Tuesday Oct 16

RobertClarkYoung3 I was going to present four pieces this month, as I usually do, but received word that one of the essays I was interested in had previously been accepted. There’s an upside in having my editorial taste confirmed; there’s a downside in having only three pieces to present this month; there’s an upside in that each of these three is a stellar piece of writing.

Probably we’ve all suffered, in one workplace or another, from sharing space with a colleague who’s troublesome, perhaps even psychologically disturbed. This could happen anywhere—believe me, it could even happen in academia. I won’t reveal anything more about Molly Seale’s outstanding “Fernando Alvarez Died,” except to say that it held me tightly from the first word to the last—and, without revealing which subgenre this piece falls into, I’d say the final, commendable compassion shown in this piece is not necessarily typical.

In certain parts of the United States, the neighborhoods change quickly. Entire blocks are torn down or remodeled, sometimes beyond recognition. Areas that were once sparse get built up over the decades, the density sometimes increasing dramatically. This occurs even in death, as cemeteries are not immune to remodeling and expansion. If you grew up in a place that has undergone tremendous change, and if you return years later, you might feel that you are visiting the place for the first time, and that your prior experiences there—particularly if they comprised your childhood—feel entirely illusory. These are some of the themes explored in Julia Nunnally Duncan’s very interesting mood piece, “The Party.”

There are stories that are so inventive they’re self-explanatory. This is the paradoxical case of “A Cure for Secrets” by Laurie Blauner. Like any story about secrets, it is a complex tale. And since we are talking about secrets, I shall have to foreshorten my introduction to the piece. If you want to know a secret, or more than one, you’ll just have to read the excellent essay.

Finally, I am always interested in reading new work. I invite you to submit nonfiction on a topic of your choice.  I’m looking for creative nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, memoirs, and personal essays—with the understanding that these categories often overlap—up to 10,000 words.  Please submit work directly to me at robertclarkyoung@connotationpress.com.  I look forward to enjoying your work!