I write because I’m good at it. Sure, I dress up good too. But I’m awful at social schmoozing. To curl up in bed on a Saturday night with Fat Cat and perfect stories—this is bliss by me.
Born Arizonian, bred New Yorker, Turkish descent, fiction PhD at Florida State University, my work has been featured in Denver Syntax and Vagabondage Press.
I am a writer because I seek to give voice and to voice the stories that have not been told, that have not been heard. The stories I write, such as My Story Begins with… published in the Louann Atkins Temple Series, Women in Culture Anthology, Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academics and the Austin Project, (The University of Texas Press, July 2010), are about the conversations people have with themselves, the inner dialogues that one has when facing a challenge.
I attained an MA from UT Austin and a dual MFA at Chapman University. I was awarded a Fulbright Grant for research in Paris on gender and race in the Parisian jazz age during the interwar period. My poetry and fiction has been published in numerous journals including BluePrintReview, apt, and All Things Girl.
34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 30
THE COSTUME CLOSET
LET’S DO THIS
61 YEARS OF AUTEURISM
THE RISE AND FALL OF KNOWING
CHORUS OF EXES
The delicatessen in Fast Friends was inspired by an actual place in the northern New Jersey town where I live. As with the fictional deli, the real deli is a tiny old family-run business with dry goods shelves that are usually more empty than not. The business survives mainly by selling prepared foods and a dizzying variety of sandwiches to the local high school kids. One of the fascinating aspects of the store is its location on a busy street in the middle of a residential area with no other businesses of any type in sight. This is probably a grandfathering/zoning situation. But, to draw a comparison, it would be as if you were trudging up the stairs of a city apartment building and found a 7-11 where Apartment 3-F was supposed to be. For years, I would smile in wonder at the incongruity every time I drove by the deli. I kept promising myself I would have to make it a character in a story someday, and now I’ve kept my promise.
I study life writing and how it can be used to understand ourselves and the world around us, and I write my own life to add something to that understanding. In The Costume Closet, I write to disrupt some of the expectations placed on trans authors and trans people—the old fashioned idea of gender transition as all-or-nothing all-at-once, the absurd notion that we must always be certain of our own identities for them to be real, that our lives before transition must be ones of darkness and sadness.
I’m a PhD candidate at Northern Illinois University where I teach English and Gender and Sexuality Studies. I’ve published criticism in Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture, and fiction in Towers Literary and Creative Arts Magazine, and my own life writing has appeared on Autostraddle, and re-published by The Huffington Post. RhiannonCatherwood@gmail.com RhiannonCatherwood.wix.com/author
Normally, I write for myself. I believe that it’s important to do something creative for its own sake. It’s therapeutic and fun and it’s important for a society to have as many people as possible striving to make something new. With this poem I was trying to capture the awkwardness of strangers doing more than just small talk, and also, the idea that the truths about the universe might end up being too counterintuitive for any of us to ever understand.
It was Malcolm Gladwell who got me thinking about the auteur theory. The genius of Gladwell, I think, even when his conclusions are wrong, is that he takes assumptions, assumption which we may not even have known we had, and casts them in a new light. Skimming back through his excellent book Outliers, a stray thought flitted through my mind: I wonder what assumptions Gladwell would overturn if he wrote about cinema? I’m no Gladwell. Nor do I pretend to have his superhuman ability to see through complex systems. But I do write about cinema, and it seemed to me that if any assumption in movie history was ready for a Malcolm Gladwell-like re-examination it was the auteur theory.
My articles have been published in Senses of Cinema, Bright Lights Film Journal, Film International, Moving Arts Film Journal, and Offscreen. I live in Los Angeles, where I work as a director, editor, and animator.
I wanted to describe what it was like to be afloat in my late twenties without going into banal detail. Instead of discussing my monotonous job and inability to fit into sophisticated social gatherings, I turned to a day spent casually strolling through a city in which I did not belong, but took pleasure in nonetheless. The aimless sitting around, the long walks to nowhere, the inability to pick a direction—these are my professional, personal, and creative deficiencies. Born in Alaska, raised in Texas and California, and educated at Middlebury College in Vermont, I have prolonged my vagrancy into adulthood with stints across the world and a series of short-term professions to support my creative work.
I have published poetry in Stereo-Man 3D Magazine, and my poem Sonnet for a Caged Artist is to be published in the next issue of On the Rusk. ericdepriester.wordpress.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit Jon Sadrgilany
My twin passions are literature and philosophy. I was one of those brooding teenagers with latent existential tendencies (now full-blown), my first loves Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Hermann Hesse. One would think that literature and philosophy have the same goal—questioning the human condition. Yet, these two disciplines are usually incompatible. It may be that they do not, in fact, share this goal, and that their goals are different. That’s a longer discussion.
I’ve done that twice and naturally I’ve got nothing to show for it. I‘ve always loved first person plural because it possesses the strength and resonance of a choir. While writing The Chorus of Exes I came to realize almost no situation is so unique it can’t be described in the first person plural. Twenty years ago I was awarded a Teaching/Writing Fellowship from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. I felt singled out for greatness. Almost immediately afterward I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and I promptly took this news too seriously as well. My ambition became focused on fostering good health, good relationships, and good stories.
My fiction has been published in River Styx, 100 Words, and Salt Hill Journal, as well as online at airplanereading.com.
Throughout my life I’ve had what I can only term the Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome—a persistent sense of the absurd combined with a feeling that perhaps I’m missing something essential, and that if I only knew what it was, everything would make perfect sense. I’m drawn to magical realism and write about misfits, border crosses, and the fantastic that accompanies and often breaks through everyday normal reality.
I’m finishing what I hope will be the final draft of my first novel The Stolen Senses, about a first-generation Vietnamese American girl growing up in Southern Mississippi, who trades three of her senses in order to be the most beautiful woman in the world. www.suzannelagrande.com