Superstition Review Submissions Open

Superstition Review Submissions Open

Superstition Review

Superstition Review is open to submissions for Issue 31! Our submission window closes January 31st, 2023.
Our magazine is looking for art, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Read our guidelines and submit here.

Photo of Leopoldo Gout.

Meet the Interview Contributors for Issue 30

Issue 30 of Superstition Review will be launched December 1st, marking SR’s 15th year anniversary. This issue features interviews with five award-winning authors: Angie Cruz, Leopoldo Gout, Rudy Ruiz, Manuel Muñoz, and Raquel Gutiérrez. All interviews were conducted by Riqué “Rich” Duhamell, this semester’s interview section editor. Read about the authors below!


Angie Cruz is a novelist and editor. Her most recent novel is How Not To Drown in A Glass of Water (2022). Her novel, Dominicana, was the inaugural book pick for GMA bookclub and shortlisted for The Women’s Prize, long-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction, The Aspen Words Literary Prize, a RUSA Notable book and the winner of the ALA/YALSA Alex Award in fiction. Cruz is the author of two other novels, Soledad and Let It Rain Coffee, and the recipient of numerous fellowships and residencies. She’s published shorter works in The Paris Review, VQR, Callaloo, Gulf Coast and other journals. She’s the founder and Editor-in-chief of the award winning literary journal, Aster(ix) and is currently an Associate Professor at University of Pittsburgh. She divides her time between Pittsburgh, New York, and Turin.


A visual artist, filmmaker, and writer who hails from Mexico City, Leopoldo Gout studied sculpture at Central St. Martins School of Art in London. His work belongs to multiple collections and has been in exhibitions all over the world. After finishing his studies, Gout’s creativity extended into writing, television, and film. He is the author of the books Ghost Radio and the award-winning Genius YA trilogy, and the recently published fable for all ages, MonarcaPiñata is set to publish with Tor Nightfire in March 2023. 


Rudy Ruiz is a writer of literary fiction, essays, and political commentary. His earliest works were published at Harvard, where he studied literature and creative writing, and was awarded a Ford Foundation grant to support his writing endeavors. Seven for the Revolution was Ruiz’s fiction debut. The collection of short stories won four International Latino Book Awards.


Manuel Muñoz is the author of two previous collections and a novel. He is the recipient of a Whiting Award, three O. Henry Awards, and has appeared in Best American Short Stories. A native of Dinuba, California, he lives in Tucson, Arizona.


Raquel Gutiérrez is an arts critic/writer, poet and educator. Gutiérrez is a 2021 recipient of the Rabkin Prize in Arts Journalism, as well as a 2017 recipient of the The Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. Her/Their writing has recently appeared in or is forthcoming in Art In America, NPR Music, Places Journal, and The Georgia Review. Gutiérrez teaches in the Oregon State University-Cascades Low Residency Creative Writing MFA Program. Her/Their first book of prose Brown Neon is an ekphrastic memoir that considers what it means to be a Latinx artist during the Trump era. Gutiérrez calls Tucson, Arizona home.

Fiction Editorial Style: Daniel Matlock

Fiction Editorial Style: Daniel Matlock

One needs two things to be a good Fiction Editor. #1 is an attitude of Playful Openness that gets one excited to read the submission pile. #2 is Time. While working on this issue of Superstition Review, I had boundless amounts of openness and only a breadcrumb of time because of extra classes I was taking to graduate early. These classes diminished some of my enjoyment in being a Fiction Editor and are my only regrets.

Yet, I will never forget the pleasure of reading submissions. One of the marks of good fiction is escapism: allowing the reader to feel like he’s away from home. Many submissions helped me forget the strain of my other assignments and gladly found a home in my YES pile. It was also a delight to learn from my fellow editors Patricia Murphy, Kristin LaCroix, and Hannah Coleman. You were all generously patient as I learned the ropes.

“A writer should create living people; people not characters,” says Ernest Hemingway. I’m always looking for these living people when reading fiction. Not perfect people, but people who are afraid, unworthy, or not suited for the situation or task facing them—much like myself. This forges identification between reader and character, and it is the key to a reader’s escape and relief. When we read about people in trouble like ourselves (or better, people worse off), we’re healed. A character’s efforts to overcome adversity always leave the reader with a smile.

As a writer myself, I want to thank every person who submitted to Superstition Review for their courage to imagine, draft, and craft, because it’s taught me that this is the most important part of writing stories.

Nonfiction Editorial Style: Etosha Magee

Nonfiction Editorial Style: Etosha Magee

This semester, I had the pleasure of working as Superstition Review’s Nonfiction Editor under the supervision of Patricia Murphy and Rebeca Byrkit. My experience was informative and enriching. I read an impressive selection of essays from renowned authors who originate from different backgrounds. Receiving the opportunity to review these authors’ works was one of the most rewarding parts of my experience. I feel honored that these authors submitted their pieces to our magazine.

Another rewarding part of my role was learning more about what editors do. Before assuming this role, I only knew about copy-editing and technical editing. When I realized that magazine editors were responsible for tasks like reading and selecting submissions, contacting authors, and copy editing, I was delighted because I finally felt like I had discovered my calling.

I find nonfiction important because it is a versatile literary genre that can be used to inform readers, document history, and more. This genre is also remarkable because the truths present in nonfiction provide direct links between the author and the audience. The vulnerability and relatability of nonfiction are crucial factors; with them, we can use literature as a tool to understand one another and connect.

The idea of universality and human connection inspired how I evaluated and chose pieces for Issue 29. I wanted to focus on selecting stories that would either hold a mirror to our society or allow readers to appreciate the world from a different perspective. My goal with my selections is to promote empathy and boost the power of human connection through presenting stories that encapsulate emotions that all readers can find relatable. I hope that everyone who reads these selections sees a part of them reflected in the five essays.

Art Editorial Style: Khanh Nguyen

Art Editorial Style: Khanh Nguyen

If I have to narrow down my editorial preferences, there are two things that make an artwork especially attractive: story and process. As I’ve written in my editor’s note for Issue 28, you can perceive an art piece’s story in a single glance. Sometimes, the story changes or grows the longer you look at it. Oftentimes, the story you see is different from what someone else sees. 

I chose the artworks for Issue 28 in hopes that readers will have a fun time exploring the stories each piece tells, and maybe even learn something new from the message each piece conveys. Take our cover artist, Jeff Rivers, for example. The subjects of his art have featureless faces, yet their clothing contains meaningful patterns and the positioning of their bodies exude emotions. Even without knowing Rivers’s inspiration for this collection – Tony Morrison’s Beloved – you can feel the poignant account of Southern life in each piece. Or take Kateryna Bortsova’s acrylic paintings, spread across maps of Spain, Germany, and Jordan. Might the powerful expressions of the male subjects reflect each location’s history? Or a facet of each location’s personality? 

Having been acquainted with artists my entire life, and having created art myself, I know the direction of an artwork is formed not just in the first idea but also during the process of creating. When artists pick up their tools, touch their canvas, and play with their composition, they discover new relationships between colors, shapes, textures and other art elements. What gets shared with the world is this personal and oftentimes vulnerable process. I feel this in pieces like Teresa Sites’s colorful collages. There is time-consuming sincerity in the arrangement of each cut of paper, a sincerity that better communicates her theme of movement and music. 

My time as an art editor was very fun personally, but I always thought about how readers of Superstition Review might experience the art I select. Whether it is a new story or the process of creating art, or just a relaxing moment, I hope our audience will experience something worthwhile in the work of the artists I have shared with them. 

Meet Issue 28’s Contributors: Part 2

Meet Issue 28’s Contributors: Part 2

We’re back with another installment of getting to know the Issue 28 contributors! In this post, we hear from some of our Fiction and Nonfiction contributors.

What’s your coffee/tea order?

Katherine Tunning (Fiction) says, “The order goes: coffee on Tuesday, Thursday, and the weekend. Black tea on the other days, plus the coffee days, so I can pretend I don’t have a caffeine problem.”

Kelly Gray (Nonfiction) goes for “dark roast coffee with more cream than you would expect.”

Where do you like to vacation? 

Jacqueline Doyle (Nonfiction) says, “It’s nearby, but I always love weekend trips to the Northern California coast.”

Barbara Lock (Fiction) tells us: “I’ll vacation anywhere that provides a washer and dryer, and a chance to get on water! Last summer we paddled on the Colorado, even though the access highway was blocked with half a mountain’s worth of rubble. We took Cottonwood Pass to get from Vail to Glenwood Springs–it was really narrow! The river guide told us that the great thing about driving back on the pass at night was that since we could see all the headlights from far away, we could drive as fast as we liked, ha ha. We didn’t do that though, because we didn’t want to die.”

Melissa Llanes Brownlee lives “in Japan, so anywhere I haven’t been in the country yet, and usually I am camping. If I leave Japan, I like to explore Southeast Asia! Next on my list is Thailand.”

What’s a holiday tradition that you love?

Ashley Wolfe (Nonfiction) shares, “I’m lucky to have a lot of wonderful family traditions. I love cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for a big group of relatives. Baking Christmas cookies with my mom, sister and all our children is another favorite. I also treasure waking up too early on Christmas morning to watch my children discover what Santa left under the tree.”

Kelly explains: “My daughter and I stopped celebrating Thanksgiving many years ago. We take the money we would have spent on food/celebrations and send it to Native run organizations or land trusts. Then, we sit around watching Dolly Parton movies, and now we just refer to it as our own personal Dolly Day.”

Molly Andrea-Ryan (Fiction) says, “My husband and I started a Christmas tradition that I’m pretty fond of. We watch the 1954 White Christmas followed by the 1974 Black Christmas, back to back on the same night. (If you haven’t heard of the latter, it’s a Canadian slasher movie set in a sorority house—and yes, it counts as a Christmas movie. There are Christmas decorations and everything!)”

Tell us about your pets!

Amanda Gaines (Nonfiction) has “two cats—Lady and Carlos. They like to watch squirrels and destroy my house when I’m out of town.”

Erin Murphy (Nonfiction) has “two Siamese cats: Vixen and Djuna. They’re like dogs in cat bodies — they greet you at the door and play fetch. We are in the process of adopting a third cat.”

What are you reading right now?

Molly is “wrapping up Misery right now. Before that, I read a few books by Jennifer McMahon, a contemporary horror novelist from Vermont. I’m also enjoying a few collections of poetry, including “Peculiar Heritage” by DeMisty D. Bellinger—highly recommend.”

For Barbara, “Michael Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter is what I’m reading now. My To Read pile, which takes up six boxes on the upstairs landing of the house, threatens to trip me daily. Right now, Yasunari Kawabata’s Beauty and Sadness and Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation are on top of the pile, but that could change at any moment.”

What are you streaming/watching right now?

Ashley says, “I’m not one to watch much TV on my own, but I do enjoy shows with my husband and kids. As a family, we’re re-watching every season of The Office and eagerly awaiting the Netflix release of Lost in Space season three. My husband and I also just finished watching Squid Game – I’m still not sure how I feel about that one.”

Jaqueline is watching “‘Minari” (finally). Always on the lookout for Scandinavian noir releases on Netflix.”

Molly tells us: “I just finished a months-long binge of the Sopranos and a days-long binge of Midnight Mass. Oh, and the Bachelorette is back. Seinfeld’s on Netflix now. I’m not gonna lie, I watch a lot of TV.”

If you could instantly learn any language, what would you choose? Why?

Amanda wants to learn “French, so I can watch Amelie without the subtitles.”

Melissa would go for “Korean – I love Kpop and Korean food. Also Hawaiian, because I feel disconnected from my heritage sometimes.”

Katherine says, “I guess Japanese, because I’m currently trying to learn it the traditional, non-instant way, and it turns out that takes kind of a long time.”

What’s the next thing on your bucket list?

Erin tells us: “My niece convinced me to sing along to her new karaoke machine recently, so now I want to try singing karaoke in a club.”

Jacqueline is excited for “a trip to Paris.”

Katherine says, “it is probably tempting fate to say ‘publish a book,’ but: Publish a book.”

What is your most-used phone app?

For Amanda, it’s “Google Docs—I’m not that cool.”

Jacqueline and Barbara both make extensive use of Waze to shave time off their travels.

Melissa: “*whispers* Twitter.”

What song can you listen to on repeat without it getting old?

Ashley loves “anything by the Beatles. And ‘I Feel It Coming’ by The Weekend.”

Kelly enjoys “‘Over Your Shoulder’ by Calexico.”

Erin chose “‘Radar Love’ by Golden Earring (also the first song I chose on my niece’s karaoke machine).”

Thank you to these contributors for helping us get to know them! We can’t wait for the Issue 28 virtual launch party on November 30!

book of poetry

Poetry Editorial Style: Bree Hoffman

book of poetry

In this semester of acting as SR’s poetry editor, I have learned three very important things about working in an editorial role. It’s okay to trust your gut, it’s okay to ask for a second opinion, and having conversations about what you do and don’t like about writing is the best way to discover your own biases around art and poetry in particular. I think it’s very important to be knowledgeable of your biases before reading pieces critically, and will help to generate the most diverse group of submissions for publication. Getting into the editing was the hardest part for me, especially at the very beginning. There are times when insecurity wants to take over and you worry you can’t tell the difference between a great poem and a simply okay poem. But that insecurity really leaves quickly once you’re actually in the thick of it, and get to rise to the occasion by showcasing some excellent submissions for our readers. That has definitely been my favorite part of the editing process, finding the ones that really stand out.

To me, poetry is an excellent window into other people, and is a great demonstration of what the humanities can be. Through poetry, we learn to demonstrate a lot of complex thoughts and feelings, and how we interpret them is indicative of our own perspectives and experiences we bring to the table. The coolest part to me, is how much variation poetry can utilize, and the fact that each poem is fully dependent on the voice of its author. I feel like poetry is one of the most intimate forms of expression, and one of the most creative and expansive outlets that humans have.

For Issue 28, I started by reading each submission and giving my instinctual vote on it, usually in the form of a Yes, No, or Maybe. I am a little more forgiving in this step of the process. Once I’ve selected my Yes’s and Maybe’s, I then re-read them more critically, analyzing the content, composition, and craft to try and narrow down the best top ten submissions for the magazine. The act of collaborating with the Poetry team on the final selections is the most exciting part of the whole semester, outside of the actual publication itself! The role of Poetry Editor has taught me so much about curating selections for readers and how to trust your own opinion in the way that your peers and readers trust you to show them great pieces of work.

Superstition Review Staff Book Recommendations

Join Superstition Review in reading our favorite books. Below is a list of recommendations from Superstition Review’s trainees and interns.

I recommend On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. Written in letter format, Vuong’s story of his life as an immigrant is told with vulnerability and grace. He remembers his childhood in the US along with the stories that his mother and grandmother told him from their lives in Vietnam. Throughout the novel, Vuong realizes truths about himself and his family. I was immersed by the lyrical style and was impressed by how Vuong’s imagery stood out- this truly is a unique novel.

Madeline Lewis, Content Coordinator

I’d like to recommend Jay Heinrichs’ Thank You for Arguing because I have found it to be a very useful guide in learning the art of persuasion and the power of compromise through agreement. It’s a fun read with the author’s humor and difficult concepts are simplified for the average reader. I would highly encourage people to give it a read since it’s an entertaining and informative book.

Kayla Morales, Advertising Coordinator

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. This book is an autobiography about Noah’s childhood in apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa. Being mixed-race, Noah was literally a crime, and couldn’t be seen in public with neither of his parents. It’s a hilarious and mind-opening story about race, identity, and family.

Khanh Nguyen, Trainee

My book recommendation is Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo. It is a memoir and it is absolutely heart wrenching, captivating, and beautiful. Although it is a memoir, its form becomes poetry and then prose and then narrative and it is so intelligent! It is also great to learn about immigration issues in the United States and it is so relatable for Latinx immigrants in the United States. I found a home in this book. 

Carolina Quintero, Poetry Editor

Welcome to Night Vale by Joesph Fink and Jefferey Cranor. I chose this book because I absolutely love the podcast that led to this book. The characters are compelling, as is the world that the two authors have created. But, most of all, I love the writing style of the Welcome to Night Vale series. The unorthodox descriptions and the ways that the authors play with tropes are so interesting to me, and I love to read interesting stories about interesting people.

Charlie Saifi, Social Media Manager

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Middlesex explores gender identity and the problem space of societal norms and expectations of gender roles. The novel follows a Greek family, particularly an intersex individual named Cal, as they hide, ignore, understand and accept that their gender identities don’t match those shown in and perpetuated by popular culture. A beautifully-written, page-turning story, it’s no surprise it won a Pulitzer Prize. I love this book because it challenges gender stereotypes and investigates the complexities of defining people. 

Sara Walker, Trainee

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker. This book is about a small college town that is plagued by a sleeping sickness. The difficulties faced by Walker’s characters mirror some of the current challenges we are all facing during the global pandemic. Reading this novel inspired me to consider how important it is to take care of one’s community in trying and uncertain times. Compassion and empathy can get us through any hardship.

Erin Peters, Student Editor-in-Chief

Submissions for Contributor and Intern Updates

Superstition Review is always looking to celebrate the achievements of past contributors and interns, which are featured in our weekly contributor and intern updates posted here on the blog. We now have an easier way for past contributors and interns to reach out to us with news of their literary and academic accomplishments. Updates can be submitted by following a link to Submittable, an online submission form found on the front page of our magazine, or by clicking here.

Pushing To The Uncertainty: An Interview with Davon Loeb

This interview was conducted via email by Summer Blog Editor Kelsey Kerley. It regards Davon Loeb’s memoir, The In-Betweens (published in 2018) as well as his process and experiences as a writer and educator.

Davon Loeb is the author of the lyrical memoir The In-Betweens (Everytime Press, 2018). He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers-Camden, and he is an assistant poetry editor at Bending Genres and a guest prose editor at Apiary Magazine. Davon writes creative nonfiction and poetry. His work has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and one Best of the Net, and is forthcoming and featured in Ploughshares Blog, PANK MagazinePithead ChapelMauldin HouseJMWWBarren MagazineSplit Lip MagazineTahoma Literary Review, and elsewhere. Besides writing, Davon is a high school English teacher, husband, and father living in New Jersey. Currently, he is writing a YA novel. His work can be found here: davonloeb.com and on Twitter @LoebDavon.

The In-Betweens is a coming of age journey about a biracial boy who is trying to navigate the nuances, struggles, and joys of growing up in two different cultures, a Black family and a white-Jewish family, while living in non-diverse communities. This memoir, written as poetic flash and lyrical nonfiction, explores how racial and cultural identity is shaped through family, friends, and community, as well as how each of these factors are deeply complex and tumultuous, especially in the very divided America we have today. And as noted by Paul Lisicky, author of The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Friendship and Later, “…The In-Betweens is awake to the awe of being in a boy, and the beauty and danger of negotiating a culture that wants to drive space between us, inside us.”

Superstition Review: Could you describe the inspiration for your memoir The In-Betweens?

Davon Loeb: My inspiration for my memoir The In-Betweens was really about trust—trusting myself, in my stories, in my craft. Ever since I was young, I was imaginative. Writing this collection was just about going back to being that little kid again, back to a world of make-believe, to when I was encouraged to dream, to tell stories. Sure, the MFA helped develop some skill, but this was about the persistence that followed. I was inspired to do the work, to write, to commit to this collection.

SR: Some of the chapters that stuck with me most as I read your memoir were the one-page chapters, the small snippets of a moment in time that were packed with emotion. Could you please discuss your process for writing the sections?

DL: I wrote those chapters to tell a story, and sometimes that story only grew into a paragraph or a page simply because the memory itself was small; it was a fragment, but the emotion was still like a hot wire. So I tried to lean into single images as support for the frame of those smaller chapters. In the chapter “5-Series BMW”, my stepfather is working on his car in the garage. The BMW is an image in itself but also a symbol for masculinity. Instead of explaining masculinity, the image and the symbol do the work for me. Once there, in the minute of the moment, I need to trust in the storytelling—really believe in the brevity. After finishing the memoir, I realized these flash chapters balanced the book well.

SR: You’ve managed to capture so many unique moments of your own childhood while still making them relatable to the reader, creating a sense of nostalgia and memory of things they have never known. Which memoirs and memoir authors inspired you?

DL: I intentionally wanted to capture memories that readers could identify with. I’m a real believer that it’s sometimes our duty, as writers, to create universality through individual stories. I wanted my readers to experience the same dirt of childhood, to be hand over hand with me, through the joys, the laughter, the tears. I’m so glad it worked, and readers felt a connection to this little boy. In regard to reading memoir, the genre was actually new to me. I started my MFA as a poet and left writing memoir. A reasonably short list of some of my favorite memoir authors are the following: Paul Lisicky, Roxane Gay, Porochista Khakpour, Tyrese Coleman, Chloe Caldwell, Tracy K. Smith, and more names I know I’m missing. I actually read more poetry than memoir, and that list would be too long.

SR: As well as being a writer, you are also a teacher. How has your experience as an educator influenced your writing?

DL: So much of writing is being vulnerable, which is like teaching. I believe the best teachers are the ones who are not afraid to be themselves, not afraid of getting “eye-level” with their students. When writing this memoir, I took the same approach. I said, “This is who I am. I am not scared to show you,” because readers can see through a façade as quickly as students can. But the relationship between the two is also evident in my craft as a writer and educator. I teach Literature and Composition; I read and write all day. This is my life, a muscle always at use. Consider this: as writers, we are constantly changing, a course of lifelong revisions; in the same way, teachers are forever adapting, sometimes in the moment in a classroom or as society shifts, like now, during a health pandemic. Nonetheless, these roles are inseparable; they are equally part of my identity, and I could not do one without the other. Though it can get messy. My students love to Google me, and read my book, which is cool, but sometimes makes for an interesting conversation. The point I try to impress is that I am forever in it, forever learning, forever a student.

SR: One of the main factors of an identity that you discuss in The In-Betweens is race. How did you go about addressing this topic and what did you find most challenging about it?

DL: Discussing race is definitely the crux of a lot of my writing. I try to focus on race as something fluid, rather than stone. I want readers to value my experiences, as well as understand that my experiences are not the tell-all stories of racism or the entire black experience. I felt especially confronted with my race or my blackness in the last couple months, during the protests and public murder of George Floyd. I’m biracial. I grew up in a predominantly white community. While some aspects of my upbringing were discriminatory, I still had a great childhood and adolescence. There’s a duality that exists here, in the danger of being a minority, but also this safety in racial ambiguity. That is challenging to write about, to straddle two cultures. So instead of steering away from that, I drive forward, push to the uncertainty, the in-between of my race, of where I fit in this American narrative.

SR: As an educator, what impact do you think or hope books like your own will have on younger generations?

DL: I hope books like mine will help students who have never read an author that looks like me to realize different authors do exist beyond what they’ve read since starting education. Different stories exist, ones that are similar or dissimilar from their own. I want my students to know that the writing community is incredibly diverse. I believe that if our Nation wants to rewrite its identity, it starts here, with books in schools. As an educator, I really hope, if anything, something I’ve said will inspire younger generations to tell their stories, and know, really know, their stories matter.

SR: One of the most notorious issues in English education is a lack of diversity in the voices and stories children experience in the classroom. Have you seen any indication of a change in this pattern? What steps do you think need to be taken to increase literary diversity in the classroom?

DL: Yes! Education is changing. We need to take some steps away from the Canon. Sure, continue to read and teach Shakespeare, of course, but syllabi and curriculums need to change and adjust the perimeters to what is literature. When I was a kid, my mother required me to read books by black authors, but in school, that rarely happened. So what do we say to the kid who has never read a book with a character similar to them? Do we tell them their stories don’t matter to us? To give an example, there’s a children’s book, Farah Rocks Fifth Grade by Susan Muaddi Darraj, who is a wonderful author, and Farah is the first Arab-American character I have ever seen in a children’s book. I think about that, and it makes me so sad and disappointed. I think about that kid who is Arab-American and has never, ever, read a book about them. I think about the kid who knows nothing about Arab-Americans besides the single narrative often depicted in the media, and that kid maybe needs a book like Susan’s more than the other. For our society to grow, the required-reading list needs to reflect our country. But to get there, for these stories to arrive on our students’ desk, we need education to change as much as publishing needs to change. We need diverse leadership like Lisa Lucas, the Vice President & Publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books, who is reshaping the publishing industry.

SR: In “Thoughts On Hair,” you portray the plight of racially ambiguous and mixed race children attempting to fit in. You emphasize in particular how you have experienced the perception of your race changing based upon how you style your hair. What do you think experiences like that among others say about the way racially ambiguous people are perceived in our society? Do you think this perception has changed since you were a child, and if so, how?

DL: As a child, I struggled growing up in a black family where I was biracial while living in a white community where I was non-white. I was regularly in-between cultures. But I do believe the perception of racially ambiguous people has changed since I was a child. We have always been here; but I think through entertainment: television, movies, sports, books and other media, the focus has shifted toward people of mixed race rather than away from them. While this should not denounce people who are not racially ambiguous, I can barely think of any professional athletes who were biracial when I was a kid. Today, one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL is biracial; he is the face of the NFL. Though that has other implications, it also says something about our society, good or bad. On a personal note, I am interracially married and have a biracial daughter. My wife and I will raise her in a way where we celebrate all of her multitudes, rather than just focusing on her differences.

SR: The In-Betweens was first published in 2018. Now, in late 2020, we have seen a shift in the sociopolitical climate as more and more people are becoming aware of social justice issues and movements. Have you found that reactions to your work have changed now that the present context is so different than it was when you originally published?

DL: Thank you for asking this question. In 2018, my book was important to me, to the friends and family who supported my work, and the small group of writers and editors who valued this collection, some of whom even wrote reviews of The In-Betweens. For them, I am forever grateful. People like Chris Campanioni, Steve Burns, Yi Shun Lai, Roy G Guzmán, and Paul Lisicky, thank you. Now, in late 2020, the shift in the sociopolitical climate has given my memoir a new life, a resurgence. I have always believed these stories of race, identity, and culture were important, but it feels like a greater interest is stirring. I’m not sure what that means—more sales or more reviews or whatever; but I do know that it means my story can reach you and maybe before it could not. That is important and invaluable. I’m fortunate that literary journals and magazines have repurposed and republished chapters of my memoir. These literary spaces have offered a second home to my work. I am grateful for the reviews and interviews that are still happening in 2020, almost two years after publication. Yes, the context has absolutely changed, and my gratitude for the love and support of The In-Betweens is so immense.

SR: This book has much to do with several varieties of learning, from learning about yourself and your family to learning about your greater identity as part of a whole. What is the main take away you want your readers to gain after having experienced all this learning with you?

DL: The main take away I want readers to gain after experiencing this with me is to learn that we are more similar than we are different. I might be of another race, culture, or what have you, but the stories that make me who I am are just like the stories that shape you. My identity is rich, and I’ve learned to love who I am and all that I am through storytelling, through writing this memoir. In a way, we write our own memoirs every day—through photos, videos, posts, calls, and texts, we are forming our memories of life into an order of things. Writing The In-Betweens was my attempt to order my life, to order it with purpose, with an attention to cadence, image, and sentiment. I want you to experience that; I want you to read my book, but I’m okay if you don’t. I would rather you partake in your own memoir, in whatever form it will be, but do it, believe in it, and share it. You’ll realize just like I did that what connects us is stronger than what divides us.