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Month: November 2019

Ponds

by Pamela Painter

 

This summer we’re renting a cottage not in Maine, but in a new place on the outer Cape. And just like past summers, you’ll pack your own suitcase, not the one with pajamas and shorts and swimsuits, but the pink suitcase with Ishbel, your fuzzy goat, and games, and books from your shelf. You will have a room all to yourself, mysteriously, and we’ll make sure it is close to our room for when you call out in the night, which you have almost stopped doing. Yes, you can stay up as late as Danny used to—how do you remember that—and you won’t have to think about the ocean. Tides and riptides are words we will not use. The kettle ponds are round and calm, home to tadpoles we will watch turn into frogs, and you will marvel about how things grow and change—like tadpoles and caterpillers—and be sad that some things don’t.

 

Painter is the author of four story collections, the most recent is Ways to Spend the Night. She is also the co-author of What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers. Her stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, Ploughshares, Smokelong Quarterly, Threepenny Review and Epoch, among others, and in numerous anthologies. Painter teaches in the MFA Program at Emerson College in Boston.

 

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

I’ve always been fascinated by what is missing, felt to be missing. And with water. The two came together in this story.

Sunday Focus: the moon considers the earth

Photo by Meg Boscov

[Editor’s Note: This ongoing Sunday feature pairs photographs from Meg Boscov with a thought (or two) from the managing editor about focusing on tiny things to find something significant. This Sunday brings you a glimpse of an upcoming collaboration between Matter Press for Compressed Creative Arts and Meg Boscov that matches Meg’s photographs with prose poems that imagine the world after the humans are all gone. Click on the picture itself to view at full size.]

 

 

The moon shows Earth her same face, their spins synchronized, like the dials of the now lifeless timekeepers. Only the moon moderates the wobbly world, apogee, perigee, low tides high. The Earth keeps its distance, no lunar landings to examine the arid rubble. Billions of years ago, the molten moon floated into space; there will be no homecoming, except upon reflection in Earth’s shiny surface, satellite, sunlight, switch, switch, switch. No hours, weeks, months accumulate in the charcoal-gray of the present day. No mechanism crystallizes the tick tock: the moon pedals its cycles: new, waxing, quarter, gibbous, full, waning, last, crescent. This watered-down Earth only moonlights as a big body to its powdery partner. Long ago invisible particles collided to form change; now the results consider each other, widowed sisters, corona, dynamo, two alone.

Meg Boscov is a photographer who lives and works outside of Philadelphia where she continues to pursue her careers in animal-assisted education and dog training. She can be reached on instagram at megboscov.

Kinder Surprise’s Holy Trinity

by Olfa Alouini

 

 

Olfa Alouini is a French economist and diplomat currently on a sabbatical year in the Middle-East. She holds a double Ph.D. in Macroeconomics from Humboldt University Berlin and Sciences Po Paris. She is also fluent in German, Italian, Arabic and Russian. More impressive is the fact that she cannot tell right from left, ever. That’s why she’s usually all over the place; so are her writings.

 

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What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Kinder Surprise’s Holy Trinity”?

Ok JCCA, here you come, pressing me for more. So I hope this three-step trip makes you tick:

1-BRAINTEASE. I’ve come to remember my childhood state of mystification and obsession with the Kinder Surprise commercial when writing ‘Don’t Follow Gravity, it’s a Trap!’, an autobiographico-philosophico-pop essay (yet to be published!). I was looking for a compelling illustration for my claim that while reality is elusive, truth can be found…in contradictions. It also saved me from going into Leibniz’s ‘Monadology’, which was a sweet relief. #toying_with_ideas

2-EYECANDY. Another childhood obsession compelled me to enter the JCCA Triptych call for submission in the middle of a sleepless night: The Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych by Hieronymus Bosch. Discovering this painting, I also discovered the word triptych. For hours on end, I would trip soberly (ok, I admit I was high on sugar all the time back then, courtesy of my dealer Ferrero) on the tiny whimsical, decadent or sadistic creatures, trying to figure out my favorite one. Writing this, I’m wondering what it would be like looking at the painting on LSD. #eye_chocolate

3-BODYFUEL. Some of my favorite electronic music is made by a trio of Italian mind-fucking geniuses called Triptease (do check them out and thank me for the eargasms later : https://www.residentadvisor.net/dj/triptease/biography). Last summer, at a festival, as I got unbearably exhausted, drenched in sweat and famished from hours of non-stop compulsive dancing, one of them surprised me with some Kinder chocolate. His neon spandex leggings kept me from falling in love on the spot. #surprises #sore_eyes

Moonlighting

by Douglas W. Milliken

 

The easiest and by far most satisfying way of infuriating the Pigeon Queen was simply to call her Mom. It didn’t even need to be intentional, it could just slip out—Mom—and she’d completely come unglued.

 

Douglas W. Milliken is the author of two novels, To Sleep as Animals and Our Shadows’ Voice (forthcoming 2019), the collection *Blue of the World*, and several chapbooks, including The Opposite of Prayer. He lives with his family above a post-industrial dam on the Saco River. www.douglaswmilliken.com

 

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

I’ve always loved the whispered aside. Everyone’s attention is focused on one thing, then the person beside you leans in to deliver into your ear alone a hidden truth about the unfolding scene. Which makes the scene, then, superfluous. It’s the whisper that’s the secret center now.

Sunday Focus: Earth, Released

Photo by Meg Boscov

[Editor’s Note: This ongoing Sunday feature pairs photographs from Meg Boscov with a thought (or two) from the managing editor about focusing on tiny things to find something significant. Click on the picture itself to view at full size.]

 

 

O, Earth, bereft of your brood of shepherds, you now revive. Your first-parents’ depopulated temples revolt against their origins, now bob as hulls on this unmeasured map. Trees grow adventurous in the fatal air, unfouled. The disease removed, their anger breaks, like the steep waves caressing limbs and weathered trunks. O, Earth! You no longer mourn at dawn, no longer pray to get even at dusk, no longer blow breaths in vain. Triple-colored bows adorn the present. For the albatross and other islanders, the preserved sylvan grove shines as the fairest flame.

Meg Boscov is a photographer who lives and works outside of Philadelphia where she continues to pursue her careers in animal-assisted education and dog training. She can be reached on instagram at megboscov.

News

Congrats to Christopher Allen for having a work from HOUSEHOLD TOXINS being chosen to appear in BSF 2019 from Sonder Press.

Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

New titles available from Robert McBrearty and Tori Bond.

Submissions

Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions is now OPEN. Check out our new category triptychs! The submission period closes December 15, 2019; submit here.

Upcoming

11/04 • Douglas W. Milliken
11/06 • Alouini, Olfa
11/11 • Janiru Liyanage
11/13 • Francine Witte
11/18 • Pamela Painter
11/20 • Margaret Madole
11/25 • Nancy Stohlman
11/27 • Kelsey Englert
12/02 • Tara Campbell
12/09 • Foster Trecost
12/16 • Janiru Liyanage
12/23 • Tanner Barnes
12/30 • Caroline Firme
01/06 • Meg Eden
01/13 • Daniel Galef