As with all ballet positions, the arabesque begins here.
To find your true turnout, first stand with your feet together. Now open them up as you would unfold a fan, with your heels acting as the fulcrum. You will see that your turnout is not ideal. It forms, instead of a straight line from the toes of one foot to the toes of the other, an angle. An obtuse angle.
This is the first position. It is the most simple, but also the most revealing, the most vulnerable.
Zining Mok is a Singaporean writer of poetry and nonfiction. She is currently a student of the MFA program at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. In her free time, she enjoys dancing and hiking.
It was during a third grade pool party, surrounded by kids splashing in bright bathing suits and adults carting ice-pops and lemonade, when I learned I couldn’t say my own last name. What should have been facile and fundamental for me as an eight-year-old became an embarrassing revelation, coming as it did from an old …
It was dread. That was what I was facing if my secret ever got out. Few people would understand it, and almost nobody knew about it, because I was very good at hiding it, but it was always there in the background. My comic book collection was my very own treasure horde, and I protected its secrets like a king of misers, but it was not solely to defend it against covetous hands, since the deeper fear lay in never allowing the world to know that I identified with it in the first place. The only instances when I voluntarily exposed my hidden love for comics outside the walls of my home was every time I entered a comic book store to get something fundamental in me fulfilled.
You sacrificed some semblance of self as a comic book fan back in the day. You were an outsider, some kind of weirdo. Looking around at the monstrous success garnered by the industry today, you would at least think it unlikely. My wife thinks I’m exaggerating when I declare that in those days, we comic book fans had to hide. We, the unprofessed and reluctant “geeks,” would keep that stuff in a distant corner of our lives, unknowingly leading the secret identity you read about in the actual comic books we were collecting. Superheroes were all about secret identities, and when Spiderman changed back to the nerdy Peter Parker, it was a leap across fantasy and straight into the reality of almost every fan who was reading such stuff.
Rey Armenteros is a Los Angeles-based painter and writer who writes the blog, Through Concentrated Breath. He has pieces forthcoming in Magnolia Review, Umbrella Factory Magazine, and Still Point Arts Quarterly.
When I learned that my old friend, Greg (I’ll call him), had died from brain cancer, I felt relief at his release. His final weeks had been horrible, his mind gone, his body shrunken and twisted, incontinent, the shell of him writhing in dark pain. We had been friends since our first week in college many years ago, his infectious enthusiasm enduring through his success as a management consultant and his hobby of lead roles in amateur musical productions. Even at the end, when he had lost the power of coherent speech, he revived to sing snatches of show tunes, lyrics still embedded in his diseased brain when all else was lost.
Walter Cummins has published seven short story collections—Witness, Where We Live, Local Music, The End of the Circle, The Lost Ones, Habitat: stories of bent realism, Telling Stories: Old and New. He also has a collection of essays and reviews called Knowing Writers. More than one hundred of his stories, as well as memoirs, essays, and reviews, have appeared in magazines such as New Letters, Kansas Quarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, Under the Sun, Arts & Letters, Confrontation, Bellevue Literary Review, Connecticut Review, in book collections, and on the Web. With Thomas E. Kennedy, he was founding co-publisher of Serving House Books, an outlet for novels, memoirs, and story, poetry, and essay collections. For more than twenty years, he was editor of The Literary Review.
It was around midnight. My buddies and I were running up a deep dark canyon in the Sierra Nevada, trying like hell to keep up with the hounds. They were hot on the scent of something. Finally, we could tell from the sound, the hounds were at bay. Whatever it was they were chasing was treed. Now the chatter amongst us circled around whether it would be a bear, or a lion, or a measly ol’ coon. But Jimmy knew. They were his dogs, “It’s a goddamn bear. My dogs don’t chase nothing else.” With that, the excitement of the chase became much more intense. We’d been busting through three miles of bitch-ass brush, on our hands and knees at times, but now all the cuts, scratches, and bruises were brushed aside. It was now time for the mortal end of some large carnivore.
David Tarvin grew up in a little cabin, at the end of the road, in the big woods around Mariposa, California. He graduated from Mariposa High on June 14, 1971, he turned 18 on June 21, he enlisted in the Army on June 28. Served two years in Germany. Back home, he embarked on being a carpenter. As an apprentice, that work was hit and miss so he learned how to cut firewood, trap coyote, fox, and bobcat, and prospect for gold. In his pickup he carried carpenter tools, a gold pan, a chain saw, and a .22. Life as a jack-of-all-trades ended abruptly in 1984 when he shot a man who was coming at him. He’s now at San Quentin State Prison, without many trees around.
I’m just six, wearing a tee and baggy shorts, hand-me-downs from my older brother. He’s smart and funny and eight inches taller than me. My hair is cut short, no frills, and a year from now, I’ll come home crying because someone at school called me a boy. When I look back at pictures from that time, I can’t imagine how anyone could think that pixie with a toothy grin and sparkling blue eyes was anything but a girl. Though I haven’t dressed up, I know this night is special. My brother and I are going to a big party with Dad. People fill the house. Kids are packed together on the floor and couches, clustered around a TV set, with the grownups standing in all the space that’s left on the first floor. It’s a special night, worthy of a party, because the Wizard of Oz is going to be shown on TV for its annual broadcast. I’ve seen the Wizard before, but this is the first time I’ll watch it in someone else’s living room with so many other people.
Formerly a writing professor, Gayla Mills has published in the Little Patuxent Review, the Doctor T.J. Ecklenburg Review, Spry, and more. Her essay collection Finite won the RED OCHRE LiT Chapbook contest. Her book Making Music After 40: A Guide to Playing for Life will be published by Dover in 2019.
Jacksonville was a man’s world, the whole damn place a bachelor pad. The main road leading to Camp Lejeune wasn’t much more than asphalt and spindly pines. The rest was car lots, strip clubs, and tattoo parlors, chain restaurants, and a sad excuse for a mall. Young men with matching crew cuts roamed in packs on the sides of roads. Colorful hot rods purchased with deployment money revved up at red lights. And during rush hour, on the median of Western Boulevard, the Jacksonville Ninja, an anonymous man who seemed as natural to the place as the pines, practiced his finest karate moves with a boombox on his shoulder. Background noise was artillery rounds and low-flying aircraft, both so loud they often set off car alarms. Few people were local, nearly all its residents transplants somehow connected to the Marine Corps. It wasn’t the kind of place a woman chose.
Karie Fugett holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Oregon State University. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, Deep South Magazine, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere. Currently, she is writing a memoir about how the Iraq war and opioid crisis left her widowed at the age of 24. Find her on Twitter @KarieWrites.
Call Me by Your Name could have easily drowned in its own pretension.
Italy. Lombardy. Summer. The 1980s. Bright bathing suits and plenty of Italian Europop. Luca Guadagnino’s film takes up residence in an idle northern Italian 17th-century villa and tells the story of Elio Perlman, a precocious seventeen-year-old who spends his days transposing music, reading, and hanging out with other young summer residents. His primary responsibilities include partaking in the social engagements that his highly-educated parents ask him to attend and occasionally entertaining guests with his killer piano abilities. The family employs a cook and maid, Mafalda, and a groundskeeper, Anchise. Oliver, “the usurper,” enters their isolated, ethereal world. He is a 24-year-old graduate student spending the summer as Mr. Perlman’s live-in assistant. Together, Oliver and Elio read endlessly, engage in hyperintellectual banter near various bodies of water (they dredge up an ancient statue from one of them), and eat plenty of fresh fruit. They lead lives of leisure far-removed from the vast majority of modern audiences.
Michael Colbert has researched the romanticization of Italy; his stories and essays have appeared in magazines such as Germinal, Change, and Fictional Cafe.
Natalie loves a good cup of coffee and a good cat. She sees every movie that comes to theaters—sometimes three in one day! Natalie is an active citizen and will talk at length about local and national politics. She will probably cite one of the 20+ podcasts she listens to. Natalie took film studies courses while studying at Bowdoin College, completed a film production program in Prague, and has worked in NYC and Chicago.
Gaborone, Botswana, HIV clinic. Everywhere are dirt roads. Even when there is a concrete road, dirt invades the edges and blows across like leaves. Dust flies into your eyes and cloaks your ankles and is a bitch to get off even with thick soap and the toughest washcloth. Cattle moo and moan in the backdrop as people walk by and school kids chatter and a man sleeps in a car’s front seat under a tree.
Brittany Raffa is a pediatrician in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Originally from Florida, she has lived in Hanover, NH, Nashville, TN and Ithaca, NY and has spent time in Italy, Kosovo, Vietnam, the U.K and Botswana. Many of her writings are based on conversations and encounters from these places, inspired by William Carlos Williams and by a desire to reflect on the mix of cynicism and playful joy that comes with her work, and simply being human.
As a teenager, my favorite band was the Cure. This was pre-Radiohead, pre-Editors, before bands—even alternative bands—tended to be literary. Yet the Cure turned out songs like “Killing an Arab,” based on The Stranger by Albert Camus, and “How Beautiful You Are,” an echo of Charles Baudelaire’s essay “The Eyes of the Poor” (both facts that I discovered, in those dark ages before Google, when I fortuitously—serendipitously?—stumbled upon the originals… one in a borrowed book that I came this close to not taking home with me). In that arid early-90s musical landscape, the Cure was an exception in more ways than one (the Smiths were another, but Morrissey has gone so far off the deep end with his white nationalism these days that I find it hard to listen to his music). I remember, during those years, several vivid dreams featuring the band’s teased-haired, heavily made-up vocalist Robert Smith, including one in which he appeared at my Shelby, North Carolina home to take me away with him.
April Vázquez is the winner of the William Van Dyke Short Story Prize and a Pushcart, Best of the Net, and Orison Anthology award nominee. Her favorite line from a novel is, “Jane had occasionally tried to develop her own hidden depths, but she never could decide what to hide and how far down.”
Essay and Other Nonfiction Workshops at Eckleburg
Submit Your Nonfiction
We accept polished creative nonfiction/essays up to 8,000 words year round, unless announced otherwise. Preferences veer toward shorter works under 1500 words with an arts and culture focus. If you wish to include a bio, keep it short, under 200 words. Submit your nonfiction.
Essay Collections and Memoir Manuscripts
We publish short works at The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. At this time, we do not publish novel, long memoir, essay collections, story collections or poetry collections at The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. We do offer manuscript workshops at The Eckleburg Workshops. If you are looking to place a manuscript, we can suggest several excellent small and large presses whose excellent books are promoted through our Eckleburg Book Club — i.e., Random House, Graywolf Press, Coffeehouse, Tinhouse, St. Martins Press and more.