Monthly Archives: September 2009

Arkansas Review Arrives on Planet, Thrives

Hello. I’m happy to report that the latest issue of the Arkansas Review has arrived at better bookstores and libraries everywhere.

The issue contains a new short story of mine called “Timber Walking.” It also contains–among much else worth investigating–a story called “Selling the Farm” by Sallie Bingham and an essay by Andrew Scheiber about the boll weevil and its place in pop music.

“Timber Walking” is about a teenager who plays baseball and who’s gotten a job splitting trees for firewood. I call it my Hemingway-in-the-woods story, though there aren’t any guns, or animals, and nothing actually gets hunted. Perhaps it’s not like Hemingway at all? Ah well. So much for self-classification.

Here’s how “Timber Walking” begins:

Continue reading Arkansas Review Arrives on Planet, Thrives

New Quarterly Conversation Is Out and About

Hello. In yet more happy online news, the latest issue of the Quarterly Conversation is out. The issue is bursting at the cyber-seams, containing reviews of the latest from Ishiguro, Vollman, Pynchon, and Hemon, as well as several essays on literature in translation, which has become a specialty of QC.

The issue also includes reviews of six poetry collections, an essay by J.C. Hallman promoting “creative criticism,” plus a review I’ve written of Said and Done, a new story collection by James Morrison.

How Much Cotton? High Cotton

Hello. I’m super pleased to report that my short story “High Cotton” has been published over at Fried Chicken and Coffee, the online blogazine run by Rusty Barns of Night Train fame.

The story is about two high school boys who start cotton diving in the afternoons. Much adventure follows.

Interesting historical factoid that’s somewhat related: in the story, the boys jump into actual metal bins of cotton. But now, if you drive through the Mississippi Delta in just a few short weeks, you won’t see many of these bins in actual use. Instead the farmers now pack the cotton in these long, rectangular bales and top them with plastic tarps. (The tarps almost always are blue for some reason.) They look like long blocks of cottage cheese, held together by some magical force. As such, they don’t look all that inviting for actual jumping. Alas.

But the old bins are still easy to spot. Like the slowly decaying cypress barns, they litter the landscape–another artifact of southern ruins.

Here’s how “High Cotton” begins:

Continue reading How Much Cotton? High Cotton