About Me

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Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, and Pank, among others, and forthcoming from Gargoyle #57 and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. For two years I worked as an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. Currently, I serve as a mentor for Dzanc's Creative Writing Sessions. I'm working on two novels and a short story collection. In May, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

Monday, January 31, 2005

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Think our president smells a tad fascist these days?

Chris Beck gives us his opinion in Could it Happen Here? in Inversion Magazine

Link first seen on NewPages

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In M.J. Hyland's debut novel, How The Light Gets In, sixteen year old Lou Connor comes to America as an exchange student hoping to trade in her shame-invoking family and poverty for the American Dream. She's placed in the home of the Hardings, a seemingly nice family on the surface, but who harbor dysfunctions of their own. Lou is precocious, intelligent, socially awkward and need of alcohol to loosen her up. The harder she tries to fit in with the Hardings, the more she messes up. What she craves more than anything, to live in an ordinary home, where the sheets are clean and she is loved, eludes her.

I loved the book. Full of over-the-top images, humor, and wisdom it engaged me throughout. I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. I could argue for it and I could argue against it. But I wouldn't argue about reading this novel a second time.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

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From Ink Pot:

The Tsunami Report by Richard Lewis

Congratulate

Congratulations to Jordan Rosenfeld whose radio show "Word by Word," earned an NEA grant!!

North Bay News

Thanks to Ellen Meister for the original link.

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Ladies and Gentleman, This Is Your Captain Speaking

Heehee

Listen

What I hear right now:

* A woodpecker dotting at the tree outside my window

* A squawking bird and a chirping bird.

* my son playing with his trains.

* my other son's alarm.

* Tom steaming milk for coffee.

* My youngest singing; "Silly Billy, Silly, Billy.

* Tom whistling to Xander's tune.


What can you hear right now?

Saturday, January 29, 2005

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New Poetry from AGNI online: The Swamp Trail

Friday, January 28, 2005

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Randa Jarrar, winning author of "You Are a 14 Yr-Old Arab Chick Who Just Moved to Texas," needs our help:

MoorishGirl Jan 28

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In T.M. McNally's "Quick," you will find an array of characters struggling. Whether it's with their addictions, their propensity toward violence, their immortality, or simply their own pasts, these struggles rise off the page and make themselves known without embarrassment or apology. Complex and richly layered, McNally doesn't shy away from difficult images or emotions. And although at times it seemed to me to be trying too hard, it's easy to see why this collection won the Michigan Literary Fiction Award.

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A link to an incredibly moving, powerful story:

Oscar Fisher's Auschwitz

What is it about this story that moves me to overwhelming emotion?

In part, it's the swell of emotion in Debra Fisher's voice. I can only imagine what she's holding back in order to get the words out.

It's the way in which Oscar Fisher protected his daughter all those years.

It's Debra's courage to walk in that room with her father.

And it's the unimaginable tragedy of the room itself.


Monday, January 24, 2005

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I loved the brilliant short story collection Unkempt by Courtney Eldridge. And once I got used to her very unusual, distinct style, I loved it even more. In the hilarious "Fits and Starts," the narrator describes her writing process and more specifically, what happens to those imperfect first sentences; In "Sharks," the narrator meets with a friend hoping to take her swimming only to discover the friend is terrified of scientists experimenting with sharks in the public pools. What makes this story so funny is the fact that Eldridge knows so well the infinite answers the neurotic mind will provide to support its fear; in "Summer of Mopeds," the narrator recalls a painful childhood memory; a food-adict makes herself a phone pest in "Becky;" And the last in the collection, the novella "The Former World Record Holder Settles Down," is nothing short of brilliant. Eldridge uses first person narration to its fullest advantage showing the reader the narrator's denial and painful process of moving beyond a past that holds her prisoner.


Saturday, January 22, 2005

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I recently found this site:

The Compulsive Reader which I'll be adding to my sidebar eventually. If I don't forget...

Friday, January 21, 2005

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A stunning new poem by Theresa Boyar in Circle Magazine

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Well it's that time again. Nasty weather is heading into perpetually sunny golfers' paradise and threatening to mess up the courses. But that doesn't affect me because I don't golf. For me, the impending ice/snow means simply a yearly test of inner strength, and a test to how well we've stocked up. We have enough food to last us weeks. Enough peanut butter alone to keep us alive for a month or more. But still, when Tom suggested we could get by without running to the store and fighting mobs, I felt a bit...uncomfortable. Peanut butter? Who would want that when we could have brie and grapes? Pasta salads? Sliced veggies?
I went off to do an errand with a firm resolve to tough it out. To not go to the store or to the specialty deli. To be willing to test my inner strength and pioneer spirit. After all, we had already survived a snowstorm that kept us in the dark and cold for over two weeks (and let's not forget about one tornado).

When I returned from my errand the house was empty. Guess who took the kids to the store? ;)

UPDATE:

It seems the big storm is only a small spitting of ice in this area. It's the northeast that will get the brunt of it. Fine. My inner strength would rather take it easy this week. At least we won't have to go shopping for a while...

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I finally read the much-acclaimed story collection by Nathan Englander, "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges." Although most of the nine stories were cleverly humorous, all held an undeniable layer of profound sadness. In the title story, a deeply religious man, upon advice of his rabbi, hires a prostitute to relieve him of "his unbearable urges" that he feels may be adding to his wife's lack of desire for sex. And it seems it is this deep faith that ultimately turns against him and ironically works for him as the tables are turned at home. In the "Gilgul of Park Avenue," a man suddenly discovers he is Jewish in a NYC taxi cab, much to his wife's dismay. And in the final story, "In This Way We Are Wise," the narrator processes the aftermath of a terrorist attack on a local cafe:

"On the street I am all animal. I am all sense, all smell and taste and touch. I can read every stranger's intentions from scent, from the flex of muscle, the length of the passing of our eyes.
I'm on the corner and can turn up the block, take a few strides into the closest of kill zones. I can tour the stretch of wounded weeping and dead unmoving, walk past the blackened and burned, still smoldering ghosts."

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Fiction from Room of One's Own:

"Skin" by Elizabeth Bachinsky

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New Fiction at Salome Magazine by the wildly talented Patricia Parkinson:

"The Codependent Guide"

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Recently I read Kimberly Nichols' short story collection, "Mad Anatomy," available through Web del Sol Books.


The entire collection is an honest, moving glimpse into temporal lives. In the first story, "Painter of Hearts," a dying art critic and a painter with prescient abilities meet and all at once the reader understands we are all dignified guides for the soul. Here's an excerpt:

"That morning Malena woke up in incredible pain. She was familiar with it and in the past three years since her diagnosis, had formed an interesting relationship with it. Instead of masking it or running away from it, she became rather intimate with it. It was a powerful ally that needed consistent attention. There was room in her life for nothing else."


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Well, yesterday I held my own quiet protest but others around the country were not so quiet:

MSNBC

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A Sad Day

I will not be posting today except to post my displeasure and sadness on this inaugural day. Some people will be partying. I will not. For me, as this war in Iraq continues, as the possibility of another nears, as this administration continues to lie to the American public, this is a day of mourning, not celebration.

Today, I will wear black; I will not buy a single thing; I will not watch television; nor will I listen to the radio.


There is a most apt quote on Salome's website today:

Salome

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

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A couple of new-to-me journals:

Lorraine and James

At Length

Stray Dog

This Magazine

"Tiferet Journal

West Branch

Most of these links originally found in New Pages.com

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New fiction in AGNI online:

Five Serrated Dreams

Monday, January 17, 2005

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I’ve just finished Mary Gaitskill’s second story collection, Because They Wanted To,” which seemed to me just as fresh as her first, with a quieter, deeper reflection on the human condition and dazzling gems of insight imbedded in its rich foundation. Each of the twelve stories (eight stories and four connected stories within a novella) is a tale of unrequited love in varying forms and degrees. In “Tiny, Smiling Daddy,” a father discovers his lesbian daughter has published an article about their relationship; in “Because They Wanted To,” a destitute runaway agrees to baby sit a stranger’s three children for an afternoon while the woman hunts for a job, and reflects on the past that drove her to Canada; and in “The Girl on the Plane,” a man is seated next to a woman that reminds him of a woman he once gang-raped and when confronted with the brutality of the act, desperately searches for ways in which he could excuse or explain his behavior. I most admire Gaitskill’s incredible ability to pin down the nuanced behaviors and thoughts that make us all paradoxically universal and unique.

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Here's a piece in Hobart by Calvin Lui about things unseen: EP No. 5 (Hidden Track)

Sunday, January 16, 2005

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Well we saw the Matisse and Picasso show yesterday and well...it was nice (isn't nice an awful word?) but I must admit I did have a few disappointments.

First, and this is not the fault of the Cone sisters: there were too many people allowed in to see the exhibit at once. Even wearing my glasses I could not see beyond the wall of four people deep to view the paintings. A few times I became bold or desperate and nosed my way between people. Now I'm not sure this circumstance can be blamed on anyone or anything as the show was sold out every day. And I suppose seeing corners of paintings was better then not seeing them at all...

The other complaint was that as I was admiring a Miro, three woman walked up to the painting and disparaged it. I wanted to shout to them: "For God's sake ladies, you're all over eighty, haven't you learned anything about art yet?" But I held my tongue.

The other complaint, and it's a small one, is that while the museum was generous in offering complimentary coffee (Starbucks-Ew), and biscotti, they forgot my tea.

Complainers, don't ya love 'em?

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Here's a piece from Stephany Aulenback, which was also nominated by Hobart for a Pushcart.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Celebrate

It's an art day today for me! This afternoon I'll see this exhibit with some of my favorite artists:

Matisse and the school of Paris...

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The newest HOT POT from Ink Pot:

The Diggers

Friday, January 14, 2005

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Astounding, lovely, gorgeous story by Debbie Ann Ice

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The winter issue of FRIGG is out, with fiction and poetry by Jeff Landon Randall Brown, Bob Arter, and Miriam Kotzin among others.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

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This afternoon I drove to the post office as I do every day (doesn’t everyone go to the post office every day?) and when I came out empty-handed (the lack of rejections somehow bother me as much as the lack of acceptances—analyze that!) and got back in my car, I was approached on the driver’s side by a man.

Fool that I am, I roll down the window. (I must have a HUGE sign that either says “Come and get me cuz I will make it easy and do most of the work for you,” or “sucker.”)

“Yes?” I ask the man.

“I need money,” the man says. He then tells me he’s hungry and he hasn’t eaten and he’s living in a home and he needs money.

I dig in my purse and hand him some money. Not a lot. But yes, I do hand him some money. Because I don’t know what else to do. Because here I am in this nice car, with a nice home and a loving family and a lovely life and so how can I close my fist around a few dollars?

But still. Still, I am aware of the fact that the man probably scoped me out. He probably knew that the surprise factor would work in his favor. And that made me just a little mad.

So what did I do?

“Let me offer you some advice,” I say with a frown. “Don’t ever approach a woman alone in her car like this again or you are liable to get mace in the face or something equally as unpleasant.”

“Yes, Ma’am.

Of course, Bite me is what he probably said as he walked away.




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Yesterday I finished "Bad Behavior"by Mary Gaitskill. What I most appreciated about this stunning first collection was its complete unsentimentality, its laying out of facts without flinching. Without judging.

In "Romantic Weekend," two characters rendevous for what they consider a romantic weekend, but for most who are not interested in the practices of sado-masochism, perhaps it would be called something else altogether. The woman is not particularly attractive, has low self-esteen and she's excited to meet up with an already married man who enjoys belittling, penetrating--in a psychic way as well as the literal, and completely conquering women. What I love about this story is that both the characters and the readers end up discovering some surprising insights:

"This exasperating girl, on the other hand, contained a tangible somethingness that she not only refused to expunge, but that seemed to willfully expand itself so that he banged into it with every attempt to invade her. He didn't mind the somethingness; he rather liked it, in fact, and had looked forward to seeing it demolished. But she refused to let him do it."

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Read an interview with the author of "Three Days in New York City" here:

Robin Slick

Klee Posted by Hello

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A Short-Short:

Dent Fondling

This one is so funny and poignant and honest.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

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I received my copy of Lilies and Cannonballs yesterday. This beautifully put together journal will surprise and delight with its edgy, poetic prose, and its thought-provoking poetry. One superb story within is written by one of my favorite writers: Myfanwy Collins!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

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"Acceptance" is the prize-winning story by Peg Cronin, winning Zoetrope's recent fiction contest judged by Susan Straight. It is absolutely one of the best stories I've read--hilarious and poignant, and the language is GORGEOUS and clever. Makes me wish I were funny.
Read it here:

Acceptance by Peg Cronin

Monday, January 10, 2005

Celebrate

Congratulations to Laila Lalami for her recent two-book deal with Algonquin, one of which is her collection of short stories, "The Things That Death Will Buy." I have read several of these stories and I can tell you they are BRILLIANT!

Reminder

Time is running short to nominate your favorite story for the Million Writers Award!

Here are a few stories from which to make your choice--although it won't be easy because they're all so damn good!

Bridges by Myfanwy Collins

Toggling the Switch by Alicia Gifford

Yerba Buena by Jill Stegman

The Story of Her Breasts by Kirsten Menger-Anderson

Model Home by Mary Akers

One Way Or The Other by Avital Gad-Cykman

Catch by Maryanne Stahl


I'll post more as I come across them.

Sunday, January 09, 2005


Matisse Posted by Hello

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Story:

Possessions

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This morning I purchased tickets for this exhibit showing in the North Carolina Museum of Art, which we'll see next Saturday:

Matisse, Picasso and the School of Paris

Some of my favorites all in one exhibit! I don't know if my heart will be able to take it. ;)

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I just finished Mary Swan's collection The Deep and Other Stories.

A couple of things struck me about this collection which included a wide range of story lengths, novella to short-short: her style remained consistent throughout, regardless of length, and she tells her stories often piece by piece so that the whole comes to the reader gradually. A slow, lovely unfolding.

Her novella "The Deep," won the O'Henry Prize in 2001.

Friday, January 07, 2005

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The devastation in South Asia is so vast, so enormous, that it's difficult to even imagine. It's even harder to hold in my mind the myriad of individual, personal losses and stories.

Here are some photo-stories from BBC:

Photo Journal


The need for relief is still urgent. My family and I plan on donating a little each month from our budget for as long as it takes and I urge you to do what you can for as long as you can.

Americares

Red Cross

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Here's a humorous and oh-so-true piece by the talented Mary Akers:

"Mothers: A Field Guide"

Thursday, January 06, 2005

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Reminder:


Contests for short fiction with January deadlines--

Chattahoochie Review

Prism International

Contests for short fiction with February deadlines--

Columbia

And for short-shorts:

The Southeast Review

I wish I had something for that last one--it looks like fun.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

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What weird weather we're having, huh?

In my area of the country we're having unseasonably warm temperatures: it's been in the high sixties, low seventies for over a week and I don't see an end in sight. In fact, next week it's supposed to get up to almost eighty. Hmmm. I know I shouldn't complain. Nice weather is ...well, nice. BUT such variations from the norm do make me a bit nervous, especially in light of all the ways humans have managed to mess up the environment and the atmosphere. Makes me wonder...

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The storySouth Million Writers Award for Fiction is underway again:

storySouth

Vote for your favorite piece of online fiction!

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I just finished Alice Munro's short story collection, "Friend of My Youth".

I'm always struck when I read an Alice Munro story by how very much like a Russian nesting doll it is. A story within a story within...

Monday, January 03, 2005


Kandinsky Posted by Hello

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Read this incredible story in the jazzy journal, edificeWRECKED

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Congratulations to Laila Lalami (Moorish Girl) for her story in the newest issue of Mizna!

It looks like a gorgeous journal!

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Here's a new journal that looks good:

Lorraine and James

And they also pay $50.00-$200.00 per story.

Thanks to Marcia for the tip.

Saturday, January 01, 2005


Todd Webb Posted by Hello

Steiglitz Posted by Hello

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Detox
It's the first day of the new year and what better day to torture myself with a healthy detox tea to boost my liver. Yum.

Seriously, this is a great cleanser and the taste could be worse, I suppose:

1 cup hot water
juice of one lemon
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp maple syrup

You can use this as you fast all day, or simply begin your morning with it.

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A poem by Suman Singh:

Often

Klee Posted by Hello

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Honored Guest by Joy Williams is a fascinating collection of stories. This is the first time I've read Ms. Williams, and in these stories I discovered fresh, imaginative, characters; plots that take the reader down one road only to make a sharp left or right to meander in a zany, unexpected direction; and all of the stories' unique quirks seem completely organic and logical.