Sunday Oct 24

RobertClarkYoung3This month marks my six-year anniversary of presenting creative nonfiction for your reading pleasure. To celebrate, I’m taking a slightly different approach to selecting the creative nonfiction pieces I’m presenting to you. I thought it would be interesting and fun to catch up with some of the authors I’ve published over the years and see how they’ve grown as writers during that time.

In November, 2010, I published a story called “Bees” by Samantha Lamph. The piece explored the miscues that are so often apparent in first love, revealing the strains and rewards of human connectedness.  One of the greatest satisfactions in helping to edit a literary magazine is the discovery of the wonderful, talented young people such as Lamph. Her new piece, “I Saw The Master,” is much more complex than the first one we read, invoking all of the magic, comedy, and terror of being a child.

In February, 2013, I published Ric Hoeben’s “Canebrake,” which is one of the best stories I’ve ever read about DUI and jail. Hoeben’s new piece, “Another Kind of Baba,” addresses an issue that’s of similar personal power: the way a young boy first encounters the mysterious violence of his father’s war.

In November, 2013, I published “Last Hours,” by Gail Peck, a piece she wrote about losing her mother. At the time I presented her work, I’d been working as a caregiver in my parents’ home for a little over five years, and eighteen months earlier, I’d lost my mom. I continued to care for my father until he passed away in January of this year. “Last Hours” was an evocative tale that touched many readers, whether or not they’ve experienced similar losses.

This month, I am publishing two new pieces by Peck, “With My Stepfather beside the Peonies,” and “My Grandmother’s Picture at Thirteen.” You can tell from the titles that she is still exploring family themes, and when you read her new work, you’ll see that these days her memory is focusing more on joy than on loss.

Las Year, I published Robert Joe Stout’s, “Molotov Cocktails,” in which he wrote about the most serious theme any writer can approach: injustice. Stout has written extensively about Oaxaca, and his piece highlighted the oppression suffered by a group known as the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca.

Stout’s new piece, “Honest and Angry,” is an interview with a man who fears so much for his safety that he agrees to be identified only by an alias. Can an interview qualify as creative nonfiction? One as dramatic as this one can. As Stout tells us, “Along with other members of the Asemblea Popular del Pueblo Juchiteco in Mexico’s tropical Gulf of Tehuantepec, he was surveying what he called the illegal invasion of communal lands by the Spanish owned Gas Fenosa wind energy corporation.” There is nothing banal about international corporations illegally invading people’s land.

Finally, I’m always looking for new essays to publish. I invite you to submit nonfiction on a topic of your choice. I’m looking for creative nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, memoirs, and personal essays—with the understanding that these categories often overlap. Up to 10,000 words. Please submit work directly to me at [email protected]. I look forward to reading your work!