was a weekend in early May of 1998* when I was invited to go to Schrobenhausen, a farm-studded village situated in rural Bavaria. For much of southern Germany, the month of May is synonymous with both historical labor marches and Spargelzeit, the period during which white asparagus is at its peak. Spargelzeit is considered to be the first herald of summer, and perhaps because of this, it is an eagerly anticipated seasonal experience, around which dinner parties are organized and weekend trips to the outlying countryside are planned. Whether purchased from a farmer, a vegetable stand, or a supermarket, urban dwellers prepare the much-coveted white asparagus in a number of delectable ways. It may be simply boiled and salted or drenched in Hollandaise. Yet no matter how it is presented on the plate, it appears, without fail, beside a glass of dry white wine. In many ways, it ultimately justifies increased ‘enological appreciation’.

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Savannah Schroll Guz

Bread and Circuses, Perpetual War

September 12th, 2008
by Savannah Schroll Guz

PITTSBURGH, PA -

Perhaps I should open with the fact that I am politically independent. While I have Libertarian inclinations, I have a tendency to rock back on my heels, wait patiently, and hum a little tune while parties throw around emotionally-freighted abstractions like ‘hope’ and ‘freedom’ and ‘change’. To me, this is fog-generating rhetoric that offers nothing substantial. Who doesn’t want change—that is, positive change—specifically, improvement? And I can confidently say that, yes, we all want freedom and are grateful to have hope in times of distress. However, I am often skeptical that the current political landscape can support hope for a genuinely positive, progressive political path that will lead us towards a more solid infrastructure and away from so much international watch-dogging.

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Savannah Schroll Guz

9-11, Inside District Borders

August 24th, 2008
by Savannah Schroll Guz

WEIRTON, WV-

Recently, Nick Belardes wrote, very beautifully, about his experience of 9/11 on the west coast in his post “Thick White Crust” . He then asked about other writers’ 9/11 stories. Mine comes from right inside District of Columbia borders.

Just after 6 a.m. on 9/11, I woke up with a blinding headache in an apartment complex on MacArthur Boulevard, about a mile outside Georgetown. When I sat up, I had no peripheral vision, and even the meager light from the windows hurt my eyes. Objects in my bedroom were outlined in white. I was sick to my stomach. I got these headaches about twice a month, but they never hit me before I woke up. I called in to work, popped my migraine pills, and went back to bed. I didn’t wake up until just before 9 a.m. Feeling somewhat less wretched, I turned the television on.

At first, it was difficult to understand exactly what was happening. I tuned in just before the second plane hit, but when it did, I did not leave the sofa. My phone rang intermittently. I spoke with my family, and then it was entirely silent, apart from the television. There were reports, later found to be erroneous, that car bombs had gone off near the National Archives.

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Savannah Schroll Guz

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: An Auction Addiction

August 16th, 2008
by Savannah Schroll Guz

WEIRTON, WV-

I’ve developed a powerful addiction: auctions. On walking into any auction house or any home slated to go under the hammer, I feel my pulse quicken and my senses sharpen. I can sniff out a dealer from 500 yards and tell, by the high or low position of the glasses on his nose, what he’s there for and how much he’s willing to pay for it.

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Savannah Schroll Guz

Gynecologically Ridiculous, or Necessary Humor at the Lab

August 15th, 2008
by Savannah Schroll Guz

WEIRTON, WV-

Without a doubt, gynecological visits have an untold capacity for humiliation, if not properly seasoned with a humorous attitude. Never mind, you men, about “turn your head to the right and cough please.” That’s nothing. Like measuring an inseam. A blush and then quickly forgotten. Maybe I’m misinformed, but men are never subjected to half the poking and prodding we woman are, all this occurring inside a room intended to induce calm: witness the flowery wallpaper and mass-produced prints of swans with a modest trailing of fluffy, white signets behind them…all next to a pharmaceuticals calendar advertising permanent contraceptive methods for women.

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