Saturday, October 22, 2011

Joe Bonomo "Live Nude Essay!" ~ Gulf Coast

Joe Bonomo's work of nonfiction "Live Nude Essay!" appears in Gulf Coast and contemplates aspects of nudity, and the author's discovery of sex and nakedness, as as way to urge us to value the wonders of the "clothed essay."

"I'm thinking of the clothed essay versus the nude essay. The clothed essay prizes craft and subtlety, evocation and song."

This essay captivates with its form: section breaks juxtapose the clothed beside the nude, with one section hinting at how "nude" an essay the writer could very well write if he were to so choose, and the reader winces, agreeing.

A thought-provoking, socially relevant read.


Ash Dogs, a novel

Monday, October 17, 2011

Q&A with Jenny Halper, 2011 Emerging Writer Award Winner

Jenny Halper's fiction has appeared in journals including Smokelong Quarterly, PANK, Frigg, Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Stories 2009, and is forthcoming in an anthology from Persea books. Jenny has written for the Boston Phoenix and Nylon Magazine, among others, and recently co-wrote a script with Susan Seidelman and adapted a novel for Pretty Pictures. She currently serves as Development Executive at Maven Pictures, and was previously Development Executive on films The Kids Are All Right and The Whistleblower. She lives in Brooklyn with her turtle, Herbert, plus lots of stray books picked up on Park Slope stoops, a ten-year-old VCR, and lots of Jolly Time Healthy Pop Kettle Corn.

Here's a short interview we conducted with Jenny recently about "Cyclone," her award-winning story, as well as her writing in general. 

Congratulations to Jenny, and to all our blog readers, enjoy! ...

Q:  Can you give everyone a few words about "Cyclone," your contest-winning submission? How did this story come about?

Well, the characters are from a terrible novella I was trying to write

a while ago. I tend to start a lot more than I can finish and when I

get stuck with one thing am unstuck about another. I wrote a draft of

this, I think, when I was trying to finish a story I was halfway

through and couldn't, so I went back to these characters and started

with the hot dog eating contest. Also, one of my best friends growing

up lived next to the train tracks and I was always kind of jealous and

wanted to imagine what it felt like to live there.

Q: What made you decide to become a writer?

I'm not sure -- probably the authors I loved in 7th, 8th, 9th grade -

Alice Hoffman, Anne Tyler, Pat Conroy, also Rosellen Brown, who I was

lucky enough to have as a professor and is amazing and I think one of

the things that keeps me working is getting to learn from authors I

really admire -- and of course the (very infrequent) feeling of

finally getting something intangible right. The first thing I remember

writing is an adaptation of Peter Pan when I was seven, but that was

only because I wanted something short enough that my friends could

perform at my birthday party, and that was only because I wanted to

play Wendy and wasn't a good enough actress to get cast in an actual

production. But that's not really a moment of decision - I don't

remember making a conscious decision. Sometimes I find it incredibly

difficult and sometimes I love it. Lately I've been thinking of

writing as putting together a puzzle and you have to create the

pieces, then make them fit. I have a very long way to go.

Q: What's next for you and your work?

I'm a little more than halfway through a collection of short stories

-- mostly I have a lot of revising to do on those. And I'm two thirds

of the way through what I'll call a longer work that will hopefully be

the first draft of a novel by 2012. I'm about to go back into a script

I sat on for a while, that I thought was done but I realized isn't.

That and there are a lot, a lot of books that are piled up around my

bed that I want to read.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Andrew D. Cohen "Boys School" ~ Colorado Review

A work of nonfiction, Andrew D. Cohen's "Boys School" is published in Colorado Review and explores the writer's being moved by his parents into a private school in New York, "one of the oldest, most competitive schools in the country, dating back some three hundred years to a time when its founders had to petition the London-based Society for the Propagation of the Gospel for funding."

At the school, the writer is made aware of his "Jewishness," and a number of thoughtful examples bring the place alive as well as help communicate dimensions of life and of the writer himself.


Ash Dogs, a novel

Caroline Arden "Yolo County" ~ Colorado Review

"She thought of calling the guests to explain but couldn't bear doing it, and so she turned off the lights, drew the shades, and lay on the couch while guests rang the doorbell, understanding that she was outside society now and might as well grow hard."

Caroline Arden's story "Yolo County" appears in Colorado Review and begins with a horrific event. The tone of voice contributes to the tension and conveyance of Miriam's character--a girl who shows up early to a baby shower and accidentally allows a child to choke.

Afterward, Miriam goes with her boyfriend Orin to Yolo County to watch an artist couple's farmhouse.


Ash Dogs, a novel

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Nico Alvarado "A Hunger Artist" ~ Witness

"Then he came over and opened the jar of bees in my face."

A work of nonfiction, "A Hunger Artist" by Nico Alvarado appears in Witness and starts off with evocative descriptions of a boy. The narrative continues by explaining more about the boy, Rico, and anecdotes further (vividly and thoughtfully) clarify his character. The narrative concludes with a tense confrontation with Rico, who has to bathe, and final images of the bees he has stunned.

This is a very worthwhile, thought-provoking read about the trials of social workers and one afflicted young man.


Ash Dogs, a novel