Here is a list of writers whose stories I considered for selection while reading as Editor’s Eye in the past two weeks. The names are in the order their stories appeared at Fictionaut, beginning August 11 and ending August 25, followed in parentheses by the number, if more than one, of stories that appealed most to me. The main goal of Editor’s Eye is to feature deserving stories that have missed our wider appreciation. Still, I want to include among the names on the first, longer list writers whose stories I considered featuring before I knew they would reach the Recommended Stories list: Jake Barnes (2), Chris Okum (5), Carol Reid (3), Daniel Harris (2), Michelle Elvy, Willie Smith, Neil McCarthy, Doug Shiloh, Amanda Harris (3), Gary V. Powell, Walter Bjorkman, Laurie Stone, P.R. Mercado (2), Bill Yarrow, Ben Ingram, James Claffey (4), John Olson, Sam Rasnake, Marcelle Heath, Roz Warren, Ginnah Howard, Jodi Barnes, Gary Hardaway (2), Svana Piast, Jerry Ratch (2), Felix Saparelli, Carl Santoro (2), FMLe, Jennifer Donnell, Hemrod McDowd, Rhys Nixon, G.E. Simmons, and Crabby McGrouchpants. In recognition of those writers whose names have appeared already at Editor’s Eye, whose stories I also considered, I’ll list them here: Carol Reid, Neil McCarthy, Amanda Harris, P.R. Mercado, Chris Okum, Ginnah Howard, and Jodi Barnes. I considered a total of fifty stories and selected ten to feature.
James Claffey’s “A Beggar in the Time of Hardship” deserves mention ahead of all other stories submitted these two weeks. The story appeared then disappeared on or about August 11. I hope the author has squirreled it away for further publication. It deserves it. I noted that the writing in its fine detail surpasses F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing mid-novel in my rereading The Great Gatsby. “Veto the Mustard” is another of Claffey’s stories to whet the appetite.
Carol Reid’s “Sport” is one of the deserving stories Reid submitted since August 11. I like extended analogy, and “Sport” works from analogy to let us imagine the narrator’s getting even in unrequited love, if love it is. I view myself as someone who does not visualize comeuppance, but here I feel avid for the narrator’s decision to play it as a game to defend her honor in love.
Willie Smith’s “BEETLE MANIA” conveys our suspicions about boys, boys at work, boys at play, not the worst nor the best about boys in their early stirrings about girls, boys already rehearsing strains of combat and confusing their new hot suits with the art of war. The style of the story is sure and the surface and rhythm accomplished.
Walter Bjorkman’s “Sweden 1958, I-IV” is a great poem or a poem great in its inception as a poem. The use of repetition in its insistence that the year is an important one in the speaker’s life leads in four roman-numbered parts through a Swedish landscape and vista so scenic as to be like film or passages of description in the heart of a novel.
Daniel Harris’ “Dr. Wong” explores the universality of tooth pain and dentists with a trip to the Rain Forest and the deliverance of remedies in the wild. Five Million Yen, Harris’ novel in chapters, 48 at present, is well worth following for its lively dialogue, vibrant characters, and situational analysis.
Chris Okum’s “Lobster: A Play in One Act” is among several fine stories Okum submitted since August 11 and perhaps the best. Another is “Intercourse.” Okum’s ear for dialogue and nuance is always fresh. In “Lobster: A Play in one Act” a ludicrous social exchange becomes a scene in a play set at a wedding—full of honest surprise.
Jennifer Donnell’s “My Vajayjay, The Homing Pigeon” follows in the proud tradition of naming our vaginas, as initiated in Fictionaut stories past by Meg Pokrass’s “The Serious Writer and Her Pussy.” Donnell’s story is interior monologue as spoken to the lucky audience, in part about the man on whom the narrator’s “vajayjay” has homed in. If he has thoughts other than monogamy, the narrator’s vajayjay has back-up plans.
Ann Bogle’s short stories have appeared in The Quarterly, Fiction International, New World Writing, Wigleaf, Asymptote, Gargoyle, Big Bridge, Thrice Fiction, Altered Scale, and other journals. Country Without a Name is forthcoming in an art print edition from Veery Imprints.
Editor’s Eye is curated by Michelle Elvy (Fictionaut profile here). She writes and edits every day at michelleelvy.com, and readers can also find her editing Blue Five Notebook (with Sam Rasnake) and Flash Frontier.