• 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...

  • 5 am writers club

    The 5 a.m. Writer’s Club

    on Sep 20, 18 with No Comments

    Penny Zang Wilcox 5 a.m. Morning shocks itself into focus, the sky coffee-dark and thick with silence. The hopeful kind.  I am a 5 a.m. writer. Judging from others’ faces when I tell them how early I wake up each morning, on purpose, I must be a masochist. The question of...

  • Dallas Woodburn

    The Short Way Home: An Interview with Dallas...

    on Jul 19, 18 with No Comments

    Mel Sherrer This month, South 85 Journal sat down with Dallas Woodburn, author of the newly released Woman, Running Late, in a Dress, to discuss the nature of short stories, character relatability, the role of irony, and much more. S85: Firstly, why short stories for this...

  • That Ticking Clock: The Handling of Time in...

    on Jun 28, 18 with No Comments

    Cary Holladay As an element of craft, time is generally regarded as a tool of setting, akin to place. Yet it is multidimensional, a voyage through past and future. Equally mysterious is the present, deemed by T.S. Eliot “the still point of the turning world.” First, a true...

  • Summer Flash Fiction Contest $500 prize

    Summer Flash Fiction Contest

    on Jun 25, 18 with No Comments

    South 85 Journal is relaunching Converse College MFA program’s Julia Peterkin awards, starting with an all-new summer flash fiction contest. Like past awards, the contest will honor Julia Peterkin, an 1896 graduate of Converse College. In 1929, she won the Pulitzer Prize...

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  • Reflection and Shadow: The Nature of the Artist’s Reality

    on Sep 26, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    South85 is honored to introduce our very first guest blogger. Rick Mulkey is the director of the low-residency MFA Creative Writing program and the BFA Writing program at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC. He is the author of four collections of poetry, including Toward Any Darkness and Before the Age of Reason.

     

    Michio Kaku–”The mind of God is music resonating through ten dimensional hyperspace.”

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  • A Few Thoughts on Words

    on Sep 18, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    I guess you could say some are born to write.

    As a child, when other kids were outside playing kickball, I was holed up in some corner of the house reading the dictionary. Yes, reading the dictionary.

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  • Write the Damn Thing: How to Make Progress on Your First Draft (Or Make Your Title Needlessly Long)

    on Sep 13, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    First drafts, even good ones, are terrible. It doesn’t matter if you are in your first workshop, writing your master’s thesis, or starting your three hundred and seventy-second novel, it will be bad. This is not a reflection of your skill as a writer, but rather a fundamental law. The E=mc^2 of writing, if you will.

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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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