Eckleburg No. 19

Eckleburg No. 19 Hardback


Moustache | Annie Terrazzo 

Small Fiery Bloom | ROSS MCMEEKIN 
I Am Not Who I Am | EURYDICE 

3RD PLACE | Song of the Amputee’s Mother | SHANEE STEPAKOFF 

A Diverse Flora of Native and Introduced Species, Beautifully Adapted to Their Microenvironment | DON HUCKS 
Bomb Squad | JASON OLSEN 
Her Husband Leaves Her | STEPHEN DIXON 
The Nonsense Singers of the Red Forest | RICK MOODY 
from Something Wrong with Him: A Hybrid Memoir | CRIS MAZZA 
The Yellow Wallpaper (1899) | CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN 

Eating Children on a Fall Day | AMYE ARCHER
Earthboy | NOAH BURTON
Alligator Ecology | AARON APPS
The God of Knickknacks | ROCHELLE SHAPIRO
His Flaming Sister | LINDSAY VAUGHAN
Scene Likely Needed (Frankenstein Machine) | MATTHEW HARRISON
Undertow | MEG TUITE

The Talking Cure | VIPRA GHIMIRE
On Alois Riegl and Miley Cyrus’s Intervention: A Prospective, Postmodern Critique | RANDY LEONARD
Ernst Gombrich: Art Historican in Debate and Dialogue with Scientists | RICHARD PERKINS
Oskar Kokoschka and the Search for the True Self(ie) | DANIELLE DAY
Sixty Thousand Truths | J. R. WILLIAMS
The Password to Postmodernism Is Denmark | PETER J. GOODMAN
To Arthur Schnitzler | EMILY TURNER
What Photography Did | BARRY PALMER

A Supposedly Relaxing Thing That Gives Me a Really Serious Case of the Heebie-Jeebies | BRETT SLEZAK
Along the Path to Citizenship | MAYA KANWAL
Average Ordinary Trainwreck | RUTH BERGER
For the Greater Good | VIPRA GHIMIRE
I Live in a Town | CHELSEY CLAMMER
Famous Writers Groups | JACQUELINE DOYLE
Virginia Woolf, Illinois | TATIANA RYCKMAN
An Open Letter to a Suicidal Friend, a Bulimic Friend, A Long Lost Aunt and Stephanie, My New LinkedIn Connection | RAE BRYANT

Annie Terrazzo
Kim Buck
Zina Nedelcheva
Rania Moudaress



When I was a kid, I had a recurring vision of the meteorite that would, at any moment, come crashing through the window to annihilate me in my bed. I could feel it approaching. It exerted a force, which I imagined to be some kind of reverse gravity, pressing me into the mattress, preventing my escape. The meteorite also had a recurring vision of me, of course. I was sure of it. On nights it couldn’t sleep, drifting alone through empty space.

After a while the meteorite stopped chasing me. Maybe it missed and tumbled into the sun. Maybe it got bored and gave up. Maybe it fell in love with somebody else. But I never forgot it. Eventually, though, I realized that everybody has a meteorite and that living in dread reflects a certain lack of gratitude for all those nights a meteorite doesn’t crash through the window.

I tried writing a story about the meteorite several years ago, but it didn’t take. That story focused on the dread. The story I finally ended up writing, The Meteorite and Me, is about forgiveness. And gratitude. And reverence for the mundane. At least that’s what I think it’s about. It’s also very much about process, like most of my writing. I like to imagine more disciplined writers start by having something to say. Then they go about figuring out how best to say it. And only afterward do they get down to actually writing the story. I tend to work in the opposite direction. I usually start with an embarrassingly simple, more or less ridiculous, hint of an idea and I offer it the following deal: I’ll come up with the first sentence. After that, it’s up to the first sentence to come up with the second, and it’s up to the second to come up with the third. And so on. I try as best I can just to shut up and stay out of the way until the first draft is in. The meaning, to whatever degree there is one, is an emergent property that only shows up later, as the story talks itself out.

I realize, of course, that this approach encourages a story to meander, and some stories take unfair advantage of this arrangement. The meteorite story meandered more than most, but I had to allow it because somewhere in the middle it had the nerve to try and pass itself off as some kind of manifesto on the wonder of meandering. What could I do?

The purple hum part of The Meteorite and Me is likewise an echo from my adolescence. It was my favorite joke for a while. It took me many years to realize it wasn’t a joke. And many more years to really get the non-joke – that is, to see the anti-punch line as more than just another bit of nihilistic irony and to learn to deliver it with a smile rather than a smirk.

I also tried writing a version of the purple hum story years ago. This was before I had really figured out the joke, of course – back when I still only thought I got it.

Anyway, years later these two failures grew up and somehow found each other, right around the end of the first draft. I didn’t even see it coming, but I couldn’t be happier for them.


Don Hucks lives on the periphery of gorgeous (yet approachable) Nashville, Tennessee, with a terrific woman, a spectacular boy, and a perfectly acceptable cat. There’s also a couple of robins, a handful of rabbits, and the occasional mole. The plants are too numerous to mention, but they know who they are.



The Gertrude Stein Award in Fiction 2013 | First Place – Jill Birdsall

Judge | Rick Moody

Read the winning stories in Eckleburg No. 18


1ST | “Salvage” by JILL BIRDSALL

Jill Birdsall’s short stories can be read in literary journals including: Alaska Quarterly Review, Ascent, Crazyhorse, Emerson Review, Gargoyle, Iowa Review, Kansas Quarterly Review, Northwest Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Southern Humanities Review, and Story Quarterly. She earned an MFA degree in fiction from Columbia University’s Writing Division where she was editor of the program’s literary journal. She has also been the recipient of a NJ State Council on the Arts grant for fiction. “Salvage” first published in The Emerson Review.


2ND | “In Defense of the Body” by MICHAEL SHUM

Michael Shum is currently a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee, and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrelhouse, Weave, The AWP Writer’s Chronicle, Defunct, and more. He was a finalist for the 2011 Annie Dillard Award in Creative Non-Fiction and his work has been nominated for Million Writers and Best of the Net awards.


3RD | “Hello My New Friend, I Hope” by BIRD MARATHE

Bird Marathe is an MFA candidate and an instructor of creative writing at the University of Colorado in Boulder.



Chiara Barzini

Kate Hill Cantrill

Andres Carlstein

Sheldon Compton

Ruth Dandrea

John Domini

Teesha Noelle Murphy

Trevor Houser

Don Hucks

Caroline Lazar

Andrew McLinden

Natanya Pulley

Robert Vaughan

Philip Dean Walker

Lidia Yuknavitch


We want to thank the winners, finalists and all the submitters for sending us such wonderful stories. Thank you, especially, to Mr. Moody for his careful attention and judging. 2014 contest submissions are now open. guest-judged by Cris Mazza, winner of the PEN/Nelson Algren Award.  We look forward to reading your work.

The Editors