Men Stop Me Running | Catapult

 

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Men Stop Me Running published at Catapult

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Men yell at me from car windows. My stride is slow and steady. I’m training for the American Tobacco Trail Half Marathon, my first real race. Before now, I’ve never attempted anything over 5k.

“Hey!” a man yells and it sounds like he’s falling off a cliff. The car drives away and he’s still yelling the tail end of the word until the sound floats away to nothing and he is gone.

A mile later, a beige-gold Chrysler Town & Country swerves around me and a man yells, “I will fuck you!” The back window of his van is black with little white stick-family stickers: Smiling Mommy, Smiling Daddy, Baby Girl, Soccer-playing-Son, Silly Dog with floppy ears.

I watch the van drive away, cautious. Can you Stow-and-Go an adult human woman? I guess I’m just being paranoid.

He hasn’t really threatened me, has he? But, it wasn’t a compliment, either. Men do not yell at women from moving cars because we are desirable.

I keep running, imagining Smiling Daddy falling off the side of the cliff. His stick family stands at the top, dumbfounded. As he falls, he screams, “I will fuck you!” until his dying breath stretches out to nothing and he is gone.

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Interview with Lesley Trites

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According to Publisher’s Weekly, Lesley Trites’s short fiction collection, A Three-Tiered Pastel Dream from Véhicule Press “gazes deeply into modern womanhood and the way in which having it all can easily slip into wistful envy.”

Trites is an author of poetry, nonfiction and fiction and works as a developmental editor. She’s been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Tupelo Quarterly and Eclectica Magazine. She also has a collection of poetry titled Echoic Mimic which is available through Invisible Press.

“It’s Important to Tell the Stories You’re Most Compelled to Tell.” A Chat With Author Lesley Trites

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Interview with Windy Lynn Harris

 

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I got to interview one of my favorite writers for The Review Review! Windy Lynn Harris has a new book coming out called “Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays: The Essential Guide to Getting Your Work Published” and she wants to help you publish in literary journals!

You should let her help you! She’s really good at what she does.

“Having a supportive community is important to any writer. Lucky for us, the world of literary magazines is a friendly pool to swim in. We cheer each other on and support the magazines we admire.”

“No Lazy Manuscripts Can Leave Our Desks.” A Chat With Windy Lynn Harris, Author of Writing and Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays

Short Fiction: What Happens Next | The Sunlight Press

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Interview with Seth Luke at JuxtaProse

I had the very good fortune to interview Seth Luke, the Editor-in-chief at JuxtaProse. If you are submitting your work to literary journals, you should read this interview. Seth offers some really honest thoughts on publishing, cover letters and the slush pile.

Read it here:

 

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I’m gonna vote today

Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.

– Susan B. Anthony

I was in 8th grade when Bill Clinton was inaugurated. Our history teacher rolled in a television on a metal cart so we could watch history as it happened. I didn’t care about the president but a T.V. was in the room!

The T.V. meant fluorescent lights were shut off. I could goof off in the lukewarm darkness of the classroom. Write notes to my friends and fold the paper up into intricate origami. Laugh, lay my head down close to a friend’s and tell secrets.

I ended up in detention.

My teacher, a man who was eventually fired for mysterious reasons (my parents told me it was because he had “inappropriate contact” with a female student but I don’t honestly know), told me that I was disrespectful. I didn’t grasp the importance of the moment.

But, why should I have cared about Bill Clinton becoming our president?

I always knew, growing up, that the ultimate authority in our country was a man – a white man, Christian, middle aged. Rich. Powerful, more powerful than I could ever be. Little girls did not aspire to be the president of the United States where I lived. Minorities – black kids, Latino kids, queer kids, non-Christian kids did not aspire to be president of the United States.

You can be anything you want, adults used to tell us. No one sidelined the little girls and said, except you. But, we all knew who could be president and who could not. Who could lead and who could not. Who mattered. Trickle Down Discrimination.

In that history class, that man, that authority, was my teacher and he sent me to detention and called me disrespectful.

In jobs, that man was my boss.

In clubs, he was my adviser.

In the world, he was my leader. And, even watching other countries elect women and minority leaders, I knew it did not happen here. It could not. For some undefinable reason, not here. No one would say it outright:

Because you are not white.

Because you are not Christian.

Because you are not man.

I have known many powerful minorities and women in my lifetime and they are all important. But, the ultimate authority in our country was always the same. Rich, powerful, middle-aged white men.

Until President Barack Obama.

The day Obama was inaugurated, it snowed. I was so excited after watching him be sworn in, Michael and I  went outside and made a bucketful of snowballs. Then, we went to our neighbor’s house across the street and told the couple living there that they had exactly 20 minutes to assemble their arsenal. The men ran back inside, dressed in bulky layers and started packing their own snowballs in their front yard. I felt light, like a kid. Something had shifted, something important. A possibility had opened up.

My daughter will not grow up knowing what I knew. Her world is so amazingly different than mine was. All the times, growing up, when I substituted some man’s opinion for my own because I understood that my opinion was somehow less – that will not happen to my daughter. Every time I silenced my voice because I assumed he knew better – that will not happen to her.

Because I’m voting today. And, I sincerely believe that women and minorities are going to be the predominant voices in this election. We’ve had enough. We’re done. We’re tired. We’ve seen the hatred and bigotry and racism and misogyny and xenophobia lash out time and time again during this election cycle. Death throes of a system that is coming to a halt right in front of our eyes.

I understand that there is a whole subset of Americans who hate the idea of a woman president more than they hate a truly, truly bad man. No matter what he says. No matter what he does. He could go to prison for treason (and honestly, isn’t that what happens next?) and people will still support him. That knowledge makes me so sad because my daughter will feel that. She’ll know it, I can’t protect her from that. Initial change comes quickly but lasting change grinds at a pace we can barely measure.

Maybe all of this – this election cycle, Black Lives Matter, Marriage Equality – is the second wave civil rights movement. I hope so. But, it is slow and painful. This kind of trauma lasts generations. I’m sorry for it.I’m so sorry for the price real, important people have to pay. All of this is a reaction, maybe, to the first black President of the United States. Or, a reaction to the idea of a woman rising up and claiming her spot in history. A reaction, maybe, to that big, powerful system dying. That system, that institution that told me growing up who the authority truly was in my life. It wasn’t me.

But, today it is.

I’m voting today.

Interview: How many things can Christopher DeWan blow up in the shortest possible word count?

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Christopher DeWan’s debut flash fiction collection, Hoopty Time Machines: Fairy Tales For Grown Ups is about to hit the shelves. In preparation for the celebration, I had the very good fortune to interview him at The Review Review:

“Flash is a Special Kind of Magic.” A Chat With Christopher DeWan, Author of Hoopty Time Machines

Spoiler Warning: I got to read his book early. It is amazing. If, as Chris says, “Flash is a special kind of magic,” he is a deft magician. I highly, highly recommend it.