The willingness – Lauren Suchenski

the willingness to
peer into the present moment
without a passing thought

the fullness of the fearlessness
between your fury
that pours onto the concrete –

peeled resonance ;; absolute
resistance to the reality of your
eyes percolating – relating – rotating
seeing everything except
the circumstance of air
Around my body

 

 

Lauren Suchenski has a difficult relationship with punctuation and currently lives in Yardley, PA. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize as well as twice for The Best of the Net and her chapbook Full of Ears and Eyes Am I is available from Finishing Line Press. You can find more of her writing on Instagram @lauren_suchenski or on Twitter @laurensuchenski

Women Writers We Love: Andrea Rinard

In this month’s interview, our senior copywriter Luisa got to have a wonderful chat with the talented Andrea Rinard.  Her story “Burning” was featured on DDR in September.  Find out what she’s working on, what got her into writing, and much more.

 

Rinard headshot

What got you started as a writer?

I’m sure like a lot of English teachers, I don’t only love to write, I love to read. And I had stories rattling around in my head.

I’m almost 50 now, so it’s only been the last couple of years that I’ve had this urgency of if I don’t do it now, what’s gonna happen?

In the past three years, I’ve given myself a mid-life luxury. My kids are older. I’ve got a wonderful husband. He doesn’t mind when I run off to a writing workshop.

It’s only been the past three years that I’ve been thinking of myself as a writer.

I’ve journaled my whole life. I’ve always kept journals. Tragically bad poetry. Angsty, gotta pour out my soul stuff.

I have what I call my graveyard of first chapters, where I would sit down to write a novel, and I would tinker and mess with it, mess with it, so much that I would never get past the first or second chapter.

The luxury of being a teacher is that I have summers. And so this summer I actually finished a novel. Having all of June and July was really a luxury to be able to spend as many hours a day as I needed to to get it done.

What’s the name of your novel?

The novel’s called Afterworld. I actually just found out it won the Marianne Russo Award at the Key West Literary Seminar.

Do you feel closer to a certain genre or style? Why? How does this inform the way you see or experience the world around you?

I guess I’ve always wanted to write literary fiction. I always thought I would write the great American novel, but I find myself writing young adult fiction. Even in a piece like Burning, which is flash fiction, it’s very much a young adult piece about this teenage girl. And I think that’s kind of a function of my job as a high school teacher, where I’m surrounded by teenagers all the time, but also because I’ve got three kids.

My boys are very uncomplicated. I don’t know if that’s because I’m a female and they’re male and I don’t understand very much, but my relationship with my daughter is this wonderful, complex, delicious thing that I don’t know how I would live without. She’s seventeen now and in high school. So I find myself, you know, in Burning, there’s a little bit of her in that, of her responses to things. And my novel that I just finished, the protagonist is very much inspired by her.

Yeah, so young adult fiction, and just exploring, more than anything, human relationships, and how they can get disconnected. And how they play such a big impact, and how I think people are very careless with girl’s hearts. And that’s something that troubles me but also interests me as a writer.

I see the damage that’s done to girls. I don’t know if it’s just the society we live in, or if boys have more scope for resiliency. I just see girls and teens being damaged so easily and carelessly with things that, I know for me (and I’m almost 50), I still sting from things that were said to me or done to me when I was 15 or 16 years old. It just stayed with me.

And I don’t know if that same thing is true for men. I don’t know, and I can’t speak to that as I’m not one, I didn’t have that experience, but the lasting effects of things that happen to teenage girls is something that I see played out on a daily basis, you know, with the girls that I have in my classroom, the girl that I’m trying to raise. And I just find it fascinating, and it’s not something intentional, it’s just something that I keep coming back to in my writing.

Would you say that there are times in your life that you’re drawn to other styles? What draws you to them? Life events? Moods?

I mean, a lot of times I have to be forced, I’ll be honest. I’ve gone to the Yale writer’s workshop for two summers and have been asked to write in a different style or genre.

Also when I read something. I just finished Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, and kinda just want to write like her now.

Yeah, anytime I read something, that really moves me or makes an impression on me, I think that kind of seeps in a little bit, but I’m still trying to find my own style. So it’s kind of hard to differentiate what’s mine and what’s something that I’m emulating or being influenced by.

Who are you reading right now?

Kristen Arnett. Yeah, she’s just published Mostly Dead Things for her debut novel, and she’s coming to USF next week. So I wanted to make sure that I read her book before she came.

I’m trying to read everything by Lauren Groff since I’m signed up for her workshop at the Keywest Literary Seminar. So that’s what’s on my book stand now. And of course, my students are always handing me stuff.

Can you tell us one quirky fun fact about yourself?

Oh, gosh. *laughs* I’m trying to figure out which one, so I don’t sound like an insane person.

Um, I wear shoes against my will. I’ve got the Fred Flintstone feet.

I get what’s called 7/11 feet, where you just don’t wear shoes and you run into 7/11 to get your Slurpee across the parking lot, and then your feet are black at the end of the day. It’s pretty gross.

 

For more on Andrea, visit her site www.writerinard.com.  You can also follow her on Twitter @aprinard or on Instagram @andrearinard.

Dad, not Daddy – Denna Berg

I was so afraid of becoming his mom, that I became his dad.

Thinking we were subverting the norms;
because he washed the floors and I paid for the roof.
because he cooked the food and I drove the groceries home.

But the same walls were built.

We thought by trading spots we would build something new,
but we just read the same blueprint in the mirror.

We played house until the structure crumbled,
unable to hold the weight
the oven ripe with fresh cookies. 

 

 

Denna Berg was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, although her main hobby is taking long plane rides away from there. As a policy advisor during the day, she is new to embracing her creative writing abilities. When she is not coddling her words, you can also find her exploring groceries or trying to clear her schedule to make time for naps.

numb – Anna Antongiorgi

I only cried when they arrested
your killer on the tv freeway. 
In a past life the three of us 

all walked the same high school hallways.
Our Spanish was terrible
but Señora liked you and I because

we spit fire and hated all the same 
people. My mother and I are still 
fighting because she asked me 

to make this for you. She is worried I
am wooden. She is used to my melting.
Thanks for believing I could

compete with all the crimes
of the human race. I’m sorry
I couldn’t compete 

with yours. I hope you still post 
crunchy Instagram
photos that everyone worries about.

I know you were joking
for the aesthetic 
and, if you’re honest,

for the validation too. 
You have a Wikipedia page now
that, like this, I cannot un-see.

We were experts at pretending
not to care about anything.

You would be proud at 
how good I’ve gotten at it. 

 

Anna Antongiorgi is an aspiring writer, choreographer, and dancer originally from Redondo Beach, California. She graduated from Harvard in 2019, majoring in English. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the New School. You can find her on Instagram @embodied_poetry and at https://annaantongiorgi.wixsite.com/akantongiorgi

“Please Don’t Tell the Hospital it Was the Dog; They’ll Put Him to Sleep” – Lannie Stabile

Calves plump like a shoulder roast,
adrenaline thumping in a wolfish room
Have you ever seen a fibula 
picked clean of its fat flesh and prickled skin
Teeth tore so cleanly
Teeth worn so manly
           -forks in a famine

And mother howls more over the fate of the fangs
than the wound

 

 

Lannie Stabile (she/her) was a finalist for the 2019/2020 Glass Chapbook Series and semifinalist for the Button Poetry 2018 Chapbook Contest. She is a three-time Best of the Net 2019 nominee. Works are published/forthcoming in Entropy, Glass Poetry, 8 Poems, Pidgeonholes, Okay Donkey, and more. Lannie currently holds the position of Managing Editor at Barren Magazine.