Sunday, November 1, 2009

Must Reads that Hurt Just Right, and One That Didn't

Twelve Stories
I followed a link on Andrew Roe's blog to his story "Apology" in the recently released second issue of Twelve Stories, edited by Molly Gaudry and Blythe Winslow. I then read the entire issue in one delicious sitting, starting with the first short "Across The River" by Lydia Copeland all the way through to "Wedding Vows" by Eric Vrooman. The stories touched me deeply, and quality blew me away. As a whole, it's one of the best magazine issues I've read in a long while. Congratulations to the contributors, and to Molly and Blythe. Take a deep bow, all.

I would also direct you to the latest issue of Rumble, and in particular to Molly Gaudry's interview with Claudia Smith and to J.A. Tyler's review of Claudia Smith's story collection PUT YOUR HEAD IN MY LAP from Future Tense Books. I recently finished reading this collection, captured from the outset by the tender, provocative title and bright, delightful cover. What lies behind that great title and between that great cover doesn't disappoint either. The collection shines light on relationships and the everyday, and its sense of transcendence despite loss, disappointment, and heartache moved me deeply.

Please also read Bob Thurber's "The Baby's Name." I just loved it. Bonnie ZoBell and xTx are also in this issue. P.H. Madore and Ellen Parker co-wrote "Headless Horsemen." I love FRiGG (who couldn't?), and have long admired Ellen Parker from afar. This piece surprised and, frankly, disappointed me. Fine they're angry and frustrated and feel they've got something important and valid to say about anonymous editors, particularly those behind >kill author, but I don't think this is the way to voice it. Go. Now. Read. I'm curious what others think.
I also highly recommend Randall Brown's latest post over at "Thursday Craft: Eleven Essentials of Writing Great Flash Fiction." The post ends with a list of recommended Flashes to read. I'm on it, Randall, thank you.


  1. Hi Ethel,

    I actually saw this IM exchange on Madore's blog a while back and voiced some of my thoughts there because I do not know who the editors of kill author are nor do I care and also, the editors of Luna Park Review are clearly listed on the About page. I'm surprised Madore and Ellen Parker decided to continue to... share this IM chat beyond the blog. I think Ellen Parker is outstanding so I was a bit surprised by the tone of the chat but we all express our frustrations in different ways. I remain one of those people who doesn't mind editorial anonymity. I would have liked to see them express their thoughts in a more... collected manner but I do (theoretically) understand why some people get riled up about editorial anonymity.

  2. Thank you for the 12S kindness, Ethel.

  3. Roxane, I did wonder what you thought, especially given that you're mentioned in the exchange. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree wholeheartedly.

    Molly, you're so welcome.

  4. Great links, Ethel - I enjoyed the stories and even checked out the IM chat. I found it to be in poor taste and I'm surprised it was published. Maybe the writers thought it was funny in a way ...Saturday Night Live skit sort of funny - I don't know, but if so - the humor didn't translate well. What would be hysterical - is if Ellen and PH are the editors behind Kill Author and they are making fun of that would be a hoot. :) I doubt that's the case.

  5. Thanks, Ethel, for mentioning Twelve Stories -- it's a great issue. I really hope word gets out.

    I also read the IM chat. Not sure what to make of it. Just wondering, though: why choose to be an anonymous editor? Is the idea to create some kind of mystery, intrigue, etc.?

  6. Paula, I doubt it too :-)

    Andrew, one of the things I like about >kill author, aside from the work and writers they publish, is their manifesto. They are very clear about why they choose anonymity. They seem sincere and well-intentioned and I'm fine with it. I can only imagine the trials and stresses of being an editor, and maybe I'd feel differently if I was one, but I honestly don't think so. There's just so much else, other more worthwhile issues, to get angry and vocal about. I don't know. I'm just sad that kind of exchange can get published in a Mag I like and respect. Sad too that it was ever submitted for publication.