Local Author Profile:Curtis Smith

Aimee LaBrie

Curtis Smith has the corner on the short story market. His fiction and essays have appeared in over fifty literary journals and anthologies, he has published two collections of short-short stories (Placing Ourselves Among the Living and In the Jukebox Light), and his third collection will feature both a novella and more short stories. He is also a novelist (An Unadorned Life), a special learning teacher, father of a four-year old and a husband.
Somehow, he manages to take on all of these roles and write short stories that Laurel Johnson, editor of The Midwest Book Review has said make his newest book, The Species Crown (June ’07, Press 53) “the latest literary gem.”

Local Author Profile: Elise Juska

Aimee LaBrie

Elise Juska is in good company. Her writing has been compared to the work of Helen Fielding and Nick Hornby and her newest essay will appear in Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume this summer alongside noted women writers Meg Cabot and Jennifer Connelly.
Her work has also been published in numerous literary journals and her first novel, Getting Over Jack Wagner, was named a “Critic’s Choice” by People. Her second novel, The Hazards of Sleeping Alone, received similar praise. This June, Elise’s third book, One for Sorrow, Two for Joy, will be published by Simon & Schuster.

Real Life Things

Nathan Long

When my husband called the other day, I thought there was an emergency. We’d only talked once in the five months since we’d been separated.

“It’s about our son, David,” Frank said, as if I might not recall the name of our only child.

“Wait,” I said. “Have you been drinking?” It was one in the afternoon, a Saturday.

“I got a post card from him today,” Frank said. “He’s not in college any more.”

“What?” I said. “Where is he?”


Letters from Paris

Lee W. Doty

August 30, 1957. SS France

Dear Han,

Whoopee! Junior Year in Paris. Universite de la Sorbonne, here I come.

Arrived in New York Friday, right on schedule. But let me tell you, baby sister, there’s a big difference between Birmingham trains and the trains up north. For one thing, there are no separate cars. It’s whites and coloreds all together, if you please. And no “Mornin’ ma’am.” Just hustle-bustle.

The Shovel and the Rose

Victoria Sprow

After finding the ring in the bar of soap I told Herb there were two things I needed to do before I married him: get the shovel out of the lake and take the red rose from Danny.

Herb looked at me in his brittle, self-effacing way and said, didn’t I love him?

The soap had begun in the shape of a pink mollusk shell. He had given it to me on Valentine’s Day five weeks before, and it had taken me all that time to wear it down to a nub at its center.

The View from the Window

Shantee Cherese

Everyone loves a dead body.

The yellow tape, the grim-faced police officers and the emergency vehicles contrast with the peacefully falling snow and Christmas decorations strung along the cul-de-sac. The children’s thoughts are no longer of Santa Claus as they watch the men unload a black bodybag containing Darlese Claxton. Everyone stands by their doors, staring. Even big Julio Sanchez, who rarely leaves the comfort of his couch, takes in the scene, his three-year-old son in his arms.

The Room Where We Go in the Summer

Gloria Barone Rosanio

You didn’t smoke or have a chronic disease. You waltzed around the kitchen table, tried Viagra, played cards, and nurtured your African violets. You began a publishing empire called the “Brown Envelopes” filled with jokes, war stories, and Reader’s Digest clips. You collected, copied and mailed the Brown Envelopes every month to 50 friends, acquaintances and Army buddies.