Friends, spring is springing here in coastal Carolina, and along with it: Ecotone and Lookout writers are in full bloom, sprouting up all over the internet with fabulous projects, opening their leafy arms for literary embraces. Are we getting carried away with this metaphor? See what they’re up to and I think you’ll agree that it should have gone on much longer.
Before we start, we’d like to share some pictures of Ecotone and Lookout in the wild, to add some spring color to this post. Look! It’s Ecotone poetry editor Stephanie Trott, who found a rare Issue 3 at Powell’s Books in Portland. And, farther down, Matthew Neill Null finds himself in some great company at Housing Works Bookstore in NYC.
Okay, first up, Ecotone contributor Rick Bass has a new story collection out. Here he is talking about the art of the short story on NPR. And Smith Henderson reviews the collection for the NYTBR here, saying, “One long proposal of chemical magic, the fantastic origin of the very color blue, and Bass has situated us at the intersection of science and another kind of terrestrial alchemy.”
Speaking of magic, Ecotone contributor and soon-to-be Lookout author (more on that very soon!) Clare Beams is talking about magic over on the Ploughshares blog. “I turned some kind of corner as a writer when I started letting inexplicable things happen in my fiction,” she says. And we can’t wait to show you exactly what she means!
Speaking of inexplicable things, if you’re up for hearing about “Haunted Souls and Public Hangings”–and we hope you are–join Lookout author Matthew Neill Null at the Virginia Festival of the Book this weekend. He’s giving a talk with Glenn Taylor at the New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville (404 E. Main Street) at 12 p.m., Saturday, March 19.
Speaking of Main Street, are everyday problems getting you down? Do you need some hilarious, practical, and sensitive advice? You’ve probably heard Lookout author Steve Almond on the Dear Sugar podcast with Cheryl Strayed, but you might not know that he does a regular advice column for Cognoscenti called “Heavy Meddle,” where he tackles all sorts of advice from “My In-Laws Are On The Warpath Over Our Baby’s Name” to “It’s Been 2 Years Since My Wedding and I Still Haven’t Sent ‘Thank You’ Cards” to “I Don’t Know How to Live Without My Dying Cat.” Sad, surreal, and totally helpful.
Speaking of music (I’m referring, ahem, to the “heavy metal” inference above), Ecotone contributor Dom Flemons has a fantastic piece about Thomas A. Dorsey, the inventor of modern gospel music, in the Oxford American. “He wrote songs like a bluesman because he was a bluesman. And he taught choirs to sing that way: calling to God, guided by the musical structure of the blues.”
Speaking of public transportation (okay, we weren’t, but grant me one rough transition, okay?) Ecotone contributor Brock Clarke has a great story online at the Kenyon Review called “The Bus.” It’s a wild and totally entertaining ride!
And last but not least, and bringing it back to spring flowers!: The winner of the 2016 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction contest has been announced! Karen Smith Linehan won for her essay “Magnolia grandiflora.” Final judge Kate Sweeney says of the essay, “There is a sense here that every phrase and every word is chosen with great intent, and taken together, the work conveys the magnitude of this tree in a voice that is, like the tree itself, both quiet and commanding.” The contest is hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network and administered by UNCW’s creative writing department. She’ll receive a $1,000 prize. We can’t wait to read it–congrats, Karen!
We hope your week is filled with growing things both tangible and not. Enjoy the coming spring, and we’ll see you at the next Roundup!