• I Edit My Life by Michael Lee Johnson

    I Edit My Life

    on Jul 17, 17 with No Comments

    Michael Lee Johnson I edit my life. Clothesline pins and clips hang to dry dirty laundry. I turn poetic hedonistic in my early 70’s, reviewing the joys and the sorrows of my journey. I find myself wanting a new review, a new product, a new time machine, a new internet...

  • Reaching Writing

    Reaching: Devin Murphy on Real Life and Inspiration

    on Jul 10, 17 with No Comments

    Mel Sherrer Devin Murphy’s debut novel, The Boat Runner, is forthcoming with Harper Perennial/Harper Collins on September 5th, 2017. This month, we sat down to speak with him about the impending work, writing and real life inspiration. S85:   Do you write every day or...

  • Dying Trumpet by Roger Camp

    The Spring / Summer 2017 Issue Is Available...

    on Jun 15, 17 with No Comments

    The Spring / Summer 2017 issue of South 85 Journal is now available online. Creative Work We are pleased to present work by the following contributors: • Artwork – Roger Camp, William C. Crawford, Melinda Giordano, Leonard Kogan, Rachel Melton, Dian Parker, and Leigh...

  • Concrete Imagery Horse

    No Idea But in Things: Concrete Imagery in...

    on Jun 1, 17 with No Comments

    Josh Springs Denise Duhamel, famed poet and core faculty member of Converse College’s Low Res MFA Program, gave a lecture during the January residency on using concrete imagery in poetry. As I sat in the uncomfortable Marriott chairs, my mind wandered to how abstract and heady...

  • Death of Recluse

    Death of the Hermit: Leaving Reclusive Writing in...

    on May 19, 17 with No Comments

    Mel Sherrer As romantic as it may be to envision Emily Dickinson, Harper Lee and other notable hermits secluded away from the world as they wrote their masterpieces, the ease of the internet demands that modern writers — at least those who care to have a career in writing —...

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  • Knowing When To Give Up

    on Sep 5, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    Sometimes you realize that the story/chapter/poem/memoir/article that you’re writing is garbage. Not garbage in the sense that a few line edits might fix, but garbage as in this particular story/chapter/poem/memoir/article would be better if everyone involved just stopped what they were doing and took a nap. One of my stories (one I was particularly fond of) was completely torn apart after I sent it to an established writer for review. When I read this person’s suggestions (verbal beatings) I spent the rest of the day moping and feeling sorry for myself and realized my story was mostly garbage. A whole day later I sat back down, refreshed and determined to create anew and started to work on the story again. Only nothing would come out. The characters were bland, the plot was laughable at best, and all my words came out at a fourth grade level. Then my wife gave me some of the best advice I have been given as a writer to this day. She told me to give up on it (for a little while at least).

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  • Readers Really Do Make Better Writers

    on Aug 31, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    I recently had an “ah-ha” moment while reading Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy. In that moment, I finally understood what my teachers meant when they told me I needed to be a good reader if I wanted to be a good writer. Of course, I already understood logically why reading fiction leads to better writing: through reading good fiction we learn how to structure plots and develop characters and write dialogue, etc. But it was still blurry to me as to how reading a novel or short story would concretely enhance my craft.

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  • Writing while Traveling

    on Aug 21, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    There is much to think about when you travel. I’m headed to Boston in the next couple of weeks, and I’ve thought a lot about my itinerary. I’m one of those people who plan, organize, and then plan again. It becomes a balancing act when trying to measure which things to do or places to see to constitute which weighs the most. I’ve thought about going to Concord while I’m there and daydreaming about my childhood obsession with “Little Women.” I’ve thought about knocking on Paul Revere’s door to see who answers and even contemplated buying a studio there to put a desk next to a window facing the Back Bay area.

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  • The Voices in my Head and Other Reasons Not to Write

    on Aug 17, 11 in Blog by with Comments Off on The Voices in my Head and Other Reasons Not to Write

    There’s something thrilling about starting a new project, whether it’s starting work on a new short story, cracking the spine of brand new book, trying a new recipe, or beginning an online literary journal.  From the earliest meetings about South85, I was positively giddy about the opportunity to serve as editor.  Behind that excitement, however, there was (and still is sometimes) an underlying feeling of fear.  Who do I think that I am?  Sure, reading lots of submissions and picking the absolute best to share with our readers sounds like my ultimate idea of fun.  But deep down, there lingers a smidge of doubt.  I’ve met literary journal editors.  Mostly, my fellow writers and I speak of them in hushed tones, praying they will remember our names when one of our manuscripts come across their desks.

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