New Writing on the Net: August

September 3, 2021

Our New Writing on the Net series returns! This month’s edition comes to us from reader Rebecca Paredes. We’re sharing new work about connection, loss, and identity, published in August. Choose your own adventure, or follow the order laid out below for a curated reading playlist.

Soft Tissue” by Arielle McManus | Hobart, August 10, 2021

“I’d just subscribed to an app that was going to remind me that I was going to die five times a day. It was based on a Bhutanese folk saying, and was some new thing I was trying, like how I go carb-free once every three years, or like the time I decided to drink 14 glasses of water a day. Sometimes the messages were tame, just some you only live once crap, but sometimes they were gruesome, and that’s really what I signed up for: to be reminded that one day, not only would I be gone, but that I’d be worm food. I’ve never cared that I’m going to die. I’m only afraid of suffering.”

The Shimmering Wall” by Brian Evenson | Electric Literature, August 4, 2021

“When you are older, my mother told me, you must find a companion, someone just like you, willing to watch out for you as you reach through the wall, and you for her. You must know how far you can reach and go that far but no farther. You must know how to sink your arm to the shoulder joint and then reach even farther without letting your head push through. And then, God forbid, when a being approaches from the other side, to withdraw quickly with the help of your companion. She will tell you something is coming, and she will help you draw your arm free before it is too late.”

Big Head Syndrome” by Hannah Whiteoak | Okay Donkey, August 13, 2021

“He’d been bullied back then, too. Some of the stupider boys pretended to be overwhelmed by the smell of the brain-boosting fish he ate at every meal. George, who took great pleasure in sitting in front of them in class so they had to lean into the aisle to see past him, knew they were jealous. His big head would take him places, while they, with their macaroni cheese and pin-prick skulls, would never amount to anything beyond these ivy-covered walls.”

Oreo Arroyo” by Vanessa Hua | Alta, August 2, 2021

“Eventually, I would understand the furnishings were supposed to exude good taste and prosperity, yet also had to be as impersonal as a hotel lobby, with no family photos on the walls or the end tables. The homes that remained occupied were showroom neat, no dented rice cooker on the counter or spattered aluminum foil under the burners. Still, I sensed the life bulging behind those locked closet doors. If the other visitors weren’t hovering nearby, I searched through the teenagers’ bedrooms in search of pot, pills, or porn—not to take, but to slip into a drawer in the master bedroom or leave on top of the toilet tank.”

Fania” by Stuart Nadler | Bennington Review, August 5, 2021

“When she was young I had tried to give her the language of her grandmother, first the word, of course, for love, for sunlight, for memory, the word for the small everyday form of wonder, but it did not take. The words, my wife had said, could never have the meaning for her that they had for me, because they were old words, and we were, she and I, rushing into a new future, where the allure of the tribal and the ancient could finally be shaken off, and because for our daughter, the inside world and the outside were the same place.”

Four Things” by Miranda Manzano | Taco Bell Quarterly, August 4, 2021

“It used to be mostly the daughters and the dad and sometimes the mom. Now it’s daughters and mom and sometimes aunt. Regardless of who is present, none are allowed to argue. This is the rule that is most frequently recited. Also, all rights are forfeited if handwashing is refused. Even if the food comes up fast and the guy in the bathroom is taking too long. Handwashing is nonnegotiable.”

Curated by Rebecca Paredes


At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform: typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year-round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish craft essays, interviews and book reviews and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.

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