April 2012

Surrounded by Water, Upended by Land

by Stefanie Freele April 29, 2012
River Otter

The day my short story collection Surrounded by Water became available for pre-order, I saw an unusual body along the highway. Not banded like a raccoon or delicate like a cat. This was large, like a dog, but with feetish black things, and an eye-catching chocolate brown coat. I had to u-turn around to look […]

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A final tribute, in my words, to Hillman Curtis

by David Alm April 25, 2012

Here is a truth about ghostwriting that I never knew until now: You can write about practically anything in the first-person — except death. One week ago today, an old friend died after fighting cancer for three and a half years. He was just 51 and had a wife, two young children, and countless friends […]

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The book vs. the app — a tired, boring debate

by David Alm April 24, 2012

I’ve come around. No longer do I wish to disparage apps and technology in favor of books and reading by kerosene. To be fair, I’ve never done the latter, but I do own a lot of books and I don’t plan on getting rid of them. One thing I don’t own, still, is an iPad […]

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Rhythm Rides

by Dmitry Kiper April 24, 2012
Subway Reading

Reading poetry on the subway makes everything feel new and strange. It lifts me up when I’m down underground, it complements the rattle and shake, it rides above the cacophonous chatter, it embraces the dissonant free-jazz squeaks and howls of the train—and it’s wonderfully different every time. There are practical benefits to poetry on the […]

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Suicide, local. Suicide, global. (And it was already too much).

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein April 24, 2012

Last month, a Zanzibari teenage girl jumped from the second floor of her school building to her death. It happened on a Thursday in the Hurumzi neighbourhood of Stone Town, Zanzibar. Some say she was the victim of mashetani — spirits – who had descended upon the school building, sparking mass hysteria on Tuesday and Wednesday, […]

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In the Valley with Dusty Lee… and Gaudi

by Kathryn Martins April 22, 2012

Dusty Lee is fixated on the lawn, her head tilting and untilting, gun metal ears receiving sounds her eyes and nose can’t quite track down. It is barely night, so the light is artificial in our front yard and the blades lie between green and gleam. I stoop beside her and listen. There is a […]

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Spring at the End of the World

by Contrary Magazine April 21, 2012
Jesus Lizard

It’s the season of planting, and “Need Somebody to Love,” by our Spring 2012 featured poet, Ronda Broatch, begins under the skin: I’ve picked each fruit under strawberry leaves planted my Queen of the Night and now this sliver of bark won’t budge for love, nor money, nor squeeze of tweezers, like the stinger left […]

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Mastering the Law of Attraction

by Crista Cloutier April 17, 2012

London’s Alternatives is the city’s most popular venue for New Age workshops, teaching classes in areas surrounding spirituality, creativity, wellbeing and self-development. “All our events”, their website boasts, “are offered in the spirit of love, joy and service.” With that in mind, I chose “Master the Law of Attraction” as my first dip of the […]

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women’s fiction, men’s fiction

by Cynthia Newberry Martin April 14, 2012

About ten years ago, during the keynote lunch at the San Diego State Writers’ Conference, we were supposed to sit at the table whose center placard best described what we wrote. The choices were Memoir, Sci-Fi, Thrillers, Mysteries, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and more. But not Men’s Fiction. I didn’t know whether to sit at […]

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Voices From Beyond the Grave

by Crista Cloutier April 11, 2012

It was with nervous anticipation that I first approached London’s Spiritualist Mission on that cold Wednesday evening. Perhaps I might receive a message from beyond? The church, built in 1912, was beautiful and warm. Music played softly. I relaxed. It’s not often one hears show-tunes in church. It was a decent sized crowd for a […]

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Henry Miller, the Caribbean, and me

by David Alm April 5, 2012

It’s been 70 years since Henry Miller wrote his scathing critique of American life, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare. After more than a decade in Paris, Miller returned home to the United States and traveled across the American south towards California. He was largely appalled by what he saw. But you could argue that Miller’s life as an […]

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Changing Neighborhoods

by Peter Anderson April 4, 2012

Sometime around 1998, when I was making my first tentative steps toward writing fiction, I began mentally formulating a novel named Sense of Place. The story was set on the northwest side of Chicago, around the intersection of Belmont Avenue and Elston Avenue, just west of the Chicago River. I lived just east of the […]

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What the Quaker Oats Man Knows

by Crista Cloutier April 3, 2012

The Religious Society of Friends (RSOF), aka “Quakers,” was founded in England in 1652. Though there are still about 300,000 Quakers in the world today, when I mention the religion in polite company I often get puzzled looks, “Quakers? Aren’t they mythical, like fairies?” and “How do they get by without using electricity or driving […]

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