Our grey Swiss building has ceiling moldings in the shape of flowers. These were white once. Before we immigrants took over most of its floors. The only natives who remain are very old. They have no children or pensions large enough to help them flee our foreign invasion. Like Madame Belet, who lives one floor down from us and gives me old, melted chocolates when I run errands for her. 
We children have one bedroom where we are twinned in each of the two narrow beds. We take turns sleeping on them because one of the mattresses hurts our backs. We have no pillows. The window is barred by a dry log nailed into place; the maimed forest’s testament to the impossibility of us growing tall. We are a curiosity to the Swiss boy who looks down on us from his balcony across the street when we lean out of the screenless window. His building, our only horizon, is white and clean and blocks our little sun. Like the highrises that took away abuela’s stars, back in Galicia. 

Read on for more of Eva Road White’s dispatch from Switzerland on navigating new worlds.
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Our grey Swiss building has ceiling moldings in the shape of flowers. These were white once. Before we immigrants took over most of its floors. The only natives who remain are very old. They have no children or pensions large enough to help them flee our foreign invasion. Like Madame Belet, who lives one floor down from us and gives me old, melted chocolates when I run errands for her. 


We children have one bedroom where we are twinned in each of the two narrow beds. We take turns sleeping on them because one of the mattresses hurts our backs. We have no pillows. The window is barred by a dry log nailed into place; the maimed forest’s testament to the impossibility of us growing tall. We are a curiosity to the Swiss boy who looks down on us from his balcony across the street when we lean out of the screenless window. His building, our only horizon, is white and clean and blocks our little sun. Like the highrises that took away abuela’s stars, back in Galicia. 

Read on for more of Eva Road White’s dispatch from Switzerland on navigating new worlds.

   

Tags: #Lausanne #Switzerland #dispatches #immigration #emigration #Eva Road White


 

Number two on Kurt Vonnegut’s famous eight-item to-do list for fiction writers is: “Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.” But not too much, one might add. Smith Henderson strikes the balance between likeable and unlikeable admirably in the protagonist of his debut novel Fourth of July Creek. Set in rural Montana, the novel follows Pete Snow, a social worker who rescues children from abusive and dysfunctional families. We like Pete. He gets kids out of dangerous houses with drug-dealing parents, as seen in the novel’s opening scene in which Pete responds to a domestic dispute between one of his clients, teenage Cecil, and his speed-addicted mother—Cecil’s on the roof of the house, Mom’s shooting at him with a pellet gun. Pete knows that this is noble work without being self-righteous about it. He’s funny. When the officer tells Pete that Cecil knocked himself out running into the tailgate of a pickup truck, Pete’s sole response is, “I imagine that was satisfying.” But as the novel progress, we begin to dislike him, too. He slugs Cecil in the stomach. He admits to alcoholism but does nothing about it. We’re not talking about quiet tippling here. He drinks himself into violence, punching out his own car windows on one occasion, then blacks out. He can be a bit of a misogynist.

Read on for more “bleakness swirled with brilliant hope” as James Dickson reviews Smith Henderson’s Fourth of July Creek.
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Number two on Kurt Vonnegut’s famous eight-item to-do list for fiction writers is: “Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.” But not too much, one might add. Smith Henderson strikes the balance between likeable and unlikeable admirably in the protagonist of his debut novel Fourth of July Creek. Set in rural Montana, the novel follows Pete Snow, a social worker who rescues children from abusive and dysfunctional families. We like Pete. He gets kids out of dangerous houses with drug-dealing parents, as seen in the novel’s opening scene in which Pete responds to a domestic dispute between one of his clients, teenage Cecil, and his speed-addicted mother—Cecil’s on the roof of the house, Mom’s shooting at him with a pellet gun. Pete knows that this is noble work without being self-righteous about it. He’s funny. When the officer tells Pete that Cecil knocked himself out running into the tailgate of a pickup truck, Pete’s sole response is, “I imagine that was satisfying.” But as the novel progress, we begin to dislike him, too. He slugs Cecil in the stomach. He admits to alcoholism but does nothing about it. We’re not talking about quiet tippling here. He drinks himself into violence, punching out his own car windows on one occasion, then blacks out. He can be a bit of a misogynist.

Read on for more “bleakness swirled with brilliant hope” as James Dickson reviews Smith Henderson’s Fourth of July Creek.

   

Tags: #Smith Henderson #Montana #social work #alcoholism #Fourth of July Creek #novels #reviews #James Dickson


 

A man convinced some women of his need to be taken care of, for he thought his genius was too significant for certain of life’s details. Years were women. Each woman was smart and capable. He was neither. Each woman used her resources to help him to further his ambitions – putting her own second. Each woman woke up one day with wallet thinner and pussy emptier. Each woman showed him the door, a door that he saw as leading him to the fact of another woman. One day the man walked out of a door and instead of seeing a woman through it he saw a mirror and in the mirror was a frowning beast with white hair growing out of its nostrils, wearing a lovely shirt and vest, holding a suitcase with stickers displaying his wide travels. That’s not a woman, he seemed to say but did not—not out loud. He lit a candle and walked onward. There’s always somebody who can see the light around a shadow. 

"The Frowning Beast" by Amy Lawless, one of the poems by five new TC contributors showcased in our September Poetry Feature.
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A man convinced some women of his need to be taken care of, for he thought his genius was too significant for certain of life’s details. Years were women. Each woman was smart and capable. He was neither. Each woman used her resources to help him to further his ambitions – putting her own second. Each woman woke up one day with wallet thinner and pussy emptier. Each woman showed him the door, a door that he saw as leading him to the fact of another woman. One day the man walked out of a door and instead of seeing a woman through it he saw a mirror and in the mirror was a frowning beast with white hair growing out of its nostrils, wearing a lovely shirt and vest, holding a suitcase with stickers displaying his wide travels. That’s not a woman, he seemed to say but did not—not out loud. He lit a candle and walked onward. There’s always somebody who can see the light around a shadow. 

"The Frowning Beast" by Amy Lawless, one of the poems by five new TC contributors showcased in our September Poetry Feature.

   

Tags: #poetry #poetry feature #Amy Lawless #Nathaniel Bellows #Paul Kane #Sarah London #Cliff Forshaw


 
centerforfiction:

This past weekend at Brooklyn Book Festival, we had a “Write and Wear Your Best Short Story” writing contest, and this was the winning “Story On Your Sleeve”! We loved this and as for the seasonal drinks, we concur. 
The author, Olivia Wolfgang-Smith, won 2 tickets to our First Novel Fete and signed copies of all 7 of our shortlisted first novels. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth! 

Congratulations to Olivia, our Social Media Editor!

(Yes, that does mean that this is Olivia reblogging this. Shh. It’s not awkward unless we make it awkward.)
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centerforfiction:

This past weekend at Brooklyn Book Festival, we had a “Write and Wear Your Best Short Story” writing contest, and this was the winning “Story On Your Sleeve”! We loved this and as for the seasonal drinks, we concur. 

The author, Olivia Wolfgang-Smith, won 2 tickets to our First Novel Fete and signed copies of all 7 of our shortlisted first novels. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth! 

Congratulations to Olivia, our Social Media Editor!

(Yes, that does mean that this is Olivia reblogging this. Shh. It’s not awkward unless we make it awkward.)

   

Tags: #The Center for Fiction #repost #Olivia Wolfgang-Smith #the brooklyn book festival


 

We were staying on the Upper West Side, 15th floor, view of the Hudson. Two hawks nested on the fire escape outside our bedroom window, their baby hawk’s head popping out of its shell. The male was wary. Very. One day, X ray vision on, he stormed the window from afar, a bolt from the blue looming larger, nearer, yeeks! Shot skywards just shy of crashing into the window.
Our hosts, Dennis and Ginger, warned not to stick our hands out, or else. Every morning, the male brought back fresh kill. We spied on our neighbors: the little eyas, featherless, pink and bony, pieces of its shell sprinkled around the twigs, its mother keeping the nest warm, bending her neck to check us out, fierce dad ever on the lookout. We peeked at their meals, plump mouse belly adorned with fresh pigeon wing.

Read more of Elliot Silberberg’s tale of staying in New York City, feeling like “you’d just paid to look through the wrong end of a telescope,” magnificence and magnificent bluffing.
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We were staying on the Upper West Side, 15th floor, view of the Hudson. Two hawks nested on the fire escape outside our bedroom window, their baby hawk’s head popping out of its shell. The male was wary. Very. One day, X ray vision on, he stormed the window from afar, a bolt from the blue looming larger, nearer, yeeks! Shot skywards just shy of crashing into the window.

Our hosts, Dennis and Ginger, warned not to stick our hands out, or else. Every morning, the male brought back fresh kill. We spied on our neighbors: the little eyas, featherless, pink and bony, pieces of its shell sprinkled around the twigs, its mother keeping the nest warm, bending her neck to check us out, fierce dad ever on the lookout. We peeked at their meals, plump mouse belly adorned with fresh pigeon wing.

Read more of Elliot Silberberg’s tale of staying in New York City, feeling like “you’d just paid to look through the wrong end of a telescope,” magnificence and magnificent bluffing.

   

Tags: #New York City #Manhattan #hawks #Elliot Silberberg #New York #dispatches


 

The ending place is empty—nearly. I am writing this in the beginning place because it seems not quite right to start in a place that is ending.On the phone, completing the last of the cleaning, he describes to me the ending place. He is there and I am here. He describes the span of those walls (now spackled) in which we made our lives these past eight years. Walls from which we hung postcards and pictures, pieces of metal and lace, the mirrored shadowbox, the plaster cherub, all the instruments. There, where the doors were painted a sloppy garish teal long before our arrival, where the ‘beautiful hardwood floors’ finally gave up, splintered into thick spears. The EIK, table now gone, in which innumerable parties dwindled to their inevitable but elusive ends, linoleum peeling along its edge. But I am here, 100 miles west, two days in: surrounded by countless boxes, all the stuff, the anxious cats—on the cusp of the new, an expansive place—beginning.

Read on as Elizabeth Witte moves house, packing and unpacking her life.
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The ending place is empty—nearly. I am writing this in the beginning place because it seems not quite right to start in a place that is ending.

On the phone, completing the last of the cleaning, he describes to me the ending place. He is there and I am here. He describes the span of those walls (now spackled) in which we made our lives these past eight years. Walls from which we hung postcards and pictures, pieces of metal and lace, the mirrored shadowbox, the plaster cherub, all the instruments. There, where the doors were painted a sloppy garish teal long before our arrival, where the ‘beautiful hardwood floors’ finally gave up, splintered into thick spears. The EIK, table now gone, in which innumerable parties dwindled to their inevitable but elusive ends, linoleum peeling along its edge. But I am here, 100 miles west, two days in: surrounded by countless boxes, all the stuff, the anxious cats—on the cusp of the new, an expansive place—beginning.

Read on as Elizabeth Witte moves house, packing and unpacking her life.

   

Tags: #moving #creative nonfiction #essays #apartment hunting #Elizabeth Witte #in house