One thing that sets Driftwood Press apart from the crowd of literary magazines is that following each piece of writing is a quick ‘interview’ with the writer, asking about inspiration for the piece and the writer’s creative process. A few writers get asked what drew them to the magazine, and the resounding answer seems to be the cover art. So go ahead, judge the book by its beautiful cover; the writing inside is just as pleasing.
One writer who agrees is Jillian Briglia, who contributes the poem “Insomniac’s Eulogy to the Moon.” With a young girl’s imagination, the narrator keeps a suitcase by her bed, only half asleep as she plans escape routes in case of “fires floods earthquakes pirates.” But later in life, this backfires as insomnia ensues: “alarm blinks red every six and half breaths and the dancing shadows are a folded page I can’t help turning to and I think what if what if what if I could fall . . . ”
Matt Kolbet’s “The Comfort” made me pause in the middle of the journal, giving myself a moment to just relax and digest what I’d read as the message in the poem is to take the time to ignore the question, “What now?” It begins with the perfectly crafted lines, “After brunch she binge watches / the clouds, ignoring the fruit salad / as oxygen brown-rusts the uneaten // bananas . . .” And while we often associate “binge watching” with lazing on the couch with Netflix, this refers to binging on day-dreaming, of being creative, a phrase we could all remind ourselves of sometimes.
Mark Farrell’s “New Flat” about a woman writer who, while on her way to work, gets stabbed by a naked child with a knife, takes a turn you wouldn’t expect. It carries intrigue. Joe Nicholas’s poem is quite humorous, beginning, “My bloodhound overhears me say that GOD is DOG backwards. He begins walking ass-first wherever he goes.”
But the issue isn’t all poetry; there’s also some longer fiction pieces, an essay, and more artwork by the cover artist. I found Nathaniel Myers’s fiction piece to be particularly worth the read. About a relationship between two life-long friends (who lead very different lives), “Flotsam and Jetsam” tells the tale of how Kyle gets woken one more morning by a phone call from Oyster, who is high and in need of help, not sure where he is. Spoiler: he is parked on the beach, his truck a few feet already in the water of the high tide.
In Michael X. Wang’s “The Unrecognizable Men,” three men begin to have an appearance that nobody else seems to be able to explain or remember (‘unrecognizable’). Almost speculative in a way, it harbors on the ideas of fitting in and getting lost in a crowd. People “want to be ‘cool,’ like the kid in the story, and coolness relates to ‘unrecognizability,’ being able to blend in, although nobody really thinks of coolness in this way,” Wang writes in a response to his piece.
The interviews that accompany each piece (as opposed to just a select few) really make this journal stand out. It’s great insight into the inspiration and also serves as a way to learn more about writing. Driftwood Press is a fantastic journal for readers and writers alike.