The Story Behind “Shepherding” by Michael Overa

Michael OveraToday’s post is written by Michael Overa. We published his short story “Shepherding” in our Fall 2016 issue.

Memory has always struck me as a rather tenuous thing. Even the healthiest minds muddle and jumble and transpose memories. Inevitably, I struggle with the idea of memory primarily because of my own love-hate relationship with it. I’ve no idea why some events are indelible, while others are frustratingly present.

It’s often near impossible to trace back the origin of a particular story, and so it is with “Shepherding“. I’m certain, as much as I can be, that this story’s origin stems from my trips to visit my grandmother in her retirement home. While she is not in need of memory care, the unit exists on the same floor as her small apartment.

In many ways “Shepherding” is an exploration of perceptions and inner struggle. Terese struggles with finally making sense of what her granddaughter is doing. Even in her own intermittent confusion she is able to make enough sense of the actions to feel culpable. For me, this makes what is happening all the more complex as Terese has to square her filial responsibility with the responsibility as a lifelong devout Christian. I’m not naïve enough to claim unfettered responsibility for the story itself.Continue Reading

The Story Behind ‘Love Letters’ by Mary Leonard


Today’s post is written by Mary Leonard. We published her flash fiction “Love Letters” in our Fall 2016 issue.  Really, “Love Letters” is based on true experiences: the toilet would not flush, a mouse would visit every night, the air conditioning could not be regulated. I never did meet any of the employees of the Physical Plant but […]

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The Story Behind “Two Poems” by Lynn Otto


Today’s post is written by Lynn Otto. We published her poems “Marcescence” and “And After” in our Fall 2016 issue. When my friend Dave read someone’s claim that it’s impossible to write any more good poems about the moon, he wrote a poem about the moon. Someone has probably said something similar about trees. But I […]

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The Story Behind “The Unfaithful Triptych” by Monet Thomas


Today’s post is written by Monet Thomas. We published her creative nonfiction piece “The Unfaithful Triptych” in our Fall 2016 issue.  “The Unfaithful Triptych” is one of several pieces I’ve written styled after a triptych or three pieces of art, usually paintings or photography, hung beside each other and meant to be appreciated together. It was during […]

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Announcing Our 2016 Pushcart Prize Nominees


We are pleased to announce our nominees for the 2016 Pushcart Prize! What is the Pushcart Prize, you ask? “The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses series, published every year since 1976, is the most honored literary project in America. [H]undreds of presses and thousands of writers of short stories, poetry and essays have […]

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Dawn Manning on Debra Wierenga’s Poem “Fork”


Today’s post is written by Dawn Manning. We published her poetry commentary “A Closer Look at ‘Self-Portrait as Eve’ by Debra Wierenga” in our Fall 2016 issue.  The following is Manning’s commentary on a second poem by Wierenga.  * “Fork,” the poem placed in the middle of Marriage and Other Infidelities, is a strong example of […]

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Introducing our Fall 2016 Contributors


Fall is officially upon us, and our eighth issue is nearly ready to launch! Over the next couple of weeks we’ll finalize the layout of our Fall 2016 issue and send out final proofs. Our editors have devoted several months to putting together the issue, and we think you’re going to be pleased with the results. Hoping to have your […]

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The Story Behind “Super Summer Spectacular” by Anthony J. Mohr


Today’s post is written by Anthony J. Mohr. His essay “Super Summer Spectacular” appears in our Spring 2016 issue. For several years I’d been trying unsuccessfully to build an essay based on the wild contests that AM radio disc jockeys sponsored in Los Angeles between 1959 and 1970. I had so much to say, or so I thought. […]

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The Story Behind “Perfect Child” by Melissa Ballard

Melissa Ballard

Today’s post is written by Melissa Ballard. Her essay “Perfect Child” appears in our Spring 2016 issue.  In 2011, I drafted a poem about the “I choose ‘zis” scene in “Perfect Child.” But my poems are prose with random line breaks, so I abandoned that effort. During the summer of 2012, I took a class with […]

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The Story Behind “Big Alabama and the Danforth Avenue Gang” by James Valvis


Today’s post is written by James Valvis. We published his short story “Big Alabama and the Danforth Avenue Gang” in our Spring 2016 issue. Charles Bukowski was in his declining years when, after years of snubbing him, they chose one of his poems for Best American Poetry. When they finally took that poem, they asked […]

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