• 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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  • 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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  • 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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