In the Summer/Fall 2015 issue, the nonfiction carries the most strength, both Courtney Kersten and Diane Payne utilizing creative formatting and style to make two distinctly compelling reads, despite both using a numerical list. Kersten, in “The Disappearing Midwestern Girlhood: an Ethnography,” creates a list of twelve, with scenes of girlhood in the Midwest: sex jokes demeaning women, taxidermy, the visceral scene of dead deer hanging in garages and dripping blood on the floor. A personal and intimate account of girlhood spliced with memories of her mother and grandmother, Kersten writes with honesty and creativity.
Similarly, Payne creates a list of ten in “10 Clues That It Is Over, or Should Be Over.” The short clues had me cracking up and cringing at the thought of this being nonfiction with situations like:
You know it’s over when you begin talking to yourself, ranting actually, to your dickhead administrators, in the middle of decent sex. “You’re raising our health insurance premiums? You fuckhead.”Or the man who urges his partner to change her wardrobe, to wear a bra, but doesn’t toss out his own “skid marked boxers.” Are these actual relationships Payne or her friends personally experienced? For their sakes, I hope they’re exaggerated.
In flash, if any readers are still in need of some relationship advice and some laughs, Sarah Gawricki serves some up with “v good dating tip, free #1” and “v good dating tip, free #3.” Advice includes “just keep talking. Even if you’re saying weird things. Guys love it when there is absolutely no space for silence [ . . . ]” and “when at the gym or another public place, stare at the guy you think is cute for a very long time. Make sure you are doing this without ever breaking eye contact at all ever so he knows how super intense you are.”
While similarities can easily be seen between prose pieces, the poetry in this issue offers up different moods and styles, varying from the calm of Carol Tyx’s “Lake Swimming,” the language reflecting the calmness of the lake’s surface, to the almost clinical fragmentary writing of M. K. Sukach in “In Theory.”
Two pieces of short fiction are found in this issue: “Roomates” by Lidia Jean Kott, and “Sinkhole Tourism” by Emily Cornell du Houx. The latter is separated into titled sections that look at a sinkhole from different views, the jumps in perspective creating an interesting read.
Overflowing with originality, this issue will grab readers and refuse to let go, the works begging to be read and reread. Storm Cellar may be a small magazine, but the pieces inside are larger than life.