One Story recently became an official non-profit organization, and yesterday we sent out our first appeal, to help us pay our printer bills. The response has been so generous and kind. After five years of publishing One Story out of our apartments, with a staff consisting of only volunteers, it’s great to see that we’ve made an impact and that we have such a devoted readership. Thanks to everyone who donated. It means the world.
Some very lucky folks in Philadelphia got to celebrate the release of One Story issue #97, “Bar Joke, Arizona” with the author Sam Allingham.
Sam sent a few pictures, and this dispatch from the bar:
Even for a dive bar, Fiume is small; probably around half the size of your living room. So the place was fairly crowded for our “Bar Joke, Arizona” publication party last Friday. I especially enjoyed it, since Fiume is my neighborhood bar, and it was nice to share some of my writing with the regulars. While no drink specials were offered, Fiume’s three dollar shot-and-a-beer special was plenty special enough. Living in West Philadelphia has many perks. As an added treat, a couple of subscribers showed up, including One Story author Rachel Cantor (Issue 18, “Picnic After the Flood”), whose experience and talent made me feel incredibly young. The pictures from the night are all fairly grainy – this is a low-light sort of place we’re talking about – but I thought you might like to see some of Fiume’s famous signage.
Thanks to all of the subscribers who stopped by. Let us know what you thought of “Bar Joke, Arizona”!
Friday, November 9th was a very cold night in New York, but the crowd inside Pianos was cozy and warm as they drank Sidecars (John Fulton’s delicious cocktail of choice) and listened to John read from his new book, The Animal Girl.The book is a collection of three short stories and two novellas. John read an excerpt from one of the novellas, Hunters, which won a Pushcart Prize. To hear his reading, click on our audio archive.John Fulton with his drink, a SidecarJohn Fulton’s new book, The Animal Girl
When I teach my students how to create structure in their fiction, I always have them bring in a joke. Then we take the jokes apart. Each one has a set up, a build up, and then a payoff. If you can tell a good joke, I say, you can tell a good story. A man walks into a bar. Is there any better way to start? Bar Joke, Arizona surfaced from our slush pile, pulled by Marie Bertino, and then passed from reader to reader. Everyone had the same reaction–this story is great. It’s hilarious, and sad, and very, very different. I loved the concept of entering the jokes and turning punchlines into characters. But the story wouldn’t work if Sam had stayed on the surface and made it only about this conceit. The opening is intriguing, but what really won me over was when the duck walked in. That was the signal that this was going someplace else entirely, and it does–each story that is told builds on the one before, until the duck takes center stage, and the story finds its heart. What makes Bar Joke, Arizona even more special is that it is Sam Allingham’s first publication. I can’t wait to see what he writes next.
Congratulations to One Story author Andrew Porter, who just won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. His short story collection, The Theory of Light and Matter, will be published next year. He shares the prize with another One Story friend, Peter Selgin, editor over at the great lit mag Alimentum. Peter’s collection, Bodies of Water, will also be published next year.