This issue of Blue Lyra Review has a special theme: “Stories We’d Rather Not Tell.” This, of course, is a little contradictory considering if the authors didn’t want to tell the stories, they wouldn’t submit. But it’s intriguing nonetheless, and I dove right in. I was instantly drawn in to the nonfiction section, eager to hear those stories first, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Debra Fox’s story made my heart melt. It’s the struggle a mother has when her youngest son is missing a small piece of his 10th chromosome and so doesn’t fully mature and develop. “He Doesn’t” is certainly an important piece, but what makes it enjoyable to read is the strength with which it was written. Throughout run lines starting with “he doesn’t,” which points out the things that he doesn’t notice, doesn’t understand, or doesn’t care about. Fox is able to master the classic “show not tell” that could be hard with such a personal piece. The entire piece is illustration after illustration, allowing us to really connect with the characters.
Carla Sarett’s piece is one that I gather the whole family would rather not tell as throughout the piece she uncovers more and more family secrets. “Sam’s Will” shows a dynamic struggle between husbands and wives, parents and children, and the truth and the perceived truth. “In every family, there’s a story about a will,” it begins. “No matter how little is left, there’s a petty fight about money, a greedy relative who crawls out of the woodwork at the last minute. Whether it’s a Picasso or a dismal-looking vase, we wrangle endlessly about who gets what. Every bit matters, at least at the very end.” The story has me wondering what secrets my own family has laying underneath the woodwork.
Michelle Auerbach’s “Geriatric Safe Sex” entertains some interesting characters: sexually active and partner-swapping folks in a retirement home. In this fiction piece, Dottie calls into the AIDS hotline as a precaution: “Intercourse yes. And oral sex, but dear it’s not just me, its all the girls.” But the narrator, the woman on the other end of the call, is discouraged: “Why is it that gay boys get to do it, the old folks get to do it, and the lesbians are so behind the times?”
But mentioning these pieces is only scratching the surface of what Blue Lyra Review has to offer. There’s plenty more nonfiction, fiction, and poetry to uncover, more stories to be revealed. I’d highly recommend investing some time in this fascinating issue.