Full Bleed aspires to feed the passions and curiosities of contemporary artists, designers, illustrators, and critics.
Launching in Spring 2017, the new critical journal will offer an intellectually diverse forum for insight and argument about art and aesthetic experience, visual and material culture, and design. It is a project of Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. This call for submissions is open to all.
We seek essays, polemics, belle lettres, design, and artwork from contributors around the world. We are partial to criticism that emanates personality, plays with form, and casts an aesthetic spell of its own. We encourage contrarian argument on fundamental questions of value. We also invite rumination on the art-making life and creativity.
For our inaugural issue we are especially interested in artwork and criticism that concerns migration, exile, and statelessness. Send us writing and works about homelands lost and found, the movement of peoples (past, present, and future), or work that explores these and related themes.
For submission guidelines and more information, go here.
With the Dog at Bernheim Forest
We walked the field where the path edged
the trees, spindly stands of cedar at first,
then oaks, chestnut — their numbers,
I could see, farther in, shut out even
the dim, winter light. My father whistled
something bright and clear in the cold
as I stayed close, matching my stride to his.
The dog ran in and out of the woods thrilled
and trembling — there was life ranging
in the bracken and she was off her leash.
Eyeing the fallen needles and leaves,
she must have caught the rabbit’s scent
or she saw something flicker, as an eye
might — a shock of white on its breast.
A ridge of fur bristled along her spine
and she stopped dead for a moment,
then ran. We watched her dodge trees,
leap over downed branches, the sound
of her chase fracturing the air.
She must have caught it by the neck.
And then, her low, guttering growl.
My father took the rabbit from her mouth
and laid it in his hat. We’ll bring it home,
he said. We’ll bury it in the lilies.
Playing in the Pastoral Dream
My neighbor spent the summer destroying
his yard. Lopping the tops of his trees,
and razing the ground until it was no more
than dirt, the roots of vines ascending
like wire. I was on the sidewalk
watching my kids ride bikes when his wife
came onto their porch in a bathrobe.
Her head behind the screen was pale and bald
from what could only be chemo.
My body seized at the sight of her,
and I thought of my sister last winter
in her wig. It’s no use, I wanted
to tell him. There’s no construction,
no revision that will stop this.
In the street it was dusk: I knew about death
and I didn’t. It hardly mattered.
The red brush of a cardinal darted
across my yard in the evening’s odd coolness,
moving to her nest in the hedgerow.
Sycamores lining the street shed bark
like snakes in wide strokes, leaving their trunks
a pale green. Inside my pastoral dream,
the white noise of cicadas rises
around my son playing in the grass.
The street lies awash in golden light
like that of endless spring. And my daughter,
at the end of the block, she’s a deer
wandering the trees, she’s in and out of sight.
I can hear them in the next room singing
in bed. Their old cabin lamp warms
with a dark yellow light. Books and plush
animals lie with them each night strewn
amid the swells and valleys of sheets
and summer blankets. I don’t know the song —
it’s something about ponies — but I think
I don’t want to know. They begin to need secrets.
Language that passes for currency.
Places to squirrel their sacred objects:
here a lost tooth, there a compass;
under a pillow — a feather, a postcard.
They save meaning where they can — each stone
in their pockets, each word that comes near.
Sky Watch, Baltimore, Early June
We start in the backyard about 10 p.m.
looking southwest to northeast
for the international space station.
The smell of honeysuckle is a damp
sweetness that winds its way through the yard.
I’m standing on the sidewalk
among furtive vines curling around
the azaleas. Everything has grown up —
weed, flower — out of the nothing left
by February. I get to work pulling
nettles and poke weed, though it’s dark out
and I’m supposed to be looking
for this bright satellite. I imagine
it flying from one edge of the horizon
to the other, like a meteor
or comet, though I don’t know
what I’m looking for and point out planes:
There? No, he says, bigger, brighter.
I consider going inside. I could
be loading the dishwasher, sweeping
crumbs from under my son’s chair.
Then, he says, There. And I see it —
how could I miss it? — a star
moving steadily, quickly even,
from edge to edge. It’s not much,
this unyielding reminder, the little
light it gives is far beyond
our reaching. I want to wake
my children and say, this is what I mean
by far, but there isn’t time.
How can I explain the station’s
inexorable orbit, its path across our sky,
or the constancy of our own turning.
Clare Banks is associate editor for Smartish Pace. A 2014 recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Greensboro Review, Squaw Valley Review, and BODY, among other journals. She has an MFA in poetry from the University of Maryland and lives in Baltimore City with her family.
C. D. Albin was born and reared in West Plains, Missouri. He earned a Doctor of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi and has taught for many years at Missouri State University – West Plains, where he founded and edits Elder Mountain: A Journal of Ozarks Studies. His stories, poems, and interviews have appeared in a number of periodicals, including American Book Review, Arkansas Review, Cape Rock, Georgia Review, Harvard Review, Natural Bridge, and Slant. His first collection, Hard Toward Home, was published in May 2016 by Press 53.
Morgan Drish: Are the stories from Hard Toward Home drawn from your own personal experiences? And if so, what about the Ozarks inspired this story collection?
C. D. Albin: I don’t consider myself a highly autobiographical writer, so the stories are not drawn from personal experience in the sense that I’m recording the events of my life through fiction. My personal life doesn’t really enter my fiction in that way. Instead, I’m inclined to think about the conflicts that all people go through, and typically my stories start with some type of image. For instance, the story “The End of Easy Breathing” began with an image of the bottom of a lady’s skirt where the hem had come undone. In that moment the image seemed to suggest a conflict between the impressions most people try to give—keeping everything together, having a sharp appearance—and the ragged reality that our lives are constantly fraying at the edges in some way. From that point concrete characters seemed to step onto the stage of my mind—not characters modeled on specific people, but characters struggling with the conflicts and anxieties I have witnessed throughout my life. Once such characters make their appearance, my responsibility is to tell the stories of imagined people with the same seriousness and respect I would employ when writing about flesh and blood people.
The question of regional inspiration is always challenging for me to answer. I’m a native Ozarker and have lived here most of my life, so the easy response is to say that I write about Ozarkers because I know them better than any other group of people. That answer is incomplete, though. It leaves out an Ozarker’s sense—I’m generalizing here, of course—that his or her story has never been truly told. Ozarkers are sensitive to the stereotypes, the caricatures, so commonly and unthinkingly attached to hill people. Sometimes we even indulge in those stereotypes ourselves, but we’re never at ease with them, not in the more remote corners of our souls. So my regional inspiration, if I have such, is to render in an accurate way the intricate and complex inner lives of my neighbors. If I succeed at that, I’ve managed to do my job.
“The problem wasn’t so much that Lexie had taken the Klonopin. And it wasn’t even really that she had stolen them… the problem, as Lexie saw it, was that she had fallen asleep in the bed of the owner of the Klonopin. And the owner of the Klonopin was the wife of her lover.”—Opening line of Jessica Anya Blau’s new novel, The Trouble With Lexie.
Jessica Anya Blau’s newest book, The Trouble with Lexie, is an intense and juicy work of literary fiction published this year through Harper Collins. It follows Lexie, a counselor at a New England prep school with an impending wedding, a troubled past, and a scandal just as troubling! This past month, I had the opportunity to talk with her about her book, her process, and some of her inspirations and neuroses.
Jacob Budenz: Lexie is uncannily lifelike and relate-able even in the most absurd moments. Without incriminating yourself, or anyone you know, can you talk a little bit about where your inspiration for Lexie came from? Or your process for getting into the head of the character?
Jessica Anya Blau: Oh, I’m always incriminating myself in everything I write! My characters are all flawed in many of the ways I’m flawed. Lexie does some stupid things, and so have I. It’s interesting to me that the best reviews I’ve gotten for my books have almost universally come from male readers. Female readers can be much more critical and they are often critical about the same thing: the fact that my characters fuck up in big ways. But if our fictional characters aren’t behaving poorly, or aren’t getting in trouble, or aren’t making poor decisions, where is the story? We read books to live other people’s lives. That’s the joy in reading—to feel what it would be like to be someone else even if that person’s a fuck up. Or maybe, for me, there is more joy if they’re a fuck up, if they’ve done worse than I have.
Welcome to our new column “Friday Reads,” featuring stories of the archives of jmww. Kick back, grab a comfy chair, and start your weekend off with beautiful, provocative, startling, unforgettable reads!
This week’s read, which appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of jmww, comes from Kim Chinquee, whose latest work has appeared in The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers, published in 2015 by Black Lawrence Press.
The Host and His Cat
by Kim Chinquee
Her friend moved across the street and said to bring her boyfriend, and maybe some juice if she had it, and so she and her boyfriend walked across, passing an old lady with a boxer.
There was chips and dips and salsa. The host’s girlfriend was in med school, staying up for night shift-she ate some celery, disappeared into the bedroom, and the rest of them talked film and literature and art things. Music. Johnny Cash played from the CD, and the host talked about how his father blew his brains out with a rifle.
Her father used to drive a cab, something she’d discussed once with that host in detail, before she’d told him the trials with her men, her current situation, about how that boyfriend of hers never really liked to touch her.
The room fell silent and her heart was a flutter. She thought about the cab ride with the mayor, how he’d wanted it perfect, and then, as if the host could read her, he asked about the mayor, but not calling him a mayor. So tell me, he said to her.
She expected everyone to be all ears now, especially for her boyfriend. They were all men. The only other woman was sleeping.
She said it was nothing.
She tried to change the subject. She said it got weird and she didn’t want to make it weirder. She didn’t look across at the man who she’d earlier had sex with, or possibly made love to, who was now playing with the kitten, moving the toy–a string–teasing it, the paws moving around, clawing and swatting and romping.
That’s some cat, she said. Her boyfriend wasn’t really her boyfriend. At least that wasn’t what he ever wanted to call it.
So, here’s how it went: months later, all of them broke up. The host moved away, to another country. The other exes, besides her, ended up dating each other. The mayor became mayor to someone else. She left town, to another boyfriend from years long ago.
She remembered, standing outside at a party, saying hi the way that you do when you’re fifteen and you just don’t know. She remembered shivering, the party getting busted. How he’d walked her home, saying he really meant it. His kiss was still his kiss. She shook a little. Laughed. She’d said to him, let’s do it. She reminded him of them, of then, just climbing the fence.
Kim Chinquee is a regular contributor to NOON, DENVER QUARTERLY, and CONJUNCTIONS, and has also published in PLOUGHSHARES, THE NATION, STORYQUARTERLY, INDIANA REVIEW, FICTION, MISSISSIPPI REVIEW, and over a hundred other journals and anthologies. She is the author of the collections OH BABY, PRETTY and PISTOL, and senior editor of NEW WORLD WRITING. She lives in Buffalo, NY.
Dawn Leas is the author of a full-length collection, Take Something When You Go (Winter Goose Publishing, 2016), which addresses the myriad of intersections found in relationships as life unfolds and transitions, and a chapbook, I Know When to Keep Quiet (Finishing Line Press, 2010). A collection of her poems can be found in Everyday Escape Poems, an anthology released by SwanDive Publishing (2014), and her work has appeared in Literary Mama, Southern Women’s Review, San Pedro River Review, The Pedestal Magazine and elsewhere. She won an honorable mention in the 2005 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In past lives she was a copywriter, freelance writer, independent-school admissions director and middle-school English teacher. She has served as the associate director of the Wilkes University M.A./M.F.A. Creative Writing programs. Currently, she is the assistant to the president at Wilkes University. Please visit her at www.dawnleas.com, on Twitter @DawnLeas, or http://wintergoosepublishing.com/.
Curtis Smith: Congratulations on the new book. Can you take us on the journey that brought you and the collection to Winter Goose?
Dawn Leas: I was introduced to Winter Goose Publishing through The Dark Cage Between My Ribs by Loren Kleinman, which was released in 2014. I met Loren through the writing community grapevine, and she worked with me on the editing of my manuscript. When I started to send out the completed collection, she graciously offered to forward my manuscript to Jessica Kristie, the editor at Winter Goose, and Jessica graciously offered to publish it. I feel like I have found another writing home at Winter Goose. The editors and authors are an engaging, energetic and supportive clan.
CS: This is no slim volume of poetry. At over one hundred pages and sixty poems, it carries more heft than many collections. Was there a conscious reasoning behind putting out a volume this size—or did it just come about with the work you had in-hand?
Exquisite Duet (formerly Exquisite Quartet) is not so much a composition between two writers, but rather something created within the murky midlands of each author’s mind, yet set off by the same first sentence. Meg Tuite chooses two writers each month and gives them a first sentence to start with and a 250-word limit to finish an exquisitely mesmerizing story or poem. These duet-dueling writers will craft two completely different cosmos that have rotated, pitched, and blasted from the depths of their cerebral cortex to the twitching nerve endings of their digits onto dueling keyboards and separate screens until their sublime duet is prepared to see the light of an audience.
by Tara Laskowski
I sent a postcard to a stranger and he sent one back. He used to live where I now live. I told him I’d found his jar, and he wrote back: DESTROY IT, PLEASE. I have always taken kindly to folks who ask nicely, but instead I kept it under my bed. I sent him another postcard telling him I had burned it. But how could I? The trinkets inside were delightful, like very fancy McDonalds toys. Glass beads, seashells, a dog that danced on an invisible wire, an exquisite ballerina, and even a leprechaun with tiny pockets of gold. Tomorrow, I would tell them, and the leprechaun would cry. Today, he pleaded. As the days passed, he would just moan. The ballerina did not want to die. She said there was so much more joy in her life. The man sent another postcard: STOP AVOIDING YOUR DUTY. The leprechaun had told him—I found tiny postcards from the man in his pockets—HOPEFULLY SOON and I’M SORRY. I opened all the windows in the house, hoping someone would steal the jar. I became so agitated I couldn’t sleep. I moved into the kitchen, sucked ice cubes. The postcards came daily, flooding the mailbox. I stopped responding. One night I crushed the dancing dog under my boot and vomited for days. I’m still not over it. I’ve sold the house now, waiting any day for the postcard from a stranger, telling me they found my jar.
The Ecstasy of Communication
by David Steward
I sent a postcard to a stranger.
When the police pull me in, they ask how I know him. I don’t, I say. It has to be a stranger: that’s the point. So why would I write to him? Just to spread some love. An unexpected message can give joy, and that lifts my mood. We’re all connected: what’s a stranger but someone we know a little less well than family and friends? There’s a baggy man in a suit, who only listens.
Have I written to others? Yes, over the years. Not always postcards: often letters, a greetings card, maybe just a doodle. Some people sign up for it. I mention a website, and they make a note. Do these people write to him too? To lots of strangers, I say.
They point to the Telemax Tower, magenta blocks stacked under its antenna. They want to know what’s planned for Hanover. I was on holiday in Germany. To me, an experience is richer if you share it. Why not share it with people you know? I did that too.
Their experts are looking at the language. They’ll work it out, they say.
At home, in the night, I’m grasping for fresh contacts. I invite them to Facebook, follow them on Twitter, open an account with Snapchat. I hadn’t intended to use social media: people accept too casually, often with no consequence. But suddenly I want all the love I can get, like sugar and fat, to gorge on it.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Tara Laskowski is a native of Wilkes-Barre, PA, and now lives in Virginia. Her short story collection Bystanders was hailed by Jennifer Egan as “a bold, riveting mash-up of Hitchcockian suspense and campfire-tale chills.” She is also the author of Modern Manners For Your Inner Demons, tales of dark etiquette. Her fiction has been published in the Norton anthology Flash Fiction International, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mid-American Review, and numerous other journals, magazines, and anthologies. Since 2010, she has been the editor of the online flash fiction journal SmokeLong Quarterly.
David Steward is a regular contributor to Flash magazine and has also written short fiction for, among others, Under the Radar. He lives in Norfolk, England, and plays jazz saxophone, unprofitably.
Welcome to our new column “Friday Reads,” featuring stories of the archives of jmww. Kick back, grab a comfy chair, and start your weekend off with beautiful, provocative, startling, unforgettable reads!
Our first read, which appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of jmww, comes from Heather Fowler, whose latest novel, Beautiful Ape Girl Baby, was published in June by Pink Narcissus Press.
If I Kiss That Girl
by Heather Fowler
Because she is waiting, seated on my hotel bed, making comments about my sonic white toothbrush being a vibrator, telling me she’s bi, gorgeous with her poly-amorous discussion and long brown curling hair, with her fawn-like face and delicate breasts, with her enjoyment of having both nipples touched, she says, stroked, gently, as her clit is sucked-if I kiss this girl, my tongue will move in her mouth, I will absorb her with my lemon drop martini breath hovering like vapor on her pink tongue gliding over mine as I inhale her exhaled past heartbreaks of yesteryear’s asshole, her quick breath, her inability to decide a permanent major, her willingness to keep poor men actors as pets if they please her, or possibly the coy way she reads Proust’s Swann’s Way, not the Davis translation, while drinking red wine from a thin stemmed glass because that is the only way to absorb those long, full sentences like you mean it, like you’d live in them or with them in those rainy little-boy gardens, meandering with the murmuring quality of a wandering stroll through a twilight mind that only penetrates a good translation, which she does not have. Because If I kiss the girl, these things will belong to me, her struggles, her concerns, her enigmas, as she will belong, for the moment, in my arms, on my tongue, in my hair, and on my hands, becoming a part of my history, my lifetime, my amorous disconnect with the world and inability to hold onto her (or anything so beautiful) for longer-though I would like to heal her wounds with gifts of orgasm, deep listening, and full-body spoons, one after the next-but I cannot kiss her. She his half gone already, slow boat to China gone in my mind, a drifting barge, yet her breasts press into mine. We stand in doorways. Her face pauses. A doe. A deer. A dear. Thin, beautiful lips. She wonders if I might lean in. And I want to. But, let me just think about kissing her for now, pull away mentally from her siren song, yet pull her slim frame in so close I can feel her heart beat in chaste goodnight hugs as I long for more without taking. Because I do not deserve her, because I have already forgotten her name. Twice. What a bastard (I am).
Female or otherwise.
She is worth more.
So I let her walk down svelte hallways alone, unmolested, taste her only in the memory of a vanishing possibility. Shut the door. Linger in the mixed blessing of a maybe turned to no. Let her disappear. Let her reappear on this page, let you see her, all eager and ready for me to please her, let you see me not–for I have made such mistakes before. Let her touch a cotton gray scarf wrapped three times around her neck with warm fingertips, gingerly, before going. Let her eyes drop and her taut torso turn away. Let you feel my lack as she leaves, and my damp skin, and the falling tide of this passion turned to calm. A pretty girl’s dropped footfalls land softly in the outer hall.
I cannot hear them or listen. She is leaving the page, too, as she left my room: her fragrance in the air, in my nose and throat, all that wisteria, tuberose, musk, faint sweat, shampoo, and clean clothes scent now turning into subtexts for ubiquitous immaculate desire. I am her everlasting cataclysmic non-event. I am stationary with unquenchable longing. One day, news of my new fame will reach her. She will read this story somewhere and remember this night and my response. Will it sting less then, when I say the things I did not tell her saddened face? I sit alone, pressing my legs together like the pages of a closed book, tight, held shut, wanting her back, but not opening them, and not following.
by Laura Ellen Scott
Pandamoon Publishing, 2016
A lot of the most engrossing fiction isn’t about people, but about things: houses (The Glass Room by Simon Mawer), places (Dune by Frank Herbert), and priceless objects (The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett). In the latter category, we might find Laura Ellen Scott’s latest novel, the smart, funny, and imaginative The Juliet, which explores the history of a supposedly cursed Egyptian emerald and her hapless suitors over two American centuries.
Retired film star Rigg Dexon, the Burt Reynolds of Clint Eastwoods of 1960s American westerns, lives in the Nevada desert in the Mystery House, a shack that’s rumored by treasure hunters to be the resting place of the Juliet, an emerald the size of an egg, broken into unequal halves, with aforementioned origins dating back to Egypt. Rigg has just bequeathed the deed to the house to a young drifter/waitress, Willie Julie, he’s met in a Death Valley bar. Will Willie find the Juliet, or is the myth bigger than the truth?
by Mona Award
Like the Wallace Stevens poem from which it draws its title, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl is about perspective, but it’s also about obsession. How many hours, days—years even—do women spend obsessing about what they look like? Through Lizzie, we see how easily a woman’s life can be consumed by being a fat girl and by the desire not to be one. But this book is not a confessional or a hard-luck story of victimhood. It is, at its heart, (and that’s what makes it so strong) a fascinating, sympathetic, and authentic look at a character who is profoundly human.