Sunday, October 28, 2012
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Jim uses his camera to pick up spirits in nature. I put this photograph up as wallpaper on my laptop so I could look at them and think about them as I worked on a story I've been writing. At first I found myself thinking of the central figure as Queen Mab, who, according to Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," brings us dreams. I thought also of Diana surrounded by her nymphs in a line from Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale." The speaker has allowed himself to be carried away on the wings of poesy, seeing in the night sky "haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne/Clustered around by all her starry fays."
Then the central figure began to change, or show her many dimensions: an insect self, even a Virgin Mary self inset in the lower portion of the figure, and back again to her whole and truest self. I told Jim that I loved the photograph though it scared me a little.
What, I asked myself, has he caught in his lens?
He sent me another email, with the following two photographs attached, which he introduced as follows: well, if the frost spirits scare you, try these on for size.
Jim wrote back, referring at one point to a scrape with cancer:
i have gone partially through the portal. being close to death has that effect if you are open to it. this makes me really curious about death. will things come to me and ask what took so long? will they ignore me? do these questions even make sense in the context of death? will i retain enough worldly consciousness to know if these questions are answered? am i going to eat my sandwich before the dog laps it up? the little bastard is eying it already.
These final images Jim just sent me, saying he had caught them earlier in the day.
In the first, it seemed to me the spirit of man and fish moved through ice together, though what the relationship of man and fish might be, or how and why this happened, I cannot and do not want to say. In the second, I find myself thinking of Elizabeth Smart traveling with her cruel and delusionary abductors, though I am certain you will see better images. Why such an image would be caught in ice, I cannot say, so I am almost certain I must be wrong...unless these images are spirit photographs themselves, moments of our lives captured in the frozen waters.
Jim wanted to clarify something about his 'seeing' the images in ice:by the way, i cannot see these images in the world until i process them. the colors are too muted. so i am taking a picture of what is inside the door and seeing it later. later, the door has changed, so i can never go back.
When I asked him if I could post these on my blog so others could see them, he said: go for it. they are my gift to the world.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Brian Sabin/"A mother sits crying..."
Alexis Pope/"Coughing Up Petals"
Joshua Friedt/"The Girl with the Ridiculous Headband"
Michelle Sinsky/"The Edge of the Park"
Rachel Stone/"Dead Letters"
Cheryl Evans/"The Lady on the Bus"
Seth Hepner/"The Rat"
Sarah Oser/"Stuck in a Moment"
Sarah Dravec/"Absolution, Resolution"
Curt Brown/"They Brought It Up in Trucks"
Go right to any of these by looking in the Blog Archive at the bottom of the page and clicking on the writer.
The boy peered out his living room window, watching the sky morph in color and shape. As he had walked home from school the sky had been a bright, clear blue but the dark clouds had gathered quickly, following him down the sidewalk to his house. The boy leaned in toward the window till his nose touched the glass. Storm clouds and the setting sun gave everything outside an eerie, orange glow.
A loud sigh filled the room. The boy looked to his mother as she turned over and buried her head deeper in the couch cushions. She was asleep and unaware. She had always been the type that preferred a glass of wine and a long afternoon nap over the nagging responsibilities of a kid, a house, a life.
A flash of lightning drew the boy’s attention back to the window. The rain began to fall slowly, a sprinkling haze. The wind picked up and the boy watched as the neighbor’s empty trash can rolled and tumbled down the road. Then without warning the sky opened and torrents of rain crashed down. The rain blew sideways beating against the window pane in an unending percussive beat.
Headlights pulled into the driveway, shining through the window and momentarily blinding the boy. He blinked rapidly and involuntarily leapt to his a feet, a surge of adrenaline pulsing through his veins. He quickly made his way to the small, dull-yellow kitchen.
The front door slammed and in an instant the boy had secured himself in the cabinet under the sink. It was a small space and his legs tangled with cleaning products and the cold, wet sink pipes. The boy could hear his heartbeat pounding in his ears and he took a few deep breaths to calm himself.
It began as a muffled disagreement, a small skirmish whose accusations were drowned out by the pouring rain. But then the shouting began. It grew louder till screaming words cut through all other noise.
The boy could only make out a few words and phrases that reverberated off the walls but he couldn’t seem to understand what was actually being said. To him every shout felt like a sharp stab ripping through his stomach. He wrapped his arms around his middle tightly, attempting to protect his insides from the onslaught of words.
Soon the screaming was accompanied by a scuffle of violence. The boy winced at the noise of something large and metallic crashing to the ground. Next came the sound of breaking glass or perhaps it was ceramic? Maybe it was the blue lamp that sat on the end table or was it a window?
The boy decided it must have been a window because the sounds of the storm felt suddenly more intimate. He swore the howling wind was whipping right outside his thin cupboard door. His mother’s unintelligible sobs were mixing with the sound of the beating rain. Something, most likely a fist, banged against the wall and the vibration traveled all the way to the boy’s hiding place.
The boy squeezed his eyes shut. He wrapped his arms around his legs and drew them in closer to his chest. He could feel a small insect crawling up the side of his leg but he didn’t dare make a move to swipe it away. No, the boy sat completely still and waited for it to stop.
He knew it would stop eventually.
It always stopped eventually.
- I'm a professor of English at The University of Akron--I teach fiction writing and literature classes. I have published about fifty stories and essays in magazines, as well as a novel, Jack's Universe, and a collection of stories, Private Acts. I grew up in a military family, so I'm not from anywhere in particular except probably Akron, where I've lived for thirty-five years. Before I came here, I never lived anywhere longer than three years. I got my BA from U.C. Berkeley, my MA from San Diego State, and my MFA from The University of Iowa.