online magazine for short, good writing

Month: April, 2013

Who’s Your Phuture?

by a contributor

Kyle Hemmings

When Zin gropes love handles & shaky slim-boy loves. When she goes boom boom bust with bakery lists, scratching & crossing out until there’s nothing left but pineapple cheesecake too much for one sugar-girl. Or if she gets too crazy looking for the perfect enchilada. Even her best phat girlz hum from boredom.

When she’s hooked on some crank-czar who has her by both body-chord & iPhone. When he traps her in the late-hour desperate voice messages.

When the signal fails.

Me, I’m dying in the crosstalk. I want to re-wire her, tell her that it doesn’t take much. You could use what you have. Some early rapper once made soup out of butterflies. A retired DJ created a paste from old love letters.

I store my love in the oldest part of my brain. My brain is a crude one-note oscillator. All day I compose pop tunes that end at the bridge.

Kyle Hemmings has been published in Wigleaf, Storyglossia, Elimae, Matchbook, This Zine Will Save Your Life, and other zines. He lives and writes in New Jersey. He loves cats and dogs and sixties’ garage bands.

This Week in Words – Apr 27

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

George Jones died yesterday. Ian Crouch remembers him in a short and sweet piece for The New Yorker. Since “He Stopped Loving Her Today” tribute videos will be much easier to find, I’ll only link to the song he mentions at the end.

Electric Lit is brilliantly capitalizing on the author sext trend that isn’t so much a trend as a wild marketing idea Sam Pink had with Rontel. If you missed those shenanigans, here’s a NSFW – I’m serious, don’t read it at work, unless you work in porn – transcript of the sexts Sam Pink sent.

Check out Ted Weesner’s list of writerly “don’ts” documented in The Review Review and then proceed not to abide by them.

My fiction recommendation this week is Paul Pelkin’s “Bread and Butter” in Spry.

And my final poetry recommendation (for National Poetry Month, not forever) is “The Journey” by Mary Oliver. If I’m going to send you off with something, it might as well be something great.

Degrees of Separation: Gigantic

by Treehouse Editors

What writers do we have in common with Gigantic?

Gigantic issue #4, Gigantic Everything, has a dialogue from Marie-Helene Bertino, who wrote Say Goodbye to Your Father here at Treehouse.

Fiction by Ravi Mangla, author of A Good Meal, can be found in Gigantic America, issue #2.

Lit Mag Spotlight: Gigantic

by Treehouse Editors

Our free Literary Loot Contest for Unusual Prose is accepting entries right now, with a sweet prize supplied by a collaboration of literary magazines, journals, and indie presses:
A Strange Object   •   Barrelhouse   •   Booth   •   Carolina Quarterly   •   Dzanc Books   •   Ecotone   •   Gigantic   •   Gulf Coast   •   Mud Luscious Press   •   PANK Magazine   •   REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters

Our nonfiction editor Casey Mills interviewed editors Lincoln Michel and James Yeh of Gigantic. In keeping with the nature of their magazine—“short prose, interviews, and art”—this is a flash interview; all answers are 15 words or less.

Q: I’ll give you fifteen words (and a pro bono colon) to answer the following. Gigantic’s aesthetic:

A: Unlovely, urgent, unexpected, explosive, elliptical, enigmatic… And that’s just the Us and Es.

Q: Name a piece that you guys recently published that fits the right side of the above colon.

A: Ideally, they all do.

Q: If Tolstoy wanted to submit War and Peace to Gigantic, what would you tell him about his obvious word count issue?

A: We’d Gordon Lish it down to a paragraph. (Or else 700-word excerpts for the next 100 years.)

Q: What sets Gigantic apart from other top-notch publications?

A: Aesthetic rigor, lax publishing schedule, fun parties, and unusually nice totes?

Q: How do you think the emergence of online publishing has influenced new forms of experimental writing?

A: More access for readers, less money for writers.

Q: What is the shortest story you have ever published?

A: Kenny Aquiles’s “People I Don’t Like”: four words—the title—and around twenty phone numbers.

Q: The best (or worst) thing about being an editor?

A: Worst: having to say no so many more times than yes.
Best: trade secret.

Q: If you stumbled upon Hemingway’s yard sale, would you buy the baby shoes?

A: Why not? Never worn, right?

visit Gigantic’s website

5 Strolls that May or May Not Shape the Stories You’ll Tell

by a contributor

from Fred MacVaugh, author of The Wake:

  1. Anywhere with your father at least once. In my case, beneath summer-green trees beside Valley Forge National Historical Park’s airfield buzzing with nattering hobbyists and their radio-controlled model airplanes. You never know what your father might say, what memorable nonsense might pass between you as men twice his age pilot a red biplane and German Messerschmitt. Years later, on his birthday, you’ll remember his words, his last before you leave for college, before his sudden heart attack and death.
  2. Down the aisle with the one who agrees to walk with you through life.
  3. As far underground as you can go even when tight and dark spaces scare you to death. If you’re lucky, you’ll not be alone, and the ones with you in Spider Cave will come to your aid and persuade you to stay even as your heart jackhammers your sternum and all you can think of is clawing your way to the surface, to sunlight and soothing views of cloud-shadow crossing a panoramic desert more or less the same as when Mescalero Apache, Buffalo Soldiers, and nineteenth-century cattle drovers passed by an undiscovered beauty hidden within a Permian-aged sea-reef remnant.
  4. Through the inside of your mind, the most mysterious place you’ll ever be.
  5. Through the unforeseen icon, the Engine of Life, that giant, tunneled heart beating for decades at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. You were five and terrified, scared to death even then, but your father egged you on, said he’d be there always, waiting for you to emerge.

The Wake

by a contributor

Fred MacVaugh

Paddle-shaped leaves like tiny flags
Bid farewell above sandbagged levees.
Their backs to banks, governors condemn
The weathermen for failed forecasts:
The record snows in the Rockies,
The unseasonable rains, and 100-year floods.
They blame the Corps of Engineers
For damming too much water
And not enough, its flood controls ineffective,
Its five-year plans obsolete.
The cottonwood care nothing for planning
Or blame. When muddy waters rise,
Something gives: Earth first then roots.
They fall the second soils weaken.

Later this month, Fred MacVaugh will arrive at Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site in western North Dakota, where he’ll work as a museum technician. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Plainsongs, Plains Song Review, South Dakota Review, and Watershed. He is the Science Editor at Hothouse: A Place of Inquiry, for which he writes a monthly blog that explores the intersections of art, culture, nature, place, and science.

See Fred’s list of 5 Things You Should Read in our ongoing contributors’ series.

Brief Encounters: The Most Useless Invention

by Treehouse Editors

The next Brief Encounter theme is “The most useless invention.” As always, Brief Encounters should be no longer than 400 words. BE’s should be labeled as such in a Word .doc to distinguish from general submissions. Feel free to send more than one in the same document. Deadline is May 18th.