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.

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.”

Cover of The Laurel Review 50.2

My poem “My Unbelievable Man” was published in the latest issue of The Laurel Review and it’s my first poem in print (and now available online, too)! I received my contributor copies in the mail this week. The experience of reading one of my poems in a physical paper journal is surprisingly different than reading it in a digital document or online. I’m not really sure how to describe it except that the journal has heft that makes the poem feel more real and very special.

Screen shot of Cold Creek Review website with title of publication and an wintery creek and forest scene on 28 March 2018

This is the big day: my first published fiction, a sad story titled “The Center of Dirty,” is now available in the fifth issue of the wonderful online journal Cold Creek Review! I really loved this journal “that explores the depths of troubled emotion” when I first came across it and I hoped that someday I would have a story worthy of submitting to them. That story is “The Center of Dirty.”

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.

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 […]