Tuesday Nov 30

Robert Clark Young In editing the Creative Nonfiction corner of Connotation Press, I sometimes find that the month’s pieces coalesce naturally and inexplicably around a common theme. At other times, the pieces are extraordinary in the diversity of their excellence. This is one of those diverse months.

We begin our selections with a short but powerful piece by Kerin Sommer, “Unadorned,” about family dynamics, self-image, and the challenges that women sometimes face in thinking about the female body. Sommer writes courageously and honestly about a subject that isn’t too often talked about.

“The Mosaic,” by Carolyn Stupin, takes us into the world of conflict, morality, and reconciliation in South Africa. The force of Stupin’s writing comes not only from her careful attention to the drama of violence and its aftermath, but also from her artful juxtaposition of materials that do not, at first glance, appear to be related, but which coalesce into a deeper meaning once the reader has contemplated them. I highly recommend this complex and interesting piece, which manages to pack quite an intellectual and emotional punch in just a few pages.

“Comfortable Landscapes,” by J.K. Rogers, is a meditation on the comforts of tea drinking. As a dedicated coffee drinker, I can testify that Ms. Rogers’ work transcends the boundaries of the tea genre. Even those who have not spent hours within the placid garden of the tea drinker’s world will achieve a certain amount of caffeine-free serenity simply by reading this excellent piece. I suggest you sit down with your favorite dunkable snack.

Finally, over the past four years, we have run quite a few pieces here at Connotation Press on the topic of abuse. These are powerful essays on a vitally important social issue. Some of the pieces we’ve published involve abuse that occurs in families, while others have centered on abuse that occurs in relationships, and yet others have focused on abuse that occurs in school or institutional settings. This month we’re presenting Kat Dixon’s powerful account of an abusive relationship, “Instances of Abuse, the Angry Dream, Occurring Some Months, 2011.” This is one literary genre that we truly wish did not have to exist. But perhaps, by continuing to publish such pieces, we can help, in our own small way, to illuminate and alleviate this painful corner of life.