The Women of October
October marks our first all-woman issue. That’s by happy accident, not by plan: I didn’t even realize it until we were done with the selection process. (A staff member pointed out that if I had really been on the ball, I would have engineered this to happen in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month in September. Lesson one from this issue, then, is that I’m just not that clever.) Our new stories are “Spinnerbait” by Amy Treadwell, “Dani-Girl’s Guide to Getting Everything Right” by Gay Degani, and “Traveling by Petroglyph” by Ripley Patton.
“Spinnerbait” cracks me up. It’s written from the point of view of Chance Johnson, who encounters some aliens on a fishing trip. I like the aliens, I really do, but let’s just say that they’re not about to enlighten us with intellectual achievements that will bring about a new Golden Age. The imagery is great, and I felt an amused tension the whole way through.
“Dani-Girl’s Guide to Getting Everything Right” is much more serious. It’s a mainstream story about a young woman and her relationship with her parents. (Note to parents: this story contains references to drug use.) I really like the way Gay used the notion of the Guide — the relationship is dysfunctional enough that she has codified the rules she uses to navigate it — but doesn’t overdo it. It’s a hard story, but we found it to be well worth reading.
“Traveling by Petroglyph” is a speculative piece about an older woman whose island has slowly become overrun by tourists. I sympathize with her, and if those ships never come back I’m sure she’ll feel like she’s done her job well.
Our Classic Flash is also by a woman, Virginia Woolf. She marks the month of Halloween with a story called “A Haunted House” from 1921. I have to confess that I originally didn’t like it: I tend to want facts laid out clearly so that I can absorb them quickly, and this isn’t that sort of story. That said, after reading it four or five times (you now have access to one of the best-proofread versions of this story on the Web) I’ve come to really enjoy it. There’s the light repetition of “My hands were empty” and the slow (for me, anyway) dawning of the nature of the treasure that they had, and still have, and see in the narrator.
Sticklers may note that Bruce Holland Rogers isn’t a woman, and I’m sure he’s glad to hear you remind me of that. Even his story, though, has a womanly theme: “What to Expect” is about pregnancy. And then some. Read it, and you’ll see what I mean. Then make sure you read his column, which this month is called “Take a Letter... or a Fire Extinguisher”. You may recall that his last column was about arbitrary fixed forms; this month, he discusses forms that you can find “in the wild,” such as letters, manuals, travel guides, and pregnancy guides. And fire extinguishers. I’d really like to see him write that story — what do you say, Bruce?
We, authors and staff, appreciate your support, whether financial or moral. A special thanks to those who hit the tip jar this month: Robert Hamill, Edna Sheedy, Vincent O’Connor, Yong Hui Ong, and John Towler. If you’d like to tip an author, you can find their tip jar at the bottom of their story; if you want to make a donation to us in general, you can find a general donation button on our donations and advertising page.
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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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