|As you can see, my lawn is in fact gone: half to seed, half to hell|
My story Philosophies of Access has been published in Gone Lawn a webjournal of new and progressive literature. Issue 8 is guest-edited by Edmond Caldwell and published by Founding Editor Owen Kaelin. Before you read the 15 works, as I hope you might, you may be interested to know that the Statement of Intent explains that "Gone Lawn seeks to explore and advance the growth of a new literary intention befitting our new century. In particular we seek innovative, nontraditional and daring works, both narrative and poetic, that walk the difficult landscapes and break up the safe ones, works which incite new feelings and thoughts, works which make us think and feel surprising and unexpected things."
One doesn’t mind the lawn being gone so much when one is in such remarkable company as these writers gathered under the gazebo by guest-editor Edmond Caldwell. It’s not what I expected (and I expected a lot); it’s far worthier. I am honored to be included. Thank you, Edmond and Owen. As a small token of appreciation, I thought I might offer up some discoveries and responses to the works in the issue:
Reading Jacob Wren’s ingenious Artists Are Self Absorbed is like watching a skilled comedic performance of a round of charades, but instead of movie, song, or book titles, Wren makes a marvelous game of enacting concepts. In this case oblivion in all of its dictionary meanings: 1) an act of forgetting or the fact of having forgotten; 2) the quality or state of being forgotten; and 3) official ignoring of offenses: general pardon (hence the infinite tenderness for his abusing hosts). I could drink a case of him.
The exceedingly brilliant Valerie Witte is at once Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller in her Selections From Flood Diary. Missouri is not mentioned twice, so naturally I was immediately fond of the work, and of her. But it was painful to read these moist selections in the midst of the drought we are suffering in Missouri at present. I winced at the words “tending wet” wishing it were so. Ditto for “forgetting the water on”—we’d happily do so. Forget what, where? The many references to wa-ter hit me like zings of regret and remorse for the 12-13 inches we now need to restore our water table to its previous levels. Even with a deep well, which fortunately I have, the scariest words are: the aquifer is low... I promise to return to Flood Diary less burdened one rainy day, may it be soon. And maybe even before then because of glorious writing like this: ~ to evacuate a story distilled I tried lightning, a searing sun, smoke, a jaw's eyes wrapped in ice ~
Jake Syersak’s Notes to Wed No Toward are Tin Pan Alley tunes on a player piano in the drawing room of the house of Oulip. I can’t detect precisely what restraints he’s given himself, I only know that if these are the answers, I very much love the questions (and so would Richard Wilbur).
Malcom Sutton. Brrrrrrrrr!
I almost stopped reading Dale Smith’s Ed Dorn's Hat when I came to the part about Alan Cheuse, but I’m so glad I pressed on to absolutely resolve in the next moment that the clichés were deliberate elements of the composition, not frequent unfortunate missteps. And further that I could let go of the accruing trepidation and admire Edmond’s placement of this story exactly here, here at the edge of wondering if an assemblage this fabulous could really hold. And Smith answers, Si Se Pueda!
[I am so sorry but I find I must stop because even though I’ve read and reread everyone in Gone Lawn 8 and want to write something in acknowledgement of everyone’s contributions, all of which I truly admire, and I will, I’ve run out of steam tonight. We’ve been finalizing the next issue of The Madison County Crier (3.3) which gets uploaded to the printer tomorrow morning, and my energy is flagging. We’re enduring temperatures in the 100s here for days and days on end, plus I have no internet at home and must drive into town to upload even this paltry bit, and I’m not the best driver, and it’s getting late, so off I go!]