Author Archive

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “We Are Here Because of a Horse” by Karin C. Davidson

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In Issue 34 of Passages North, Karin C. Davidson introduces us to Tulsa, in her story “We Are Here Because of a Horse,” by writing that “Tulsa by night shines like a shattered gold watch.” I’ve arrived in Tulsa much the way her narrator and his wife approach the city

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Operating System” by Carol LaHines

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This week after reading “The Operating System” by Carol LaHines, I tried to think of the last time I made a big mistake—or thought I did—and was forced to wait out the consequences. Our minds do strange work when we need an answer and aren’t allowed to have it.

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Dream Scenes” by Renée K. Nicholson

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When I was a kid, I really wanted to be a dancer. Instead, I played softball and soccer—but that fascination with dance never really went away. So last week, when I found “Dream Scene” by Renée K. Nicholson in Issue 5 of Banago Street, my inner-ten-year-old was immediately hooked. “Dream

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Man Who Couldn’t Give It Away” by Scott Bradfield

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When I used to teach intro fiction classes, I noticed that students often turned in stories that featured omniscient third-person narrators, and I can remember doing this when I started writing fiction, too. There’s something very alluring, especially when you first start writing, about being able to access the

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Spider Legs” by Danielle Lazarin

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Sometimes a story seems to find you at the right moment. Last week I was talking to a friend about our preferences in fiction. After writing this column for most of a year, I’m beginning to get a pretty solid grasp on what kind of stories I tend to

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Devotion” by Dolly Laninga

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I’ve been thinking a lot about history lately, and how the stories we tell ourselves about our lives shape who we are almost as much as actual events. What defines us? Where do we fit into a group? More importantly, how do we decide which stories to tell? Published

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Helpful Products for Family Men: A User’s Guide” by Ryan Trattles

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You guys, I gotta tell you: I’m a sucker for any story that plays with form. Send me your recipes-as-failed-date stories, your museum-tours-as-conspiracy plots, your PowerPoint-homework-as-family narratives. I’m all in. So when I found Ryan Trattles’s story “Helpful Products for Family Men: A User’s Guide” published in Indiana Review,

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Entity” by Mira Mattar

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If I think back to the best people I’ve known—those who were my favorites, who were most alluring, engaging, and alive, the personalities that took up space in the world—there’s not necessarily a common thread between all of them. That’s not all that surprising. Humans take different shapes. What

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Abingdon Square” by André Aciman

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I’ve written before about the feeling you get when a story follows you. When you’ve put the book or journal down or you’ve turned off your computer and gotten up and gone back to the rest of your life. But then you catch yourself, in idle moments, thinking of

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Disappearance of Herman Grimes” by Michael Shou-Yung Shum

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It’s not often that I cry a little while reading a short story. I’ve been known to cry at badly written episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, at the emotional conclusion of certain novels, and in the presence of pretty much any crying person. (My tear ducts are sympathetic—what can I