Contributor Update, Laurie Stone

Join us in congratulating past SR contributor, Laurie Stone, on the publication of her new book Everything is Personal, Notes on Now.

The memoir is an amalgamation of essays and diary entries about her life experience as she contemplates the world. The introduction writer of the book Chris Kraus called it “engaging, sharp, [and] funny.”

Her book will be released on January 15, 2020 and is now available for pre-order here. To learn more about Laurie and her work, visit her website. You can also read her essays featured in Issue 1 and Issue 10 of Superstition Review.

Congratulations, Laurie!

road

Guest Post, Jill Talbot: Distance, A Compendium

When Superstition Review asked me to write a post for this blog, I wanted to write something related to my essay, “On Being (Lost),” which is about distance and direction and the longing to leave. I thought I’d write a craft essay about how to create distance in writing, and as a way to begin thinking through the idea, I performed a Find search in every essay I’ve written, looking for lines with one of these five words—road, distance, missing, highway, and longing—copying and pasting each one into a document. As a way to look even closer, I printed out the pages and grabbed the scissors, separating each line into a single strip of paper and then I sat down and arranged them into categories, but then, I wondered if they might turn into an essay of their own, so I started arranging again, bringing the lines into conversation, losing many of them along the way because they were redundant or weren’t engaging with the concepts in interesting—or syntactically compelling—ways. My intended craft essay gave way to this compendium, and each fragment here is a line from one of my essays. The exercise helped me to see my work from a distance, to think about how and why it’s a recurring theme in my work and to think about how I can push myself, in future essays, to find new ways to write the distance.

I.

Out here, the triple train tracks run alongside the road.

I pulled up to the hotel sun-tired and road-weary, thirsty for the booze I needed to put at least a hundred more miles between me and that brick two-lane out of Lubbock.

Deeper Into Texas, deeper into distance, deeper into the trouble I was dragging through the desert like a carcass.

Maybe I needed to know what I would choose if another reality came into view, like a gas station on a long, empty road.

Back then, a bottle of Barefoot Chardonnay cost me around ten bucks.

He was from down south, a town called Marathon, dust and tumbleweeds, rust and empty roads, store-front signs that whine in the grit of the wind.

We watched the mountains in the distance, counting the headlights of cars blurring
the curves. Those lights reminded me of something, but I couldn’t name it.

It was like sitting inside the missing.

II.

I don’t think it’s ever been about missing him at all.

I was like those tumbleweeds in Marathon, always tossing myself toward some rusty-
edged road.

Maybe it’s dust from another summer, the one when he and I stood in a Colorado river, sand swirling into a cloud before setting into us so that we would always carry each other across the distance. Maybe what I carry is the distance.

Empty
downtown buildings, train tracks, Highway 82 out of Lubbock—a road
I wore out in my twenties
every time I tried to unravel myself from that town.

It’s all thunderstorms in the distance.

I don’t want to lose my capacity for longing, for missing, for wondering what might be, for yearning for what has come and gone before I had the chance to save it. I want a window to stare out of or a dark bar where I can buy my dissatisfaction another drink.

I write because I used to be someone I miss.

III.

Sometimes a direction calls us from the distance, and for me it’s always been west.

When I think of October, I think of deep ochre, a south Texas highway that traces the Davis Mountains, a fire’s shadow undulating against the limestone laccoliths of Big Bend at night.

Leaves bring back a lost season, and I keep writing, building a map so that I can spread out the pages and point to a phone call, a room, or even a breeze, and say, here.

IV.

Give me distance, and I’ll give you an essay. Here:

She once drove that truck all the way to some New Mexico road and pulled over at a gas station to wonder why the pay phone she once called him from had been ripped out, holes where there had once been bolts rusted dark.
Wind in the distance.

She had a flat highway inside her, a sign that told her she was 381 miles from some no-account town.

Her missing him was like an oversized map spread out across the floor.

V.

I understood that, understood that driving hard down one dust-soaked road after another will never make a difference.

Days and nights almost seem wasted, at least borrowed, when you’re counting down to leaving. Not knowing where you’re leaving for makes those days and nights a map of creases that have worn away entire cities.

There’s a small bus center off the highway, where a Greyhound could take me back to all the cities I’ve pulled away from so that I could climb the steps of a post office or duck into a wood-floored diner or stop by to see if the same clerk’s behind the counter.

I like these nights, when the Chardonnay climbs the rungs of memory to the roof of the building, and I can see the city the way it was then.

In my mind, those moments shimmer the way hot air on roads bends light.

The road I keep trying to lose is in South Fork, where I once stood in front of a house willing the man I had known there—the one who had long ago moved away—to step out to the front porch.

I have empty streets inside me. Streets that have built cities, maps of trouble.

I imagine pushing the pedal all the way down that flat road, the horizon a razor, the pump of oil jacks a steady lulling of the landscape.

The pull of the wrong direction, so I took off and drove west into New Mexico until my Jeep rumbled a dusty road toward a bottomless lake.

I do remember leaving town the next day, chasing the distance, the space I couldn’t see, the grit in the wind. And I can admit it now, I’ve always stayed gone.

Authors Talk: Joe Bardin

Today we are pleased to feature author Joe Bardin as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, Joe discusses the process of envisioning and writing his essay “Trenton into Time.”

Joe reflects how he first realized “that there was an essay to write” during a conversation with his housemates, where he “started talking about this period of my life…And I realized… that the things I was recounting were, in some sense, remarkable.” He affirms that “I think there’s a kind of epiphany that some writers experience, when at different points we realize that… our experience matters, that it has some kind of meaning or substance,” and states that, “That’s what got me going onto ‘Trenton into Time.'”

“We all sort of live ‘on top’ of these stories and experiences that have happened to us,” Joe declares. “We may remember or not remember [them] clearly, or consider or not consider [them] important, but underneath lie these moments in time that are part of who we are.” He calls the exploration of such moments “a kind of archaeology,” stating that “the person we are now is like the city built on top of a hill that’s full of relics of the past.” He emphasizes that “there’s something very intimate about remembering… and making some kind of sense of it now.”

You can read Joe’s essay, “Trenton into Time,” in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

Contributor Update, James M. Chesbro: A Lion in the Snow

A Lion in the Snow CoverToday we are proud to announce news about past contributor James M. Chesbro. James’ collection of essays titled A Lion in the Snow has been released and is available for purchase through Amazon here. The synopsis reads as follows: When his wife was pregnant, James M. Chesbro started having daydreams of seeing a lion in his street, padding toward his house through the snowflakes of a New England storm. He felt more like a son, still grieving over the early loss of his own father, rather than a prepared expectant-dad. In these essays, Chesbro finds himself disoriented and bewildered by fatherhood again and again as he explores the maddening moments that provide occasions for new understandings about our children and us.

James’ essay, “From the Rust and Sawdust,” which first appeared in Issue 12 of Superstition Review, is included in the collection.

Congratulations, James!

Authors Talk: Kate Lechler

Kate LechlerToday we are pleased to feature Kate Lechler as our Authors Talk series contributor. Kate discusses her essay, “The Breathtaking Sting of the Pull,” and what non-fiction offers to her as a writer.

She reflects on her time as an ESL teacher in the suburbs of Seoul, South Korea, and finds that most of the stories she writes are the last stories she’d think of sharing. She identifies religion as a recurring theme in most of her work, including the novel she is currently writing, in which her protagonist, like herself, grew up conservative Christian. Finally, Kate ends her podcast by talking about the strength of fiction and how, “we can create a world where we can think about all the things we care about.”

Kate Lechler’s essay, “The Breathtaking Sting of the Pull,” can be read in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

Contributor Update: Rochelle Hurt

Rochelle HurtToday we are pleased to share news about past contributor Rochelle Hurt. Rochelle’s essay “An Entrance, an Exit, an Entrance” has been included in The Orison Anthology, vol. 2. The anthology is available for purchase from Orison Books’ website.

Four poems by Rochelle Hurt can be read in Issue 11 of Superstition Review.

Congratulations, Rochelle!

#ArtLitPhx: Terry Tempest Williams

This Friday July 21st, New York Times best selling author Terry Tempest Williams will be at Changing Hands in Tempe. Williams will be presenting her new book The Hour of the Land, a literary exploration of the US national parks. The book is a mixture of memoir, natural history, and social critique. The event will be from 7 to 9 p.m. and is a ticketed event. Find out more on the facebook event page here

Authors Talk: William J. Cobb

William J. CobbToday we are pleased to feature author William J. Cobb as our Authors Talk series contributor. William talks about his essay “The Altered States of Stuffed Animals” which was inspired by his daughter’s collection of stuffed animals. He goes on to say that he has a complicated relationship with stuffed animals one that is, “usually dismissive, [and] begrudgingly sentimental.”

 

You can read William’s piece, “The Altered States of Stuffed Animals,” in Issue 17 of Superstition Review.

 

Authors Talk: Kirsten Voris

Kirsten VorisToday we are pleased to feature author Kirsten Voris as our Authors Talk series contributor. In her podcast, Kirsten discusses her discovery of the different stories you can tell you about yourself. She reveals, “When I choose a version of reality to sell in an essay, what I’m really doing is selling the idea to myself. I’m deciding what kind of a story I want to tell me about myself.” Kirsten also discusses her process, her writing partner, and how she’s learned that “not writing is essential to writing.”

You can access Kirsten’s piece, “The Walk Through,” in Issue 18 of Superstition Review.

Authors Talk: Julie Marie Wade

Julie Marie WadeToday we are pleased to feature author Julie Marie Wade as our Authors Talk series contributor. In her podcast, Julie discusses the influence of Bernard Cooper’s Truth Serum on her work, like “Where I’m From” and The Regulars. She explains how Cooper’s memoir made her feel more comfortable exploring different essay lengths. In particular, she was inspired by Cooper’s essay, “Where to Begin,” which Julie describes as “really profound to [her] in its compression and how well it establishes what you can expect in the larger volume.”

Julie also reveals the driving force of “trying to figure out what it meant to come from a particular kind of world, where in [her] family being a regular person (synonymous with normal) was the goal.” Julie concludes by reading her essay aloud to contextualize these insights.

You can access Julie’s essay, “Where I’m From,” in Issue 18 of Superstition Review.