Tag Archives: Brian Oliu

An Unruly Collage of Strange and Intense Emotions, or Best Ofs For 2012

27 Dec

If I remember right, I saw Scott McClanahan give this performance after Abby Koski got me wasted on rum and Cokes then introduced me to Matt Siegel, and I had no idea what to do.  Or where anyone was.

I didn’t think, “Hey, where are all the people I know” until after.

You can tell I’m happiest not when I smile but slapped into dumb stunned awe like I was watching Scott bark his generations, a latter-day prophet too made of thunder and dirt-real truth for any church, so boiling over with harsh and angelic vision, soothing my frayed thoughts while setting the room ablaze.

I’m sorry, but I’m just not a cheerleader; I’m a lower-tier saint.

This was probably my best moment in the Beauty Bar at AWP 2012, followed closely by drunk hugs from Brian Oliu and laughs with a few others but roundly defeating some other interactions, Hellos I didn’t want to say, Nice to Meet Yous that felt everything but.  Again, some unraveling.  Basic kindness can appear to us as an unblemished lamb, so we take up our knives.

*   *   *

There is a place I go to read and write when I need to recalibrate and push off the stupid shimmery idea of being a writer or an indie lit writer so I can just do the thing without all the shit.  Two people know where that is.  Both of their names start with A.

I took Matt Bell’s Cataclysm Baby there during the ugliest time of year, when winter is worn out and spring is all, “Whatever, be there in a sec,” when I’m sick of wearing scarves.

I could barely hold a fork, knocked slack-jawed by Baby’s rapacious beauty.  I found myself mouthing the last story, “Zachary, Zahir, Zedekiah,” a real electric rush that swells like Explosions in the Sky, incanting

And then every morning, some new and constant sun, born upon the horizon.

and almost crying in my booth.  I paid, left, and stared at the iron atmosphere too much for safety as I drove.

*   *   *

The cover of Nick Sturm’s chapbook, “WHAT A TREMENDOUS TIME WE’RE HAVING!” with its birthday party horses is the perfect graphic representation of a genuine smile, which seems like the kind of person Nick is (Nick Sturm: A Genuine Smile) and the requisite spirit embodied in that joyous little book.

I remember for a while keeping it in the passenger’s side interior door pocket to show to anyone I gave a ride.  It seems like there are about three people at any given time who are riding in my car regularly, so my evangelism wasn’t far-flung but lacked no enthusiasm.  I generally showed my passengers the poem that ends

                                    …My spirit animal is a bear

with a confetti cannon strapped to its back

The point is to surprise you & then maul you

into pieces of joy

and thank goodness, no one ever said they didn’t understand why.

*   *   *

For some reason I read Matt Hart’s Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless a lot while giving plasma this spring, squeezing myself through a needle with one hand and holding the book with another.  Listening to Jimmy Eat World, Lovedrug, The Smashing Pumpkins, that helped too, to distract from the displaced queasiness that got better little by little but never went entirely away.

It makes sense that his poems helped the same way; the direct mention of Sunny Day Real Estate aside, the upfront guitar fuzz and gorgeous thrash of them calmed and exhilarated.  Every appointment I had a half hour to imagine where else I could be besides Muncie in February, March, April, still slushed and gray.  It felt holy, an internal push toward whatever better places there were to be.

*   *   *

Brian Oliu’s Level End is the first book I’ve ever delayed reading to intentionally take time to absorb its packaging.  I couldn’t stop just looking at the thing, turning it over and getting happier with every detail from a childhood and adolescence spent on four generations of Nintendo consoles, starting with the NES, a game for which the book’s design was modeled after.

When I finally did get to reading the thing the effect was much the same, a combined joy and relief that someone understood so well the real emotional tug 8-bit worlds have on us whose first big adventures included finding the Master Sword and discovering gold-littered shortcuts in the clouds above danger.  And rendered it so truly in its surreal beauty and sincerity; all nerd jokes aside, sitting in front of a pixel-laden TV screen with my big brother, defeating all number of monsters and villains, is one of the most loaded and precious memories I have.

*   *   *

I remember texting


to Chris Newgent as soon as I read it, and immediately claimed it in a tiny yet steady fashion for my own near future:  a beach, a flock of friends, an ocean, a slew of present moments far from Indiana.  I read the rest of Thomas Patrick Levy’s I Don’t Mind If You’re Feeling Alone with a similar hyper-focused sprint, or as a binge, on the couch in my beige and tan apartment and sunk into myself with relief, consuming its color and breathlessness.

*   *   *

There’s a modest handful of books that wind themselves around the edge of my thoughts almost constantly. I think this is in part a residual effect of being an expatriate of Christianity that took the idea of being in constant prayer deeply to heart:  once the verses about no hope for men outside of Yahweh and his son were discarded from whatever walled garden in me they occupied, there was left a decade’s worth of empty earth.

Ben Kopel’s VICTORY is one of those few books that immediately took root in me.  Fragments of it run through my head throughout the day, quiet meditations on how to stay vital and honest and brave.  This book was the first thing I wrote about for Vouched and it remains one of my favorite, most dearly loved books of poetry or anything else.  When I read it I feel like the first time I realized that wet pavement under streetlight is beautiful.  I feel fifteen, riding with my brother in his Explorer through cornfields at night, summer, hands out the windows, brushing fingertips with fireflies.

I could not tell you what my favorite poem is from the book, but there is one part from the poem “Because We Must” that heartbeats through my thoughts almost daily:

A prayer, now

& at the hour of our death—

Fill me with yr light inside this car.

Fill me with yr light.

*   *   *

Yesterday, Christmas, after my family ate a lot of things then opened a lot of things and then said even more things, I continued reading Sal Pane’s novel Last Call in the City of Bridges.  I get embarrassed with how often the book describes my own tendencies and identity:  self-doubt alongside a sense of superiority, a feeling of specialness bred in part by constant consumption of heroic narratives growing up, strong attachment to video games and college memories, yet another member of a generation that was told by parents and teachers to get good grades or else we’d have to work at McDonald’s then was chastised by parents and teachers for thinking we were too good to work at McDonald’s.  The accuracy is painful.

I’m only halfway through so I can give you no conclusions, other than to state that I’m curious to see what direction a story about the directionless will take, and that reading will take me into 2013, heading in one of many possible directions.

Laura Straub’s END O’ THE YEAR list

21 Dec

My futon’s favorite people:
Matt Bell & Brian Oliu, Amber Sparks, and Tyler Gobble.

Cool Presses that started working with Vouched the past six months: Lazy Fascist, Sarabande Books, Queen’s Ferry Press, Curbside Splendor, Spooky Girlfriend, and Black Ocean.

COVER ART: May We Shed These Human Bodies and The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan, Vol. 1

People I’m still confused to have not met IRL yet: Mel Bosworth and Christy Crutchfield

My Husband’s Budding Bromances: Ben Kopel, Tyler Gobble, and Kory Calico

Top 5 Stage Presences in no specific order: xTx, Devan Goldstein (when reading and also when he sings the shit out of some Bon Jovi), Amy McDaniel, Zach Schomburg, Peter Davis.

Favorite Dance Party: Lit Party @ AWP- duh! 

Thing that makes me feel like !!! every time I read it: Ravi Mangla’s Visiting Writers from Uncanny Valley Press

Favorite special thing: Electric lit’s recommendations in my inbox. SO RAD. Also Matthew Salesses’ Writer in Residence series at Necessary Fiction.

These book tours came and BLEW ME AWAY: Bloof books tour, The Southern Comfort Reading Tour, & the Over the Top tour.

Awful Interviews that still make me laugh big and large:  Joshua Ware, Michael Nye, Matt Bell, & Nicholas Tecosky (who still owes me an arm wrestle…)

SSR #9 of 15: The Fullness of Everything

11 Jul

The Fullness of Everything
by Christopher Newgent, Tyler Gobble, and Brian Oliu
Tiny Hardcore Press
128 pgs, $12

This may seem weird or incestuous of me to write an SSR for a book that is 2/3rd’s Vouched people but, fuck it- you need to read it. Plus Tyler Gobble is on a mega roadtrip right now and we need to celebrate that.

So, here we go:

It is said that triumvirates are all a ruse, that no three can wield power equally- but these collections are equilateral in strength- so Gobble, Oliu, and Newgent have accomplished something here that Caesar, Magnus, and Crassus couldn’t.

Confessions & Whereabouts: Tuscaloosa According to Oliu and Others

12 Apr

Tuscaloosa Runs This
Anthology, 260pgs
$12 | Broken Futon Press

I got to spend the better part of last week skirting around the South with Brian Oliu, Tyler Gobble, and Matt Bell on our Over the Top Reading Tour. We read first at the Green Bar in Tuscaloosa, and spent the next day taking in the city, relaxing before we set off for Atlanta the next day. That afternoon, Tyler and I went to Bowers Park for a round of disc golf, our drive unknowingly taking us through a part of Tuscaloosa still working to rebuild itself after the tornadoe that tore through the city last year.

I want to tell you all the news: about the rubble that still sits in piles and the trees still recovering their leaves, their limbs. But that’s really not what Tuscaloosa is. It never was.

After the tornadoes were gone, Brian went to work on an eBook project called Tuscaloosa Runs This full of Tuscaloosa writers writing about Tuscaloosa. In Brian’s own words, “The quality of the people of Tuscaloosa is only matched by the quality of their writing. Here, we have some amazing work from amazing people—all with our city on our minds and in our hearts. Some of the work has been written long before late April, other pieces written shortly after the storm.”

Recently, with the help of some local businesses, that eBook was released in a beautiful print version, which seems particularly appropriate, similar to the new shops and houses and storefronts rising up from the idea of rebuilding, here is this tangible object, this book, from the ideas and hearts of these Tuscaloosans. Proceeds from the book go to support the rebuilding.

While gathering and organizing the book, Brian wrote an incredible reintroduction to it, which you can read in its entirety over at PANK, and which I highly encourage you to do.

Before that, let me tell you about ways in. The doorways in Tuscaloosa are small, smaller than anywhere I’ve ever lived, small to the point that my shoulders brush against them if I am not careful enough, small like the sides of a metal detector at the airport, small to the point where every doorway reminds me of leaving. When do I stand between the doorjambs? The tricks of disaster escape me: bathtubs? lie on the floor? get in a closet? As I spill soup, as I watch lights flash in a stadium where it is after dark, I watch it on the futon—a mess of metal wires and lacquered wood, like sitting on a knocked down fence, a taupe pillow on top that has thinned out from sitting here, day after day typing, eating, watching football, pressing buttons to swing our sword.

Roll tide!

Awful Interview: Brian Oliu

27 Mar

Brian Oliu and I don’t know each other in person per-se, but I know enough of him to exclaim “Roll Tide” when we meet. I also know enough of him to say that he has awesome taste in cover art, and  *SPOILER ALERT* knows exactly how terminators eat ice-cream.  His collection of Tuscaloosa Missed Connections, So You Know It’s Me, was released on Tiny Hardcore Press in 2011. His  collection of lyric essays based off of videogame boss battles, Level End, will be released in April of 2012 by Origami Zoo Press, which may just be the most epic thing to drop since the defeat of Sephiroth.

He’s reading in part of the Over-the-Top tour and will be gracing us in Atlanta on Friday, April 6th!

Are you a ghost? Be honest.

No. Although I am often compared to a robot of some sort because there is a belief that I do not sleep and I am working all of the time–or at the very least online and on a computer providing information for the masses. My neighbor has taken to calling me ‘Skynet’ ala the Terminator franchise. So, to answer your question, there is a good chance that I am the ghost in the machine. So, yes.

Oh man! It would be grand if you were the terminator. But how would a terminator eat ice cream?  

One lick at a time, I suppose. The Terminator is a robot with human skin around it–I wonder if this expands to the tongue. You don’t really get a good look down Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mouth in the film, so I cannot be sure. Is it a metal mouth or a human mouth? These are the questions that were never answered in the sequels.

Yes, I think these are critical things we need to know. If you were Awfully Interviewing the Terminator, what would you ask him first?

I’d probably ask him if he would like some ice cream, and he would probably say ‘Affirmative’ and then I’d bring him ice cream, but he wouldn’t recognize it because it wouldn’t be Dippin’ Dots, which everyone knows is the ice cream of the future. Then I’d probably ask him who the robots have been reading lately and if robot sci-fi is about a bunch of humans showing up acting funky.

I hope that robot sci-fi is all about humans sitting around on a Sundays, reading their papers, mowing their lawn, and drinking milk out of the carton.
What’s your favorite road-trip song? You know, the one you play really loud to get yourself awake and pumped again after driving for too long.

Robot Sci-Fi! So horrifying. I’ve been a lot of roadtrips lately–I did a summer book tour of the entire Midwest with a few friends & I’m always hopping in my car & going some place. When I was starting to lull, I’d put on G-Side’s Huntsville International to keep the party going. Great balance of rapping along & sounding awesome with some crooning as well.

What do anticipate you, Matt Bell, Christopher Newgent, and Tyler Gobble rocking out to on your road-trip to Atlanta for the reading? Boston? Jovi? Rachmaninoff?

You know, I’m not sure. They’re some nice Midwest boys, so I don’t really know what they listen to. I like to think that we would continue the trend of listening to southern hip-hop on the way over. Maybe some ATL All-Stars. Outkast seems like a must, right?

As an adoptee of the ATL… yes that certainly is a must! There’s nothing like Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik to get the party started. Maybe you could also bust out some Janelle Monae, or T.I if you’re feeling saucy.  Have the four of you discussed a possible wrestling match finale to the tour? It could make things interesting. How do you think that would pan out?

No discussion as of yet, although fatal-four-way matches are always dicey. Is it an elimination match? Or is it first to a pin-fall? Because I think Gobble is crafty enough to wait until the three of us punch each other out, hit our finishers, and snag a quick pinfall on a schoolboy roll-up. If it’s elimination, the obvious choice would be Newgent, simply because of his AWP-famous biceps. Don’t rule out Bell, however–he looks like he might’ve wrestled in highschool. As for myself, I have a weight advantage, but my cardio is lacking. However, I have an intricate understanding of professional wrestling so I feel as if I can use that to my advantage.

All of those scenarios make total sense. The fight could really conclude any way and I wouldn’t be surprised, a lot like a choose your own adventure. Did you ever read any of those? Did you enjoy them?

Loved Choose Your Own Adventure books! My mother worked at a library and so I’d be there every other day after school. I’m pretty sure I’ve read every single one of the original series. I absolutely adore the covers as well. I made my students write them (I teach a game-based Creative Writing course at the University of Alabama) and they came out really great. Also, did you know that the majority of those books are translated into other languages? International folks absolutely love them.

I did not! Wowzers! What was their original language? My instinct says “Dutch.”

The Netherlands is all about some Choose Your Own Adventures. Also, surprisingly, pretty much all of them are translated into Catalan of all languages. Even the late-era ones that no one read. My entire family is from Barcelona so I of course geeked out when I heard this.

That is stupendous! If there was a Choose Your Own Adventure book for the reading coming up on April 6th, what would your ideal ending be?

There are a few Choose Your Own Adventure books that have an ending that is unreachable: meaning that the only way you can get there is by flipping through the book (which is obviously against the rules of Choose Your Own Adventure!) I’d like to think that there is an ending that no one can possibly see coming–some sort of lovely utopia involving kind words and a couple of beers. Outkast too.

Vouched Is Over the Top!

16 Mar

In early April, Tyler Gobble and I are hitting the road with lit extraordinaires Matt Bell and Brian Oliu for the Over the Top Reading Tour to support our new books (The Fullness of Everything and Cataclysm Baby, respectfully), and of course, the Vouched Books table will be making the trip with us. We are hitting Tuscaloosa, Atlanta, and Nashville, and you probably want to be where we will be.

There’s a facebook page with all the details, but just so you don’t have to click yet another link on this rabbit hole called the Internet, I give you this:

April 4th – Tuscaloosa, AL
Green Bar, 2209 4th Street
w/ Marsha McSpadden & Ashley McWaters
RSVP on facebook!

April 5th – Tuscaloosa, AL
Arm Wrestling Table somewhere on U. of Alabama campus
Time and location TBD via Twitter

April 6th – Atlanta, GA
Goat Farm, 1200 Foster Street
w/ J. Bradley & Melysa Martinez
RSVP on facebook!

April 7th – Nashville, TN
Portland Brew East, 1921 Eastland Avenue
w/ Todd Dills
RSVP on facebook!

We hope to see your faces and wrestle your arms!

Exits Are at Artifice

27 Feb

It took no time at all to fall completely in love with this Exits Are project from Mike Meginnis, a series of collaborative stories written in the manner of old school text adventure/roleplaying/Choose Your Own Adventure stories, hosted online by Artifice Magazine. Basically, a match made in heaven.

Here’s the run down:

A text adventure is a game that takes place in prose. The computer describes a world to you one room at a time, writing in the second person. “You stand in the center of a cool, dark cave,” says the computer. “Exits are north, south, east, and west.” The computer waits for you to tell it what you want to do. “Go east,” you might say. Or if there is a key, you might say “take key.” The computer parses your commands as best it can and tells you what happens next. […]

I love text adventures, but they usually disappoint me. I wanted a way to make them more open-ended, less about puzzle-solving and more about language: its weirdness, its beauty. So I started playing a game with some of the writers I knew. Using gchat, I pretend to be a text adventure. The other writer is the player. We use the form of the text adventure to collaborate on some kind of strange, fun narrative. The only rule is that we take turns typing. We never discuss what we’re going to do in advance, so the results are improvisational and surprising/exciting/stressful/upsetting for both participants. Every time, the player does things I never could have seen coming.

So far stories by Matt Bell, Blake Butler, and Tim Dicks have been posted with an equally amazing troupe of writers on deck: Aubrey Hirsch, Brian Oliu, Nicolle Elizabeth, AD Jameson, Robert Kloss, &c.

This is something you want to follow.

Holiday Book Buying

4 Dec

I’m sitting here working on my list of books that I’d like to buy, be given, and/or give this holiday season. I’m becoming overwhelmed as I realize (again) that tricky situation: so many books, limited money. I thought I’d share a few books that I haven’t read but really really want (or want to give) that seem like great choices for holiday shopping this December.

1. The Oregon Trail Is The Oregon Trail by Gregory Sherl (MudLuscious Press): Every book MLP puts out is that beautiful blur of story and sound. In his past work, Sherl is a fearless traveler of emotions, searching inside himself and carrying whatever he finds to his readers. Add in that obvious connection to the video game of my (our?) youth and this could be a good gift for any literary lover of our generation, despite it being a pre-order (better a little late than never!). Check out this excerpt from the book’s page:

In my dreams we always ford the river.
In the wagon I cover you with blankets
when you sleep. You often dream of ghosts
while I hunt bison wherever bison live.
The ghosts are vegetarian, your heart
is April wind, raindrops the size of half dollars.
We never hire the Indian guide. Instead,
we keep the five dollars, roll it up, hide
it in my wool sock. You look better in 3D.
I touch your breasts with my fingertips.
Then I touch your breasts with my whole
hand. I swallow the idea of independence,
finding the West before the dirt was soiled
by factories that build heat-seeking missiles,
amusement parks, & chain restaurants.
Chimney Rock is underwhelming. I spit
in the cracks of the rock, tiny crevices
that hide who the fuck knows. You are hot
shit & the other carpenters from Ohio
are jealous. They think about your hair
while they’re inside their wives, think about
your dimple while they try to repair the axle
on their wagon. True love is finding wild
fruit. We eat without bibs. By rivers I sleep
easy, knowing you’re cleaning the clothes nearby.

2. Issue 4 of Artifice Magazine: The next installment from our favorite super self-aware journal promises to be beautiful, both inside and out. It also will fit in a stocking. Most importantly, it features new work by wonderful writers like Ryan Ridge, Richard Chiem, and Caroline Crew that are sure to be mind-thumping.

3. So many things from Dzanc Books’ Holiday Sale: With sales like Buy One, Get One Free or free eBooks with every print book or sweet bundles, Dzanc continues to offer some of the best literary booyeah for your buck. Maybe you have a friend/relative that needs some good lit exposure; try some the 30 Under 30 Anthology edited by Lily Hoang and Blake Butler, featuring innovative fiction from the likes of Matt Bell, Evelyn Hampton, and Brian Oliu. Or maybe–like me (silly I know)— you still haven’t read Kyle Minor’s book, so ask for that. Or maybe one of those wild new releases has caught your eye, like Animal Sanctuary by Sarah Falkner:

Winner of the 7th Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction

A wild and mysterious novel of multiple characters and episodes structured around the life and career of a fictional actress and animal rights activist, is the winner of the 7th Starcherone Fiction Prize. The manuscript was selected by novelist and short story writer Stacey Levine.

Animal Sanctuary is a challenging, readable, powerful, and mysterious novel. The story—not a single plot, but multiple, peripherally connected episodes and discourses – concerns an American actress, Kitty Dawson, who stars in two movies by a famous (and famously obscure) British director, Albert Wickwood, both having animal disaster themes. Kitty then goes on to make a great many other pictures with animal themes, and to found in the 1970s a sanctuary for big cats that rich people decide first to have as pets, then abandon. Later, Kitty’s only son, Rory, raised in the animal sanctuary and as a young teen the lover of a renowned Austrian big cat trainer, becomes an installation and performance artist whose work incorporates animals & animal themes, as well as attempts to critique and get outside of institutions.

4. Please Don’t Be Upset by Brandi Wells: Missed out on Tiny Hardcore Press’s sweet sales awhile back? That’s okay, you’re not alone. But, you can still snag Well’s sure-to-be-sweet book for a stellar $8.99. I’m always impressed by how Wells’ writing, and THP books in general, can be in-your-face without being obnoxious, intimate without being awkward, and 100% hard-hitting.


I Know It’s You Brian Oliu Oh I Know

8 Jun

So You Know It’s Me

by Brian Oliu

Tiny Hardcore Press

Buy it from THP for $7

This pieces are the jaw-dropping emotional dynamites that I’ve come to expect from Brian Oliu. Missed connections smack out of their writers a sincere ridiculousness through uncovering nagging memories, minute observations, and quirky hopes. In So You Know It’s Me, the second release from Tiny Hardcore Press, Brian Oliu takes this trope and runs it through a cycle that banners missed connections that are as strangely endearing as they are ridiculously sad, as wildly hopeful as they are emotionally seeping.

Originally posted in Tuscaloosa’s Craiglist Missed Connections page, these short lyric essays flex their brilliance by displaying their grace in walking so many touchy lines: between creepy and loving, between tender and overbearing, between honest and fully sliced open. Oliu (or his speaker) reaches deep within his emotions and tosses out whatever feels real. Take “In Motion-UA Rec Center M4W,” from the beginning of the collection, where the speaker bounds through his observations about a woman at the gym, watching her on the elliptical and relating her position, her motion, to himself and the world around them. The pure sense of total concentration, or perhaps obsession, in that singular moment is astounding. As it starts, the speaker shimmies around a metaphor to find this woman’s place:

It is because you believe in movement without movement. It is because you want to move your legs up and down like pistons—no, not pistons, as that would conjure up images of machinery and mechanism and you are neither of these things: you are human, toned. You are not the machine: you are its operator.

As it circles within itself, the thoughts turn to others around them: bodybuilders, prospective students on a tour, a recollection of seeing two girls kiss in the racquetball courts. Finally, it’s back to the woman, her hair shaking as she exercises, and one last line-straddling admission: “I am left to wonder where it is you think you are going.”

This last sentence is a shining example of the depth of these pieces. Like with other missed connections on Craigslist, the backstory is far larger than the short prose would admit, but where the true radiance comes through is when Oliu takes the dense emotion and experience hidden beneath a missed connection and runs with it, exposing the delicacy, the vulnerability, and the susceptibility of human emotions.

This display comes full force as the book continues, as pieces and even the speaker’s past began to connect. At times, it goes beyond a simple missed connection, for instance when the speaker seems to (or pretends to?) know the woman, like in “Hand Me Downs-America’s Thrift M4W” where the speaker says that the woman’s mother always liked him, or when the writing dances out of the realism and into the fantasy full-blown, as in “UUDDLRRBASTART-GAMESTOP M4W” when the speaker tells of the girl’s past lives. In these moments, the balancing act tips at times, the endearing into the creepy, the spontaneity into the  repeated.

Through the layers, however, we are bombarded with the realization that this speaker is us, that this woman is us. The beauty of Oliu’s first book is how his speaker, whether it be him or not, is unafraid to rip open himself and risk being a creep, being dramatic, being over-the-top. The emotion in these pieces jumps out to look us straight in the eye, as if to say, watch closely this is you; you’re gonna have to deal with it.

Wigleaf is a treasure chest

25 Feb

Friends, there are these Two Tuscaloosa Missed Connections by Brian Oliu you should read on Wigleaf. I know Tyler told you about his installment in >Kill Author’s Eleventh Issue, so undoubtedly you are excited to see more. The second of them, Hand Me Down: America’s Thrift M4W, makes me feel a little guilty about the ugly sweater party I went to in December, but in a good way. Both stories have a gentle way of unveiling truths that were right under our noses, hanging in our closets, eroding in our backyards.

Then there is Ashley Farmer’s Man Found Dead in a Graveyard, which makes you feel you’ve seen things you haven’t seen. Or maybe it helps you see them. They are things worth seeing, worth reading.