Thursday Jan 27

Robert Clark Young “Bigots,” by Robyn Segal, is one of those great stories that make you say, page after page, “Oh my God”—“ Oh my God”—“OH MY GOD.” This is because you can’t believe what’s happening and you can’t stop reading. I don’t feel required to say anything more about this. Except to remind you not to read with your mouth open.

“Love and Silverware,” by Jennifer McGuiggan, is the kind of story that is too readily categorized in the “domestic” or “women’s” genres. This phenomenon is enough to make one hate the entire notion of genre. The fact is that I’m a 53-year-old male who’s been living in his parents’ house, doing eldercare, for over five years now. I am constantly finding objects that not only make me think of my mom and dad, but which call to mind entire dramas, memories, truths, and states of being. It is a topic for anyone to explore and find meaningful.

I’ve never read a story about hot flashes before. But I suspect that “Observations on the Beginning of the End,” by Patricia McTiernan, is going to be the definitive one. There are two kinds of reading: that which expands your knowledge, and that which confirms your knowledge. Both have value. In this case, my knowledge is being vastly expanded. But whether your knowledge is being expanded or confirmed—in other words, whether what you feel is sympathy or empathy—this is not a story that you’ll ever forget.

When I was growing up, we had a beloved dog, with a great personality, named Rufus. When I went to grad school, I discovered that my friend Eric also had a beloved dog, with a great personality, named Rufus. We referred to this convergence as “The Rufi Syndrome.” For nearly thirty years, we’ve been convinced that there have been no other great canines named Rufus. Now I have discovered a third one, and The Rufi Syndrome has added a new dimension. Please enjoy “What I Learned from My Dog” by Jan Zlotnik Schmidt.

Finally, if you are a creative nonfiction writer yourself—or working in the closely allied genres of narrative nonfiction or memoir—please do submit your work to us, up to 10,000 words. Perhaps we will not only publish it, but also hail you as one of our best writers of the year in next year’s retrospective issue. Please submit your work directly to me at [email protected].