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Month: November 2018

Powers

by Dan Crawley

It was Mindy’s turn to keep an eye on her little brother while her parents and sisters wandered from one western arts and crafts store to another, and she was not happy. Mindy yelled at her little brother to get moving from the back end of one store that reeked of leather and burlap and mildew. She wanted to go try on moccasins with her sisters. But he wouldn’t budge from his spot below the many shelves displaying Kachina dolls high over his head. Their faces of strange looking animals or otherworldly beings, their colorful wardrobe, and a few in some kind of frozen dance, kept her little brother absorbed. She pulled on his arms and attempted to shove him off his feet. If he did stir out of place, he immediately bounced back to the same spot. Mindy told her little brother how much she hated him as she strolled backwards. She glanced at him one more time from the open door of the store and wished he’d disappear once and for all and waved so long forever, sucker. She passed a few storefronts, looking for her sisters. But when Mindy saw her parents trying on cowboy hats through a large window, she panicked. They hadn’t seen her, alone, she kept telling herself, and ran back to her little brother. But he was no longer in his spot under the dolls. Mindy quickly searched the whole place, calling out his name. Then she stood in the middle of the store and slowly turned around and around. It really happened. Her little brother really disappeared. When she found her sisters, she told them the greatest thing ever just happened. Her sisters, though, were too busy trying on moccasins and didn’t care much. So Mindy sat on the woven rug, shoving her bare feet into different slippers of soft leather until she felt tapping on the top of her head. She told her mom towering above that no one was messing with her little brother. Her mom told her eleven-year-old girls should know better. She told her mom he was stuck in the same place she’d left him, looking at the same things, like always. Mindy tried acting nonchalant as she led her mom back to where her little brother vanished, preparing herself for the worst. And when they entered the store, Mindy couldn’t believe it. There he was back in his spot, gawking up at the dolls. After her mom scolded her and left, Mindy stood by her little brother. She placed her hands on the back and top of his head, a gentle cradle. She told him she wasn’t going to hurt him. He didn’t have to be afraid of her. But she wanted him to know that her powers were just getting started.

Dan Crawley’s stories have appeared in a number of journals, including Wigleaf, New Flash Fiction Review, New World Writing, Jellyfish Review, CHEAP POP, and North American Review. He is a recipient of an Arizona Commission on the Arts creative writing fellowship. Along with teaching creative writing workshops and literature courses, he is a fiction reader for Little Patuxent Review.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Powers”?

“Powers” is part of a linked collection of flash fiction, following a family on an endless vacation. I wanted to write a flash with only one of the sisters and the brother alone and figured I’d place them in a setting where tourists would go (I pictured shops in Sedona, AZ). This little flash was a different writing experience for me. Usually I think through a story and have an idea of where I’m going, possible resolutions, when I start writing the first few drafts. I had no idea where “Powers” would take me. All I had was a conflict: the sister wants to go with her sisters instead of watching her brother, and he doesn’t want to move from his spot, staring at the dolls in a store. Everything else was a surprise as I wrote it. The magic, the ending lines. I read a final draft to my dad (someone who is not very interested in fiction) and after the last lines, all he said was, “Ha. Nice.” I knew I had something then.

Sketch 1

by Connor McDonald

A Sailor Moon sticker
on the back of a black
Suzuki

And a cigarette between
her ringed fingers

A story that disappears
down the road

Connor McDonald writes from Salem, Oregon. He received a BA in Philosophy at Willamette University and is now pursuing a law degree as part of Willamette Law. His haiku have been published in Britain, Ireland, Canada, and America.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Sketch 1”?

Sketch 1 was written on a TOPS Docket Gold Writing Pad during a carpool home. No edits, just an attempt at intuition following Ed White’s suggestion to Kerouac that he sketch the streets with words.

Fruit Fly

by Laton Carter

There is movement at the periphery of your vision.

It might be madness. (The mad
cannot be fully dispensed with.) Or it might not

be madness. You can catch it. Or
you haven’t. The movement reappears

after you’ve snuffed its life. Protect
the ripened skin from it. Bodies

multiply. Bodies disappear. Reappear. Delicate

fragrant skin. Dispose of it. (But that is not
how to catch a body.) Lay out overnight

an invitation, any sweet surface in which
to drown. (Drowning movement becomes

no movement at all.) The drowned
see no bodies. No one has ever been talking.

Laton Carter’s Leaving (University of Chicago) received the Oregon Book Award. Previous work has appeared in Brooklyn Review, The Citron Review, Narrative, The St. Ann’s Review, and Western Humanities Review.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Fruit Fly”?

This poem is part of a series I’m working on where insects either speak or are spoken about. The fruit fly, as I started obsessing about it, seems itself a compressed form of obsession: it swirls around and dive-bombs a sugar source until it’s either ready to reproduce or until — say, with a glass of wine — it drowns in its own objective. This behavior, which seems like a kind of madness, induces its own madness — just when you think you’ve extinguished it by a clap of your hands, your palms open to nothing, and the thing is already flying around again. The poem, as a result, took on its own uncertain behavior — who was drowning? The fly (doing its job) or the speaker (trying to negate the job)?

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Submissions

Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now open. Check out our new category triptychs! The submission period closes December 15, 2108; submit here.

Upcoming

11/19 • Dan Crawley
11/26 • Bruce Robinson
11/28 • Madeleine McDonald
12/03 • Marina Carreira
12/10 • Edwin Litts
12/17 • Christopher James
12/24 • Bree Pie
12/31 • Sara Backer
01/07 • Kim Magowan
01/14 • Justin Herrmann
01/21 • Su-Yee Lin
01/28 • Nathan Long
02/04 • Paul Crenshaw
02/11 • Kevin McLellan
02/18 • Emanuele Pettener
02/25 • Jeff Friedman
03/04 • Dennis Mombauer
03/11 • Jacqueline Doyle
03/18 • Tamara Gane
03/25 • Sara Crowley