Sometimes I like to ask myself questions. Difficult questions. Questions presenting approximately nine million different possible answers. Those questions are, of course, about writing fiction. How can words, printed on a page, give rise to so much emotion? How can words transport us from our own life and right smack into the middle of someone else’s pain? Those are the questions I invite you to ponder as I welcome you to Spring, to the cusp of Summer, to the May 2015 issue of Connotation Press, an issue that greets us all midway through National Short Story Month. In celebration, we have a particularly fine issue for you, a fantastically varied array of first-rate reading --stories that will rivet you, stories that promise to haunt you for days.
Rich Farrell leads off with “Phonesex and Philosphy,” a delightful demonstration of his depth of knowledge and feeling of character. In his interview, Rich gives us insight to his approach to craft, insight to what it means to be vulnerable, and…insight to himself.
Dorothy Bendel bears witness to the human condition, examining the sharp painful edges of a mother’s love in “What Have You Done?” and a glimpse of how it feels to be trapped inside a failing body in “At the Window.” In her interview, Dorothy shares her own views on unconditional love, as well as a keen observation concerning why fiction helps us fill the treacherous gaps of understanding in our own lives.
Jodi Paloni dazzles with “The Air of Joy,” a deceptively quiet tale, a romance told in reverse, an illustration of the journey ventured after love closes in at the throat.
Priyanka Kumar shares “The Shape of a Cross,” a selection from her connected vignettes centered on people working in a downtown office complex. Nick, the protagonist of this story, functions as the glue who connects the people working in the complex, as he ambles through his life, sometimes viewing the world through a crack the shape of a triangle.
In “Mustang Sally and her Road Rage Zen,” Robert Hambling Davis takes us on a dangerous ride, shows us pain is a great teacher, leaving us bursting with bliss, showing us what might happen if our minds aren’t “clouded by unnecessary things.” This story leaves us standing in flames that burn away all impediments to enlightenment.
There’s an urgency to each of these stories in the way they distill circumstance and emotion. Each one, in its own unique way, reminds us all that we are immune from nothing.