In Defense of Joy
by J. David
Perhaps you are 57. And, perhaps, you think of such things as helicopter crashes and choking on lettuce. This being the case, you will have taken into account life expectancy and mean amount of grief permitted per individual, and will recognize that, odds are, the worst thing in your life has already happened.
I’m pulled from a fitful sleep as the three-year old makes what we call her “guinea pig noises,” quiet squeals that grow in volume as she thrashes in her blankets; my wife and I are used to it by now. She is ghostly on the baby monitor, my daughter – it still stuns me a little to write that word – her eyes a flashing and brilliant white in the horror-movie glare of the camera. I know she’s not really awake, but rather stuck somewhere in that half-lit place between sleeping and waking. At its height, she awoke five or six times a night; we’re now down to once a week or so.
Interpretation is the revenge of the intellectual upon art.
Streaming entertainment has reached new levels the past several months. According to a recent Nielsen report, the total number of hours spent was up 81% year-over-year, equating to an increase of nearly 4 billion hours of connected TV use per week. While many people watched—or claimed not to be watching—Tiger King and Black AF, others were dipping into older fare that reminded them of the days when George W. Bush was the worst of their problems.
You Never Know
by Amy Kiger-Williams
My dad keeps a rifle in the coat closet in the laundry room. I don’t know why he has it. He doesn’t like hunting or fishing like his father does. He likes Captain Beefheart and Mad Magazine and British racing cars and Monty Python and wearing aviator sunglasses and playing with chemicals in his photographic darkroom in the basement. I cannot imagine a time when my father has ever fired this gun, and I never ask him why it’s there or what he’s done with it. But I take it out of the closet when my parents aren’t home. I take it out of the closet and inspect it, its simple design, the metal barrel, the length of it. I am afraid to touch the barrel, but I do, I touch it with my finger tip, just tapping it lightly as if it’s on fire.
I’ve spent the majority of my twenties working on my upcoming book. I will be twenty-nine when it comes out in August. In a way, it grew up with me: from getting the idea for it after graduating from Hofstra University in 2013, to outlining it in my first apartment a year later, in Harlem, to writing it on breaks during my various day jobs, to deleting over thirty-thousand words and starting over after moving to Brooklyn two years later, to getting an agent, to losing said agent a year later, when they left agenting for publicity, until eventually securing a book deal on my own with a small, albeit mighty and rapidly growing, independent press. Round after round of edits.
by Amy Bobeda
You pull the Lovers. In your deck, they are a medieval prince and princess. Her dress is pink or blue. She wears a heninn like Maid Marion in Disney’s Robin Hood, my favorite movie. In my deck they are naked, holding the apple. Their roundness cannot be ignored.
by Joshua Bohnsack
First, there is a mountain.
Then there is no mountain.
Then there is.
Brett told me about this song his mom played when he was young. He said, “I should ask my sister. She knows.” Brett was a Dead Head. We pushed over a toolshed once so his mom could see the sunrise, but this was before. Brett had recordings from Dylan shows that nobody else had recordings of. Brett hid his handheld recorder in his sweatshirt sleeve and said he would loan me a ZIP disk so I could hear obscure versions of “Most of the Time” and I wish I had a ZIP drive so I could hear them.
by Jennifer Spiegel
Nothing To See Here
In June 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Surgery, Chemo, Radiation, Reconstruction, and More Surgery followed. Between then and now, I wrote Cancer, I’ll Give You One Year: A Non-Informative Guide to Breast Cancer, A Writer’s Memoir In Almost Real Time.