I confess; I don’t read well.
I think I’m a little dyslexic, and my literary background is thin. I studied film, work in video and only almost accidentally became a writer. So fiction must engage me quickly, and I need strong language.
I looked for pieces that had received little attention, but I inevitably included some familiar names. There. As a good Midwesterner, I’ve now both equivocated and apologized.
Let’s get on with the show.
Michael Gillan Maxell has given us gems such as “Short Fuse” (published in the December 2013 issue of “The Bitchin’ Kitsch”) and recently, “Winter.”
With joy and brutality, Maxwell remembers a childhood when kids came home from a day of sledding bloody and elated, sweating inside frozen clothes….
“Winter” is symmetrical on the page. Sometimes I rewrite paragraphs simply to make them balance in space … a short paragraph, three long ones, a short. I think there’s something to this.
This is a great example of a writer trusting his readers, his insistence that readers write at least a little of the story themselves…
Where’s “still over there somewhere?” and who’s the “they” who talk about “over there somewhere?” Happily, I can create this myself and WANT to create it, and Basden has trusted me to do that. This is how flash fiction can be so satisfying.
The title also impressed; I’d paid little attention until the story’s end and only then realized how well it had worked. It kicked up the story’s tone without getting in its way.
I’m thinking of asking Barry to write titles for me.
Stretching across gender as a writer, I suppose, is tricky and dangerous.
I’ve tried a couple of times and expect to be called out as a pretender for it on every occasion. Davis travels the same road and bravely imagines himself “stunning in a black dress.”
“Momento” employs a list that I adore for its rhythm. “I would have slept with a famous actress, four heads of state, three poets, two designers, and a lovely young student named Renee.”
Davis also imagines a woman completely comfortable in her skin: “I would not be famous, but quite satisfied with the murky edges of celebrity.”
This piece, after many reads, still puzzles me.
I can’t get my arms around what in it works. It’s how I feel about work from Ann Bogle and Matt Rowan and Jake Barnes. It has a dream quality, a disconnect, without being pronounced a dream. A motif of the fluid runs through the piece and leaves the reader haunted.
“Soon, she will turn to liquid, that other person, the world floating away.”
This kind of abstraction has influenced me in things I’ve tried lately.
OK, I’m a guy… a man. Can I even start to talk about this? Am I allowed? No, of course not, but I’ll try anyway because this piece cracked me up.
I wrote in my comment, “I dig the tone, love the voice, love the flow; and it’s funny. And a HAPPY ending! What’s NOT to love?” And that holds.
Check out the voice and rhythm here, “I am so fine. Bolded, italicized letters followed by ten exclamation points fine. Yes! Me, and my Double D, smoother front, no underwire self! Whoo-whee, hot is happening here. Slip me off the rack and onto your girls and change your world.”
See Lucinda Kempe’s latest posted work too, “Something About Your Mother.”
Steven Gowin grew up in darkest Iowania but escaped after an MFA from his state’s hotbed of workshop writing and creative remorse. These days, he’s a corporate video producer in San Francisco and has returned to fiction after a long hiatus away from it. He loves California, all of it, even the desert, and sometimes feels better now. Gowin has a story upcoming in the premiere issue of The Mojave River Review and will be featured reading on an upcoming “Awkword Paper Cut” podcast.
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.