Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Publishing Intern Rachel C. Lewis is vibrating with contentment.

I stumbled upon Our Stories during a mass internship search this spring. I applied to magazine after magazine, journal after journal, trying to convince myself that, sure, I could be okay with not really doing much meaningful work. I sent off an email to Alexis and continued onward, not expecting a response. After all, how many internship supervisors actually bother to respond? How many internships have I applied for only to (A) never hear back, or (B) have them respond months later? The answer: too many.

But Alexis responded, and in the next week, we had our first phone call. The talk was relaxed; he asked what I was reading in my creative writing classes, what I was writing about, and he had a response when I asked him what his main goal with Our Stories was. As soon as Alexis told me that he was a gender studies minor in college, I knew I’d found the place for me. No more pretending to be okay with working at a misogynistic journal that published 90% old white guys and had me doing work that left me feeling pretty much purposeless.

Alexis sent me an offer and a detailed work plan. I read them over and realized that I really did have the skills to do the job, and to do a good job of it. I told him I really, really wanted the internship, he expressed his own enthusiasm, and, come May, we got to work.

In the past month, I have tripled my knowledge of InDesign, put together a 200+ page literary journal, made design decisions, reached out to friends looking for writing opportunities, and gained access to the Our Stories social media.

And I still have two months left.

Already, I am filling my resume with the details of the work that I have done with Alexis, but the important, cheesy part of this internship is that my heart is full. I love words, and design, and casually chatting about my progress with Alexis. I read the stories as I format them, and I am truly amazed at the quality of work within the journal that, somehow, I PUT TOGETHER.

Long story short? My little creative writer’s soul is vibrating with contentment.

Want to get involved with Our Stories? Submit your work.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Paul Beckman "And God Help You" The Brooklyner

Published in The Brooklyner, Paul Beckman's work of flash "And God Help You" presents a funny dialog, through text and thought, between a boy and the Head Honcho.

Or, at least the boy thinks He's the Boss.

Great little work here.


Justin Nicholes "Quiet: Shaolin Temple" Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine

So excited.

A short short of mine was just accepted in Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine. The piece, entitled "Quiet: Shaolin Temple," concerns a bus ride I and some colleagues took as VIPs to Shaolin Temple. The process of writing was really rewarding in allowing me a new way to reflect on this trip and some (sometimes not-cared-for) conversations.

So happy to appear in this magazine I admire!


Cathy Adams "Sixteen Cans of Pineapple" Portland Review

Cathy Adams' work of flash fiction "Sixteen Cans of Pineapple" appears in the Portland Review. The piece features beautifully vivid dialog and characterization, as well as a hook that is both stunning and touching.

Check it out!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Crowdfunding for --The Bay Is Dying: A Game for Change--


Justin Nicholes is a member of the creative team of this Internet-novel-as-a-game, The Bay Is Dying.

Anyone who funds gets cool stuff, and it'll help us … save the planet? Who knows. It's at least our small part that you, along with us, can take part in.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Laurie Stone "Dean, Etc." Four Way Review

Laurie Stone's fiction "Dean, Etc." appears in Four Way Review and cooly condenses conflicts in five brief works of fiction.

A first-person narrator lauds pleasure and pain related to her love life; a girl's beloved dog is dying; a boyfriend clouds a girlfriend's world; a voicemail message cascades in slippery, forgetful syntax; and starlings take on metaphoric significance.

Check this writing out.

Scott Nadelson "Could Be Worse" Four Way Review

Appearing in Four Way Review, Scott Nadelson's story "Could Be Worse" gives the story of Paul, a guy whose dilemma starts with general unease with the world--which he thinks may have to do with his neglecting to take his car to the Baron, a mechanic who takes to mistakenly calling Paul "doctor."

The story uses much space in describing the mechanic and backstory of how they met. The Baron refers to cars as if they were women while, in his house, he has his own, very weighty problems.

The Baron instigates Paul's reflecting about the worth of his own life, the perspective of his own problems.

Very worthwhile read. 

Doug Ramspeck "The Second Coming" Booth

Doug Ramspeck's work of fiction "The Second Coming" appears in Booth and encapsulates in a single paragraph a story about a boy whose father, gone away to prison, returns.

The prose vividly conveys the situation and conflict the boy has, living with a mother who has her own problems.

A very good read from a very worthwhile publication.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holly Wilson _The Lonely_ Narrative Magazine

How happy I was to see a fellow Wichita State MFA-er, Holly Wilson, publishing a novel excerpt (The Lonely) in Narrative

Wilson's excerpt gives a first-person POV addressing the reader, foreshadowing the arc of the prose here. It's 1992, the morning of the first snow of the year, and "a little white girl" is on her way to track down her penpal, Demarcus, in Chicago.

Wilson's prose is fun, with syntax and diction conveying character. Her prose always casts that dreamlike feeling of walking and feeling through the story, of leaving this world for the fictive dream, mostly because images (gestures and descriptions, as well as dialog and thoughts) are conveyed efficiently and powerfully.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Justin Nicholes "Taiji 24" Sassafras Literary Magazine

Cool! My short-short "Taiji 24" appeared recently in Sassafras Literary Magazine.

This story idea came to me when I was doing my morning taiji on a roof of a building I lived in here in China. Having recently gone through Chinese divorce, I was thinking of a way to convey it on paper, and this was the best I could do.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Laura Story Johnson "Recession: The Great Wall" Outside In Literary and Travel Magazine

Laura Story Johnson's under-250-word "micro-journey" "Recession: The Great Wall" appears in Outside In literary and travel magazine and places us in a less-frequented strip of The Great Wall.

The characters dodge locals who seek to sell bottled water. The characters hide, scurry off, and eventually the writer expresses realization.

Check out this and other stories, micro journeys, and poems at this very cool magazine.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sarah E. Caouette "Chakras of the Throat" The Citron Review

Sarah E. Caouette's flash fiction "Chakras of the Throat" appears in The Citron Review and features a second-person accusation. "You" has been fucking around, especially with Chinese and SE Asian girls.

The voice comes across as pained, an anger that grips and conveys vivid character.

Check this work out at a very worthwhile publication.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Kevin Tosca "When We All Grow Up" Thin Air Magazine

Kevin Tosca's short short "When We All Grow Up" in Thin Air Magazine is amazing. Contrasts in tone (between the narrative voice and the dialog of two near-adolescents) underscore what seems to be the meaning and purpose of the story, the meaning seeming to be to convey some sense of tragedy of once-hopeful young people who fuck up their lives.

The story achieves unity when its final lines roller-coaster to pitiful, poetic, absolute conclusion.

Check this out.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Jeff Muse "Anima" Poecology

Jeff Muse's short story "Anima," which appears in Poecology, launches with a vivid scene of the narrator, a journalist, following around a hunter for a tourism-promoting story of 1200 words in the local paper.

"I suppose that's what haunts me—the way animals act or look as they perish—and I suppose there's a question we all need to ask: do we die a little, too, when something passes?"

Muse's prose is bulletproof clear and poignant. The narrator reflects on his childhood and thoughts of animals and our killing of them, the way they die. This thoughtfulness and theme suits Poecology's mission--to publish poetry and fiction related to ecology and place--and also the work creates art that also shows the process of deep thought.

This is a very well-written work at an essential literary forum.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Justin Nicholes, George Davis, and many others worldwide _The Bay Is Dying_ interactive, multimedia, multiplatform group-authored Internet novel-as-a-game

Who are we? We're a group of people from across the world who decided to work together to create something special, with the ultimate goal of making people really see the impact pollution is having on the planet.

We're musicians, writers, gamers, teachers … and we're also you. Because The Bay Is Dying doesn't work without you. Your interaction with us, with it, brings this interactive, multimedia, multiplatform group-authored Internet novel-as-a game to life. 

Look. It's real simple. We've been witnessing pollution for so long, dealing with spills and leaks and haze for so many years, that most of us don't even notice it anymore. Or, if we do, most of us assume there's nothing we can do. One person can't change the world . . . right?

That's where The Bay Is Dying comes in. Hear me out for a minute. 

First, there's the argument side, one that everyone outwardly agrees with. More than that, though, is an obligation we have to act on this common belief, to do the right thing for ourselves and for future generations and each of us do a small part in protecting the planet.

The other side, though, has to do with the story, with the artfulness of what's unfolds here. The Bay Is Dying is a novel, it's a game—it is a world-wide, creative collaboration, that you, along with us, can make into a movement.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Katherine Heiny "The Absolute Truth Machine" cecile's writers

"The Absolute Truth Machine" by Katherine Heiny begins with an intriguing concept conjured between two friends: to build a machine that records true feelings and thoughts of everyone who exists and to be able to consult with that machine five times during your lifetime.

This part is backstory, though, and we quickly get to current action with the writer asking her mathematician husband what five questions would be.

The concept continues through the story and reappears as a device to channel and sometimes amplify human emotion--grief, confusion, a sense that sometimes unresolved. The diversion works as a tender reminder of human attempts to unify and close off cognitive dissonance.

In the end, the machine becomes more than in idea.

Check out this story.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Call for Submissions : The Pavilion : A Literary Room for Expat Writing

Reading Periods

~The Pavilion publishes bi-annually online: Fall and Spring. Writers may submit at any time but reading and responding will generally happen when we're not teaching.

~For the spring issue, expect responses between June and August.

~For the fall, December and February.



~Literary fiction: 1 story, 500-3000 words.

~Creative nonfiction: 1 essay, 500-3000 words.

~Poetry: 1-3 pieces, anything goes.


Guidelines for Fiction & Nonfiction

~Email address: Contact the appropriate editor at PavilionEditors[at]gmail

~Subject line format: Your Name "Title of Work" Genre. Example: Kal Groznyy "The Factory" Fiction

~Body of email: provide a brief bio (name, previous pubs if any, contact email) then paste the story or personal essay there.

*Poets may attach poems in a document—to retain formatting.