Hey One Story readers! We’d like to spread the word about a Kickstarter project being spearheaded byManuel Gonzales of One Story issue #66, “Pilot, Co-Pilot, Writer.” Gonzales is hoping to raise $25,000 to support Austin Bat Cave, an organization in Austin, Texas designed to enrich the lives of children through creative writing. This money will be used to maintain ABC’s presence in Austin schools where they run workshops and eventually publish the work of elementary, middle and high school students. Non-profit projects such as this are becoming increasingly important in today’s economic climate as budget cuts are felt everywhere, especially in the public school system. For more information on Austin Bat Cave click here, and to donate through their Kickstarter page click here.
“Like Richard Russo, Bruce Machart has a profound knowledge of the male psyche and a gift for conveying the absurdity and brutality of daily life with humor and compassion. Alternately lush with lyricism and starkly candid, these stories emerge from inside a vividly scrutinized everyday of farms, refineries, hospitals, and homes to explore what it means to be a man at the rise of a new millennium. ”
We are excited to welcome Will Allison to the One Story staff as a Contributing Editor!
Former Executive Editor of Story magazine and Former Editor-at-Large for Zoetrope: All-Story, Will Allison is the author of the novels What You Have Left (Free Press, 2007) and the New York Times bestseller Long Drive Home (Free Press, 2011). Will is also the author of One Story Issue #47, “What You Have Left” and taught a workshop in this year’s One Story Summer Workshop for Writers.
“As a One Story subscriber from the start,” Will said, “I’ve been amazed at what Hannah and Maribeth and the rest of the staff have done with the magazine—not only the great fiction they’ve published, but the important institution they’ve built. I’m humbled to be a part of it.”
“Will understands both sides of the publishing desk—as an editor and also a writer,” said Hannah Tinti, One Story co-founder and Editor in Chief. “He’s going to be a huge asset for One Story, and we are thrilled to have him joining our team.”
Please join us in welcoming Will Allison to One Story!
On October 25, keep an eye out for One Story author Steve Almond‘s new story collection, God Bless America, which will be published by Lookout Books. The collection features “always enjoyable, often hysterical stories” (New York Times Book Review) about the American Dream. Publisher’s Weekly has declared that it “defines a new American gothic.” We’re thrilled about Almond’s latest collection, and, even more exciting, he’s coming to Brooklyn on October 28th to discuss his work! The event, which also features OS author Ben Greenman, will take place at Greenlight Bookstore on 686 Fulton Street. The discussion begins at 7:30 PM. For more information, click here!
One Story’s new issue, Benjamin Solomon’s “Who Cycles Into Our Valley,” tells a tale that is disarmingly simple: a father and son, traveling in Spain, ride a tandem bicycle up a hill, change places, and then ride it down the hill. This extremely basic plot provides a base for a complex inner narrative, that winds its way through the minds of these two men. The emotions and thoughts of the father and son begin to blend with the landscape and, eventually, with each other’s memories. Read Benjamin Solomon’s Q&A with us to learn how he handled the different points of view and soldiered through many drafts (55!) to complete this finely balanced work. Our One Story staff (who pulled this story from the slush) all have favorite parts of “Who Cycles Into Our Valley,” but for me the penultimate moment was the changing of the guard–when the son steps forward and takes his father’s place at the front of the bicycle. This simple act act echoes thousands of father/son stories, all the way back to the ancient myths. I found myself thinking of Icarus and Daedalus’s fateful escape from Crete as the bicycle speeds down the hill, father and son taking wing together. A moment, however brief, of flight.
We’re excited to hear that One Story author John Jodzio is about to publish a new collection of 19 fiction short-shorts: GET IN IF YOU WANT TO LIVE. Each story in the collection is accompanied by a specially curated illustration from hand-selected local and international artists, including Jennifer Davis, Ruben Ireland, and Andres Guzman. We are so excited about this project, which will be published by the indy press Paper Darts. Go here to order your copy today–or if you live in Minneapolis, be sure to join John as he throws a great big launch party for the book: Saturday, Oct. 15th,7-10pm, at Honey, 205 E. Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. Reading with John Jodzio will be Joe Midthun & Jenny Adams Salmela. There will also be live music by Joey Ryan and the Inks, and a raffle of an original Jennifer Davis painting. Go here to find out the details!
Don’t miss out on Caitlin Horrocks and Ryan Van Meter at Book Court bookstore in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill on October 14th at 7 pm. One Story fans will recognize Caitlin from issue #144, “Life Among the Terranauts.” Her debut story collection, This is Not Your City, has been called “appealingly rugged-hearted” and “impressively sharp” by the New York Times. Each story contains “startlingly ingenious writing and a note of what could be called sprightly heartbreak,” according to The Boston Globe. Hope to see you there!
Marie-Helene Bertino came on as a reader for One Story a little over six years ago. Since then she has critiqued thousands of stories, helped us pull off two fundraisers, paraded around AWP with a pair of cupid wings on her back, given us fashion advice, made us laugh, founded a writing workshop, won the hearts and minds of her students, and edited some amazing short stories, including “Hurt People” by Cote Smith and “Number Stations” by Smith Henderson. But Marie is also an incredible writer in her own right, who recently won a fellowship at the Center for Fiction, so it makes sense that after six years, she would need to shift gears. Marie will continue to teach for One Story, but she will no longer be our associate editor. We are relieved to know that we are not losing her completely, but as she steps out of the One Story office and into the world, we also felt the need to give her a proper goodbye. Here is what I imagine:
With heavy hearts the staff and subscribers and supporters of One Story gather on the windy dock as Marie strides up the gangplank of a giant ocean liner. When she reaches the upper deck, she waves back at us. She is wearing a muff and a coat with a chunky belt and some kind of fantastic, adorable hat. She looks beautiful. We throw kisses. We feel lumps in our throats. And then Marie throws serpentine and the coiling paper unfurls and falls from the rail is a stream of color. Then the boat pulls away from the dock, and she begins her new adventure.
Marie-Helene Bertino (in green skirt) with her One Story Summer Workshop Class
Last Thursday, I attended my last meeting as One Story‘s Associate Editor. Though I will remain involved, teaching for One Story‘s various educational projects for example, this ended a 6 year journey for me. Besides the friendships I’ve made, I am most proud of the yearly fashion blogs I dispensed on the eve of our Fundraiser. To that end, I hope you will indulge me as I offer one more piece of fashion advice: smile. The most beautiful people I know allow their smiles to reach their eyes. When you smile, people want to be around you. My Mom said that. Also, when you smile, people wonder what you’re up to. Garfield said that.
Thank you to Hannah Tinti and Maribeth Batcha, under whose tutelage I received my real world MFA. Thank you to Tanya Rey, the present staff and the staffs throughout the years who inspired me and who were kind enough to laugh at even my most irreverent jokes. I will forever remain One Story’s most loyal subscriber.
I am most proud of One Story’s Emerging Writer’s Workshop I taught, co-organized and co-ran with Michael Pollock. I love working with new writers and was honored when my high school’s Alumnae newsletter asked me what advice I would give to them. I’d like to leave you with what I told them. And that, as they say, will be all she wrote (for now).
ADVICE TO NEW WRITERS
Keep writing. Be curious about how different people live. Talk to everyone; doormen, waiters, motorcycle guys, your grandparents. I am sometimes unintentionally glib and sometimes my writing sounds glib, so take time to get to know yourself because the problem with you will be the problem with your writing. For the converse reason, cultivate hobbies. Run and cook and sing and play the drums and hug your parents and kids and sister and whoever. Then, keep writing. Rescue a dog or cat. Collect stories. Other people will tell you to read to excess, but I’ll let you slack on that if you promise to ask questions and listen to people. Listen to the criticism of people you respect and let it make you better. Don’t write because you think it’s cool, because if you are doing it correctly it is the least cool thing on the planet. Don’t be that jerk who complains when Aunt Barbara asks what you write about. Don’t say, “that question is impossible to answer!” If you can’t answer what you write about then you don’t know what you write about, and that’s like not knowing what color hair you have. Do this right now (now!): figure out in two sentences how to say what you write about. Cultivate the ability to be so lost in thought that you can’t hear your own name being called. Be secretive and bold and stick up for the underdog and the little guy. Drive around America and stop in Kansas. Backpack around Europe and watch a World Cup game. Keep writing. Think about semi-colons and punctuating dialogue for hours. Don’t brag. Anyone worth his or her salt talent-wise is humble and kind. This is because they understand they’ve been given a gift and people who have been gifted have special responsibilities and are thankful. Don’t worry if you hear a “rule” about writing that sounds wrong to you. There are as many different ways of being a writer as there are writers. Write with your heart, revise with your head. Shut up and listen. Sometimes the answer is turning off your mind and getting a beer with your best friend. When discouraged, don’t listen to anything besides the voice that told you were a writer in the first place; that is the voice that will be there for you when everyone and everything else goes away; it is the voice Kermit sang about that “calls the young sailors.” It’s someone that you’re supposed to be. Keep writing. If any of this sounds like a root canal; do something else.