Web Exclusive Interview: Bryan Washington

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In September’s web exclusive story, “Lockwood,” a young boy gets a new neighbor, with whom he shares a brief friendship. The story’s brilliance is in how clearly it manifests in the mind, as if  happened to you. And in many ways, it has—each of us has experienced a similar convergence of moment, setting, and person […]

Lockwood

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Roberto was brown and his people lived beside us, so of course I went over on weekends. They were full Mexican. That made us superior. My father found every opportunity to say it. Not to their faces, he’d just whistle through the window, but Ma took it upon herself to visit most evenings. She still didn’t have many friends on the blockwe were too dark for the blancos, too strange for the blacks.

But Roberto’s mother dug the company. She invited us in. Her husband worked construction, pouring cement into Grand Parkway. She didn’t have papers. No one was hiring. So what she did with her days was look after Roberto. […]

Web Exclusive Interview: Heather Wells Peterson

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In our August web exclusive story, “Gorman, CA,” a couple’s car runs out of fuel on the side of the road in a land that is foreign to them both. Heather Wells Peterson indicates lack throughout the landscape and the action as a skilled painter would, in the wilt of the odometer’s needle, in the drought-stricken hills, in the protagonist’s silence. It’s one of those subtle revelations that’s so sublime in short fiction […]

Gorman, CA

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On the way to the wedding in Los Angeles, they ran out of gas. They were a couple, a man and a woman. The woman was driving them down from San Francisco, where they had spent a few days—it was their first time in California, and they were both from somewhere else.

The man promised they would make it to the gas station. “How could you know that?” she asked. He didn’t answer.

The car was a rental, and it was shitty, and the woman had to press the gas pedal all the way to the floor to make it up and over each mountainous slope. Soon the odometer began its inevitable decline, the needle wilting towards zero, and the woman felt a similar inward wilting, a sinking feeling of coming trouble. […]

Web Exclusive Interview: Rose Gowen

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July’s web exclusive story, “The Sun and the Pacific, Flowers,” is both a beautiful meditation on the passage of time and a careful, close look at a young person’s anxiety that she’s not doing or being quite enough. Writer Rose Gowen’s images and sensory details are stunning; the story is brimming over with oleander and hibiscus, rosemary, agave, palms, and citrus trees. The smells and sounds of the Santa Barbara coast […]

The Sun and the Pacific, Flowers

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In the afternoon, I was usually lying in the hammock reading Don Quixote while avocados fell on the roof and the grapefruit tree blew its scent around the yard. Bougainvillea and jasmine grew on all the walls, and several varieties of palm snaked up in the sky. The medians were a riot of rosemary. I remember oleander and trumpet vines and sidewalks littered with jacaranda blooms. Hibiscus and giant agaves. Bella donna. There was a tree that made wooden flowers; I have one still, years later. […]

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