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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Erika Rae

Harvest Time! Or, My Democratic Carrots Have Genitalia. What Have Yours Got?

October 25th, 2009
by Erika Rae


This year, being the proud Obamabot that I am, I eagerly followed the left wing conspiracy all the way to my garden. Never mind the fact that I live at 9000 ft in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and get exactly 11.3 weeks of contiguous summer. The White House grounds currently survive an inordinate measure of chill under the scrutiny of the GOP. If Michelle could do it, I reasoned, so could I.


Litsa Dremousis

Suggestions, Verities, and Such:

October 5th, 2009
by Litsa Dremousis


Historians assuredly will view this epoch and, among other things, conclude we fussed and churned way too much over pubic hair.

We elected a president, not Santa Claus. We’re not going to get everything we want in the first three fourths of the first year of the first term.

While I know otherwise, I prefer to think ships float by magic: the water displacement theory strikes me as kind of sketchy.

Ladies, we’re nearly 52% of the population. Perhaps more of us could act accordingly?

Also, might a tiny but attention-grabbing portion of us stop writing to and marrying serial killers?

And fellas, might a tiny but attention-grabbing portion of you stop serial killing?

Is anything more resplendent than a lilac tree in spring?

Nutella, while medicinal, is extremely potent and should be handled as such: the combination of spoon and jar seems to hurl one into a time lapse and next thing you know, your evening is shot to hell and your shirt looks like an eight year-old’s.


Ronlyn Domingue

How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Russians (Iraqis, North Koreans, and so on) and Hate War

October 1st, 2009
by Ronlyn Domingue


I confronted eschatology too young. Although benign compared to some beliefs, my Catholic upbringing placed me at the sidelines of Armageddon—strange references to a kingdom come, the Second Coming, Judgment Day. I got queasy at the mention of the Book of Revelations. Sermons and syntactically-strained Bible readings led me to infer a tremendous destructive end to all life, human, animal, insect, plant. There were drawings in books, filled with fire, angels and demons, a sea of the damned. For a child, it’s impossible to reconcile a loving Father with one who will kill every one of his children with wanton violence. Children also don’t grasp metaphor.


Rebecca Adler

The Fear of What’s Out There

September 14th, 2009
by Rebecca Adler


After traipsing around Europe for weeks with a giant backpack strapped to me, I’ve finally made it. I’ve arrived. And oh, how things are so different here than I could have ever imagined. After all of the warnings and strange looks from friends and family, I’m here and I can finally say with confidence and first-hand knowledge: You don’t know what you’re talking about. Istanbul is amazing and beautiful. The people are kind and the city is modern. There’s nothing to worry about.

I’ve thought about misconceptions a lot in the few days since I’ve arrived here, and I’ve talked about it a lot with the new friends I’ve made since arriving. It’s sad to me that the only things we ever hear about each others’ countries are the negative things. After all, it’s always going to be blood and guts that get people to read the newspapers. Nobody wants to read that the sun is shining and the birds are singing. No, we all need to be whipped up into a constant state of paranoia over What’s Out There, The Other. (more…)

Paul Clayton

Smiley Face Fiction

September 13th, 2009
by Paul Clayton


I sent one of my stories to a so-called literary magazine and got back the strangest rejection letter I’ve ever received — and I’ve been doing this for over thirty years. I’d never heard of The @$$!@# Reader until the night I picked up (but didn’t buy) a copy at my local Borders where I go with my daughter, D, every Wednesday afternoon. (more…)

Joshua Lyon

The Thirteenth Victim

August 29th, 2009
by Joshua Lyon


A recent hangover found me still under the covers at 2:00 PM. I called out to my boyfriend Casey, but instead of asking for water or Advil, I asked him to look up details about the murder of Konerak Sinthasomphone, Jeffrey Dahmer’s thirteenth victim.

From under my pillow I’d been half-listening to Casey talk about the death of Ted Kennedy. Casey is young enough that Ted’s incident at Chappaquiddick, in the news once more, was a revelation. He was reading aloud about the crash from my desk across the room, and it got me thinking about the guilt one must feel when responsible for the death of another human. That in turn made me remember that after Jeffrey Dahmer was caught, reports surfaced about a fourteen year-old boy who had briefly escaped him. (more…)

Tyler Stoddard Smith

I Want to Protect the Institution of Marriage Between a Man and a Woman (4th of July Special)

July 4th, 2009
by Tyler Stoddard Smith


With the 4th of July upon us, my neighbor screaming from a lost extremity at the hands of a Black Cat and enough potato salad in my gullet to occupy Paris, I got to thinking about America. And American institutions. Well, people, the hallowed institution of marriage is under attack in America, not just from Communists like Barney Frank and the state of Iowa, but also from other insidious forces both seen and unseen. So, in the interest of preserving the kind of marriage that God and Texas intended, here are some things to be especially mindful of:


Gina Frangello

Alice, Go to Rehab: An Open Letter on How to be Forgiven in America

July 2nd, 2009
by Gina Frangello


Dear Alice Hoffman,

I should specify that I have not read your books.  I know, I know, I’m a writer/editor and you are a Famous Literary Figure–I get that I should have your novels under my belt by now.  They’ve been on my to-do list, I promise.

Of course they’re not there anymore, because now instead of being a Famous Literary Figure, you are a Famously Crazy Person.  But fear not–I have the solution for you: go to rehab.


Savannah Schroll Guz

Reprising an Old Story about the King of Pop

June 26th, 2009
by Savannah Schroll Guz


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.


Greg Olear

One Glove

June 25th, 2009
by Greg Olear


The Gloved One is dead.

No big surprise, given his mental and physical health, but tragic nevertheless.

I liked Michael Jackson, but I was never a rabid fan. My little brother was the one with the red jacket. But there is one moment that, in my view, represented the zenith of his career.  A moment when I jumped on the Jacko bandwagon, white glove and all.


Marni Grossman

Dispatch from the Front

June 23rd, 2009
by Marni Grossman


Normally I don’t post more than once a month.  Once a month is, I feel, about the most anyone can take of me.  But.  A dear friend of mine sent me this missive from Iran a few days ago, and it seemed important to get his words out there, albeit anonymously.  So, if you’re interested in, you know, the world and stuff, take a gander.

His words, after the jump.


N.L. Belardes

Critical Irony: Head Injury Caretaker Head Injured By Head Injury Victim

June 9th, 2009
by N.L. Belardes


A few months ago I took photos of a fire engine and ambulance outside of the Centre for Neuro Skills live-in facility in southwest Bakersfield. I wondered, What’s going on here? Did one of the staff members finally get severely injured or killed?

Maybe the powder keg had gone off. Maybe one of their clients was hurt? (They don’t call them patients). I didn’t call. There were no reports from emergency services or from other media outlets. Deep down I really didn’t want to know.

The head-injured walk in a fog, literally. I often see the facility’s rehabilitation assistants walking with clients down Gosford Road, or along the tranquil park adjacent to the facility. The clients don’t often get very far, though a few have been known to run down the street, evading their caretakers. (more…)

Savannah Schroll Guz

Notes from JMWW’s Third Anthology Launch

June 8th, 2009
by Savannah Schroll Guz


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”).


Jennifer Duffield White

The Subtle Differences Between Bear Bones and Human Feet

May 1st, 2009
by Jennifer Duffield White


When the snow melts, things turn up with stories hidden in their decomposition.

A cigarette carton.

An abandoned navy blue sweatshirt.

A stray mitten.

And bones. (more…)

Matthew Gavin Frank

On Creativity, the Economic Crisis, and the Amazon Gavel

March 13th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank


This past February, at this year’s AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) conference in Chicago, many of the overheard conversations did not involve the usual topics—Where’s the best place in the city to score a discount bottle of Booker’s bourbon?  Do you know anyone who brought a bag of weed?  


Paul A. Toth

The Case of the Publisher and the Silent Alarm Clock

March 7th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth


Now more than ever comes publishing industry’s chance to redeem itself. It might finally take chances again, though for me “again” means about the time when I was ten years old and watching Dick Cavett interviews with novelists I, even at that age, recognized as culturally dangerous. (more…)

Paul A. Toth

If Anger Is an Energy, I’ve Been Electrocuted

February 9th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth


I’ve gone beyond anger. The land beyond anger is barren, arid. I’m in the Arizona of mental states.

Wait: We are going somewhere new. But first…

I miss George W. Bush. I miss him like oxygen because I once exhaled expletives, and now I choke on them. He was a gift box in which I wrapped my human nature. My nature, like all of nature, is violent. My anger is general. When I consider my anger specific, I lie to myself.

My anger doesn’t stop to smell the roses; it paints the town red with the petals. (more…)

Zara Potts

Escaping the Inferno

February 9th, 2009
by Zara Potts


Just across the sea from where I live is the vast island nation of Australia. It takes three and a half hours on a 747 plane for me to step onto its red barren earth. Today, we can see the smoke from the immense bush fires raging in the southern states. We cannot see the lucky country from our shores but the smoke has swept across the sea and is leaving a bitter taste in our mouths.

There are forty six fires sweeping through the southern states of Australia.

One hundred and twenty six souls have perished, thousands of homes have been razed to the ground. Ash and despair are hanging side by side in the air.

The television cameras are there of course. They linger on the houses reduced to rubble. The burnt out cars, doors left open as the occupants ran for their lives to escape the flames. In most cases they ran right into the mouth of the inferno. The cameras focus on the weeping Prime Minister, the shocked survivors, the puppies with burnt paws. This is Australia. This is burnt, devastated Australia. (more…)

Amy Shearn

The Laid-Off Life

February 8th, 2009
by Amy Shearn


This was actually the second time I’d gotten such an email, and in case you’ve never gotten one, here are the distinguishing characteristics: it is sent around 11:30 in the morning by the editor-in-chief’s assistant; it reads something cryptic like “All-staff meeting in the conference room NOW; there is often a red exclamation point attached to it. This is probably the only email you’ll ever receive that actually warrants that plaintive little symbol of distress.


Greg Olear

Obama and the Generation X Factor

January 26th, 2009
by Greg Olear


Much attention has been paid to Barack Obama becoming the first African-American president, and rightly so. But the Obama campaign is historic in another way, too.  On January 20, Obama, at age 46, became the country’s first Gen-X president.