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Questions, comments, concerns

Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Ryan Day

Marketocracy

November 6th, 2009
by Ryan Day

PHOENIX, AZ-

I am, unfortunately, in no position to refuse $75 for one hour of my time, pretty much no matter what the the contents of that hour. They could have asked me to drink six bottles of catsup (ketchup?). They could have asked me to have tea with Glen Beck and soothe his uniquely bruised ego with prefabricated whispers about the peaceful forces at the center of the conservative universe (you are a child of the marketplace… the invisible hand will always lead you towards the light of the DOW…). I would have mowed lawns, bagged leaves (though I imagine the going rate of yard maintenance is somewhat lower), run backwards into the weird smelling basin at the end of the Salt River. But, alas, all they wanted was that I watch some movie trailers and tell them, no matter what I really thought, that the Rock was just the actor to breath renewed life into that excalibur of cinematic roles, the Tooth Fairy. (more…)


Suzanne Burns

Diary of a First Book, Entry 4: Still Loving Morrissey and Shopping at the Gap

October 23rd, 2009
by Suzanne Burns

BEND, OR-

Don’t ever agree to your book being published if you have a fear of public speaking. I can say that, over the past five months, I have almost completely conquered this fear. I have beaten it out of myself. My husband has stood by, helplessly watching the self-berating, doling out the necessary Kleenex and gelato cups, weighing in on every outfit I’ve tried on. My vain (in more ways than one) attempt at looking just the right combination of serious literary writer and hot-ass bitch has culminated in committing the worst of sins: I bought a black T-shirt from the Gap.

(more…)


Tom Hansen

The International Tom Lifetime Arts Grant

October 22nd, 2009
by Tom Hansen

SEATTLE, WA

Want time to write that masterpiece? Well now there’s a solution.

The International Tom Lifetime Arts Grant

Applicants [artists, writers, etc.] from all nations should adhere to the following guidelines;

  1. Chop off your leg [or inflict some other significant permanent physical harm to yourself that your government classifies as a disability] Think twice before chopping off your hand—it will probably be needed for your art.

(more…)


Jason Rice

Crap

October 19th, 2009
by Jason Rice

TOMS RIVER, NJ-

It’s crap that I can’t afford to buy an iPhone.  Cry me a river, you say.  It’s also crap that I have to spend two hours a day commuting in my car to work a job that is just a job.  When did I become a person who fulfills other people’s dreams at the expense of my own?  

Planes crashed into the World Trade Center, and six weeks later I lost my job at Random House.  A week after that I bought a house.  That was supposed to be my dream. Now I’m living in it, and I can want for nothing.  Is that the deal?

(more…)


D.R. Haney

Saved by Demon Song

October 11th, 2009
by D.R. Haney

I’m hungry. I have no money at all, none is expected soon, and there’s no one from whom I can borrow. I pace all night, wondering how to come by a few dollars to eat.

Finally, slowly, a plan unfolds: I can walk down the street to an ATM, fill out a deposit slip for a phantom check, feed the slip to the ATM, and request a cash advance. The bank, of course, will quickly discover that no check accompanied the deposit slip, but once I’m contacted, I’ll simply say that, being in a hurry, I forgot. By then I hope to have thought of someone who’s willing to cut me a bona fide check.

(more…)


Meghan Elizabeth Hunt

All that Junk, Rattling around My Brain (AKA, the Ramblings of a Constantly Musing Woman)

October 6th, 2009
by Meghan Elizabeth Hunt

COLUMBIA, MD -

I grew up in a small village on the Connecticut River in northern New Hampshire. There were more trees and cows than there were people and up until I was a surly teenager, I loved it.

Then puberty hit and I despised my little hamlet. Outside of my family, there wasn’t a single reason to stay and every day brought me closer to college and escape.

Now I’m 10 years past that day and 4 years past the day I left New England completely behind and every fall my heart hurts. It’s like the ache you associate with an old injury, the kind of pain cold weather and rainy days bring.

Leaving New England was like breaking up with a childhood romance.

I often wonder if I’ll ever get over it completely.

(more…)


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

NEAR 91 DEGREES LONGITUDE-

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.

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Litsa Dremousis

Helen Falangus 1926-1974

September 22nd, 2009
by Litsa Dremousis

SEATTLE, WA-

In short stories, everyone’s grandmother smells like rosewater or lilies or, if she’s the antagonist, bears a faint whiff of venal decay.

I’ve had allergies since I was a little kid, so I don’t remember what Yiayia smelled like. I remember her voice, though, warm and encouraging and conspiratorial in the best sense, as if she and I were our own party of two, off to do something wildly fun and cultured but still ladylike, as she was of that generation.

(more…)


Ben Loory

Tarnishment of the Living Apparatus

September 15th, 2009
by Ben Loory

LOS ANGELES, CA-

There is no point to this. The point is that I’m getting sick. I just noticed it an hour ago. Suddenly I am blowing my nose. Out of nowhere. And now feeling a little wonky. So I took some vitamin C and ate about 14 pounds of sautéed spinach and now I am sitting here waiting to die. If the pig flu gets me tell them I was an okay guy. Kind of quiet and not very good at tennis, but basically decent.
(more…)


Uche Ogbuji

A Thousand Words: Cousin. Nieces.

September 15th, 2009
by Uche Ogbuji

BOULDER, CO-

It was early in the morning.  Lori answered the phone and handed it to me.  My father’s voice.

“Uche…there’s been a terrible…”

“Uche…you should know…”

A pause as gruesome guesswork played through my mind.  I wanted to hear rather than continue imagining, but did I really want to hear?  He drew a constricted breath, and it came in a wave before his voice broke.

“Uche, Chika died tonight.  Imose died tonight.  Little Anya is just barely hanging on…”

Died.  Died.  Barely hanging on.

My nieces.

(more…)


Megan Power

A Thousand Words: Possible Selves

September 13th, 2009
by Megan Power

SAN ANTONIO, TX

What photos have on words is speed.

Photos can be evocative, epiphanic and emblematic instantly, faster than the printed word.

They suck us in at the speed of sight. The speed of emotion.

(more…)


Peter Gajdics

Gender: Weltanschauung

September 13th, 2009
by Peter Gajdics

VANCOUVER, BC

After a nearly twenty year hiatus I am back in University, continuing my undergraduate degree in the only field of academia that makes sense to me to study as a 44-year old gay man who’s spent much of his adult life struggling with issues related to sexuality: gender studies. Assignment number one was to ask as many people as possible: What makes a “real man,” what makes a “real woman”? Naturally, I asked all my friends. Responses ranged from the straightforward (“this is pretty simple to me”), to the more complex (“this really is an existential question”). They also seemed reflective of the two broad camps of evolutionary thought: the “nature” (men and woman are fundamentally biologically different) vs. “nurture” (men and women are socially constructed to be different) argument. (more…)


Paul Clayton

Smiley Face Fiction

September 13th, 2009
by Paul Clayton

SAN FRANCISCO-

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…)


David Breithaupt

Beer Tubes at the Steak House

September 13th, 2009
by David Breithaupt

COLS, OH-

At 11:30 each morning, John the stroke victim delivers the mail to our office. I hear him before he appears, hobbling down the hall like a peg-legged pirate, tilting, rhythmic, yet inching forward, accumulting feet and yards until at last he is in our office doorway.

Some people have coffee or smoke breaks, I have John. He is a mile post in my day. I know he will spend the next half hour struggling to tell me what he did yesterday or what he will do today. He lives in a realm of scaled down choices - lunch, movies or libraries. Everyday I tell him I might just leave and join him and everyday he shakes his head and grunts in acceptance, “come!” (more…)


Peter Schwartz

Faith Isn’t Stupid

September 4th, 2009
by Peter Schwartz

AUGUSTA, ME-

I’ve been noticing with greater and greater alarm that atheism is getting more and more popular in literary and academic circles. In fact, the majority of writers and scholars believe that anyone who believes in God must be naive and stupid. You aren’t smart enough, aren’t sophisticated enough to realize that God doesn’t exist and that life is pretty much shit. As the old saying goes, misery loves company. Now I don’t claim to be some highfalutin intellectual (fingers corn cob pipe thoughtfully for effect) but my great grand-daddy left me with at least this much sense: anything that makes you miserable ain’t all that good. (more…)


Richard Cox

You spin me right round (like a record baby)

August 20th, 2009
by Richard Cox

TULSA, OK-

In fiction, one common and generic way to refer to well-drawn, realistic characters is to call them “round.” As in:

…characters as described by the course of their development in a work of literature. Flat characters are two-dimensional in that they are relatively uncomplicated and do not change throughout the course of a work. By contrast, round characters are complex and undergo development, sometimes sufficiently to surprise the reader.

2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. (more…)


Paul Clayton

Le Voisinage de Monsieur Roger, First Blood, Part I, Chapter 7, addendum 1.2, or Wally Gator gets down with the crew at the sauna…

August 17th, 2009
by Paul Clayton

SAN FRANCISCO-

As usual, I drove to the municipal pool last Sunday.  My route takes me past the soccer field.  A game was in progress, one team wearing green shorts and jerseys, the other blue.  Soccer is really big here in South City with the Mexicans and Central Americans.  They’re out there most Sundays, their families picnicking on the grounds, watching.  There’s always a truck parked alongside the field selling burritos and tacos.  We also have a baseball field adjoining that.  They usually play Saturday and some evenings under the lights. (more…)


Adam Cushman

10 Things You Say that Make Me Want to Do Bad

August 9th, 2009
by Adam Cushman

LOS ANGELES, CA-

10. Inappropriate

Here’s the email I got from Genevre.

“Ok, I first thought you were creepy in the bar when you tried to kiss my neck and told me I smelled like blue toilet water. But now I get it that someone told you about my being attracted mainly to Jewish men. Facebooking me and asking if I’m a Hitler sympathizer confirms the creepy part I mentioned earlier. I understand your ploy. I do not find you attractive. In fact, your even writing me when you have a very lovely wife is wildly inappropriate. Please leave me alone?”

(more…)


Greg Olear

Invisible Touch

August 9th, 2009
by Greg Olear

NEW PALTZ, N.Y.-

In which we contemplate what makes some art better than other art, using the example of two erstwhile members of the band Genesis.

(more…)


Lance Reynald

In the Imperfect World of Fallen Screws

August 7th, 2009
by Lance Reynald

PORTLAND, OR-

I’m going to run a bit off the farm on this one here. Allow for the author to journey through the emotional hillside with ya. Give ya a bit of pop culture tourism through the eyes of the 1980’s raised brat-pack wannabe.

It’s been a crazy few days. I’ve been pounding the pavement trying my damdest to problem solve and keep my starving artist self from starving even more and facing the very real possibility of slipping through the cracks and being homeless.

And halfway through that series of pavement pounding challenges I get a text message that John Hughes died.

(more…)