July’s edition of New Writing on the Net comes to us from Kimberly Guerin. We’re excited to share new work from Josh Potter, Keen Short, Steve Young, Shasta Grant and Anne Rasmussen, Karen Kao, and Nato Green. Find your weekend reading list below!
Stories about families, endings, and beginnings – and how we relate to one another.
“Beautiful in the Distance” by Josh Potter | Guernica, June 24, 2019
“We pitched camp hastily and slept intermittently, anxious from the unfamiliar energy haunting us in the total silence and dark that only a foreign wilderness can contain. The moon looks different in every new valley. This fresh information—the Earth as an infinite geography that expands into both constellation and bedrock—unsettled me. Until then, I had been convinced that everywhere was the same; that every mother drove a Ford Windstar minivan and said I love you even when they were mad; that everyone I will ever love I’ve already met. But beyond the steep, sharp edge of the eight-thousand-foot Half Dome Mountain was an unknown distance into unknown dark I hadn’t known existed.”
“All Good Things” by Keene Short | Bodega, July 2019
“She said the newest commandment, which was more like an afterthought on God’s part, was that all good things must come to an end. Someone pointed out to her that this wasn’t really a commandment so much as a proverb or a general state of things, but she pointed a long fish-caked finger at him and said in this loud, crunchy voice that it was a direct order from God. That good things must come to an end, that all of them, wherever they are, must be put to an end. We should love our neighbors and put good things to an end.”
“Balloons” by Steve Young | Pif Magazine, July 2019
“He shut off the light, stepped into the tub, and stood behind the half-drawn shower curtain — the perfect hiding place. Too perfect; the kids gave up and forgot about him. From somewhere distant, through the party noise, he could make out the trills of Jordan and Emily’s excited laughter, the thumping of kids’ feet on the stairs. But he lingered, stood rooted in the darkness, cherishing this thin and precarious sanctuary, the innocent smells of Ivory soap, Janet’s apricot hair conditioner. A strange, whimsical feeling overcame him, hiding so successfully in his own home, in the middle of his own birthday party. At the center of things, yet invisible.”
“Grapevine” by Shasta Grant and Anne Rasmussen | Little Fiction, July 2019
“When Jill came to visit me with blue highlights in her hair, swiping through pictures of men on her cell phone, I should have told her that she was acting like a fool, that if she wasn’t careful, she’d lose everything we’d worked so hard for. But it wouldn’t have mattered, Jill never listened to me. It was certainly not my idea to park me in that facility and yet here we were now, moving me back home. And it wasn’t because of that spat I’d had with the director. No matter what Jill said, I knew it was because there was no more money.”
“The Mapmaker” by Karen Kao | The Common, July 11, 2019
“The mapmaker rummages through a kitchen drawer 3,000 miles and a lifetime away from the place she once called home. At last she finds what she needs, the nub of a waxy green crayon to show her daughter where the fruit trees stand. The mapmaker is tempted to draw herself onto the page but which of her many lives should she choose? Her fingers turn black and blue. Her thumbprint is a whorl of geography. As she props her chin onto her inky palms, meaning transfers from page to cheek. Her hand is tired but her heart is hot. Memories flow quicker than ink.”
“Introducing Lamoishe and Hezbollah Schoenfeld” by Nato Green | The Rumpus, July 23, 2019
“Naomi and I wanted to buck the archaic patriarchal tradition of assuming that children automatically get their father’s last name. Making the kids Schoenfelds wasn’t a hard choice for us. In a relationship, if you both have strong opinions about something then you negotiate. But if only one of you feels strongly, the person who wants the thing wins. I don’t need to invent opinions about barstools (actual recent example)or lineages, to create leverage for negotiation. Curtains and surnames can be her choice. I’ll play hardball about the serious stuff—light fixtures.”
Curated by Kimberly Guerin