Wednesday Aug 15

JonathanCardew NobblyBobbly The only reason I have a picture of myself eating a Nobbly-Bobbly to accompany this review is because I had a picture of myself eating ramen in last year’s review and I do like a bit of continuity. If you didn’t grow up in England, though, you may be wondering what the hell a Nobbly-Bobbly is. Well, I will tell you:

It is an ice cream bar covered in lots of multicolored, sugared dots.

It’s a nostalgic thing. I’m writing this review from the U.K., on a visit, and when I stumbled upon one at a local ice cream van, I was all over it like the sugared dots.

It tastes gross—strawberry-flavored ice cream, but crunchy because of those damn dots. Right in the middle of it, however, lies a chunk of chocolate, which is not gross.

Continuity aside, let’s get back to the real reason I am here, namely to put a lid on the last twelve months of this fiction column. Six issues deep and 31 writers wide, this Connotation year has been a real treat for me as an editor. The quality of submissions was outstanding, but also experimental and mold-breaking. This latter observation is something I would like to take further as I move toward my third year at the helm of Connotation Press. If you’re reading this, and you have fiction that is weird and wobbly, please swing it my way (also, straight-up great stories are welcome, too!)

The Line-up:

Charles Rafferty
Catherine McNamara
Tina Barry
Thaddeus Rutkowksi
Laura Leffer

Melanie Pappadis Faranello
James Claffey
Caitlin Scarano
Sandra Arnold
Helen Rye

Sophie Van Llewyn and Stephanie Hutton
Robert Scotallero
Judyth Emanuel
Paul Beckman
Mark Budman

Nancy Stohlman
Frankie McMillan
Vic Sizemore
Nahal Suzanne Jamir
Fatimah Saheed

Dick Bentley
Michael Loveday
Terek Hopkins
Jan Elman Stout
Gay Degani

Anne Weisgerber
Ben Drevlow
Francine Witte
Suzanne Supplee
Riham Adly

The Notables

Of course, every 44 of these stories is notable, but there were some standout moments I’d like to highlight this year. It would be remiss of me not to.

The number one laugh-out-loud story I published this year was "Airways" by Melanie Pappadis Faranello. Funnily enough, she says in our interview that she “never saw any humor” until I pointed it out and she guesses that “funny must be about truth,” which is funny because it is true.

My favorite interview this year was with Nancy Stohlman in the March Issue. Constructed as a six-word Q&A, she delivers all of her answers in six words or fewer for each of my questions (brilliantly, of course, because she is one of the best micro fiction writers out there). Here’s a snippet:

Q: Strangest experience?
A: Pick one: hitchhiking, Miss Nebraska, car-crash

The best last line this year, for me, was in Nahal Suzanne Jamir’s flash piece, "Hospice." Not all stories need to have such resonant endings, but this one (and indeed the build up to it) should get a special mention:

“The day is still warm with grief. My mother was lonely. I was not enough.”

The catchiest and most curious title this year? It’s gotta be Robert Scotallero’s Schadenfreude Makes Me Horny.” Who wouldn’t want to read a story called Schadenfreude Makes Me Horny? I mean, seriously?

Thanks to all the writers, all the readers, and all the stars aligning this year!

Back to my Nobbly-Bobbly.