A couple of lit mags I've recently received in the mail: Midwestern Gothic & Fifth Wednesday Journal. If the cover of Midwestern Gothic looks familiar it's because Janey took the photo, which appeared on this blog a while back. It's of the bowling alley here in Monmouth, long gone out of business. We found out that her image had been chosen for the cover about two weeks after the editors accepted my story "Your Place in the World," which appears in Issue 3 alongside all kinds of excellent, including pieces by my friends Cyn Kitchen and Kevin McKelvey and Jason Lee Brown.
This issue of Fifth Wednesday Journal contains my essay "On Helplessness." I haven't had much of a chance to read through the rest of the issue, but I can say this: It's gorgeous. I've received a lot of pleasure from just holding the thing in my hands, and I'm thrilled to have this essay find such a great home.
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This past weekend I drove south with six students to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where we participated in this crazy three-part reading organized by the interns at Slash Pine Press, Slash Stitch Burn. You probably weren't there, which is too bad, because it was a lot of fun. There was a reading in the morning at a haunted mansion. There were walking tours that involved undergrads and grad students reading historical and/or invented fictions/poems inspired by Tuscaloosan haunts. And then that night there was a bonfire and hula-hooping and juggling. I read while the bonfire roared at my back and a kind young man lighted my manuscripts with an electric lantern. I read this--and that recently published essay I mentioned above. It really was a pretty great day.
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Last April, Twelve Stories published a little story of mine, and then a couple months later, they asked if I'd like to come on board to help edit the fourth issue. I don't do much of this kind of thing, but I said yes and then got busy reading submissions and discussing the stories with the other editors--Molly Gaudry and Eugene Cross. Last week, Issue 4 went live. You should go and check it out. Right now.
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Origami Zoo Press has decided to put another book out into the world. (They just made the announcement, and I'm pretty excited about it, I must say. You can read more here.) Do you remember the first chapbook Origami Zoo Press released? It looked like this:
It sold out its limited-edition run pretty quickly, which was great, but then it just kind of disappeared. You know, like a phantom. Now, though, to celebrate their return, they've re-released Phantoms as an e-book for the Kindle. It's priced to sell, and filled with nine little stories that might be just the kind of thing you'd like to read on your electronic reading device. Maybe? Think about it? Additional versions may or may not be forthcoming. I'll try to keep you updated.
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Lastly: Jane and I started a new collaborative project in early October. This particular post has gone on long enough, so I'll say only this: It's about food and my late mother's recipes and the Midwest and family and cooking and nostalgia.