Contributor Update, Maggie Kast: “The House Will Burn” in The Orison Anthology

Maggie KastWe are pleased to announce that past contributor Maggie Kast’s essay, “The House Will Burn,” has been accepted for reprint in The Orison Anthology vol. 3, 2018. The volume is available for purchase at Orison Books. Congratulations, Maggie!

The House Will Burn” is also available to read in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

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.

#ArtLitPhx: Piper Writers Studio April 2017 Courses

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University is proud to offer five creative writing classes through the Piper Writers Studio. Classes are taught by acclaimed and award-winning writers from the community, and cover topics such as first-draft novel writing, novel revisions, persona poetry, and creative non-fiction.

The faculty and courses for the April 2017 sessions of the Piper Writers Studio are:

  • The Story Behind the Poem with Jim Sallis on Wednesdays April 5th – 26th, 2017 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
  • Another Voice: Creating Memorable Poetic Personas with Lois Roma-Deeley on Saturday April 22nd, 2017 from 9 am to 1 pm.
  • The Facts of Life… and Death: Writing Crime Accurately with Deborah Ledford on Saturdays April 8th – 29th, 2017 from 12 pm to 2 pm.
  • Having a Blast: The Art of Comedy and Writing with Rebecca Byrkit on Wednesdays April 5th – 26th, 2017 from 6:30pm – 8:30 pm.
  • Your Podcast is a Story: Finding and Telling Strong Narratives with Tracey Wahl and Daniel Zwerdling on Saturday March 25th, 2017 from 9 am to 4 pm.

Classes are open to individuals of all backgrounds, skill levels, and experiences, and are designed to fit around the schedules of working adults (taking place weekday evenings or weekends). Most classes are held at the Piper Writers House, the historic President’s Cottage on the ASU Tempe Campus. 
Class sizes are small in order to ensure an intimate, individualized educational experience, so be sure to register early to secure your seat. Students can register on the Piper Center’s website.

Classes start at $75 (with discounts for individuals who are members of the Piper Circle of Friends). Classes can also qualify for professional development credit with the Arizona Department of Education.

Sessions are held every October, January, and April. Topics and instructors vary from semester to semester, so check out The Piper Center’s website  for news about the courses and for FAQ’s.

Berkeley Fiction Review

The Berkeley Fiction Review is a UC Berkeley undergraduate, student-run publication. We look for innovative short fiction that plays with form and content, as well as traditionally constructed stories with fresh voices and original ideas.

We invite submissions of previously unpublished short stories year round and publish annually. Submissions are free. Contributors whose stories are published receive one free copy of the issue their story appears in. We also host fiction contests and nominate to O. Henry, Best American Short Stories, and Pushcart prizes.

We also invite submissions to our annual sudden-fiction contest. See website.

berkeleyfictionreview@gmail.com

Additional Links:

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/berkeleyfictionreview?fref=ts

Twitter- https://twitter.com/BerkeleyFiction

Website- http://berkeleyfictionreview.com

Tumblr- http://berkeleyfictionreview.tumblr.com

Submissions- http://berkeleyfictionreview.com/submit/

 

Berkeley Fiction Review

Prick of the Spindle

Prick of the Spindle is a journal of the literary arts, founded in 2007. We are always seeking book reviews and critics to take on the titles listed on the review shelf at http://prickofthespindle.org/reviewer-guidelines/. We are also seeking short film and visual artists for our online galleries, as well as humor writers for the new online section, The Corner. Submit your fiction, poetry, nonfiction, humorous pieces, reviews, interviews, artwork, and drama for the biannual print edition at https://posprint.submittable.com/submit. Subscribe to the print edition at more than 16% off the cover price. Visit http://prickofthespindle.org/shop/.

Prick of the Spindle S16

Subscribe Today to Boston Review

Provocative is easy. Fact and argument are hard. Boston Review promotes the latter through top-notch intellectual debate on society’s most salient issues, with contributors such as Noam Chomsky, Martha Nussbaum, and Cornel West. Each issue also features a forum debate, highly acclaimed poetry, new fiction selected by fiction editor Junot Díaz, and much more.Copy of Boston Review

Guest Blog Post, George Foy: Even When I Lie

George FoyUsually I write novels, not short ones either. I’ve been committing novels half my life. (I write “committing” because sometimes my novels feel like crimes: of self-indulgence, because what they earn doesn’t support my family; of hubris, because they create complex worlds that live on their own and surely piss off the gods, if there are gods).

What I’ve learned in writing is that a novel’s story-world, and the characters that live in it, have no respect for the world I live in. Of course I start off wanting, even needing to put in people and places I know, but the places and people in novel X have their own logistics, needs, and requirements; they have discrete hopes and angers and systems of measurement; and inevitably these take over. I have written about Africa, and France, and my native Cape Cod (Mass.,) and while I know well the places I describe, the characters live their way and rejigger their environments to match.

If you try to find your way to the villages in the novels I’ve written about the Cape, for example, you will get lost. Guaranteed. The characters insisted on a street in Hyannis, a bar in Chatham, a patch of woods in Wellfleet, a smell from a house in Cotuit. And while they might have started off as a fisherman I worked for, a woman I lived with, they soon chose their own paths, and became someone significantly different.

Of late, however, I’ve been writing short-short fiction, a lot of it based on things that happened in my real life. The stories are so short that the characters come roaring onto the page as themselves, the original Maddy, Pedro, Kurt, in all their ballgowns or sweatclothes, their valiance or lazy cowardice.

This raises issues. Some of the stories involve people who don’t behave well. Some of them are family members. They are racked by obsession or drink, they make fools of themselves over women (or men). They don’t have time to alter the narrative, or dress themselves as other than who they are in real life. And if the people involved read the story, they will recognize themselves, and be hurt.

Is it worth hurting someone in the interests of literature? On some level, I believe it is, or should be. When I think of what a writer is supposed to do, I always remember Tony Montana’s line from Scarface: “Me, I always tell the truth–even when I lie.” In fiction as in non-fiction, a good writer will always paint a perspective of how the world truly works and how people function. That perspective illuminates, explains, and most importantly of all, makes us feel the impact of those mechanics. The writer will paint this way no matter what the cost.

If that means putting someone real in the cast of characters, and person “A” is hurt by his inclusion, “A” should know that his pride or trust have been violated in the interests of a higher truth, a finer Art than people normally practice in daily life.

And, yet–I don’t buy it.

I suppose, if one of my short but hurtful pieces could provably, immediately save the lives of people dying of thirst in Somalia, one could make a case that the ends justified the means. But justifying deliberate harm for whatever reason is always a risky argument because such arguments will inevitably be turned around to justify goals that are not cut and dried.

And it’s more likely that the sky will turn green or that Fox News will report objectively than that my writing should save the life of anyone. Bring insight, maybe. Cause pleasure, I hope. But save lives–nope.

In those circumstances, I can only say that if I have to make the decision, I’ll opt not to hurt. Or at least, I’ll fudge the names and identities of characters to the point where they can’t be recognized. Is that a cheap compromise? Maybe. But it’s what I do.

I don’t think Tony Montana uttered words to illustrate this position, so I’ll refer instead to the artist Alberto Giacometti, who once said, “In a fire, between a Rembrandt and a cat, I would choose the cat.” Art, and writing, should value life above all else. And they should demonize hurt, not cause it.