• The Passing Landscape by Ezra Koch

    The Passing Landscape

    on Dec 6, 18 with No Comments

    Ezra Koch “I don’t want a drink,” Camille repeated. “Suit yourself,” Ernest said, and walked the short distance from the couch to the fridge shakily, his high bony hips jimmying side-to-side. Camille felt nauseous. She didn’t ordinarily get motion sickness, but then,...

  • The Messiah of Coney Island

    The Messiah of Coney Island

    on Nov 29, 18 with No Comments

    Darlene Cah Mami is not religious. Fact is, I never even heard her say the word “God” not followed by “damn.” So when she jumps out of her chair praising Jesus, tears rolling down her face, I nearly spill my beer down my blouse. There she is on her knees, praying like a...

  • The Lake by M E Fuller

    The Lake

    on Nov 8, 18 with No Comments

    M E Fuller Surface fog radiates from the cold whisper of icy water, calm beneath a layer of hovering warm air. A loon cries its lonesome call that belies the truth. There is a nest for the pair in that cove, not far from my porch-side perch.  I watch for the boat to reappear. I...

  • Flash Fiction Contest Winners

    Announcing the Winners of Our Flash Fiction Contest

    on Oct 18, 18 with No Comments

    During the summer, South 85 Journal relaunched Converse College’s Julia Peterkin Awards with a flash fiction contest, and we are excited to announce the results. Julia Peterkin Award for Flash Fiction “What You Said” by Natalie Troy Natalie Troy lives near a...

  • Reading in Translation

    on Oct 11, 18 with No Comments

    Russell Carr I have a confession. I majored in Russian Literature without finishing War and Peace.I read small sections of it in Russian, but was expected to read all of it in English. In the past 25-years since college, I hesitate to mention my major, because most people ask...

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  • Queuing Up Quiet

    on Dec 3, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    My husband and I were driving home from dinner the other night, our toddler snoozing in her carseat behind us, when the shuffle on my husband’s phone queued up one of my favorite songs, the Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four.”  As I sang along (a little too enthusiastically), one of the lines struck me as it hadn’t before.  McCartney suggests that on Sunday mornings, he and his partner could “go for a ride.”  Suddenly, I was trying to remember the last time I took a car ride recreationally.  The closest thing I could think of was a few years ago during our house-hunting phase, but even that was goal-oriented driving.  Not even our annual Christmas lights cruising really counted since we always have a plan, an agenda. 

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  • Behind the Scene Words

    on Nov 15, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    Recently, I had a wonderfully productive day as a writer. I wrote 1,200 good words of fiction. For me, that is maybe a once or twice a year thing because on a typical day, my goal is to write 300 good words. If I can do that, I feel really good about what I’ve accomplished. This, however, is beside the point. What’s important is that less than 300 of those 1,200 words made it into the final draft of my short story.

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  • Rejection.. No Big Deal?

    on Nov 11, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    If you’re taking your writing seriously, then you probably have a space, time, even specific snack or drink you take to your writing spot to work. My own routine requires a big mug of tea, my cell phone in another room, the door shut, and some classical music.  I used to think in a little way that if I did everything in my writing routine on time and stayed ultra organized all the time, then maybe the journals I was submitting to would know it and publish all my poems.  This is wrong and stupid.

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  • Frivolous Reading

    on Nov 11, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    As a third-semester student in an MFA program, I have spent the last few months in the local library poring over books and rifling through periodicals.  The librarians there have grown accustomed to seeing me untidily sprawled in the aisles or else haunting the study carrels for hours on end.  In addition to writing a paper, I’ve devoured numerous books on the matter of craft and diligently read the work of poets that I’ve found useful to my paper topic.  In a funny way, I’ve had a good time.  I was genuinely interested in the topic of my paper, and I enjoyed the poets I was reading.  Overall, it was nice to feel that I was making some headway on something useful.    

    The day after I turned in my paper I went to the library once again.  After plucking my scribbled sticky notes from the pages of several books and dropping the heavy volumes in the return box, I turned my attention to a matter I had anticipated for weeks: the gathering of as many frivolous, unwholesome books as possible.  I got together a pile of about fifteen books that I had been burning to read during all the weeks I was pegging away at my paper.  Some of these were books that I had read and loved in childhood, but others were by authors and poets that I had discovered in recent years.  A couple were random impulses chosen either for their beautiful cover art or an interesting description decorating the book jacket.  But all were books that I would have classified firmly as “pleasure” reading.  These, I was sure, would never become source material for any great academic papers.  I took the books home with me and I have been reading happily for about a week. 

    As I read, however, I became aware of a curious phenomenon.  All at once, book-related habits from childhood were reappearing.  They accompanied me to the supermarket in my purse, snoozed under my pillow at night, and beckoned to me appealingly from the dinner table.  When I read the books I had loved as a child, I found myself perking up at passages I had always loved, finishing sentences in my mind before the pages had even turned.  Reading through the old books and the new, I was reminded of why I had wanted to devote my life to writing to begin with and the power of a book to sweep you off of your feet with the beauty of its language and the charm of its characters.  Although it was a completely unintended result, I found myself scribbling down more and more ideas for poems or stories as my pile of books dwindled. 

    Although my studies have been important to me, and I have read many fine pieces of literature over the past eight or nine years, I can no longer feel that there is any type of reading that is entirely frivolous or unwholesome.  The most unassuming little book might speak volumes to you as a writer, and might influence some great change in your work.  As writers, we must always be open to the work of others, and must constantly reevaluate what influences are helping us most in our writing lives. 

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  • Reps, Sets, and Prose: Writing Exercises

    on Nov 2, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    Exercise is good for you. It keeps your heart healthy, helps you lose weight, and may one day enable you to outrun a hungry tiger. Writing exercises have similar benefits for your writing life. They can help illuminate aspects of character, breathe life into a dull setting, or plant the seed of a future story.

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