According to William J. Doan’s visual narrative “Dear Family and Friends,” in Issue 27 of Cleaver Magazine, “17 million adults had a major depressive episode last year.” Despite affecting so many people, it can be hard to articulate the experience, and even harder for the people around them to understand, especially when the sufferer is wearing a mask of “normality,” a mask of laughter and smiles. As Doan says, “Sharing what it’s like to live with anxiety and depression is a lot like undressing in front of strangers. It’s AWKWARD.” But after a while, masking began to feel like lying to Doan, and “Dear Family and Friends” is an attempt at breaking that silence and “coming out” to those around him.
By using visual means of communication, Doan offers a more concrete way of explaining and understanding the feelings of depression and anxiety. His images are grayscale, with smudges of cool colors creeping into some panels. Scribbles and dots of ink show how it feels to be filled with anxiety, to have your brain feel weighed down and blotted with dark ink.
“I’ve barely reached the heart of the matter in this brief letter,” he says of his eighteen panels, “But it’s a start.” Not only is this piece a start for Doan, but it’s a good way to start difficult conversations with our own friends and family as we remove our masks.
Review by Katy Haas
The works in the latest issue of Runestone Journal, which publishes writing by undergraduates, is splashed with color.
In nonfiction, Eli Rallo harnesses the power that a change in color brought to her as an eleven-year-old struggling with anxiety. A touching piece on family, “Color the Walls,” plays back moment from her past when her hardworking, serious father allowed his children to paint the walls red and green for Christmas, a gesture of pure silliness that gave her stillness during a difficult time.
In fiction, Whitley Carpenter captures colors in “Memories of Green,” with narrator Pell taking care of Ella, an older relative whose memories come in and out of focus as dementia starts to set in. From the blue veins beneath her skin to the green surrounding the farmhouse, Whitley’s details stand as a strong backbone to the characters’ struggles. In the same section, Renata Erickson creatively imagines a world where color is something that can be physically taken from its source in “The Color Crisis,” the narrator learning where they belong in this new type of environment and how they’ll contribute to it.
There is no shortage of color in the poetry section, however. Damaris Castillo’s “The Passing of Marigolds” brings us “a golden road to home.” Cole Chang’s “In the late Afternoon” brings a summer day in the wetlands to life in hues of brown and green, purple and gold. In “An Evening at Inch Strand Beach Just Outside Dingle, Ireland,” Emilee Kinney describes a sunset, the “Deep pink” and the “sunlit-stained shores.” Mariah Rose turns “flamingo-pink,” sunburnt in “NOLA,” then describes “Muddied water the color of chocolate milk” in “Sedona, AZ.”
Carve out some time to check out Volume 5 of Runestone Journal. It will be sure to give your day the pop of color it needs.
Review by Katy Haas
Gabriela Garcia’s “Mrs. Sorry” can be found in the latest issue of ZYZZYVA. Focusing on class and gender, the short story is narrated by a young woman working at a cosmetics counter. At work, she helps rich women (and one in particular who comes to be known as the titular character) pick out skincare products. At home, she feels herself slipping away from herself and her boyfriend, who begins offering her the Roxicodone pills he’s been stealing from his work at a pharmacy.
As the story progresses, we see Mrs. Sorry’s husband, a man who gaslights her in front of and with debatably inadvertent help from the narrator. While Mrs. Sorry and the narrator are leading entirely different lives, they’re both women who are being manipulated by the men they trust most, the difference in their social and economic classes keeping her from speaking out on Mrs. Sorry’s behalf. “Nothing cracks in my presence,” the narrator thinks at one point as she considers her weaknesses and the futility with which she handles both her home and work life.
Eventually she finds the strength and the weight to make cracks, the ending a defiant fist in the air. Just long enough to create tension, Garcia masters her narrator’s voice in four short, satisfying pages.
Review by Katy Haas
Beautiful Things is a weekly column of "very brief nonfiction that find beauty in the everyday" published on the River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative website. Edited by Michelle Webster-Hein and Sarah M. Wells, the inspiration for the column was Michelle Webseter-Hein's essay, "Beautiful Things," published in River Teeth 15.1 and appearing in a series of excerpts on the website.
Contributors to Beautiful Things include Stacy Boe Miller, Andrea Marcusa, Dina Relles, Kelly Morse, Carolee Bennett, Christopher Bundy, Andrea Fisk Rotterman, Pamela Rothbard, Steven Harvey, Allen M. Price, Nikki Hardin, Emily James, and many more.
Writers are invited to contribute flash, nonfiction of 250 or less to be considered for publication. Readers are welcome to comment on the stories using Disqus.
Maa, along with Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, founded the Asian American Literary Review in 2009 and has been serving as editor-in-chief. In his introduction to Georgia Review readers Maa writes, "A print periodical—dare I say here—is capable of cultivating communities in ways that no other medium can. To open up a journal—break a spine, perhaps—to carry a volume, or run your fingers over your name printed on a page is very special. But to congregate around a print journal is also special in its own right."
The Fall 2019 issue is Corey's final as editor, and in it, he offers what Maa calls "a valedictory essay that should not be missed." Indeed. Reading it, I unexpectedly found myself overwhelmed with emotion. Corey marvels as he remembers first accepting the job as editor, looking back now having "published polished and mature work by writers not yet born - and I don't mean born as writers, I mean born - when I started working at GR both excites and spooks me." Likewise, the end of such a great era for GR readers does not go unnoticed nor lightly in our hearts.
As Corey refrains in his final farewell: "Good literary-magazine editing is an intimate act."
Between October 2016 and February 2017, Heron Tree online poetry journal published a series of works "constructed from materials in the public domain in the United States." Editors Chris Campolo and Rebecca Resinski then compiled these into a PDF ebook, Found in the Public Domain, that is free to download.
Contributors include Melissa Frederick, Wendy DeGroat, Karen L. George, Howie Good, Tamiko Nimura, Winston Plowes, Deborah Purdy, M. A. Scott, Margo Taft Stever, Carey Voss, and Sarah Ann Winn. The booklet includes a section of notes from each contributor on their source(s) and process.
Heron Tree publishes poems individually on their website and collects them into volumes and special issues. All content is available for readers online. The publications is open for submissions for volume seven through December 1, 2019.
In addition to publishing poetry, interviews, and reviews twice a year online as well as chapbooks, Under a Warm Green Linden accompanies each issue with a selection of beautiful, affordable, high-quality print broadsides signed by the authors. The adjectives to describe these broadsides are my own; I have sought them out for purchase with every new issue - so I can attest to their production value! Add to that, Under a Warm Green Linden donates a portion of all proceeds from sales to the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Forest Foundation - both with specific reforestation efforts. To date. Under a Warm Green Linden supporters have helped plant 300 trees. A win all around!
Pictured: "Narcissus on the Hunt" by Jennifer Bullis
Looking to spark your motivation for writing? Try the latest prompt from 3Elements Review: Carriage, Pinwheel, Scour.
Each quarter, 3Elements Review presents three elements, and all three must be used in the story or poem in order to be considered for publication.
The editors expand on this guideline, "Your story or poem doesn’t have to be about the three elements or even revolve around them; simply use your imagination to create whatever you want. You can use any form of the words/elements for the given submission period. For example, if the elements are: Flash, Whimsy, and Seizure; we would accept the usage of Flashed, Whimsical, and Seizures."
3Elements also accepts artwork and photography based on at least one of the elements - "but creating something that represents all three elements will really impress us."
The deadline for this quarter is November 30, 2019.
The Fall 2019 issue of Rattle Tribute to African Poets features seventeen poems "representative of the urgency and excitement that makes the poetry coming out of the continent feel so vital."
Authors whose work make up this tribute include O-Jeremiah Agbaakin, Ifeoluwa Ayandele, Kwame Dawes, Jonathan Endurance, Zaid Gamieldien, Rasaq Malik Gbolahan, Pamilerin Jacob, Temidayo Jacob, Labeja Kodua, Akachi Obijiaku, Anointing Obuh, Chisom Okafor, Ukamaka Olisakwe, Chidinma Opaigbeogu, Olajide Salawu, and Charika Swanepoel.
There is also an interview with Kwame Dawes by Editor Timothy Green.