A Contributors Elsewhere Post…

Rick Perry Can’t Claim is Treasonous

  • Charlotte Mandell translated Zone from the original French text and if you don’t already know, the story is one run-on sentence broken up (intentionally) by twenty-four chapters. (Click the cover art below for a review.)

Zone by Mathias Enard

Contributors Elsewhere | Brett Elizabeth Jenkins, Charlotte Mandell, Greg Gerke, Rick Perry, Steve Himmer, Tracy O'Neill, Vanessa Blakeslee | Leave a comment

The Orange Eats Creeps

Page 78

I see a gas station and a smokestack off in the distance. Smoke has to go somewhere. There’s no use pretending it doesn’t go into the sky… As I walk there’s a piece, a part that’s dangerous, getting more and more loose on my body and it rattles when I walk. Got to get that replaced… We may be aliens who just landed here, but having taken a real good look around it seems like the signs all point to our ancestors having lived in this same exact spot. In fact, just the other day I went up to the graveyard and found a grave with my name on it. It was full though, and had been for 140 years. If all the people who came before us — way before any of this shit was even here — didn’t have such a thing about speaking of the dead, of their relatives, and if all of their props and creations weren’t so biodegradable then maybe we’d know their names too. But they’re gone and this place will never be the same.

The Orange Eats Creeps
Grace Krilanovich

Fiction Quoted | Grace Krilanovich, The Orange Eats Creeps, Two Dollar Radio | Leave a comment

Plumb the Depths

The Beautiful Precision of Ethel Rohan’s
Cut Through the Bone

Cut Through The Bone by Ethel Rohan
Reviewed by Melissa Reddish
2010, Dark Sky Books

In Act I of Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman is growing increasingly upset at his lack of accomplishment. At sixty years old, he is working on commission, he can’t manage to pay his bills without borrowing money from his neighbor, and his son Biff is working odd jobs on ranches out West, directionless. Willy bemoans the current state of life to his wife, Linda. He has been working his entire life and it has all added up to nothing. Even when they finally pay off their house, there will be nobody to live in it, to which Linda replies, “Well, dear, life is a casting off. It’s always that way.”

Few writers understand this truth better than Ethel Rohan in her collection of stories, Cut Through the Bone. In each story, Rohan explores characters that have spent their lives gathering husbands and lovers and children and limbs and then losing them one by one. Rohan explores each loss deftly, with a depth that hardly seems possible considering each story’s concision. In the story “All There, Waiting,” a husband and wife have lost a child, and the husband cannot understand the wife’s desire to get on with their lives. As she does so well throughout the collection, Rohan transforms an innocuous detail into an emotional revelation for both the character and the reader. “He is craving cheese. String cheese. Something he can peel and peel. He does not want to eat the cheese. He wants to smear the cheese on the mural, over the boy, park, fish, and truck.” Some characters seek solace from the emptiness—a grandmother draws a face on a balloon, a woman orders lifelike baby dolls to care for, another woman wears bright red lipstick and a wig to appease the woman in her chest—while others face the void head-on, like the narrator of “On the Loose,” a pitch-perfect story that evokes a scene of random cruelty and terror. Continue reading

Reviews | Dark Sky Books, Ethel Rohan, Plumb The Depths | 1 Comment

Tom Lutz on the novel…

“The novel is not the newspaper. It has a different constellation of social responsibilities. The novel — and I’ll just go ahead and admit that I think of the novel as the queen of the sciences, as the most sophisticated and far-reaching instrument of human understanding ever developed — but the novel, whatever its subject, even, for instance, if its subject is war and peace, will always simply be what Geoff Nicholson pointed out in his review of Will Self last week: a slice, an encapsulation, a scale model. No matter its ambition, the novel moves, at best, from the local to the global by reference to a specific story or stories; it keeps focus on the particular case, its arguments about the general necessarily analogical.”

–Tom Lutz – “Future Tense
Los Angeles Review of Books

Quoted | Geoff Nicholson, Los Angeles Review of Books, Tom Lutz | 1 Comment

Podcast: Vanessa Blakeslee


In a cigar box illustrated with Antony and Cleopatra,
letters from your aunt to your mother.

Once in a while, you take one out and read it.
The letter—an art as lost as hieroglyphics.
The book as priceless as a painting.

The paper that you saved in hidden stacks,
in drawers, underneath beds,
is tattered, brittle.
You pick it up but the edges crumble to dust.
Not wanting to burn it outside yet,
you lay it to rest once again
and shut the drawer.

What becomes of your writing?
You stare at the sea as if it might bring you an answer,
and pause as you walk along the beach to trace
letters in the sand with a stick.

Only you don’t form sentences, but nonsense.
Bits of phrases like those magnet word scrambles
people used to post on refrigerators—
“Killer dude that was one ice hot night.”
And you wonder if that was the Alpha and Omega
of language, after all.
The waves wash over, wash out your work.
You pick up a shell, listen to the universe inside,
and walk, stop, walk up the beach.

Vanessa reads “Letters”
Continue reading

Podcast | Beachwear, Letters, Vanessa Blakeslee | Leave a comment