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LISA POLISAR

When I was very young, my parents hired an elderly man to paint the tall ceiling in the entryway to our house. At that time in my life, I approached every grownup I met with the same relentless question, “Will you tell me a story?” And every time, this request was met with a pat on the head or some mundane tale of losing their car keys. To my surprise, the old man painting our foyer was the only one who ever got the gist of my request—to make up a story on the spot and transport me somewhere I’d never been before. He climbed down from his ladder and sat with me on the top stair, and began spinning the most exciting tale of a sailor in the Aegean sea—thus launching my lifelong journey as a fiction writer. I am a writer and musician living in Northern California. My most recent novel, The Ghost of Mary Prairie, was published in 2007, and a collection of short mystery fiction, Escape, was published in 2010. lisapolisar.com

ALISON GRIFA ISMAILI

I am a proud native of New Jersey, which I affectionately call The Dirty Jerz. I have spent most of my life teaching English in faraway places like Managua, Guayaquil, Rabat, the Bronx, and most recently Baton Rouge. I am the winner of the 2012 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition in the short story category. Some of my work has been published in 10,000 Tons of Black Ink and Dos Passos Review.

34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 20 1,000 JUDGMENTS COLLINS I AKI LULL, PATTERN, AND PURE ERIC BARNES WOOL STEVE CHRISTOPHER WITH YURI, ENLIGHTENED STEVEN GILLIS UNDER FIRE AND ICE MICHAEL MAHONEY TOMATOES LISA POLISAR PROTEST MEL REDDISH COVER IMAGE TIMEA KINGA SZÜCS

ERIC BARNES

I am the author of the novel Shimmer, an IndieNext Pick from Unbridled Books, and my dark story—but not particularly mysterious—Something Pretty, Something Beautiful was selected for Best American Mystery Stories 2011. I have had more than twenty short stories published in journals such as The Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, Raritan, and North Atlantic Review.

TIMEA KINGA SZÜCS

My grandfather was the town’s photographer and I inherited his passion for this art form, though, I must add, later than expected. I have these fragments of memories of when he was trying to explain to me—a 10-year-old—about exposure, focusing, and all these strange terms I had no interest in, while he was holding his Zenit camera with pride, or when he was developing the films and making blank paper gradually come to life. To him, an automatic camera was unworthy and a waste of effort and lack of quality and beauty, while to me, it was the quickest and easiest way to capture something, well, actually anything, by pressing a single button. Then at the age of 18 I finally saved enough money for a digital camera and I started to experiment with its manual settings. Since then, I have been constantly in search of new subjects, ideas, and challenges. timeasbits.tk

MEL REDDISH

I graduated with an MFA from American University in 2008. My work has appeared in Printer’s Devil Review, decomP, and Prick of the Spindle, among others. In addition to teaching composition and literature classes at Wor-Wic Community College, I am also the co-faculty editor of Echoes and Visions, our student literary publication. melissareddish.com

COLLINS I AKI

It was in a boring English Lit class when I first encountered Francis Bacon’s words, “I have taken all knowledge to be my province.” At that moment, I was convinced I had found my raison d’etre for taking up pen and pad. My concern wasn’t all of knowledge, like Bacon, but all of humanity and the way it expressed itself culturally. I found all of our cultural gestures and significations interrelated, our differences as only variations (not violations) of one great pot of human creativity, and therefore every location for cultural contribution exceedingly fascinating. I wanted to take all of our cultural gestures as “my province”. boonation.com

MICHAEL MAHONEY

To quote Wallace Stevens: “…what makes the poet a potent figure… is that he creates the world to which we turn incessantly without knowing it and that he gives to life the supreme fictions without which we are unable to conceive of it.” Simply put, I write poetry the way it was meant to be written and not tedious journal entries. My dream is to be the next Ernest Hemingway: writing masterpieces, traveling around Europe, attending bull fights, and spending my evenings in a Parisian bar surrounded by beautiful women. I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I’m working on my first novel.

STEVE CHRISTOPHER

I remember my father’s look when I announced that I was leaving my cushy airline pilot gig to go write country music. He had that “we were just starting to think you were normal” twist to his face. Then I said: Nashville’s the place I need to be. So here we are, in Music City USA. My wife Karen and I like to tell people we’ve been here since the turn of the century. I spent the last decade churning out perfectly crafted 3:30 songs. I was having the time of my life living the artist’s dream. Co-writing is an absolute blast and I managed to get a few minor song cuts along the way but deep down I knew that most of my stuff was completely devoid of anything real. I can’t imagine daVinci co-painting the Mona Lisa. That’s when I discovered poetry. A good poem can pack the same wallop as a great song only you don’t have the advantage of creating mood through music. Cloud10music@bellsouth.net

STEVEN GILLIS

I am the author of Walter Falls, The Weight of Nothing, Giraffes, Temporary People, and most recently The Law Of Strings, and The Consequence of Skating which won the 2010 Silver Medal for Literary Fiction in the IPPY Awards. I am a member of the Ann Arbor Book Festival Board of Directors, and the founder of 826michigan and publisher and co-founder of Dzanc Books. barkingman@aol.com

It is not only form or style that makes me write, but the discovery process of the inner self.
JOANNA JEANINE SCHMIDT 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 44
My mother and I have this special connection.
MARI CASEY 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 43
I tried to fix my head, hang out with people, stop writing for a bit.
POLINA SIMAKOVA AKA AGRIPPINA DOMANSKI 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 42
I am a writer because writing keeps me sane.
NATASHA NOAH 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 41
I write to stay alive, to feel human.
MILENA PETROVIC 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 40
As is frequently the case, I began this story with a vague concept: in this case a story about sex.
LIZ FYNE 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 39
Thoughts of gender, identity, and expectations. And Adrienne Rich poetry.
REBECCA DIMYAN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 38
The poems are about the competition, jealousy, frustration, friendship, loss, and joy that all bands experience.
JOE DE PATTA 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 37
When it all falls away we find ourselves still alive, and so we continue.
JOSHUA DULL 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 35
I’m an artist because it allows me to be free.
SHANNON MARIE KELLY 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 27
Words are the only tools that I even remotely know how to use.
MOURA MCGOVERN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 25
Most of my poetry deals with gang violence and the impact it has on someone's life.
KANISHKA LAMPKIN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 14
I write because I’m good at it. Sure, I dress up good too.
ETKIN CAMOGLU 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 30
I want to discover, to explore what I don’t know yet.
TANIA VERHELST 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 32
When music beat me up and threw me out of the car I began to write.
DAVE MORRISON 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 01
I like a poem that blows itself wide open at the end.
SUSAN WHITMORE 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 31
 THE 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE BY MARTIN CHIPPERFIELD 34THPARALLEL@GMAIL.COM