Bacopa Literary Review

Monday, February 29, 2016

Bacopa Literary Review: A Teaching Tale

by Editor-in-Chief Mary Bast

Reading literary fiction improves empathy. Deep characterization in novels is memorable in part because these characters disrupt our expectations, undermine our prejudices and stereotypes. 

This is equally true of so-called Children's Literature. Think of the Harry Potter series. Is it science fiction? Classical literature? Fantasy? Young adult? Mystery? Adults and teens, as well as children, are entranced by Harry's adventures. What about Charlotte's Web? Clearly a children's book, and yet, there's much more to it than the story of a pig and a spider. These books are powerful because they're teaching tales. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and his crowd have struggles many of us face, including bullying from the likes of Snape and Voldemort. In E.B. White's Charlotte's Web we can identify with the isolation and fears of poor, bullied Wilbur.  

Bullying is a stark reality. According to 2015 statistics, one in three U.S. students say they've been bullied in school. Some stay home, others attend school in a chronic state of anxiety. Workplace threats to adults may be more subtle, but they're bullying nonetheless.

Teaching tales can help both children and adults learn to cope. Bacopa Literary Review 2015's Third Place Fiction winner Michael Allard, a teacher in the Gifted Program in Marion County and in the High School Dual Enrollment program at Santa Fe College, brings us such a tale: "Your Invisible Alligator." 
Your invisible alligator goes to school with you. . . you are at your desk when your bully comes down the aisle with malicious intent. With a flick of your invisible alligator's invisible tail, your bully's feet are flipped forward and up. . . You are tempted to laugh. However, you know that laughing at the misfortune of others is a kind of bullying, so instead, you look in your heart for some sympathy. . . Your bully persists. Your invisible alligator resists. Soon, you no longer have to put a look of concern on your face because, in your heart, you are concerned, and the look comes without bidding. . . Despite all of this, your bully continues his attacks. . . your invisible alligator could simply put an end to all of this with a snap of his mighty jaws, but your invisible alligator knows that causing harm may feel good for a time, but regret will long outlast the satisfaction of revenge. . . "Hey," you say to your bully one day. You've walked down the aisle towards the back of the room where your bully prefers to sit. . . In his eyes, you can see a mix of wariness and fear. . . You want him to know that you will not become a bully yourself. . . You look at your bully with kindness in your eyes and a smile on your lips. You hold out your hand to him. You think your invisible alligator would be proud of you.
Thanks, Michael Allard, for this call to action.

(Look for Michael Allard's "Change to Believe In," upcoming in the Fall 2016 edition of Bacopa Literary Review)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Bacopa Literary Review: It Goes Like This

by Editor-in-Chief Mary Bast

David Antonio Moody, Bacopa Literary Review 2015's Third Place Poetry winner, is a writing instructor at Arizona State University and production editor for The Cortland Review. David received a 2014 AWP Intro Journal Award, and his poetry has appeared in Spillway, Streetlight, The Apply Valley Review, Gingerbread House, Eleven Eleven, Artful Dodge, and Breakwater Review (Peseroff Prize). His prize-winning poem for Bacopa:
Wasp and Pear
Every year I find myself giving up on trees
lightning-struck, brown, full of sawfly larva
but shingling the dog's pen.
                                            Hurricane
season can often leave us just like this:
with wood tacks, lumber, with caulk guns and caulk,
gallons of water, and surplus tape spools.

But yellow cling peaches stored in a can,
how they imply what is kept in the sky,
what message it's got, if something is left.

But soon, always soon, mouths become hungry,
then fruit season leaves.
                                    Chipping potatoes.
Field hands lobbing cabbage over my fence
in trade for water. I offer a watch
and eat well that night.
                                    It goes like this.
The grove drops its flesh.
                                 Some dawns I hear it--
a soft pear's giving up into a fall,
its wet brown pulp a bruise on the earth. Then
wind-jagged wasps come to perch on its rot,
That they love what's dead. That I do, do not.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Bacopa Literary Review: Anticipation

by Editor-in-Chief Mary Bast

"Creative nonfiction writers and memoirists often take advantage of fiction techniques," writes Dorothy Wall in More Ways to Use Fiction Techniques in Nonfiction. "They create scenes and characters, use dialogue and description. As much as possible, they try to show rather than tell." 

Among the many other strategies behind good storytelling, Wall encourages nonfiction writers to create anticipation (set up the action to come), create propulsion (make your scenes have consequences), and compress time/let emotion and events animate your story (fictional time leaps over inessential events).

"I was a parole officer in Miami for eleven years," says Bacopa Literary Review 2015 Second Place Creative Nonfiction winner, Michael Kite. In slightly more than 1500 words, his prize-winning "Memories of a Honeymoon and a Milk Carton" demonstrates each of Wall's points about strengthening storytelling. These excerpts provide hints to the anticipation and consequences that animate Kite's story:
As we shook hands, it was clear my new parolee Harry Goldman was not typical. . .  He sat down, crossed his legs, put his black fedora on his knee. . . "I'm happy to meet you, Mr. Kite. I hope we will build a satisfactory working relationship."
His file wasn't typical either. His parole certificate contained a condition forbidding consumption of alcohol. . . "When drinking, this inmate is a danger to himself and to others. Any association with alcoholic beverages is reason for immediate arrest. . ."

. . . it was often said with good reason, murderers make the best parolees, and Harry was certainly a murderer. In 1963, in a drunken and jealous rage, he had hacked his second wife to death with a meat cleaver. . .  He pled to second-degree murder, received twenty-five years. Paroled after serving twelve. . .
"Have you reported to your job?"
"No, not yet. I wanted to see you first. But it will be there. Loretta will make sure of that."
"Loretta?"
"Loretta Grayson, owns the company, arranged the job for me." 

"How do you know her?" 

"We were pen pals while I was incarcerated. . . She has been a wonderful influence on my life."
. . . Over the next few months, he adjusted well. He had a small apartment, kept it neat, clean, alcohol free. . . About a year after his release he called, said he had something important to tell me. . .

"I got married to Loretta last week. So I have a new address. . ."

[Harry] was wearing Bermuda shorts and a well-worn T-shirt. He stripped off his gardening glove, "Welcome." Extending his bare hand, "Come on in. Loretta's taking a nap and I was tending the roses." He motioned me to the couch. On the coffee table were copies of Florida Gardening, Southern Living, and The George Review.
"You grow roses?"
"Loretta does. I just pull the weeds and prune."
"How's married life?"
"It's great." He took off the other glove, stared at the floor for a moment, then looking up, "She means a lot to me. I've never been in love before. . ."
Over the next few months I came by twice. I sniffed the ice tea pitcher and the orange juice, checked the canisters, even the new coffee one, the dresser drawers, under the mattress, the pockets of his clothes in the closet, found nothing. . .

Then one Sunday morning I read in the paper. . . .
Yes, of course, you're eager to know what happened. Think of synonyms for anticipation -- apprehension, foresight, impatience -- all the ways in which good writers make sure their readers eagerly await the next sentence, paragraph, page.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Bacopa Literary Review: A Universal Truth

by Poetry Editor Kaye Linden

This tiny poem by D.A. Levy offers a wonderful example of writing with a specific image to demonstrate a general truth. Here, the poet has compared kisses to dried flowers to demonstrate that we cannot hold on to anything. The universal truth shines through this “rainy day.” Enjoy the moment because it will not last. The writing rule here? Use the specific to demonstrate the universal.
for a rainy day

kisses
we tried to save
pressed in books
like flowers from
a sun warmed day
only
years later to
open yellowing pages
to find those same
kisses -- wilted and dry

Bacopa's Submissions open until June 30, 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bacopa Literary Review: Luminosity

by Editor-in-Chief Mary Bast

Bacopa Literary Review 2015's Third Place Creative Nonfiction winner, Catherine Ghosh, is an artist, writer, yogini, and co-founder of The Secret Yoga Institute. Not only has Catherine woven multiple meanings of breathing fire into her memoir piece, she is also a beacon of luminosity in her zeal to make the world a better place. Here are key excerpts from "The Fire Breather."
"Do you want to see me turn into a volcano?"

"Fire Breathers," they called themselves, and the Federal District -- tucked in a valley surrounded by majestic views of live volcanoes -- was full of them. Usually in their teens, this boy was by far the youngest I had ever seen! The daring Fire Breathers made a living by pouring gasoline into their mouths, and then igniting it into an infernal, orange blaze they sprayed out toward the sky. Those who had failed to master the precise fire-breath technique roamed the city with unsightly facial scars. . .
I would see the young Fire Breather and his family on my way to and from elementary school. When they approached our Dodge Aspen station wagon, my mother would often say, "Roll up your windows!" Other days she'd give us coins for them. . . In the front seat, father gave us a history lesson on the reason the road flooded when it rained. "It was poor planning," he would say. . . His hands left the steering wheel in a gesture of exasperation as floodwaters choked the movement of traffic. . . 

Used to father's permanent professor mode, my concerned thoughts rang louder than his lesson. "But what about the street children, Daddy? Why doesn't anyone clean up the places where they live?"

. . . Like a fish swimming upstream, our station wagon eventually made it out of the flooded valley and back up to the hills of San Jeronimo where we lived. From my bedroom window I could see the glorious 17,886-foot volcanic peak of the Popocatepetl. My mother's Oaxacan maids used to tell us children that the Popo contained an inextinguishable fire within its core --  bubbling with red lava even in the winter months when its peaks were covered in white snow. "The volcanoes breathe fire!" the maids would tell me.

I knew that every time the Popo spewed fire, shooting sparks into the heavens like fireworks, it would draw geologists from all over the world, making international news and injecting urgency through Mexico City's dense population. It didn't seem fair that the young Fire Breather on the street corner didn't spark the same kind of urgency. . . "How can I change this, Daddy?"

. . . Surely, as a professor of law, he would give me a solution, show me the way to remedy the injustice I saw passing by me every time we drove down into the city. After careful thought my father looked directly into my eyes and uttered one word, and one word only.

"Write!"

Passionate about inspiring women to share their spiritual insights, Catherine Ghosh founded an online poetry project in 2012, through which emerged Journey of the Heart: An Anthology of Spiritual Poetry by Women and Where Journeys Meet: The Voice of Women's Poetry. With her writing partner Braja Sorensen, she co-authored Yoga in the Gita: Krishna & Patanjali -- The Bhakti Dimension. Catherine has been contributing editor for Integral Yoga Magazine and has published in Mantra Yoga + Health, Rebelle Society, The Tattooed Buddha, The Harmonist, The Interfaith Observer, and other journals. You may connect with her on Facebook or visit her website.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bacopa Literary Review: Bits and Pieces of Good Writing: George Saunders

by Fiction Editor U.R. Bowie

George Saunders'“Mother’s Day” in The New Yorker is a funny story, lots of great humor, but—as with all quality humorous writing—the fiction is anchored in the serious.
Sweeping like a banshee in front of that same tiny former carriage house she’d lived in since she was a girl. With her oddball parents. Mandy and Randy. Both had limps. Different limps. When they walked down the street it was like a freaking dance party.
Note what some might consider offensive writing here. Let them. If you want to write good fiction do not concern yourself with political correctness. Good fiction describes Life, and Life has no truck with political correctness. Is it sin to laugh at a descriptions of limping people? No. Go ahead and laugh. God will absolve you of your sins.
[appearing at the pearly gates]: she didn’t exactly love the idea of showing up at the pearly gates or whatnot and having St. Whoever look her up in his book and go, Whoa, hey, I was just sitting here tabulating the number of guys you had in your life, and, yikes, can you wait here a second while I go check with God on what the limit is?
[caught in a hailstorm]: The hail-thingies bouncing off Debi’s black umbrella looked like sweat flying off a cartoon-guy’s head when he was supposed to be worried. Paul, Sr., had once shown her a porn like that. A cartoon porn. The one Paulie later found. Guy so worried, watching his wife have at it with a big sailor…
[heart attack]: Alma got hold of a fence slat. To pull—pull herself out. Of this. Pain. Something new was happening now. The tightness in her chest was worse. Jesus. Like labor with Paulie. Then it went past that, to labor with Pammy, and she was giving birth to something bigger than Pammy, out her chest.
Funny, the best story I ever read by George Saunders was also in The New Yorker, years ago. It was about a man caught up in a bank robbery. Don’t remember the title. As I recall it, the man in the bank kept making jokes, and the bank robbers did not take kindly to that. Can’t recall what else happened, but it sure was a dang good story!

Bacopa's Submissions open until June 30, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

Bacopa Literary Review: what is real

by Editor-in-Chief Mary Bast

It is always satisfying to become reacquainted with poets and writers featured in past issues who have continued to flourish. A great example is Mark William Jackson, one of whose poems was featured in Bacopa 2011. This Sydney, Australia-based writer has many recent publications in print and electronic journals. You can also hear Mark reading his poetry on Sound Cloud.  

Here, from Bacopa Literary Review 2011, is Mark's intriguing poem "what is real":
in this binary world
the liminal is lost
         only space between
         nowhere
and   now here

what is real

is it
the pen that slashes
across the page
in thrusts and swoops
like a swashbuckling hero
defending an honour

or
the dollar
wrestled from the grip of time
         a reward for trading
         hours                  away
calculated rates of
interest and exchange

the needle that digs in
         through skin
to deliver its
chemical images
what if the doors of perception
were cleansed
         and the reality
                 drove us mad

or is it
the flickering visions of the past
captured on the mind's celluloid
or discarded on the cutting room floor
for not being
         of production quality

what is real
         real is the memory of things to come
         real is that love
that did not start
and will not finish
but just is.


(Note: The last 18 lines -- beginning with to deliver its / chemical images -- were to appear on a second page in Bacopa's 2011 issue, but were lost in the production process. We regret that error and share the poet's assessment: "It is a rather important section as it turns the tone of the poem; hopefully it adheres to Robert Frost's theory that a poem 'begins in delight and ends in wisdom.'")

Bacopa's Submissions open until June 30, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016

LITERARY SPARKS THAT FLARE UP INTO FLAMES: DEIRDRE MCNAMER

by Fiction Editor U.R. Bowie

You read something, the words flash at you; they spark creativity in your brain. Deirdre McNamer’s writings often do this to me. 

Here are some examples from her novel My Russian. The ones in direct quotations are (I think) totally Ms. McNamer’s. The ones not in quotations are what my creative mind came up with when reading her creativity.
  1. [the main character, Francesca, having disguised herself to look older, is chagrined at people’s new take on her] “Had I been a dog, I think he would have glanced at me. It’s a revelation—the invisibility of old age.”
  2. You’re outside a house looking in. The family room, flashes of blue television light, the faint drone of an announcer at the football game, some tiny cheers from a tiny crowd.
  3. That horrific lunch when Laura broke all the rules of social etiquette was wiped out, off the map, never discussed again, but it still sits there at the edges of our days , the mute residue of the thing, lethal and irremediable. 
  4. The feeling I always get when watching standup comedians on TV. “I feel desperate to usher the performer offstage, desperate to wipe the leer off his face and keep the next joke unsaid, because even the best of all jokes won’t be enough to compensate for such stark public vulnerability.”
  5.   She was one of those intensely ebullient people who are great at the right kind of party but wear mightily on the nerves in a small tight space.
  6.  Lies get installed. They skitter into place like a panting child late for the first day of class, unsure she has the right room. Heads turn. Where did she come from in all her blonde-haired dishevelment? A half-hour later, yellow head bent, tongue protruding, scribbling away, she’s always been there, she’s never been absent—she’s not a lie anymore.
Really nice stuff here. Don’t you agree? 

(Read Bowie's Book Review: Vladimir Nabokov's Letters to VĂ©ra)

Bacopa's Submissions open until June 30, 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

Bacopa Literary Review: If It Glimmers, It's Gold

by Editor-in-Chief Mary Bast

Debra A. Daniel won Bacopa Literary Review 2015's 2nd Place in Fiction for her 515-word story "Cinderella Visits Her Stepmother at the EverAfter Assisted Living Home." While we're not inviting flash fiction for the 2016 issue, there's no clear agreement on what constitutes "flash." Synonyms for flash include: gleam, glimmer, glitter, sparkle, luster, illuminate. No, we don't want 50-word submissions. Yes, we do want fiction that illuminates.

We think you'll agree that Debra's short story has a certain luster:
Cinderella touches the sleeve, says, This isn't your gown.

The old woman's fingers curl into knotty fists. She says, Keep your hands off. It's mine. The mouse with the secret messages on his arms gave it to me. The mice have sneaked in with gifts every night since you imprisoned me in this dungeon.

This is a hospital, Mother, where they care for you. Mice don't sneak in, Cinderella says as she picks up wadded tissues littering the floor.

Soft white mice are around your feet right now. I'll order them to bite you, then you'll see. The stepmother snorts, I want to be in my own castle, not in this evil torture chamber. And look at my hair. Get my magic wand and fix me.

Cinderella finds a silver comb in the nightstand drawer. Standing behind the wheelchair, she listens to her stepmother's ragged breathing and slowly detangles the wiry tufts of hair.
That hurts. What a spiteful girl you are. I'll command the mice to leave you in the forest just like Snow White with nothing to eat but poisoned apples.

Mother, please, just let me help you.

The old woman slaps at Cinderella's hand. The comb goes back into the drawer.

Let me feed you some applesauce. It'll make you feel better, Cinderella says and scoops a spoonful from a tiny golden cup.

Remove that vile potion. I'll eat when I'm ready. The stepmother's voice is so high-pitched that a male nurse walking by enters the room. Ah, the handsome Prince, the old woman says.

Mother, he's not the Prince. The Prince left a long, long ago. 

The stepmother's eyes fix on the man. I know that. This is a toad transformed into a coachman or a page, at best. He's certainly not royalty. Her voice softens to a croaky whisper. The Prince sent him to rescue me from the dungeon.

As he leaves, the nurse bestows a longsuffering smile upon Cinderella. The old woman glares at her and says, Who are you?

I'm your daughter.

The woman says, You're not. My daughters have frizzy hair and crooked horse teeth just like mine. You've never, ever been my daughter.

So it goes all the while Cinderella is cleaning the old woman's horse teeth and gathering soiled garments for laundering. She sits beside the bed until her stepmother tosses into unhappy sleep.
Then Cinderella heads to where she parked her old dented pumpkin. Behind her, she hears footsteps, lots of them. When she turns she sees the mice heading in for the shift change.
How was she? the one with the tattoo says.

She's a little worse every day now, but, at least she knew you were there last night. Thanks for the gown.

Don't mention it, says the mouse with the cropped tail. Did she eat the applesauce?

Cinderella sighs. No, I won't force it. We'll both know when she's really ready to take a bite.

The mice leave Cinderella leaning against the pumpkin. For a long while she stands there, all alone in the dark, dark of life ever after. 

Debra A. Daniel is the author of the novel, Woman Commits Suicide in Dishwasher, (Muddy Ford Press) and two poetry chapbooks, The Downward Turn of August (Finishing Line Press) and As Is (Main Street Rag). She was twice named SC Arts Commission Poetry Fellow, won the 2002 Guy Owen Prize as well as numerous awards from the Poetry Society of SC, the Piccolo Fiction Open, The SC Fiction Project, and was nominated for a Pushcart. Her work has appeared in many publications including The Los Angeles Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, The Sound of Poets Cooking, Kakalak, The Inkwell Magazine, Southern Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, and Gargoyle Magazine.

Bacopa's Submissions open until June 30, 2016

Friday, February 5, 2016

Today's Unbearable Truths

by Editor-in-Chief Mary Bast

Our Bacopa Literary Review 2015 First Place Poetry winner, Diane Stone, is a former technical writer-editor who lives on Whidbey Island north of Seattle. Her work has been published in Comstock Review, Soundings Review, Windfall, 5 AM Magazine, Rants, and other publications.

Here's Diane Stone's prize-winning poem, "Local Weather":
The weather guy points to a wall-sized map
that's slightly out of focus--green smudges
of moderate calm shift north
beside a long orange curl of turbulence.
Wedged like slobs in front of the evening news,
we wait for today's unbearable truths.
Just give us something simple, mister,
like the low this morning or when the sun will set.
We can deal with simple facts.

Dazed by the evening's jolt of crime,
we want to believe in something true as rain,
as if black hoods and body counts might, just might,
be washed away by evening showers.
It's hard to rise above our low-level doldrums
until we hear his weather blessing,
his final benediction that the coast is clear--
tonight and tomorrow too--
then we haul our bodies from the brink,
fix dinner and a second drink,
consider if the next few days will deliver
all he promised, sun, high clouds,
no disaster in the forecast,
but we won't hold him to it.

Later, submerged in moonless dark,
we turn to each other to confirm heat and cold,
grab a hand to hold.
Eventually a storm of one kind or another
will sweep away both good and evil.
Eternity alone has endless balmy weather:
winds calm, skies blue,
maybe light fog in the morning.

Submissions open until June 30, 2016



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

SAMPLES OF GOOD FICTION WRITING: TIM GAUTREAUX

by Fiction Editor U.R. Bowie

Just read a story by Tim Gautreaux, in his collection Same Place, Same Things. The story titled "The Courtship of Merlin LeBlanc" features three generations of Cajun gentlemen, aged 54, 75, and 93, and their interactions with a baby girl, Susie/Susan, who is to them, respectively, granddaughter, great granddaughter and great-great granddaughter.

Sounds like a silly, sentimental Hollywood film, featuring, say, Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it's not like that at all. The grandfather Merlin, whose attempts to bring up his own three children, all now deceased, were utterly without merit, is now faced with bringing up still another child. Having no toys for Susie, he gives her shotgun shells to play with. Meanwhile, his father Etienne and grandfather Octave berate him for his fecklessness, and for giving a baby shotgun shells.

Here's how the story ends, immediately after Octave has nearly died of old age on the porch and Etienne has fallen off it:
Merlin got up and went down the two steps to help his father. Making a face, Etienne reached under his bottom and pulled out the shotgun shell. He banged it upright on the edge of the porch. Octave's head wavered above the baby's bright face as he swung a foot off the wheelchair stirrup and kicked the shell back down to the ground. Merlin hugged his father under the arms and hoisted him up, keeping his hold after they were standing, trying for balance. The two of them stood there in the sunshine, chastened but determined, amazed by the smiles on the porch, where Octave and Susan whispered and sang.


Submissions open until June 30, 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Flowers of a Six-Week Life

by Editor-in-Chief Mary Bast

One of the many delights of this role is being on the map with publishers. Recently, New Michigan Press sent me a copy of Stephanie Dickinson's chapbook Heat: An Interview with Jean Seberg. Curious about this "lyrically charged novella," I dove in, and within minutes was flat-out in love. 

"Yours is exactly the quality of writing we want for Bacopa Literary Review," I wrote to the author, "especially our poetry section where we invite mixed forms. Noting from your web site the extent of your publishing history, it's probably naive of me to ask if you'd have something for Bacopa, but may I quote from Heat in the Editors' Blog? A chapter? A page? A paragraph? A sentence?"

Stephanie responded within a few days: "Dear Mary, Thank you for your generous email. I read the blog link you included and especially loved this paragraph.
Few writers can define this eccentric genre. At the same time, the use of sentences as opposed to broken lines does change the rhythm and oral read of any poem, and the use of sentence structure in dense or loose narrative elicits a different feel and expectation to the reader.
"And then David Lehman's use of the word 'enchantment' to describe the prose poem. Wonderful! You may quote as much as you like from Heat."

So, with great pleasure I offer pages 3-4 of Heat ("An Imaginatively Imaginary Interview with Actress Jean Seberg"), though every section is equally quotable:
Q. Having lived in Iowa, I know there's no shortage of pretty girls, but few ever claimed an international reputation. Like many others, I wonder if you had been only half as beautiful would you have married, raised children, and been a housewife and not an actress? 

SEBERG: I don't claim anything not even a pretty face. The Iowa River schooled me, although I was already bigger than the place I'm from. At age four, my father brought me here to watch bluegill and carp bite the hook's surprise. The rocks oozed heat. Bass trees hung heavily with vines and the current tugged the chocolate sludge. In water they fought the line but once on land, the knife glinting its cornsilk light, they gave up. Where can we swim? Their wide-open sun-scalded eyes began to die. I clenched my fists. Throw them back! The fisherman laughed and cut. Slit open, the bluegill's petal lungs still pumped. Tiny, translucent clouds of river weather. At sixteen, I lived and breathed for Photoplay, and you couldn't drag me to the cast and reel. The sneer on Marlon Brando's lip I'd trace. Half as beautiful I wouldn't have known the Hell that comes from having a public. Fans. Or that I'd live Brando's words, "Success on the screen usually means failure as a human being." If someone had offered my mother pink Saturn ringed by mysterious meteors and moons, she'd still have chosen to make four babies and set the dinner table. Half as beautiful, a quarter as beautiful, I'd still not settle for housewifery in Marshalltown's green corn desert. I was always drawn to metamorphosis. The four stages of a butterfly. From egg to pupa to chrysalis to flight. I supped the flowers of a six-week life.

Bacopa Literary Review 2017 submissions will open on April 1