Six Word Saturday: Discovering Small Presses and Literary Magazines

The annual AWP Conference was held in Philadelphia this year. Self spent two days browsing the AWP Bookfair: she uncovered a whole treasure trove of quirky literary magazines and small presses.

Posting a sampling for Travel with Intent’s Six Word Saturday.

What It Was Like in Berlin, 1932

New book, started just today. It’s by a woman named Rebecca Donner, and the subject is her great-grandaunt, Mildred Harnack, who was married to a German, Arvid, whose fate is a family secret, because it was very bad: it seems she was imprisoned by Hitler and executed, and what family would want to talk about something like that?

Self only heard about Mildred Harnack from a book review in The Economist (August 2021). Self saved the review and now, finally, she holds in her hands All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler.

Mildred was from Wisconsin. She met Arvid when they were both students at the University of Wisconsin. In 1932, she was a part-time instructor at the University of Berlin, where she taught American Literary History.

It’s a good thing her great grandniece knows how to tell a story. She uses present tense, which hints that at least one of her goals is to make this story immersive: it’s not going to be a “Mildred did this, then Mildred did that” kind of thing. No, Rebecca’s actually going to put us in Berlin, which so happens to be a place self has visited, long ago, when she was invited to read from her book Mayor of the Roses by the House of World Culture. Just a few weeks ago, she was in Berlin again, this time April 1945 Berlin, through the eyes of Anonymous in A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City.

1932 Berlin is very different from 1945 Berlin (of course). Mildred would be two years dead by the time Anonymous began writing her diary (Self wonders if Anonymous would have heard of Mildred Harnack? Anonymous was a journalist, so in all probability she would have heard of Mildred’s arrest and execution). Here is Mildred walking through Berlin in 1932:

She reaches a wide boulevard: Unter den Linden. She turns right.

The boulevard takes its name from the profusion of linden trees flanking it, trees that are in full bloom now, cascades of tiny white blossoms perfuming the air she breathes. But all this beauty can’t mask the ugliness here. Swastikas are cropping up like daisies everywhere: on posters pasted to the walls of U-Bahn stations, on flags and banners and pamphlets. A white-haired, walrus-mustached man is leading the country right now, but just barely. President Paul von Hindenburg is eighty-four, tottering into senility. A politician half his age is growing in popularity, a high-school dropout named Adolf Hitler who, Mildred predicts, will bring “a great increase of misery and oppression.”

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, p. 16

Ghosts in the Mines

Superior’s retired miners talk about “tommyknockers,” phantoms they encountered in the mine. Sometimes it was just a sensation — something you felt on your body, or a presence nearby. A Magma miner named John Sixsmith told friends he saw white boots, walking around without a body.

— Chapter Six, Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West

What an unusual book this is. It’s a book about the Southwest, and a book about mines, and it also has artwork — very simple illustrations (by the author) of her interview subjects. Self finds the art (and the text) very moving. Self just found out that the author received a MacArthur “genius” grant. (Also, her copy is overdue at the Library. Please, nobody out her, she’s having to cope with so many things right now; she snatches reading time in between keeping herself awake with coffee and Coke)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Short Story of the Day: “Crocodile Teeth” by Donna Lee Miele

Nine more days till the Redwood City Library online reading for ms. aligned volume 3! (Thursday, Feb. 25, 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. PST) Much thanks to the library outreach staff, who gave us the slot and prepared beautiful flyers. And much thanks to series editor Pat Matsueda for coming up with the idea of a series focused on women writing about men.

Super-excited. Register here.

One of the readers on Feb. 25 is Donna Lee Miele. Self has just finished re-reading her fantastic story, “Crocodile Teeth.” From her Contributor Bio in ms. aligned 3:

  • Donna Lee Miele plays with characters, settings, and conflicts that evoke her mixed heritage and her parents’ experiences of war. While she also writes historical fiction, she finds greater freedom to explore (and greater fun) in stories with less concise settings, which was her intention with “Crocodile Teeth.”

An excerpt:

I was scared of Edward’s sister. After Edward’s parents got lost looking for work upriver, she took over their grandma’s house like she’d just been waiting for the chance. She bullied Edward, she bullied their grandma, and she even bullied the guys that started hanging around, who offered everything from repairs to the wornout old house to actual money for the chance to date her. They thought she’d be easy because she and Edward were orphans. She didn’t even pretend to be nice to them. She had a look so cold she could make the bag shrivel between your legs.

If you were one of those guys, and you tried to come up on her grandma’s veranda, she would stand on its edge, look down on you, and say something like, “Take yourself to the beach and remember me to your family,” meaning Last Beach, though even she wouldn’t say that right out. Last Beach is full of whores of every kind; and every one of them, of course, is someone’s family.

Editor’s Note, ms. aligned 3

There’s still almost an hour before the game begins, so self can squeeze in a few more things. Self’s quote of the day is from Rebecca Thomas, Editor of ms. aligned 3: women writing about men. (Published by El Leon Literary Arts of Berkeley and Manoa Books)

For the past nine years, I have been teaching composition at West Virginia University. I primarily teach freshmen, and one of their first papers is a narrative. In so many of the narratives, students — of all genders — explore issues connected to masculinity, in particular the effects of toxic masculinity. I receive papers about abusive relationships in high school, peer pressure to act a certain way, loneliness in emotionally connecting with peers, and the very real risk and fallout from coming out. My students are young, so it’s natural that they write about their childhood, the childhood moments where they begin to construct their identity. In our class discussions and in their reflections, I see so many grappling with the concept of masculinity. How did it shape their life? How will it shape their life as they journey into adulthood?

In this Me Too era, it’s hard not to think about masculinity and how it can be toxic. Working on a college campus, I know that many of my students have been assaulted. I know that many of them are trying to find the space to talk about it, and I know that many of them are starting to test the waters of self-acceptance, to see if it’s safe to be who they are. Since I am the mother of two young boys, toxic masculinity is something that I have to consider constantly: how do we raise our children in this environment? What conversations do I need to have with my kids?

Contributors to ms. aligned 3, and series editor Pat Matsueda, will be on-hand at an online event hosted by Redwood City Library. Register here.

Angela Nishimoto’s “Sex Education: A Tragicomedy, Part II” in ms aligned 3, edited by Rebecca Thomas

ms aligned 3 is a collaboration between El Léon Literary Arts (Berkeley, CA) and Manoa Books, Hawai’i. More information can be found here.

Upcoming Online Event: Redwood City Library Reading, Thursday, Feb. 25, 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Register here.

“Daniel attempted to lead me; I tried to lead him. We struggled. I pushed him on the shoulder; he pushed me back. I kicked him in the shin. Hunching, he grabbed my right hand in both of his and bit me hard.”

— Excerpt from Angela Nishimoto’s “Sex Education: A Tragicomedy, Part II” in ms aligned 3

Grace Loh Prasad’s “Teddy” in Ms Aligned 3

My whole life I’ve been a model of responsibility and good sense, and you know what? It’s not a recipe for joy. I follow the rules. I never eat more than half a bowl of rice because I’m diabetic, although lately I allow myself a small bowl of red bean soup, or a tiny piece of cheesecake, no bigger than two fingers. I deserve to live a little, don’t I?

— “Teddy” by Grace Loh Prasad, Ms Aligned 3, edited by Rebecca Thomas

Grace Loh Prasad was born in Taiwan and raised in New Jersey and Hong Kong before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College and is an alumna of the VONA Workshop for writers of color along with residencies at Hedgebrook and the Ragdale Foundation. Her piece, “Unfinished Translation,” is in the new issue of Khora.

Grace will be reading with contributors to Ms Aligned in an on-line event hosted by the Redwood City Library on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.

Online Reading for MsAligned 3, Hosted by Redwood City Library: Thursday, 25 February, 5:30 pm

Dear blog readers:

Here’s your chance to listen to some of the contributors to Ms Aligned 3: Women Writing About Men!

Online reading February 25 for the Redwood City Library, 5:30 p.m. – 6:45.

Here are just a few of the lovely authors who will be reading:

Pat Matsueda (Series Editor) * Lillian Howan * Donna Lee Miele * Angela Nishimoto * Cassandra Lane * Jill McCabe Johnson * Rachel King * Ryan Nicole Granados * Grace Loh Prasad

Story of the Day: Mr. Oh, by Caroline Kim

Son say:

When I grow up, I’m going to be David Letterman.

Daughter say:

I’m going to be an immigration lawyer.

Son now vice president in bank. Daughter immigration lawyer. They happy. I happy, of course. Make everything worth it. How come I depress?

— Story # 1 in The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories, by Caroline Kim

Sentence of the Day (from “Mr. Oh” by Caroline Kim)

Who say talking make life better?

from Mr. Oh, Story # 1 in The Prince of Mournful Thoughts: Stories, by Caroline Kim

Caroline Kim was born in South Korea. She has an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award, and an MA in fiction from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener Fellow.

« Older entries

Travel with Intent

A photographer's view of the world - words and images to inspire your travels and your dreams

A LONDON MISCELLANY

A look at the stranger side of the greatest city in the world

Bloganuary

The blogging challenge keep you motivated and start the new year on the "write" track!

Photos by Jez

Taking the camera for a walk!!!

Cath's Camera

life through my lens

The life of B

Mainly through the lens of a Nikon

myguiltypleasures

welcome to my past, present and future mixed with whatever pops up right now

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust & Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

InMyDirection

fiction, short story, writing, creative content

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog