This month, we offer our readers a satisfying sample of words, sounds, and images—all focused on the fine art of online storytelling.
“The Accident” by Jacob Hilton | The Pinch, May 29
The inside of the grain bin, drained now of its contents, is all shadows, even in the sunlight. You can barely see to the bottom, where the long arm of the unloading auger rests.
“In Nature” by Cameron Quincy Todd | American Short Fiction, May 30
On the phone everything is already decided. He has packed and closed the door on his life at the ranch. The girl will go back to her aunt’s; she’ll have the baby there. Just like that, the newlyweds will split and be absorbed into the old families, the way the snowy woods make animals appear and then swallow them up again.
“Sun, Moon, and Wretched Star” by Ashley Deng | Fireside Quarterly, June 2
It’s Mid-Autumn Festival, and they hang their homemade lanterns on the tree branches that crisscross their yard in a celebration that was, as far as she knew, unknown to the world around her. At night, Willow watches the warm lights swinging in the cold Canadian wind and waits for the last of the candle fire to go out before heading to sleep.
“Literature Is an Essential Service” by Gracie Bialecki | Ep;phany, June 4
At the start of confinement, reading was an escape. My bibliophilic panic as the bookstores closed was assuaged by an old Brooklyn Library card which gave me access to their digital collection via an even older Kindle Fire. I read Jenny Offill’s Dept of Speculation in frenzied chunks—62% in one sitting, the rest the next day, her form begging the tapping of pages, text slipping by.
“Calvin Diaz, 71, Delivers the Mail During Covid” by Alison Barnwell | AGNI, June 16
If you’re going to put a note on the clock saying we’re essential, then I think you should be responsible enough to make sure we’re secure.
“Diary of a Scottish Bookseller” by Shaun Bythell | Literary Hub, June 22
It then emerged that she has a tea room in Rockcliffe (about 35 miles away), so we moaned about customers, and particularly about running a business on your own, and one that people expect to be open when it suits them rather than when it suits you. We have a shared loathing of the tyranny of social obligation in rural communities.
Curated by Courtney Harler