This is a brand spanking new lit mag with only two issues published, but one which shows considerable promise. The website is pleasant and easy to negotiate and there is a wide variety of material to choose from: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, paintings, comic art, photography, interviews, and reviews. I had so much fun I delved into their single archive to get a taste of everything.
A lively and immensely humorous story is “The Octogenarian” by Joan Connor, about a dirty old man who entices a young girl to his summer home under the pretense of needing help, and tries to have his way with her, accompanied by the croons of Frank Sinatra in the background. “She scampers. He shambles. She scoots. He shuffles. But – truth – with each totter the old dodderer appears more limber, more supple, more feline.” Another good one is “The Invaders” by Heather Genovese, who manages to make an incredibly trite story of the classic love triangle -- two girls and a boy in a plush restaurant -- interesting simply on the strength of good writing: “Even in our best moments, it was like some part of each of us was always resisting the other. We talked and talked, skimming surfaces, flitting from point to point like agile water bugs, but we never dove, never dared to swim.” A chillingly beautiful tale is “You Can Teach Me How To Grieve” by Miranda McLeod, about the death of a brother. An educational and poignant piece of nonfiction is “Two Late For Regrets” by Joseph Smith, about the writer’s experience in The Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi. Think Cool Hand Luke without any lightheartedness: “Lives squandered, too late for regrets. I shook my head and walked away, the sound of iron on steel ricocheting through my brain.”
There is a special feature here which presents a series of photographs of an eccentric woman in Los Angeles called The Lava Lady, followed by an interview with a person who once had lunch with this lady. And finally, a poem titled “Black Sheep” by Ashley Shivar is touching. The writer sees herself as being the black sheep of her family and laments those black sheep of the past:
Should I even be surprised about the lack of compassion
for a dead black sheep? I’m surprised we still
have pauper’s cemeteries, and I will go
to see the sheer number of people whose families
have let them fall beneath moss and branches.
I want to look upon the lack of plastic flowers
and wreathes purchased at Wal Mart. I want to stay
with those who never belonged to a herd, because
as much as I claim to hate my family, at least I got the chance
to fight about it.