We are happy to announce the news of past contributor Nicole
Sealey! Nicole has been selected as one of the five creatives chosen to be a
Mackall Gwinn Hodder Fellow (2019-2020) at the Lewis Center for the Arts at
Princeton University. An award-winning poet, Nicole has had poems published or
recognized by The New York Times, The Paris Review, NPR, etc. While a fellow at
the Lewis Center, Nicole has committed to tackling the erasure of the Ferguson
report by the United States Department of Justice and will also engage with the
Princeton and literary communities through lectures, readings and other events.
Our interview with Nicole from Issue 21 can be found here, and more information about her two poetry collections and awards can be found here.
Today we are pleased to feature DJ Lee as our Authors Talk series contributor. She takes the opportunity to talk with her daughter, Steph Lee, about her creative essay “A Syntax of Splits and Ruptures”. The essay covers the period in which DJ and her daughter were estranged, their reconciliation and, in a broader sense, the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters.
The two discuss the difficulty of writing a personal piece about family, but they acknowledge writing can be a way to process family traumas. DJ considers Steph’s reaction to the essay, as she felt the person in the essay is “another form of me.” After reconciling, DJ felt she needed to publicly share their story through her writing, speaking to “people dealing with this kind of loss, especially of a child.”
DJ also considers the inspiration she found in the earthwork sculpture, Spiral Jetty, built by Robert Smithson in the Great Salt Lake. The art piece, significant to the pair, became an important element in the piece as she constructed the essay “to have a spiral form, to sort of fold back on itself like the relationship between mothers and daughters.” She also considers the idea of “something very beautiful and precious and special being under the surface.” Not only does she find meaning in this inspiring art piece but uses numbers to connect the fragments of her essay in order demonstrate the “ruptures in peoples lives” and how “a fractured relationship” can be made whole.
Today we are pleased to feature author Sunny Nestler as our Authors Talk series contributor. The artist takes the time to discuss their recently self-published artist book Undergrowth in which five drawings previously published in SR are featured. They consider the creation of the book with their collaborator, A A Spencer, as they talk about the artistic and creative choices that went into developing it.
Accompanied by audio meant to elaborate on the drawings, Sunny describes the “imagined parallel universe” which the art illustrates, representing a “journey through the hairy underbelly of desert”. The imagery of the book is uniquely interspersed with text by other creative minds in collaboration with the art. In speaking of his own relation to the artwork, Spencer considers the presence of “a lot of time and a lot of space” which seemed particularly “immeasurable”. This contributed to the work of “visionary fiction” which he produces as a companion to Sunny’s art. Sunny also discusses the drawing Tectonic Microgrowth which shows “various snapshots of growth”, speaking to the overall theme and purpose of the artistic work.
Today we are pleased to feature artist Sarah Morejohn as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, Sarah discusses her five drawings: “Blue-Green Anise Mushroom,” “Crystallizing Almond Mushroom,” “Freezing Pine Spike,” “Pink Earth Tonguled,” and “Strawberry Blite,” that were featured in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.
Sarah describes these pieces as “dreams and diaries; repetitions that catch the flow of thought.” She illustrates how each drawing “is made with small, intricate dotted lines” on a piece of printmaking paper, and that “the drawings have a center, with shapes growing or navigating outwards from that center.” All of the drawings, she states, “were inspired by snow crystals,” based on a recurring dream of catching snow crystals in her hand after a hometown blizzard.
“I have been naming my work after plants and mushrooms that are primarily found in Oregon,” Sarah declares, adding that she often uses guidebooks for inspiration. “I will find a common name or likeness that resonates with the drawing,” Sarah continues, and will name the piece after it’s finished. She concludes by referencing “a phrase that I once wrote in an old sketchbook of mine: ‘Drawing is matter set into motion,’ and responds that “I must have meant that imaginatively.”
You can view Sarah’s five drawings in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.
We listed the wrong URL for Sunny Nestler in our newsletter. Please view her author’s talk here.
Today we are pleased to feature artist Paula Izydorek as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this short video, Paula discusses five paintings from her series titled (Self) Worth, as well as her overall artistic proclivities.
Paula declares that one thing she truly enjoys about (Self) Worth is that “the image itself repeats, but the composition changes based on the wood grain,” or the materials of production. While each painting is a self-portrait, they are not exclusively portraits of Paula alone; as she states, “I like to have the viewer put themselves in the place of the face that’s in the abstract composition, and to review your own self-worth.” That way, she emphasizes, viewers can identify with the story being expressed, and “connect with the image based on their own personal experience.”
As she concludes, Paula expresses her desire that each viewer will be able to “identify with the energy around the subject, rather than get lost in the subject as a portrait.” That way, she stresses, viewers will be able to use the work as a gauge to “evaluate…where you want to be with regards to your self worth.”
You can view five paintings from Paula’s (Self) Worth series in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.
Today we are pleased to feature author Anna Geary-Meyer as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, Anna discusses the process of creating her short story, “Natural People,” which she says was “born through a writing exercise.”
Anna describes how one day, in a writing workshop sponsored by The Reader Berlin, she was given an assignment to write on the mythical “Adaro” creature. Based on her having worked in several different startups at the time, she “ended up fashioning this…merman-like spirit into a hyper-exercised, hyper-optimized boss character,” who acts as a negative force in the life of the protagonist. This, she says, relates to the overall theme of animals in her story, and the degree to which they’re found throughout the piece.
Anna states that the “crux of the story is the main character’s realization that, to find a home in the world, she has to make one herself,” and that, while “I didn’t write with this theme in mind, it’s where I was at as a person.” She continues that the main character “could only really begin to find a home in herself and her environment…when she accepts this feeling of being lost”, which occurs both literally and metaphorically. Eventually, Anna concludes, the main character is able to “find a rhythm in her own body.”
Today we are pleased to feature author Melissa Olson-Petrie as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, Melissa discusses the inspiration behind her short story, “To Walk Chalk.”
As Melissa reflects on the story, she says that she’s “surprised by how much family lore has been an inspiration.” To her, she says, “the biggest inspiration was the setting: a Victorian house my great-great-grandfather built in 1898, in a Wisconsin town known for its tobacco farming.” She describes an experience that she had as a twelve-year-old, where she was told that “they embalmed people in the basement,” and how it “gave me a Gothic twist on a seemingly typical Victorian home.”
In addition, Melissa explains the meaning behind the phrase “To walk chalk,” and its relationship to field sobriety tests. She says that the phrase “seemed to resonate with the struggles and the whiskey consumption of the main character.” She describes the police scanner that her grandfather would periodically use to “see what was happening across town,” and how this true-to-life detail “took on new significance” in the story. In the end, she says, “every once in a while” as she writes stories, details like these will “come back, like an unearthed gemstone.”
You can read Melissa’s story, “To Walk Chalk,” in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.