📚 I participated in a fantastic craft class today with Alice Hatcher, author of The Wonder That Was Ours. She was interviewed by Reneé Bibby, Director of the Writers Studio Tucson, and local students in the Master and Advanced workshops.
How does the writer of genre fiction approach difficult subject matter like sexual assault? Two excellent and potentially triggering recent short stories by two fearless writers suggest two effective approaches. “What’s Done Can’t Be Undone” by Tucson writer Reneé Bibby in the January 2019 issue of Five on the Fifth weaves ugly revelations with witches […]
Horror 101: The Way Forward edited by Joe Mynhardt explores a tremendous territory of information, advice, and experience with essays written by many different creatives who work in the genre. These essays are organized into four main sections about the horror genre itself, the artistic opportunities in horror, writing horror, and building and maintaining a career in horror. There are some very useful commonalities to be found between various essays, but there are many differences, too, and even contradictory information. I love that. I found this mix especially inspiring because it underscores just how much room there is for you and me to explore the genre as singular readers, writers, artists, and enthusiasts. Even when I told myself I would absolutely *NOT* emulate what a particular essayist has done in their career, I loved learning about their experiences and how this only proves how wide open horror is.
The tone and humor might be a little dated, even insensitive and problematic at points, but there’s no question that Save the Cat by Blake Snyder is a book packed with useful, easily digestible, but comprehensive information. Ostensibly written for screenwriters, I think novelists and short stories writers will find this book equally as beneficial. It might even have a thing or two to teach poets.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is beautiful, emotional, full of love, humor, and hope, and also horror and tragedy. It’s devastating.
The highlight of this issue is most definitely the interview with Joe Hill. I haven’t read any of his work yet, but I’m really interested now that I’ve read this interview.
The Wonder That Was Ours by Alice Hatcher is a deeply moving novel that makes smart use of its narrator—the collective “we” of cockroaches—to explore the legacy of colonization. Hatcher’s collective cockroach narrator is funny and astute, and finds the disturbing and heartbreaking parallels between our species, while pointing out the ways humans might be far worse.
An issue of mostly Lovecraftian horror (including an essay asking what the hell that even means.)
With TV Girls—six incredible flash fiction stories in one fantastic chapbook—Dana Diehl’s compassion for reality TV stars flattened by the medium recovers their individuality and complexity by exploring in gorgeously-crafted prose how they are vulnerable, exploited, and managing the relentless attention.
I’ll keep this with me for a long time, and you should, too.
“The Mushroom Hunters” by Neil Gaiman is one of the best poems I’ve read this year.
Neil Gaiman’s “The Mushroom Hunters” was my personal favorite in the collection, along with Mary Soon Lee’s “Advice to a Six-Year-Old” and all her other poems, Linda D. Addison’s “Sycorax’s Daughters Unveiled”, Cislyn Smith’s “Hot”, and Shannon Connor Winward’s “The Raven’s Hallowe’en.”
Simon and the other characters are the highlight of Simon vs the Homo sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, about a high school student on the verge of coming out as gay dealing with doubt, first love, and blackmail. He and his group of friends are the heart of the story and I particularly love Simon’s voice in this first-person narration. He’s funny and astute, but also heart-breaking at times: “And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.”
Every single story in this collection of historical fiction and contemporary fiction pieces is breathtaking, full of incredible and often all-too-real details, and features characters (whether based on real people or not) that leap off the page. I particularly appreciate how writer Jim Shepard finds the humanity and depth in characters that are otherwise difficult to like.
Short, genre-defying stories that look at people and things—mothers, relationships, language, infidelity, etc.—in unexpected ways.
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville My rating: 5 of 5 stars An incredible if interminable reading experience made nauseating by deplorable racist interjections (sometimes an excruciating chapter long) and gory slaughter. This was not a pleasant read; I had to take frequent breaks from what was so upsetting about the novel and Melville’s comments about other […]
Shekhinah by Eleanor Wilner My rating: 5 of 5 stars I started reading Eleanor Wilner’s second collection of poems from 1984 before she read at the University of Arizona Poetry Center in January 2018. I knew I was going to love her work after I read the first poem, “Emigration,” about Charlotte Brontë and her […]
Adelaide Literary Magazine magazine cover, Year III, Number 10, November 2017 There aren’t many poets in the workshops I take at the Writers Studio Tucson, sometimes only two or three of us in a class of ten writers. I’ve been fortunate, however, to have been in several workshops with Katie Predick, a poet I regard […]
Screenshot of Rosette Maleficarum website header Philip Ivory, one of my instructors and a fellow writer at the Writers Studio Tucson, has a new short story titled “How We Cured Racism” published online at Rosette Maleficarum. I read a couple of the earlier drafts of this story; the final published version is a polished work […]
Lace & Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens by Aimee Nezhukumatathil My rating: 5 of 5 stars A short chapbook of beautiful epistolary poems between Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Ross Gay. Ostensibly about their individual gardens, the scope of these poets’ poems frequently expands in breathtaking ways. Nezhukamatathil is reading at the University of Arizona Poetry Center […]