Jacob Paul

Jacob Paul’s novel, Sarah/Sara, was named by Poets & Writers as one of 2010’s five best debut fictions. His work has appeared in Hunger Mountain, Western Humanities Review, Green Mountains Review, Massachusetts Review, Seneca Review, Mountain Gazette, The Rumpus, Fiction Writers Review, Numero Cinc Magazine, and USA Today’s Weekend Magazine. A former OppenheimerFunds product manager, he now teaches creative writing at High Point University in North Carolina.

Jacob Paul Books

Coming soon in multiple editions

A Song of Ilan BW cover

Black on Cream paperback.

 

A Song of Ilan Color Cover

Ful-color illustrated paperback, with art by Sarah Martin.

 

Dark Rather Than Tan album cover

Dark Rather than Tan — music composed and performed by Van Goose (Shlomi Lavie) especially for the novel, A Song of Ilan.

 

A Song of Ilan

a novel

by Jacob Paul

 “A dizzying, rhapsodic, and thrilling book”

Early Praise

“Jacob Paul’s A Song of Ilan is tour de force of structural experiment that leaves not a thread untied and moves from beginning to end with a mesmerizing if not horrifying fatality. Ilan, once an Israeli soldier, shot a suicide bomber to death in a cafe; ten years later, alcoholic, spiritually paralyzed, he turns himself into a suicide bomber, haunting the New York subway system with explosives under his coat, the only truth he knows, the only way to God. A spectacular book, beautiful in its rhymes, daunting in its ethical interrogation.”
—Douglas Glover, author of Elle and Savage Love
“A philosophic meditation on the interplay between religion, violence, and personal faith, A Song of Ilan is about what it means to live in a world after 9/11, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as seen through its protagonist, Ilan’s, desire for God. Through Ilan we see how a direct relationship with God (or the hope for God), divorced from the structure of religious institutions, might take the form of romantic love, and in that relationship’s crisis, take on the perils, obsessions, and violence of that love. A Song of Ilan is necessary reading, especially against the backdrop of recent conflict in Gaza, for anyone who wishes to understand the personal, spiritual, and political impact of religious terrorism, and of the violence that seeks to suppress it.”
—Mark Levine, New York City Council Member and Chair of the City Council Jewish Caucus
A Song of Ilan is a dizzying, rhapsodic, and thrilling book that challenges readers to think about how we live, love, and die. A breathless read that plunges us into a brilliant and tortured mind, A Song of Ilan will haunt your days and nights, your kitchen, your bedroom, as well as and your commute, making you wonder who your neighbor, your colleague, your lover really is. Equally elegant and compelling as Paul plumbs rock climbing and scripture, terror and survival, A Song of Ilan strives heroically toward, in Donald Barthelme’s words, ‘the as-yet unspeakable, the as-yet unspoken.’”
—Matthew Batt, author of Sugarhouse

 

About the Book

The second in Jacob Paul’s thematic trilogy exploring the relationship between spirituality, religion and terrorism, A Song of Ilan explores how the desire for a clear answer to an ever louder question of faith might eventually resolve in self-immolation and mass violence. The book’s title borrows the structure of the opening line of so many of the Psalms – A Song of David, A Song of Solomon, A Song of the sons of Korach, etc. – This is a song of Ilan, Ilan’s psalm, his prayer, his desperate plea.which might be yours if you do not become more responsible and acquire adequate knowledge about Forex trading and automated trading systems because they are the most popular forms of trading today. Visit the official site at https://top10binarydemo.com/ to know more about any trading system of your choice and start trading right away.
A Song of Ilan tells the story of Ilan Frank and the woman he loves, Yedit, tells it over the course of a single transformative day, a day fractured over three versions of reality. It’s a day on which the specters of Ilan’s military service during the first Intifada, his increasingly uncertain old on Yedit, and his resurgent crisis of faith finally crescendo to undo his comfortable life as a financial advisor in New York City.
THE PAST: Ilan, an Israeli Jew raised moderately Orthodox in the US, had returned to Israel for his mandatory three years of service in the Israeli army early during first Intifada. While off-duty, waiting for his fiancé to join him at a sidewalk café in Tel Aviv, Ilan realized that the unseasonably baggy coat worn by the woman approaching concealed a suicide bomb. He shot her, preventing the bombing. And yet, though it’s the most justifiable shooting imaginable, a life-saving killing, Ilan can’t accept having killed. Unable to reconcile his status as a minor hero with his guilt, he returns to the US, where he exchanges faith, heritage and identity for as much risk as he can: in a job on Wall Street, in the mountains with his best friend, Louis, an Indian veteran of Himalayan fighting in Kashmir, and in the city’s bars’ booze and singles.
YEDIT: An Israeli orphan adopted by American parents, Yedit writes academic translations of the Psalms, translations that reveal their wonder and their sarcasm. She composes, and her act of composition woos and wins Ilan. And when she finishes composing and publishes, her book removes her from him, offering its scintillating heresy in exchange.
FAITH: Yedit’s translations, and the original Hebrew of the Pslams viewed through those translations, hound Ilan, torment him and prove to him that a crisis of faith suppressed is not a crisis of faith erased. As Ilan loses control of his thoughts’ directions, he increasingly realizes, to his horror, that his relationship to God and to Ilan’s own peace, lies in the blood pooling beneath the Palestinian woman he shot so long ago in Tel Aviv.

Blue Bustard

Blue Bustard Books is a new Jaded Ibis Press series publishing novellas by 2 different authors in 1 beautifully illustrated print and ebook. Each novella is also available individually as black & white paperback. Series Editor: Debra Di Blasi

JUST PUBLISHED!

Each novella is also available individually, in black-and-white only.  (see below)

FUR-PLEIADES-COVER-sm

 

Coming Fall 2015

FORGET-GRAVIPAUSE-PLACEHOLDER

 

Women Born with Fur

by Beth Couture

“An intoxicating book and brew.”

–Frederick Barthelme

Out from the Pleiades

by Leslie McGrath

 “a rollicking, raucous, new myth”

—Susanne Antonetta

Forget You Must Remember

by Nathan Hansen

“Powerful stuff. A clear and strong voice to be reckoned with.”

—Dan Fante

Greetings from Gravipause

by Brian Bradford

Devouring the Green

Sam Witt was born in Wimbledon, England and lived there until the age of seven, at which time his family moved to America, where they lived in North Carolina and then Virginia. After graduation from the University of Virginia and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Witt lived and worked as a free-lance journalist in San Francisco for several years, publishing in such magazines as Computerworld, the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon and Wired. Sam’s first book of poetry, Everlasting Quail,won the Katherine Bakeless Nason First Book Prize in 2000, sponsored by Breadloaf, and was published by UPNE the following year, at which time he received a Fulbright Fellowship to live and write in Saint Petersburg, Russia for a year. Witt has participated in poetry festivals at Druskininkai and Vilnius at the invitation of the Lithuanian government. He has been a resident at the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference and at Yaddo, and his poems have been published in the Virginia Quarterly, Harvard Review, Georgia Review, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, Fence, New England Review, Boston Review and Pleiades among other journals, and in the anthologies The New Young American Poets and The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries. His poems have been awarded the following awards: The Red Hen Press Poetry Award for 2013; the Meridian Editors’ Poetry Prize, the Briar Cliff Review Poetry Prize, and the Cultural Center of Cape Cod National Poetry Award for 2008; the American Literary Review Poetry Prize for 2001; and the New Millenium Writing Award for 1999. He has taught at Harvard University, Whitman College, and is currently on faculty in the English Department of Framingham State University, and since 2010, has served as Poetry Editor of Jaded Ibis Press.  His second book, Sunflower Brother, won the Cleveland State University Press Open Book competition for 2006, and was published in 2007.  His website address is www.samwittpoetry.com and you can follow him on twitter here: @sambrownwitt.

Devouring the Green Books

Coming Late Fall 2014

DEVOURING-COVER-02

Anthology of new writing, coming late fall 2014.

“During this century, we’ll see that more and more people will start using technology as part of the body in order to perceive more and to extend senses.One example of technology overtaking our lives is the growth of automated trading systems like the Bitcoin Society App about which you can read at https://cybermentors.org.uk/bitcoin-society-app-scam-full-review/. Once you understand how these automated systems work and sieve the fake from the real you will be able to use them to generate profits just like We’ll be better able to understand who we are and in which world we live in.” 
—Neil Harbisson, cofounder of the Cyborg Foundation, an international organization that helps humans become cyborgs and defend cyborg rights.  (Harbisson is the first person officially recognized as a cyborg: His passport photo includes his cyborg-seeing device.)  [see:  http://vimeo.com/51920182]

DEVOURING THE GREEN:

Fear of a Human Planet

a cyborg / eco poetry anthology

edited by Sam Witt

with contributions by 77 renowned writers (listed below) and

art by Christopher Arabadjis

ABOUT THIS BOOK

The inspiration for DEVOURING THE GREEN anthology arose from the editor’s and publisher’s own investigations into new technologies and ecological disaster as it relates to the art of language. We invited a diversity of writers to submit poems addressing the ecological, technical and spiritual.

Jaded Ibis Press searches for provocative poetry that maintains a thread to the past while exploring concerns related to human sentience in an increasingly non-sentient world. To this end, DEVOURING THE GREEN anthology of cyborg/eco-poetry questions the increasingly porous border between the world of machines and the world of nature.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Now that the first Homo sapiens has received an ‘official’ cyborg classification, have we stepped beyond the cusp of a transhumanized planet? [see: http://youtu.be/7EnyR2Bcxnw ]
  • Are the ecological and technological transformations that are altering humans and our biospheres already converging into a singularity — a virtual and potentially literal tidal wave that will assure Homo sapiens extinction? [see: http://youtu.be/LTPAQIvJ_1M ]
  • Have we entered a bizarre present-tense in which technological innovation and evolution is ghosted by a dark ecological shadow?  [see:  http://youtu.be/zPOfmVEFylA ]
  • Are we past the tipping point, environmentally, as our machines race past our ability and willingness to account for the damage they do to natural ecosystems? [see: http://youtu.be/fWInyaMWBY8 and: http://youtu.be/D-UjEaCoVVU ]
  • Has the human ape forever abandoned nature and a comprehensive understanding of its relationship to our intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual selves?
  • If the transhuman world were to speak in human language, what would its poetry sound like?
  • If a carbon-based species were to plead to a silicon species, what might its lamentation beget?
  • How is the transhuman tidal shift altering culture and politics?
  • Is there a discernible drift toward language that exacerbates our impending extinction?
  • What role does/can poetry play in discussing these questions?

Amanda Montei

Amanda Montei holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, and is currently a PhD student at SUNY at Buffalo, where she is a Presidential Fellow. She has taught, performed or presented work in Los Angeles, New York, Uganda, Rwanda and Germany. She is currently the co-editor of Bon Aire Projects, a press that publishes collaborative poetry and connects otherwise divergent aesthetic communities. She also edits the literary journal P-QUEUE. Her poetry and fiction has appeared in P-QUEUE, Gigantic, Pinwheel, Joyland, Explosion Proof MagazineDelirious HemPANK, Night Train and others. Her critical writing has appeared in American Book Review, Performing Ethos, Harriet: The BlogPAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, and Ms. Magazine.Her short story “We Are All Animals” was a nominee for the 2010 Million Writers’ Award. Her poetry manuscript The Failure Age was a semi-finalist for the 11th annual Slope Editions Book Prize, and was published as a chapbook by Bloof Books in 2014. She is the co-author, with Jon Rutzmoser, of Dinner Poems. She is also a contributor to the Ms. Magazine blog.

Amanda Montei Books

Coming Fall 2014

 

Two Memoirs

a biography + art

by Amanda Montei

 

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

As a young girl, the narrator of Two Memoirs finds herself imitating her mother. She fastens to her mother’s stories about childhood and the family’s blue blood lineage. When her parents divorce, and the family is forced to leave behind their elite Los Angeles life, the narrator and her mother grow closer, as they endure financial struggles, a childhood acting career, and feuds over family inheritances. The narrator becomes increasingly aware of her mother’s relationships with men, money, and Hollywood, and begins to see her mother—the daughter of an alcoholic Hollywood producer, a runaway, a twin sister, and an Emmy-winning assistant to Barbara Streisand— and her stories in a new light. Her mother, however, makes repeated incursions on the text, defending her “ugly” behavior, challenging the veracity of the story, even censoring the text.

What emerges is narrative about growing up in a family for whom story-telling, Hollywood, houses, and eugenics-obsessed ancestors like Aaron Burr and Jonathan Edwards provide the only means of escape from a less than perfect past, and an unusually troubled present. This is a story of a girl, and a mother, learning about motherhood, sexuality, and the instability of memory.

Two Memoirs is a biography of a mother, an autobiography of a daughter, a story about being a girl in Los Angeles—but also a conversation, an argument, an elegy, a letter, a manuscript at an impasse, and a search for an archive of memory that can never be found.

Jane Rosenberg LaForge

Jane Rosenberg LaForge was born in Los Angeles and raised in the suburb of Laurel Canyon, where she attempted to rub shoulders with the hip and famous. Though she was not successful in that endeavor, she rode horses, took ballet lessons, participated in the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, and graduated from Hollywood High School. After finishing her bachelor’s at UCLA, she worked as a journalist in California, Maryland, and upstate New York. She studied writing in the Kate Braverman workshops of the early 1990s in Los Angeles before attending the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. At UMass, she was a Delaney Fellow and a researcher for two of Jay Neugeboren’s books on the public health system, Transforming Madness and Open Heart. Since earning her MFA, she has taught college reading, composition, and literature part-time in the New York metropolitan area; published critical articles on African-American literature; and four volumes of poetry: After Voices (Burning River 2009); Half-Life (Big Table Publishing Co. 2010); With Apologies to Mick Jagger, Other Gods, and All Women (The Aldrich Press 2012); and The Navigation of Loss (Red Ochre Press 2012), one of three winners of the Red Ochre Press’ annual chapbook competition. She has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize (once for poetry, and once for fiction) and once for a StorySouth Million Writers Award. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Patrick, and their daughter, Eva.

Jane Rosenberg LaForge Books

An Unsuitable Princess

A True Fantasy | A Fantastical Memoir

Jane Rosenberg LaForge
Fine Art by Mary Ann Strandell
PRAISE for An Unsuitable Princess

“Jane Rosenberg LaForge’s An Unsuitable Princess is a daring combination of old-school storytelling and the true wit of the best of contemporary memoirists.  The first of these is a fairy tale about a young woman who cannot speak, while the second tells of the author’s awkward coming of age within the shadows of a disintegrating Hollywood neighborhood.  But it is when these two narratives prove themselves inescapably linked that the novel takes its most affecting turn.  ‘Tell me the story of your life,’’ the author’s daughter asks, and so the author does, with both hilarious and heartbreaking repercussions.  ‘Finally,’ the author writes, ‘I am famous.’”  –Michelle Hoover, author of The Quickening

“It’s two, two, two tales in one. On your left, a deftly told Early Modern horsey fantasy; on your right, an aching memoir of the authorial teenage Ren Faire trauma that begat the tale. Rosenberg LaForge has crafted a quirky and compelling new class of literary mashup.”  –Jess Winfield, co-founder, Reduced Shakespeare Co. and author of My Name is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs, and Shakespeare

“Rosenberg LaForge lays out her dreams and desires in this tender and heartbreakingly candid reinvention of memory. An Unsuitable Princess is an entirely original look at life, personal history, and one’s original hopes.”  –Kate Southwood, author of Falling to Earth

ABOUT THE BOOK

An Unsuitable Princess: A True Fantasy/A Fantastical Memoir tells two stories simultaneously. In the first, which takes place in Renaissance England, a mute stable girl of mysterious talents and potentially dangerous parentage finds herself punished for saving the life of the boy she loves. The second story, told through a series of footnotes to the first, is situated in the late 20th Century and explain the inspirations for the first story. An overly talkative, solidly spoiled, middle class girl muses on the social and economic phenomena the author observed while growing up in Hollywood during the birth of the hippie movement, the sexual revolution, women’s liberation, and the growth of Renaissance England re-enactments. She does not save the boy she thinks she loves. Indeed, she may have hastened his death. Even years later, the only way she can acknowledge this failure is by spinning an elaborate fantasy that becomes the tale of a wretched orphan who turns out to be a princess.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Douglas Hansen served the U.S. Army as an Arabic Linguist and Combat Flight Medic. While working as a feature writer and investigative journalist in the newspaper industry, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Currently, Hansen teaches World Literature, Classic Literature, Poetry, and Creative Writing at an at-risk boarding school located in Northern Arizona. He is a board member for Running River School, a Waldorf-based, nonprofit, parent cooperative, coordinating field trips for youth, working as a public relations officer, and writing grants. He has worked as a social worker, landscaper, bouncer, comedian, telemarketer, tour guide, bartender, waiter, coach, dorm advisor, and endless other professions, adding to his belief that living is what creates the best material for fiction. Hansen is the father of four and husband of one and lives in Sedona, Arizona.
Nathan Hansen Books
Coming Fall 2015
FORGET-PLACEHOLDER

Sold individually as illustrated color ebook, or…

FORGET-GRAVIPAUSE-PLACEHOLDER

…as a BW or illustrated color paperback, in tandem with Brian Bradford’s novella, Greetings from Gravipause.

Forget You Must Remember
a novella
by Nathan Hansen
art by Derek Miller
“Powerful stuff. A clear and strong voice to be reckoned with.”

—Dan Fante, author of Chump Change, Mooch, Spitting Off Tall Buildings, and Short Dog

ABOUT THE BOOK

The author of this autobiographical fiction spent five years with the U.S. Army followed by multiple stays in VA psychiatric units, all of which culminates in this experimental piece that sheds light on the ebb and flow of psychosis and the walls that seal it off in obscurity.

PRAISE

“Forget You Must Remember burns its way into our consciousness like the drugs and delusions that have scalded its narrator’s mind and soul. Gisick’s life is unextinguished by depression, paranoia, addiction, and the labyrinthic procedures of the ‘recovery’ process, but he is without hope or direction. Nate Hansen takes us to the center of chaos and leaves us there, looking out through warped, funhouse mirrors of insanity while science and the state look dispassionately inward – testing, treating, and analyzing a man whose enduring humanity is irrelevant to everyone except Gisick himself, and the readers who simply cannot forget him.”

—Steve Heller, author of What We Choose to Remember and The Automotive History of Lucky Kellerman, President, Board of Directors
Association of Writers & Writing Programs

“Nathan Hansen fully comprehends the depth of this journey. The understanding of mental illness and his compassion for and knowledge of it makes this story compelling.”

—Mariel Hemingway, Author, Actress, Health and Wellness Advocate

“ … in its idiosyncratic realized-metaphors, and object posings of the, perhaps, ultimate (institutionalists) subjective situation, Nathan Hansen’s fine piece of writing, here is, I think, important, and even reminds me of, say Kafka …”

—Dow Mossman, author of The Stones of Summer

A letter from Bret Potter, USA SFC (Ret.)

“Reading Forget You Must Remember for the first time was a bitter sweet experience. I’m both proud of and humbled by the courage it took for Nate to essentially bare his soul for the world to see. At the same time it’s an odd feeling reading a story for which many of the scenarios that will be seen by many as simply words on a page are excerpts from your life they are almost like the directory of cryptocurrencies which are mere numbers and hashes for the ignorant but for the users and the inventors they are part of their portfolio, a part of their daily existence. One can know more about them and how to trade with them at https://top10cryptorobots.com/crypto-robots/bitcoin-code/

For better or worse, my brotherly love of Nate instantly immersed me into a world of bi-polar disorder that I had only cursorily studied as a pre-hospital first responder. Nothing can adequately prepare you for the journey you take when it is personal and not just clinical. Most people have heard the expression of ‘hindsight being 20-20.’ Until you experience your own personal Keyser Söze type epiphany of retrospect, you can’t truly fathom the depths to which this disease pulls not only the one afflicted down with the force of an undertow, but also those closest to them.

Having just recently retired from 20 years of active duty service, I’ve witnessed firsthand our military’s current exodus from two battlefronts and the effects it has had in regards to mental health treatment. There are mental health care providers that are now expertly trained to the conditions of our current climate working tirelessly to heal those in need. Yet somehow it never seems to be enough for all. I’ve had far too many subsequent experiences with watching those that wrestle with the demons of mental illness, floundering in a system ill equipped for the sheer numbers of those in need. I’ve seen the all too familiar look in their eyes when they feel that they are alone, no matter the reassuring gestures or words they receive. To them simply trying to ‘feel better’ is a task akin to shoveling the ocean. Most days it’s as helpless of a feeling for us that love them looking in as it is to them looking out. Sometimes all you can do is figuratively grab a shovel, wade into the waters, and begin to work by their side.

Hopefully the following pages will reach the reader in the same ways it did me. Let this story be an inner voice of understanding from the perspective of those dealing with mental health issues. I want you to hear the words that go unspoken, understand the emotions that can’t be described. I want to pick up a shovel too.” – Bret Potter, USA SFC (Ret.)

My $40,000 Wedding

Lifetimes ago, I flirted with the idea of getting a master’s in social work. But I knew in my heart I was insanely bored by those “established” models and theories in thick, hardbound books: flow charts designed to explain away human behavior. I like observing oddballs, not trying to fix them. So, nah.

I then decided that if I ever took the master’s plunge, it would have to be in a creative field. This conclusion ate its own tail, because why pay out the nose for an advanced degree that doesn’t subsequently increase one’s value in the job market, right? (And didn’t I already learn that lesson with my undergraduate degree in theater performance?) So, nah.

Eventually, however, the fear of carrying a student loan was drowned out by a heart-scream, begging for a new chapter in my life. I applied to, and was accepted into the UCR Palm Desert low-residency program. I would get my MFA in Creative Writing.

I knew going in that I was trailing far behind the pack in terms of my reading resume. I had read no more than three real books in the past ten years, one of which was a “Big Book.”

But I figured there are two types of people who pursue MFA’s in writing: those who are inspired by the works of the masters, and those who just love to write shit down.

I was, of course, the latter. Even so, I still felt a bit inferior.

Anyone: Have you read…

Me: No.

Anyone: But I didn’t say which book.

Me: Well, if it’s not ‘The Road,’ by Cormac McCarthy, then the answer is ‘no.’ I haven’t read it.

But even more crippling than my embarrassingly small Goodreads profile was my incredibly thin skin. I could probably borrow several of the aforementioned “social models of human behavior” to get to the bottom of my extreme sensitivity, but, simply put, any criticism of my work sent me into a spiral of despair, which was then pounded even further by soul-sized waves of unworthiness.

What? That paragraph didn’t rock your universe? Fine. Doesn’t matter, anyway. Because I quit. (Again.)

While I commute back and forth with what needs to be done. I should have tried my hands on online trading of cryptocurrencies.  The automated trading robots are quite popular and the best among the lot is crypto VIP club. It offers a pathway to understand and learn about the digital currency.

I would then announce that writing wasn’t really my thing after all. Writing was just a red herring. My real destiny? Rock star.

Yep. I needed to surrender to a life of rock and roll.

Having course corrected, I would dig my electric guitar out of storage. Is this it? Nope. That’s my bass guitar. Well, the little bass. And there’s the big bass. And there’s The Acoustic. And there’s the Other Acoustic.

Ah. Found it! The Electric One. Much easier to play than The Acoustic. Tick, tock, Gledhill.

Unless… unless I really was supposed to be an actor, after all?

Well, I could ponder that while I looked for my connector thingy that went from my amp to my guitar.

I would make sure at least one of my three guitar tuners still worked. I could just duct tape the batteries into it, since none of them still had a lid to the battery casing. Oh, snap. This one isn’t even a guitar tuner. It’s a metronome! Good to know.

Then, while tuning my ax, I would remember that one of the reasons for my unsuccessful career in music (thus far) was that I had never owned a proper humidifier for The Acoustic. (The stoner guy who was teaching Guitar 2 at Old School Town of Folk Music was pri-tty mad that I didn’t have one.) I’ll go ahead and order one tonight on Amazon. Now is the time. Oh, and a guitar hook for the wall. So Bad Ass.

I would make a commitment to myself: No turning back, this time. I would finally learn to play the guitar, and give my Muse a voice with which to sing songs and say some stuff.

Well, I really only need to learn enough chords to birth the songs out of me. I’ll let real musicians have at them, once I get them on their feet.

G chord. C chord. G chord.

Hm. This sounds so good! It’s amazing what you can do with distortion pedals. Everyone makes it seem so hard, but then you take Guitar 2 at Old Town School of Folk Music and you realize that all the best songs are, like, four chords.

Hmmmm. Where is that folder with the Old Town sheet music, anyway? I loved playing that one Oasis song. The big hit. Where did that folder get to? I think it was manila…

And so it would go for a week. Or less. Inevitably, the rock star charade would end when I would catch a glimpse of my hands, and, once again, accept that God had stuck five toes onto the outer radius of my palms, where most people have fingers. And I would once again surrender to the fact that I would never be able to play all those chords in those books that people with real hands can play.

Anyway, guitar is hard. There’s math.

And once again, I would find myself in front of the glowing face of the Airbook, trying to remember what had sent me bouncing into that sizzling nutfarm where inmates tend to overgrown crops of Escapism, Procrastination, and Denial. How had I ended up there? Again?

And then: Oh yeah. Someone said my writing wasn’t perfect.

So, in September of 2011, I knuckled up to the task at hand: becoming the best writer I could possibly be. (Which, frankly, is every bit as hard as guitar. But at least, with writing, my fingers are long enough to type all the letters. And there is almost no math.)

Then, two years into the two-and-a-half year MFA program, the miracle happened.

After six consecutive months of having my work publicly burned at the stake, my painfully thin skin melted off. I’m not even sure exactly when it happened, but my ego became a wispy pile of ash whirling into the corners of my apartment and then out the door. Tiny ego tumbleweeds rolling here and there, there and here, until it was (almost) all gone.

And underneath the rubble of self-flagellation I discovered a shiny nugget of truth:

It’s all good. And even when it’s not, it doesn’t matter, because I’m gonna do it anyway. I’m just always gonna write stuff. And if, someday, the criticism burns again, I am just gonna have to figure out a way to get through it. Because I’m never going to stop writing. Because I can’t.

Hence, the greatest gift of my MFA was the liberation of my creativity from the shackles of my own ego. That alone will be worth the monthly stab of a student loan payment.

As I see it, $40,000 (pre-interest) was the cost of my first wedding. I am in love, and ready to take the plunge. I am committed to sharing my life with the blank page, for better or for worse, ‘til death do us part.

J.A. works, naps, and watches her Roku in Chicago, IL. She writes for ChicagoNow.com under the slightly misleading moniker “Old Single Mom.” She damn near has her MFA from UCR Palm Desert’s low-res program, and lives with a 5 year old son who would prefer that she only use the term “dynamite,” to describe him. J.A. is currently working on “The Branson Novel,” but so what, right? Everyone is working on something, man.

Catalog

Download a pdf of our 2014-2015 Catalog

CATALOG-PAGES-1-3-1 If Adobe tries to block
the download,

just click “TRUST”
and the pdf

will download.

JANICE LEE

Original art by Janice Lee
Original music by Resident Anti-Hero

 

While you patiently wait for the catalogue and the book to be read, you can take some time out and explore the world of cryptocurrencies.  First you need to understand about the benefits in trading bitcoins. Once you get to know more about it, you will be hooked to it.

The biggest benefit of trading in bitcoin is that it offers complete security.  The trader does not have to give away his credit card or bank details to withdraw or deposit money when you are dealing in bitcoin transactions. Especially if you are trading with foreign brokers, this is a big benefit with regard to financial security and the cost.

Another advantage of bitcoin trading is that the cost of trading is quite low. Most of the online brokerage firms have kept the cost low in order to attract new clients as still it is  a new segment.  In addition to this, the traders only have to deposit a nominal amount to start with.  However, do check all the brokerage firms come under the authorized regulatory.

Speaking of benefits, another benefit of online trading is that anyone from any field is welcome to the market to trade and there are no restrictions. If you are worried that you don’t possess adequate knowledge with regard to trading of digital currencies, then you can relax as there are many automated highly sophisticated software’s available which can conduct the transactions on your behalf.  They have been created solely to help the ordinary people to earn money and be rich.  You can choose the crypto code software as they are the best in the industry.  All the users have good things to talk about it.

Last but not the least, another benefit of trading bitcoin is that there are no global boundaries.  If you use the bitcoins, the brokerage firm in Africa can transact with a firm in UK.  If the broker and trader are willing to conduct business around the globe, then the geographical boundaries are not a concern. The best part is that this market works 24/7, hence the time zone of different countries or continents doesn’t make any difference.  Be it day or night, the transactions can be carried out at any moment of time.  Now coming back to the books, play and its reviews,

ANNA JOY SPRINGER 

Original art by Shelly Jackson, Kristie Fleming, Rachel Carns, Belden Sezen, Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens (Love Art Lab),

Rosetta Ballew-Jennings

Rosetta J. Ballew-Jennings is most at ease amidst the moxie of old houses and cemeteries.  She is fond of home concoctions and remedies, half-begun projects, and made-for-television movies.  Her MFA is from Texas State University, and she currently lives in historic Saint Joseph, Missouri.  This is her debut poetry collection.

Rosetta Ballew-Jennings Books

ROOM-cover-bw-webList Price: $16.00
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White Bleed on Cream paper
86 pages
Jaded Ibis Press
ISBN-13: 978-1937543402
ISBN-10: 1937543404
BISAC: Poetry / General

Is The Room Cover

List Price: $32.00
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Full Color Bleed on White paper
Art by Grace Roselli
94 pages
Jaded Ibis Press
ISBN-13: 978-1937543396
ISBN-10: 1937543390
BISAC: Poetry / General

 

Is the room

debut poetry collection

with art by Grace Roselli

“These rich, spare poems are here to remind us that we are mistaken, thinking so rarely of transformations, and when we do, in thinking mostly of the ends of them. Is the room places us in contact with transformation as action, where with this book’s speaker, we come alive to domestic and sentient processes rife with illusion, breakings up and down, passing, being passed, hiddenness, exposure, signs, the failure of signs, waiting, glimpses, dismantling, joy. Rosetta Ballew-Jennings shares Jean Valentine’s love of silences (deep listening is there), but these poems are completely her own, and with this stunning debut collection, ours.
—Kathleen Peirce, poet, The Ardors and The Oval Hour

“In this debut collection Rosetta Bellew-Jennings brings an unflinching attention and a strong voice to the conversation. The crux of this collection of poems comes with a  lot of good memories for each of us. The phrases and situations take us to an all-new experience one which is very special and close to our hearts. Read More Here to know how you can procure the book for yourself. The site of crisis is interior — both inside the house and the that which we must go through alone. In many ways readers are housebound voyeurs, but in the end it’s really us we’re watching in these mirrored walls. Built on fragments that are both elegant and focused, Is The Room draws our attention to the isolation of looking, and the clarity of ‘[s]omething I cannot find.’”
—John Gallaher, poet, Your Father on the Train of Ghosts and Map of the Folded World

“Ballew-Jennings’ poems have us question the nature of relationship and life as people move in and out of our lives, and us across time. If the origin of the word haunt is to pull, claim, to lead home, then Is the Room is a collection of poems that both haunts the reader and feels haunted itself.  Through her mysterious and lovely collection, the poet reveals the boundaries between what/who we know and what/who we think we know, and the variety of separations, however arbitrary, that exist between them/us. Ballew-Jennings leads us, pulls us toward a home that dwells in our collective memories.
—Stacy Christie, writer; editor at Hothouse

“Rosetta Ballew-Jennings’s poems are alive and intelligent. Their deliberate, sometimes disorienting syntax takes us on a multilayered journey through rooms, doors, hallways and windows. The physical as well as the emotional space within the poems is haunted, and everywhere we question what we see, for we witness people and colors ‘change back and forth’ and ‘you may not be/ the you of here.’ Ultimately, this book is about love, a story ‘about something/ you would underline twice.’”
—Katerina Stoykova-Klemer, Senior Editor, Accents Publishing

“Is the room makes poetry out of dream logic and uncertainty, whether it’s a location only specified as ‘left of where you are’ or a phone message from a woman who can’t say why she’s calling. Rosetta Ballew-Jennings’ writing explores stark and disconcerting fragments of a domestic life where even household doors and halls don’t fit together quite right, and where a conversation about cereal and milk shifts abruptly to “I don’t love you, / or something like that.” With mysterious lyricism and echoes of Jean Valentine, this book heeds the author’s plea and applies it to the reader: ‘Please do not forget / what I am afraid of.’”
— Steven Schroeder, poet, Turn and Only Gifts Changing Hands

The Art of the Overshare

Seth-Fischer by Seth Fischer
How many of you want to hear me talk about poop?Don’t worry. I’m not going to talk about poop.

My sister, though — she talks about poop. In fact, when she’s about to start dating a guy, she gives them a litmus test. She says, “I poop. Do you have a problem with that?” If they get weird, she walks.

Out of respect for the Internet, I’ll use Urban Dictionary: an overshare is “way too much information given about (usually personal) subject matter.”

Their example?

“Did I ever tell you how you were conceived? No, mom, that’s an overshare.“

It’s a hard example to argue with. Neither Mom nor kid benefits much from sharing that information, so it’s just kind of a shitty thing to say, if all it does is make the kid uncomfortable. But we don’t have the full context, either; there could be a very important reason for mom to be telling that story, like how her and dad’s tryst in a nuclear storage facility explains the kid’s telekinetic powers. Or the kid might be struggling with her sexuality, and this is a way, however misguided, of the mom trying to reach out. Or the kid might be bullying her mom about her sexuality post divorce, and this is the mom’s way of fighting back. Without context, we don’t know anything.

In other words, accusing someone of oversharing is like saying, “It is what it is.” It’s just another way to silence people before figuring out what they’re really trying to say.

As a writer and teacher of personal narrative, what interests me isn’t so much what an overshare is. I want to know who gets to decide what “way too much information” is.

My knee-jerk thought is that these deciders are assholes, and they sit in a brightly lit corporate boardroom gesturing at charts, their lunches fully catered, drinking brandy-spiked coffee. Or, as is usually the case when I picture assholes in boardrooms, the guilty party lies within.

The most powerful personal essay writing challenges these assholes inside us. And almost always, whether you want it to or not, this is when the writing becomes political. The LGBT rights movement, for example, was and is accused of oversharing, and it’s been personal stories, more than anything else, that’s led to its success. Survivors of sexual abuse are told not to talk about their experiences, but sometimes, when they do, the results can be inspiring, healing and cathartic for everyone. I’d venture that these experiences should be shared, and widely, as long as the storytellers are aware of the risks of telling their stories.

Now, there are a lot of ways to screw up the telling of a risky personal narrative. But they all seem to point to its inherent danger: the ill-considered overshare makes the author appear the asshole because it fails to provide the full context and because it makes people uncomfortable without purpose. In a sense, in the writing of personal narrative, there is rarely such thing as an overshare. There is only an undershare.

My sister also has a girl power bracelet she makes her potential boyfriends see. She knows who she is. She knows what she wants. She knows, sadly, that the cards are stacked against women in many ways, but that if she pushes the right buttons, she might scare the wrong people away or even motivate the right people to think of women in healthier ways. Her oversharing is subversive, and it is awesome.

Is that our job as writers? Is that our job as writing teachers? I think it is. I see my job as helping myself and my students to grow, not just as writers but as people and activists and citizens. I want to create a safe place to explore, but I want it to be clear that the world doesn’t necessarily have our best interests at heart. In the era of social media, personal narrative writing should be required for every freshman, because that’s what they do, what I do, too, all day, every day. A particularly popular Facebook post is likely to reach a hundred times more people than a personal essays published in a small literary magazine.

Yet we ignore this, and this is how we think about the way we tell our stories: “Be careful what you put out there! Don’t overshare! Employers might find that! No one wants to hear about your sex life! Just stop it!” This tactic, if I had to guess, works about as well as abstinence programs.

What if we worked, though, to talk about ourselves intelligently? Can we talk about ourselves in ways that make us better citizens, writers and people? Can we train our students and ourselves to be able to see ourselves from the outside?

Have you ever heard the phrase “throwing shade?” It’s when someone talks shit, but all this does is make it immediately apparent to everyone else what their weaknesses are.

Here’s a somewhat shameful example of this: I moved to LA a couple years ago, and like many people, I’ve struggled here. One day, I posted an obnoxious article from Vice Magazine trashing LA, saying, “I can’t argue with a word of this.” The article said things like, “Everyone is scared of Scientology” and “There are broken dreams everywhere you look.” It was stupid and clichéd. My LA friends were not amused. I backtracked and didn’t at the same time. I complained about working too hard for not enough money. I said, “I am having an LA-is-treating-me-like-a-worthless-piece-of-shit week. I kind of want to punch it in the nose. Can I punch a whole city in the nose?” My ex-girlfriend, who’s from Glendale, called me out, accused me of throwing shade.

I took a step back and looked at the post again. What if I were reading this in a novel? What if a fictional character had written this post? Well, the character would look like a failing writer having a temper tantrum; a man who thought himself more important than the millions he shares a city with; a man who, like so many people before him, couldn’t hack it in Los Angeles. What I’d done is failed to do what creative nonfiction writers have to be able to do — see myself from the outside. If I had voiced my frustration in a way that showed my full situation and with more awareness, I might have had people offering me work. Instead, I got attacked.

And this is the real trick of successfully oversharing: You have to be able to embody your less than perfect emotional states, but you have to be able to do that with clarity, precision, and self-awareness. You have to be able to simultaneously have a temper tantrum with the you-the-character-from-the-past and get across that you-the-narrator-in-the-present are able to access those emotions but still reflect on them.

You should be able to have a control on your emotions. If you are not able to do so and do not trust them, then you need to work on it. If you have plans in trading online currencies, then better use the service of bitcoin code as it keeps emotions apart and conducts transactions.

Here’s a solution I encourage my students to use: do a character sketch of yourself. Answer a series of 20 questions about yourself that you would ask a fiction writer to answer about their characters. It helps you to see yourself more objectively.

I teach students the difference between the character they’re writing about who is usually a persona of themselves from the past, and the narrator, which is usually a persona of themselves from the present. They have to answer questions about both personas — the character and the narrator.

They usually hate it more than anything, but it works.

 

A draft of this essay was presented at the 2013 conference of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association.

Seth Fischer’s writing has appeared in Best Sex Writing 2013, Buzzfeed, Pank, Guernica, and elsewhere. His essay “Notes From a Unicorn” was named a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2013. He is a contributor and former editor at The Rumpus. He teaches at Antioch University Los Angeles and Writing Workshops Los Angeles and is a Jentel Arts Residency Program fellow.