Monthly Archives: December 2014

AUTOMATIC WRITING

by Laurence Klavan

 

 April 12, 2014

From: Selwyn@gmail.com
To: Theauthorshole@gmail.com
Subject: Submission

Dear Editor, Attached please find  my short story, “The Last Will and Testament.” I hope you enjoy it.

Best, Selwyn Millerman

From:Theauthorshole@gmail.com
To: Selwyn@gmail.com
Re: Submission

Dear Writer, Thanks you for sending us your work. We appreciate every submission sent our way. Please allow three to four months for reply. Sincerely, Editor, The Author’s Hole

From: Selwyn@gmail.com
To: Theauthorshole@gmail.com
Automated Reply: Re: Re: Submission

Dear Friends, I am at the cabin and so away from email. Please understand if there’s a delay in my response. Hope you’re well. Best, Selwyn 

From:Theauthorshole@gmail.com
To: Selwyn@gmail.com and 978 others
Subject: New Issue!

Dear Friends, The new Author’s Hole is up and running. Click here for our themed “Otherness” Issue. Special discount for new subscribers. 

From: EllieMillerman@gmail.com
To: EllieMillerman@gmail.com
Bcc: 128 others
Subject: Selwyn

Dear Friends, Please join us for a celebration of Selwyn’s life. The cabin was always a peaceful place for him, despite his horrible last use of it. Directions are available below. Love and light to you all. Ellie. 

June 5, 2017

From:Theauthorshole@gmail.com
To: Selwyn@gmail.com
Re: Submission

Dear Writer, We’re very sorry to have kept your submission so unforgivably long. We understand if you’ve found another home for your piece, “The Last Will and Testament.” But if you haven’t, congratulations, we will be happy to publish it. Please read and sign the attached contract and return it at your earliest convenience. Sincerely, Editor, The Author’s Hole

From: Mail Delivery System
To: Theauthorshole@gmail.com
Subject: Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender

Attention: Your mail is being returned to you because there was a problem with its delivery. The email account you tried to reach, Selwyn@gmail.com, no longer exists. Sincerely, Gmail postmaster

 

– Laurence Klavan wrote the novels, “The Cutting Room” and “The Shooting Script,” which were published by Ballantine Books. He won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the novel, “Mrs. White,” written under a pseudonym. His graphic novels, “City of Spies” and “Brain Camp,” co-written with Susan Kim, were published by First Second Books at Macmillan and their Young Adult series, “Wasteland,” is currently being published by Harper Collins. His short story collection, “‘The Family Unit’ and Other Fantasies,” has just been published by Chizine. He received two Drama Desk nominations for the book and lyrics of “Bed and Sofa,” the musical produced by the Vineyard Theater in New York and the Finborough Theater in London in 2011. His one-act, “The Summer Sublet,” is included in Best American Short Plays 2000-2001.

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Cal Poly

by Michael Fertik

 

You’re bombing down from Palo Alto to LA for work, and you’re driving because you made the wrong choice, basically, but you could use the car time, for the privacy and quiet away from your 1,000 square foot apartment with your two tiny sons, and you say to yourself that you can make calls on the Bluetooth, though Sirius XM is just better than the phone backlog for the first couple hundred miles, and you pull off 101 when the email you’ve been waiting for comes in, because you want to respond but last week the Statie gave you a ticket for ‘manipulating your phone while driving.’ It’s happenstance, or it’s fate, or it doesn’t matter why, but the next exit you come to is the first ramp into San Louis Obispo, where a hundred years ago mom did a masters in psycholinguistics. Mom called it Cow College and Aggie School the ten or twenty times she mentioned it while she was alive. It wasn’t like it was a present episode in your upbringing. Something she mentioned on great occasion or when the family visited California and drove to see her friend Tops from back then who still lives in Santa Barbara. A chapter of a pre-life that doesn’t seem to have registered high on the arc’s importance scale. You’ve never been before. You pull onto the shoulder on the first street, and you notice the arrow pointing to ‘State College.’ Immediately you feel a slow and early warning agony. That’s the kind that comes when you know you’re going to do something you don’t want to do, because it’s the right thing but is so laden with baggage that you’re going to be depleted and in existential crisis in the coming 12 hours. It’s 60 days exactly since mom died, finally succumbing to a 20 year illness that first grim reaped your happiness when you were in high school. 60 days is like a mini yahrzeit, isn’t it? That feels important. You know as soon as you see that sign that you’re going to go looking for the campus. It’s not like an hour out of your way will make you miss any meetings in SoCal. That’s why you departed a day early, that’s why driving is the wrong choice. You put the car in gear and eyeball the 101 South ramp straight across the intersection, and then you peel right without signaling, which is definitely not your way. Good-looking blonde, carefree, California girls walking in groups in the other direction signal that the state college is close. You enter the grounds in your car without fanfare, which is what would obviously happen except in the mind of someone who is suddenly aware he is going back in time. What was your mom doing here? A dark-haired, anxious, Jewish girl born in Brooklyn and raised in the Five Towns, transplanted from Hunter College to the permanently sun-blanched Santa Lucia hills. You remember that the only thing she said about California when you were growing up was that she hated it, that everyone there was intellectually bereft and noncommittal. That made sense now, in a flash, after 3.5 decades of hearing it. She had been in the wrong part. You curve your way around the campus’s main artery at 5 m.p.h., trying to decipher which buildings would have been there when she was, what the college would have looked like when she had been a student. The thought breaches your mind that the buildings are all you have left of her. She must have been 22, 24, when she was here. She told you once that in hindsight psycholinguistics was exactly what her anal personality required her to study at the time. Where would one actually study anal-satisfying psycholinguistics on this campus, in this sun, with these good-looking Aggie girls? In which building? You drive past a series of recent sports team constructions and cheering posters with the galloping horse mascot plastered on the front. Had your mom been a Mustang? Had she realized she was one? Did she feel like one? Someone who so hated sports and did psycholinguistics in this environment? In your 35 years, you haven’t till now seen your mom in a place when she was younger than you are, frightened, exploring, navigating her arc and the world around her, feeling its bigness, its indeed infinite possibility but equally infinite personal impossibilities, the incongruities that you finally grow up enough to realize don’t fit. You pull over into a bike lane and crane your neck around to see if you just passed the psychology building. You wish it’s there, so you can see it, and you wish it’s the same as it was back then before you were born. Your eyes alight on the empty car seat on the passenger side behind you, where your 3.5 year old sits, and the rows and rows of tiny grasshopper stickers that he has plastered on the inside of his window. And I cry because I have never missed anyone so much.

 

– Michael Fertik lives in Palo Alto, California, where by day he is the CEO and Founder of Reputation.com. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Recent published fiction can be found in december, Litro, Eclectica, eFiction India, etc.. He recently wrote and produced a short film that can be seen at femtofilm.com. He can be found at @michaelfertik on Twitter.

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Rorschach

 

by William Yarbrough

 

He says: Dead people kissing. She says: Ant ribs in the sunroom. Little corpses I’ve dragged in from the yard. He says: See? She’s scared. She says: I am not. He says: Remember when we were at the lake house, and you wouldn’t jump in the water with me because you were too afraid of there being snakes at the bottom, even though I told you it was fine? She says: Henry was a baby. He says: My niece offered to watch him. He would have been fine. She says: What about Tuesday, when I found him on the porch? He says: Don’t act like you saved him. You just don’t want my parents knowing you smoke. She says: I quit during pregnancy. He says: I could still smell it on you. Those Pall Malls stink to hell. She says: It was your lighter he was playing with. He says: I had it in my pocket. She says: That’s not what I saw.

 

William Yarbrough is a writer of short fiction. He is 24 years old and lives in Paoli, Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in “Smokelong Quarterly”, “Right Hand Pointing,” “Squalorly,” and others. He can be reached at wyarbrough23@gmail.com, or by well-directed carrier pigeon.

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Study Abroad

 

by B.J. Best

 

I remember fondly the summer I spent in France as a surrealist wine taster. Naturally, we didn’t taste any wine. Instead, we wrote descriptions such as, ‘This ’87 Chablis blooms widows’ breasts’ or ‘Joe’s beau blazes no oboe’s Beaujolaises.’ Sometimes we wouldn’t write anything, but instead send the client the remnants of a motorcycle crushed by an elephant or three days in autumn. Although the French had their own masters to look to, one day the owners brought in a decrepit Salvador Dali as an outside consultant. His face was melting off, little puddles wherever he walked. I asked him how best to live. He said the purest life is sitting on the couch, watching TV, eating crackers.

 

B.J. Best is the author of three books, most recently But Our Princess Is in Another Castle, a collection of prose poems inspired by video games. I got off the train at Ash Lake, a verse novella, is forthcoming from sunnyoutside in 2015. Visit him online at bjbestpoet.wordpress.com.

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