Author Archive

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Keller in Effects” by Todd James Pierce

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There’s a rich body of art that could be described by that famous quote by Thoreau from Walden, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”—art in particular focusing on the upper class of the 50s and 60s. Think of Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road, or more recently the

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Centrifugal Force” by Jodi Angel

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People want to believe that Mark Twain once said, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt,” though there’s zero evidence to back up his authorship. While others have claimed to know the quote’s true origin, most likely it’s one of those anonymous aphorisms passed down through the years. But

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “A Daring Undertaking” by Ashley Davidson

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Who doesn’t enjoy reading other people’s mail? There’s a guilty pleasure in eavesdropping on other people’s correspondence. In “A Daring Undertaking” (Shenandoah Volume 64, Number 2) by Ashley Davidson, we’re privy to a strange collection of letters, public and private, spanning from 1856 to 1933, examining the various transgressions—both personal

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Lunar Facts” by Michele Finn Johnson

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Human beings are nothing if not list makers. Grocery lists. Chore lists. Listings of jobs, scores, events. Lists are a way in which we bring order to a chaotic world. The same could be said of stories, which is why lists can make such great story structures. Michele Finn

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Crash Sheep Plant” by Emily Abrons

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Last week’s column discussed the nature of perception, and the way in which Dan Reiter’s “Shifts” revealed how one mind might battle over the interpretation of the same event. In this week’s story, “Crash Sheep Plant” (Alice Blue Review 26), Emily Abrons juxtaposes a car crash with grazing sheep

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Shifts” by Dan Reiter

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Aldous Huxley once wrote, “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” In Dan Reiter’s “Shifts” (WhiskeyPaper), we’re introduced to a character in conflict over how to accurately perceive a series of strange events, as shown through the narrator’s language

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Rain” by Ben Loory

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In her essay, “Fairy Tale is Form, Form is Fairy Tale,” (from The Writer’s Notebook, Tin House Books) Kate Bernheimer discusses how the psychological flatness of characters in tales and fables “allows depth of response in the reader.” In Ben Loory’s “Rain” (Journal of Compressed Creative Arts), we’re given

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Dead Mouse” by Caroline Macon

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Poet William Carlos Williams famously wrote, “Say it, no ideas but in things,” which speaks how objects have remarkable ability to bear and express ideas that otherwise might feel one dimensional, or altogether without shape or meaning. Caroline Macon, in her story, “Dead Mouse” ([PANK] 10.3), employs what the

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Persons of Interest” by D.J. Thielke

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“If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed,” wrote Sylvia Plath. Human beings can’t help but have expectations of each other and of themselves, even if those expectations are for nothing (which, of course, they never are). In D.J. Thielke’s “Persons of Interest” (Crazyhorse 87), the expectations characters

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Davenports and Ottomans” by Stefanie Freele

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Throughout our youth we’re hard-wired to look to the adults in our lives for ideas of who we want to be. Who we are, though, often seeks to establish itself in spite of those desires. Stefanie Freele’s flash fiction piece “Davenports and Ottomans” (Tahoma Literary Review Vol. 2, No.