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As a writer and a human being, I am still struggling to see what’s right in front of me.

TESSA POPPE

I like to write about relationships of all kinds and how people connect with others and the world around them, to find meaning in both the mundane and the absurd. Writing has been that one constant in my life that does not necessarily define me, but helps me define or attempt to define those things I struggle to understand. I write because it wakes me up. As a writer and a human being, I am still struggling to see what’s right in front of me, what I am missing or have missed all along, and to put words to that image or feeling, no matter how painful or obscure, to pin down its significance even if I never really come to any conclusion. I am currently working towards my Master’s degree in Security Studies at Georgetown University. I am a native of the Midwest, but I currently live in the DC metro area. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and English from the University of Iowa and I am a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where I served as a military police officer in the Army National Guard. I am new to getting published and thus far, some of my work has been published in 0-Dark-Thirty.

34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 28 MY ULTRA ALEXANDER J MOTYL I WOKE UP THIS MORNING 
THINKING ABOUT AFGHANISTAN TESSA POPPE 365 SELFIES KATHRYN BUCKLEY BACK TO THE GARDEN WILLIAM VERDIGRIS VISITORS JOSH ALLETTO BLOOD BLISTER BROTHER KASEY GOLDSTRAW FEARLESS KATIE IRISH DROPSEAT JANE ST CLAIR A SACRIFICE TO THE GOD OF THE BLUES JONATHAN LAPOMA

ALEXANDER J MOTYL

My Ultra is about my unexpected friendship and artistic collaboration with the former Andy Warhol Superstar Ultra Violet (aka Isabelle Collin-Dufresne) who died on 14 June 2014. I have written seven novels, Whiskey Priest, Who Killed Andrei Warhol, Flippancy, The Jew Who Was Ukrainian, My Orchidia, Sweet Snow, and Fall River; my poems have been published in Counterexample Poetics, Istanbul Literary Review, Orion Headless, and New York Quarterly. My artwork has been exhibited in solo and group shows in New York, Philadelphia, and Toronto. I teach at Rutgers University-Newark and live in New York.

JON LAPOMA

I traveled extensively after graduating college through the US and Mexico in what was, in part, an attempt to find the answers to questions that haunt many young people trying to find their place in the world. Many of these experiences have inspired my writing, which often focuses on themes of alienation and misery as human constructions that can be overcome through self-understanding and the acceptance of suffering. I’ve written two novels, five screenplays, hundreds of poems, and about sixty songs. My latest novel is Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story. It follows a group of recent college graduates who struggle with feelings of alienation and their addictions as they try to survive a year of teaching at two dysfunctional Miami public schools. jonlapoma.com

KASEY GOLDSTRAW

In writing, I love exploring the human landscape, the hidden depths, the lives within lives. The secrets simmering beneath the surface are what lead me to believe there is no such thing as an ordinary life.  Sometimes facing the truth is the only way to happiness. Sometimes the right place can be some place you would rather not go. I have a BA in English from the University of British Columbia. As a technical writer, I craved a more creative existence. I am now a Hatha Yoga teacher and Reiki Practitioner in Toronto, Ontario, where I live with my husband and son. As a nature lover, I escape back to BC to hike and soak up the ocean vibes as often as I can.

WILLIAM VERDIGRIS

I was a teenager on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the 70s and 80s. The city then was much grittier than it is today. I was prompted to write this story by Suzanne Vega’s song Zephyr and I, a poignant ode to that time, place, and phase of life. I wrote it under the influence of such literary figures as Homer, Longfellow, Twain, Melville, Thoreau, Burgess, and Pynchon. Please don’t hold it against them. I now live in Brooklyn. I think about, read about, and try to write about wilderness and civilization; culture and subculture; individual, familial, and tribal identity in a complex society. My work has been published in The Portland Review and Workers Write!. @WmVerdigris

JANE ST CLAIR

Mario Vargas Llosa says in his book Letters to Young Novelist that writers are rebels who began to live in their imagination and fantasy lives when they were little. In that way writers are rebels from reality. Writing detaches you from reality in another way too.  If you are a writer, you can be at your best friend's funeral and be thinking about what a great story you'll write about it when you get home. I have published stories in magazines such as Clockwatch Review, Rosebud, Thema, descant, QWF, Clare, Thematic Magazine, and Red Rock Review, and in several anthologies, including Times of Grace, Times of Sorrow by the University of Nebraska, Mourning Sickness by Omni Press, and Best Sports Fiction by Main Street Rag Bookstore; a novel Walk Me to Midnight by Oak Tara Press.

JOSH ALLETTO

I only ever wanted to be a writer until I discovered teaching and now I can’t imagine my life without both. I live in Chicago where I teach at Loyola University. My work has appeared on Opium.com, Abaculus III, Hair Trigger 32, and Double Dot Magazine. I started this story two years ago and felt no need to finish it until my wife found it and thought the names were funny. I finished it for her. When I was done I gave it to a friend who hated it because the main character was such a complete asshole. I think this was a fine critique.

KATHRYN BUCKLEY

For personal fulfillment outside of work I love examining photographs, fashion exhibits, and bright images on the internet and pictured in magazines. Couple that with some reading about pop culture and in this case an article that reported selfies to be officially classified as a mental disorder and there she was, Ariana Peracino. When we are at our best and most successful it seems as though society is a beautiful and welcoming place for our differences to thrive. At our lowest however, no one wants to know us or at first opportunity they are there to criticize. Ariana, like many who attempt to be a part of mainstream culture, experiences those instances of rising and falling as do today’s celebrities who are often catapulted into a limelight they are unprepared for. We never know exactly what is around the corner or how luck can change in either direction, an important lesson she and we are not exempt from. My writings have appeared in From the Heart of Brooklyn Volume 2, Toad Journal, The American, Ebibliotekos, XOJane, Eclectica, Press Play, and The Chaffey Review. kathrynabuckley@gmail.com

KATIE IRISH

I have been writing poetry for the better part of two decades, finding beauty and inspiration in all aspects of life. I recently experienced an incredibly taxing twenty-four months including a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, a divorce, a move, then several job changes. It was after I left my second job I realized there was only one thing for me to focus on—my health. I found myself writing more than ever during the months filled with confusion, sadness and anxiety, in addition to vitamins, acupuncture, and meditation. My poem Fearless comes just from this place. When faced with a variety of trying and difficult obstacles, we each have a choice—to go forward or to crumble. I chose the former and continue marching ahead. Originally from Connecticut, and after exploring time in San Francisco (where I drove cross country to intern for the lit mag Zyzzyva), then travelling back east to Boston, then Ithaca, NY, I now find myself back in my home State surrounded by old, dear friends and the comfort and beauty of family.

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