The Next Big Thing | Mazza, Eurydice, ZoBell, Watson, Innis, Basile, Clammer, Giddings

The lovely Bonnie ZoBell tagged me for “The Next Big Thing” series, and I’m supposed to answer questions about a recent or upcoming work and self-promote and all that on my blog, which I run on Facebook and is private. Major author info is at, if you’re interested. Instead of pimping my published book or novel ms. here, I’m going to use this space to bring attention back to Bonnie and to several more female and talented writers, who I have had, or will soon have, the pleasure of publishing at Eckleburg, and who have not perhaps received as much wide-spread media attention as they should, or maybe they have received wide-spread attention, but they should receive more! Don’t get me wrong. Media attention for my book is great. Happy to have more ,and I’ve been fortunate to receive a bit of it so far. But there is a time and place for everything.

Ladies, I salute you, and I will leave it up to you to pay this forward, backward, sideways or not.


Cris Mazza

Cris Mazza’s first novel, How to Leave a country, while still in manuscript won the PEN / Nelson Algren Award for book-length fiction. The judges included Studs Terkel and Grace Paley. Some of her other notable earlier titles include Your Name Here: ___, Dog People and Is It Sexual Harassment Yet? She was also co-editor of Chick-Lit: Postfeminist Fiction (1995), and Chick-Lit 2 (No Chick Vics) (1996), anthologies of women’s fiction. Mazza’s fiction has been reviewed numerous times in The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, MS Magazine, Chicago Tribune Books, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The Voice Literary Supplement, The San Francisco Review of Books, and many other book review publications. In spring 1996, Mazza was the cover feature in Poets & Writers Magazine.



Her work has been widely exhibited, anthologized and published. She has published a book of poetry, the novel f/32, for which she received the Fiction Collective Two Best Fiction Award (in England it appeared under the title f/32: The Second Coming with Virago Press in 1993, in America it briefly became a Kasak Books pocket), and a book of nonfiction, Satyricon U.S.A.: A Journey Across The New Sexual Frontier, published with Scribner. Her books have been reviewed in Time, Newsweek, The Village Voice, The Washington Post, The N.Y. Observer, Wired, and many other venues. She has a BA in creative writing from Bard College, an MA in creative writing from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an MA in comparative literature and an MFA in creative writing from Brown University; she has taught creative writing at Brown University, lived and worked in India, been a staff investigative writer for Spin magazine. She lives in Miami, Manhattan, and the isle of Crete, and is raising a sunkissed daughter.


Vallie Lynn Watson

Vallie Lynn Watson is the author of the novel A River So Long (Luminis Books, 2012). Her work has appeared in dozens of literary magazines such as PANK, decomP magazinE, and Atticus Review. She is an editor at Blip Magazine, formerly Mississippi Review online. Watson received her doctorate at the Center for Writers, the University of Southern Mississippi, and teaches creative writing at Southeast Missouri State University. In her spare time she is earning a hot air ballooning license.


Julie Innis

Originally from Cincinnati, Julie Innis now lives in New York. Her work has appeared in Post Road, Pindeldyboz, and Gargoyle, among others, and has received several awards and mentions including two Pushcart nominations, a Glimmer Train Top-25 New Short Fiction designation, and, most recently, a Notable Story recognition in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012 anthology, edited by Dave Eggers. She holds a Master’s in English Literature from Ohio University and is currently on staff at One Story Magazine. Three Squares a Day with Occasional Torture is her first book.


Lisa Marie Basile

Lisa Marie Basile is the author of a Andalucia (Brothel Books). Her book, A Decent Voodoo (Červená Barva Press) will be released in 2012. She also authored the chapbooks Triste (forthcoming, Dancing Girl Press) and White Spiders (Gold Wake Press, 2010). Her work can be seen in PANK, Word Riot, elimae, Metazen, kill author, Prick of the Spindle, Moon Milk Review, Pear Noir! decomP and others.


Chelsey Clammer

Chelsey Clammer received her MA in Women’s Studies from Loyola University Chicago. She has been published in THIS, The Rumpus, Atticus Review, Sleet, The Coachella Review and Make/shift among many others. She received the Nonfiction Editor’s Pick Award 2012 from both Revolution House and Cobalt for her essays “BodyHome” and “I Have Been Thinking About,” respectively. She is currently finishing up a collection of essays about finding the concept of home in the body. 


Megan Giddings

Megan Giddings is  presently at Miami University where she’s working on a MA in fiction and writing a novel. Her work appears in >kill author, and the Eckleburg Salon.




Bonnie ZoBell

Bonnie ZoBell has a flash fiction chapbook, THE WHACK-JOB GIRLS, forthcoming from Monkey Puzzle Press in March 2013 and is completing a collection of connected stories set in the North Park area of San Diego. She’s received an NEA for her fiction, the Capricorn Novel Award, and a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award for a story that was later read on NPR. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Night TrainThe Greensboro Review, New Plains Review, PANK . . .


Rae Bryant’s short story collection, The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals, released from Patasola Press, NY, in June 2011. Her stories have appeared or are soon forthcoming in StoryQuarterly, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, BLIP Magazine, Gargoyle Magazine, Wag’s Revue and Redivider, among other publications and have been nominated for the Pen/Hemingway, Pen Emerging Writers, and Pushcart awards.  She writes essays and reviews for such places as New York Journal of Books, Puerto del Sol, The Nervous Breakdown, Portland Book Review and She teaches writing at such places as Johns Hopkins and Iowa’s International Writing Program and is editor in chief of the literary and arts journal, The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review.

Issue No. 14 | Summer 2011

MMR ANTHOLOGY 2011 — Fiction, Poetry, Art

SUBSCRIBE for free online issues of MMR

GALLERY | B. J. Lloyd

COMEDY SPOTLIGHT | Funny or Die: Dear Woman Will Ferrell & Friends

SUMMER 2011 ECLECTIC GROOVE MIX | Featured Indie Rock | Red Directors

Sublime, Sheryl Crow, Sugar Ray

BOOK GALLERY | Cynthia Atkins, Kristina Marie Darling, Meg Tuite, Mel Bosworth, Michael Kimball, Paul Dickey, J. A. Tyler, John Minichillo


Lotería Lisa Marie Basile

Buy Nothing Day Mickey Hess

Emails from the Staybridge Suites Anaheim Suzanne Marie Hopcroft

Permanent Marjorie Maddox

Or Do You Love It? Meg Pokrass

Honey Melissa Ross

The Soul Shoppe Nathaniel Tower


Pork Salt Kay Cosgrove

Echolalia Leslee Rene Wright


Spring 2011 Winner | Prophecy as a Reducing Mathematical Certainty Carl James Grindley (Guest-Edited by Laura Ellen Scott)

Summer 2011 Contest | For Your Eyes Only (Guest-edited by Molly Gaudry)


Everyone kept talking about that damn elevator. What’s so great about that elevator?

One day, I started listening to what people were saying about it:

I heard it has a great tall ceiling made of mirrors, and your reflection is never flawed.

I heard it goes vertical and horizontal.

Two lions guard the way. They are not mean, but they are very loud.

O no, no, no. It has been broken for years.

I noticed more and more people were talking about the elevator after the town of Sirena decided to have La Reflexión every night after sunset. La Reflexiónmeant everyone would have to think of their sins. Suddenly, everyone was sinning and talking about each other’s sins. Everyone laughed at their neighbors, comparing their sins to those of the others. Some people ate cake and talked about their sins. La Reflexión was working.

For one week, I watched the elevators. People were coming in and out and saying La Reflexión sent me.

This was their ticket. The Senoritas would come, usually without their husbands, running off with sneaky smiles. Maybe they have the Lotería there! they said. Then they ran into the elevators. Sometimes when the doors closed, I heard them screaming. Some of them sobbed.

Now and then a woman or man would come in very tired. Like yesterday’s lady. She was only 30 and had packed a small bag filled with photos, a crucifix, a few pairs of underwear. She also came with an avocado and sat down right at the doors. She skinned it, halved it and then ate it slowly, licking out the insides. Her skin was made from light, the kind that showed no terror — only acceptance. Si, she said, and went in, dropping the green skin to the floor. I didn’t hear her scream.

Who needs underwear where she’s going? someone said. They’re not going to let her keep that cross there.

She’s not going anywhere, another man said.

It seemed everyone had something to say about the woman with the avocado and panties. Then when they got in, they screamed too.

Some people run in and press the buttons in a panic, as if the elevator will never come. Lit circles flash white, white, white, up, down, sideways. What is on sideways? Their eyes are wide and salty and from the front, I can see the moon pooling through the back of their heads. They are no longer human; they are only sadness. These people only come to ride it at night after La Reflexión. They crawl to the doors, beg for them to open. Most of them never get in, so they turn back to go home, defeated.

One lady, Vela, she comes after dinner, filled on tortas and horchata. Also, tequila. She brings cakes with her and puts them on the elevator. She says someone will want to eat the cake — it’s true, everyone smells it and runs in to eat it. Sometimes, she turns them on to their first cake. Only a few people say no, I don’t like it.

Vela brought her mother the other night. The poor old woman was propped up in her wheelchair, her head fallen over her shoulder. Vela straightened her up and plucked some whiskers from her face. I couldn’t help but notice how time recedes. Vela tucked a photograph of her brother — she calls him Sabatino — into her mother’s hands. Go madre, she says. She rolled her mother in with a chocolate cake, pressed a button.

The she told me all about the man in the photograph. Sabatino choked on sardine pudding at his second wedding, o Dios santo! And then Alva, his wife, she killed herself in the bathtub. She goes home with the fish in her fingers and puts the hair curler in the water, and she holds the little fish, o puta, puta, puta. She got the fish from his mouth. She wanted to love him forever. You can’t go to hell for loving someone, can you?

Yeah, I say, no sé.

Every day from then on, Vela came. She came to watch the elevator, but never got in. She just brings her cake on a plate and rushes over when the doors open, sets it down on the floor and tip-toes ten feet back, squeezing her eyes shut until the elevator beeps and goes away. No sé, she says, I don’t know where it goes. Sometimes the cake is nicely made, the icing spread equally over the bun. Sometimes the cake looks like she pieced it back together, using icing as glue from the inside.

I think everyone should have some cake, she says.

Whenever she brings the cake to the elevator, everyone wants to crowd inside and eat it. It makes me think of my family. I don’t want them to be tempted by the cake. I wonder if my father would eat cake, or if he’d ever eat bony sardine pudding. I used to think of him as a man who would never eat those crazy puddings that could kill you. I used to think he would never eat cake just because someone gave it to him. He changed slowly over time. Now he says God made the ocean, and the ocean made sardines. So we should eat them, he says.

I ask him if we should eat people too.

Don’t be crazy, he yelled.From then on I found it difficult to love him.

Floor seven is all ghosts, says the new bell boy. He was only hired yesterday, but he knows all the floors by heart. Floor one, most people go to floor one, he says.

It has been a few days, and La Reflexión is still sending people to the elevators. They come in talking about their big sins, fixing their long socks and sewing their loose threads before getting in. I cried because none of them ever come back. Some of them just try to get some cake, but the doors close.

This elevator smells like madre, one woman said. And then she was gone. It must have been all the sugar, the cakes, the icing.

On the last day, when I couldn’t stand to look at the elevator any more, a girl by the name of Ojala came in with her mother. It was the day of her Quinceañera, and the day that her Grandmother gave her the bath soap she’d always wanted. It smelled of lilies and skin, she told me, like woman. She took her first real bath and there was blood between my legs. Her mother was proud but held her daughter’s hand very tightly. Their knuckles were white.

The bell-boy told Ojala that she would go to floor three. When he did, her mother came apart. Her socks rolled to her ankles, and her nostrils flared. She became very angular looking, like an old woman carved while screaming. She lay a worn creature now, her purpose lost as her child followed the scent into the elevator.

Ojala! Ojala!

But the girl disappeared, going sideways to floor three. She would be there for a very long time, her mother knew. Maybe forever.

Not floor three.Por favor, she says, por favor.

The bell boy only stood there with the desire to eat the cake. It was getting to him. He wanted to go in, to taste it. Was it chocolate? Was it pistachio? cinnamon? plantains? He wanted to press the button and wondered if Ojala had some.

Ojala loves cake, the mother hissed. Everyone should love cake! Mad and heartbroken, the mother rolled over and cried big glass into the floor. It was so shiny she could see herself in its reflection. Her blood was pooling. Someone would have to clean it up and get her in the elevator too.

I cried, thinking of my bathtub at home. I wanted to find out which floor I could visit if I put something electric into my lily bath.

I thought about it for a long time. I feared elevators, and something about water and electricity made me think about the beginning, not the end.

“Never as then, amid suicides, hysteria, and groups of fainting people, have I felt the sensation of real death, death without hope, death that is nothing but rottenness, for the spectacle was terrifying but devoid of greatness.” — Lorca


Lisa Marie Basile is the author of the forthcoming A Decent Voodoo, (Červená Barva Press, 2012) and a chapbook, Diorama (Wisp Press). The Poetry Society of New York will release her chapbook, Andalusia, on Brothel Books. She has been published in Pear Noir!, Word Riot, Prick of the Spindle, elimae, Foundling Review, amongst others. She is the founding editor and publisher of Patasola Press and currently reads poetry for Weave Magazine. She performs with the Poetry Brothel as Luna Liprari and is an M.F.A. candidate at The New School.