Archive for August, 2013

Just What the Doctor Ordered: Cameron and Weisert

Friday, August 30th, 2013

You’ve heard the expression Laughter is the best medicine. A look around the CR office would suggest that we rely on Laffy Taffy to cure most of our ills. But jokes and candy (and candy with jokes!) aren’t the only things that make us feel better when we’re feeling worse. Author Jeanette Winterson told a rapt audience at last year’s AWP conference in Boston: “When my leg is broken, I go to a doctor. When my heart is broken, I go to a poem.” As you’ll see below, some of our contributors prefer words to waiting rooms; and they’re willing to share, no prescription required, in issue 10.1.

Carey Cameron (on “Thursday”): I have a family member dealing with hearing loss, and a family dealing with that family member’s hearing loss. I searched a couple of times on the internet for help—literature, groups—for the families of those experiencing hearing loss—a kind of Al-Anon, but for hearing-loss-affected families—but found nothing. Maybe I was simply not adept enough at searching on the internet, but it led me to want to write something inspired by my family’s experience in the hopes that it might resonate with others. There are a lot of baby boomers out there, struggling with hearing loss and other “ordinary” problems of aging, which, however, require extraordinary adjustments.

Hilde Weisert (on “Mercy”): My friend the poet Molly Peacock calls the sonnet “the emergency form.” My emergency was a serious illness, and writing sonnets—short reflections or explorations contained by the safety, surprise, and grace of form and rhyme—seemed natural, and “Mercy” the most natural of all.

The first two lines (“My chest’s a knothole and my arm’s a stick/ I creak and sigh like something on a hill”) came out aloud, like a statement of fact, more literal than figurative. It took me a moment to realize there was a figure there—“Oh. Oh, a tree.”  I had the first stanza but no idea where to go, and then Daphne appeared, leading me into the second stanza with a real question I wanted to answer. And having started with a sentence I spoke, the poem ends with a sentence spoken to me.

In a way, the poem did what it said, which I hope it might do for others, emergency or not.

Houston, we have a cover.

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Okay, maybe Mission Control isn’t especially interested in the cover of our winter issue (due out in November), but the unearthly orb does bring the multiverse to mind. Eric Lee’s gorgeous paintings-on-glass have a luminous quality that represents, for him, “the beauty in . . . what connects us,” and we’re excited to feature his work in our pages. See more from this Chicago-based artist at www.presteau.com, and come November, plan to moon over our visual-art portfolio.

. . . in which the staff springs into action

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The term has officially begun. That means we here at the mag are reuniting our posteriors with the loving impressions they long ago made in our chairs. Though the office is taking some getting used to, our reading period isn’t. It began earlier this month—August 15, to be exact. So we’re already in the thick of thinning a new crop of submissions. (Editor’s note: Farewell, comfy spot with great light in my neighborhood coffee shop. See ya next summer.)

As now becomes evident, we’re also back to blogging. And indeed, there is much to blog about. Our new issue has been out there shooting off sparks all summer, and if you didn’t see it, a lovely review of said issue has been wending its way through the web. We follow up on that exceptionally keen assessment of 10.1’s riches with a closer look at Ian Stansel’s fiction offering—considered below by ever-so-delightful volunteer Justine McNulty.

Justine McNulty: In Ian Stansel’s “Traveling Light,” the characters power the piece. Through shifting perspective and free-indirect style, Stansel pulls the reader into each narrator’s unique voice, fears, longing. As we watch these people come together and drift apart, we are left asking ourselves the same thing Edie wonders early on regarding her divorce and the loss of her two stepsons: “What is a person . . . if she is not essential to another?”

The characters’ intimate perceptions lead us through this tale of a brother’s guilty love, a woman’s loneliness, another woman’s search for herself, bodily and spiritually. Paul’s moment of anger at his sister (at the prodding of Edie’s handyman, Tucker) is honest and visceral, and we understand his guilt and the rejection of it, just as we understand Edie’s compassion as she soothes him after his proclamation, “I’m not a good person,” with her own brand of insight: “Who is?” As Margot runs, once again on her own, her isolation is juxtaposed against the hope of Edie and Paul’s future together.

This is a story of people, but more than just the characters enrich and enliven these pages. Stansel writes about all of us here—causing us to reflect on the deepest of human experiences, and what creates our sense of belonging