We saw it painted orange and filling with smoke. The walls upended and rode
gravity to the earth— the people followed suit.
They lifted their hands
to fan the smoke but drowning the fire
wasn’t in the cards. We tried to brace
on our backs, we tried to lay the bricks
again. The broken men
became ghosts and buried
their own bodies. We left
the rubble behind. We washed our hands of it.
Haiku was never my strong-suit. It never had to be. Five syllables, then seven syllables, then five syllables have a Zen quality about it. I would like to tell you I wrote the poem, but I didn’t. Not in the normal sense. What I did was collect the words already suspended in the ether and arrange them in a pattern acceptable to the reader. No pen or paper. Neither a dictionary nor thesaurus. None of the trappings of my previous life held me a vassal to its servitude. I have moved beyond jurisdiction itself. I now dwell between the perceptible; in regions both reclusive and sequestered. I have yet to make the acquaintance of a fellow wayfarer, but I will; for the road here is too vast for solo excursions.
My current condition was not born of conspiracy or chance. There was a reason; I have yet to identify its source. …
Since 1997, B. Lynn Goodwin‘s Writer Advice has grown from a newsletter for writers into an e-zine that invites reader participation through quality fiction, memoirs, interviews, reviews, and articles reaching readers around the globe. She has also written You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers (Tate Publishing), Talent (Eternal Press), and Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62(Koehler Books). She’s won The Literary Lightbox Award, the Bronze Medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, and was short-listed for a Sarton Women’s Book Award. Goodwin has appeared in Small Press Review; Dramatics Magazine; The Sun; Caregiver Village; Good Housekeeping.com; and elsewhere. She’s a reviewer and teacher at Story Circle Network, as well as manuscript coach at Writer Advice.
Susan Wittig Albert, Ph.D., author of Loving Eleanor and The General’s Women, described Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 as: “A vivid, engaging, and heart-warming tribute to that rare and wonderful thing: a late-in-life love.” Likewise, Aline Soules, author of Meditation on Woman, and Evening Sun, said it is “A book filled with grace and charm.” This new memoir is completely different from your last book, Talent, which got raves as a Young Adult book. …
We’re born with a finite number of opportunities. Attrition, bad choices, misspent goodwill, and fucked-up luck. The opportunities dwindle through a process called living. Our portfolio of prospects turns into a tattered novel of outcomes. I am twenty-two.
Thus opens Where Night Stops, the latest book from American writer Douglas Light, whose story collection, Girls of Trouble, won the 2010 Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction. (Also, his debut, East Fifth Bliss, was turned into the film Trouble with Bliss, which starred Michael C. Hall, Brie Larson, and Peter Fonda.) Filled with tense and intriguing situations, plenty of poignant and philosophical sentiments, and an assortment of colorful—if also slightly underdeveloped—characters, the novel is a captivating psychological drama whose relentless vibrancy and pace mostly makes up for its marginally opaque and repetitious core.
The tale revolves around a nameless young man whose childhood trauma (a car crash) leaves him orphaned and steers him towards destitute and aimless adulthood. That is, until (as the official synopsis reads) “Ray-Ray, an Iranian with a shadowy past . . . initiates him into a new life.” Specifically, he starts “fend[ing] for himself through carrying out clandestine drops for cash from an anonymous source”; while that’s all well and good at first, he eventually “finds himself targeted for death, but from whom or for what reason, he’s not sure.” It’s certainly an intriguing premise, and Light does a fine job of fulfilling its potential with a lot of visceral interactions, heartfelt realizations, relatable conflicts (both internal and external), and organizational creativity.…