One administrative note: you might have noticed that this went live on Tuesday, September 2. I’m slightly modifying the publishing schedule so that the magazine will go live on the first Tuesday or Thursday of the month, whichever comes first. That works better for me personally and for the magazine for several rather dull reasons.
One of the first things I noticed when putting together this issue was the number of faces associated with the stories. If you look at the issue cover you’ll see slices of the faces of two men at a bar (R.W. Ware, our artist-in-residence, got a little noir on us), a Mexican father, Edgar Allan Poe’s haunted eyes, and an upside-down boy. And, of course, you’ll also see Bruce Holland Rogers’s eye challenging you to write “One Loopy Sentence at a Time”.
Each picture seems to fit. In some ways, this issue is filled with more personal stories than any other. The stories are windows into the minds of, respectively, a cop who has shot a man, a child of a demanding immigrant father, an ancient Greek at a death revel, and a child who is having a talent used against him by “the lady”. Even the story that Bruce supplied to augment his column is a dip deep into a man’s mind. Because they’re so personal, these are some of the more vivid stories we’ve published.
Each story sends its message by appearing ordinary but being different. “Beyond The Pale” isn’t the first story to take up its topic, but it drew me in with its characterization, its slow revelation, and the dawning in me about what had just happened. I was discovering, at the same time as the main character, that not all is as it seems. “Just One Thing” takes me to a household of ordinary kids with an extraordinary dad — and, just as importantly, an extraordinarily perceptive kid. And speaking of perceptions, “The Trick” is about an even younger kid with one extraordinary Trick to play, but what pulls the story along is the view of the boy’s walled-off, totally absorbed imagination. (And for you writers out there, notice how deep Christof Whiteman goes into Roger’s point of view within an omniscient viewpoint.)
Don’t get me wrong: I love idea stories, too, and I always want at least a little bit of plot in my stories (and each of these has one), but by the time I was done assembling this issue I felt like I had been each of these characters. And isn’t that what fiction is all about?
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About the Author
Jake Freivald lives in New Jersey in a house that teems with life: a wife, eight kids, two dogs, two cats, and ten fish. They’re all being neglected right now, so he’s going to stop writing this.
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