Content Tagged ‘place’

Save Your Place: A Continuum that goes on forever

Ecotone8_Cover-325x494Ecotone’s tagline is “reimagining place,” and we love work that brings us to a specific location, real or imagined. In this department, Save Your Place, we highlight our favorite descriptions of place from work we’ve published at Ecotone and Lookout.

This place is from Robert Vivian’s essay, “Town” from Ecotone 8, the Brutality Issue.

“Alma’s downtown storefront windows are unlike any other windows in the world. It seems that you can’t really look through them. When you try to, they instead appear to frame your entire existence in some as yet unnamed ghostly dimension no one has ever defined. There’s no way to escape the gravity of the reflections in these windows, no way to elude what they have in store for you, how they seem to do the work of X-rays connecting the living and the dead in a continuum that goes on forever.”

Save Your Place: Beyond the Crooked Driveway

Ecotone15_Cover-325x480Ecotone’s tagline is “reimagining place,” and we love work that brings us to a specific location, real or imagined. In this new department, Save Your Place, we’ll highlight our favorite descriptions of place from work we’ve published at Ecotone and Lookout.

This place is from Chaz Reetz-Laiolo’s story, “Animals” from Ecotone 15.

“Morning. Already ninety-six degrees. The far and staggered blue mountains wavered in the distance. The palm fronds had yellowed, even browned at the tips. The shadow of one of the Air Force jets tumbled crazed across the land and was gone. And none of them seemed to notice, save for Peter. The rest of them with flies walking delicately on their body hair. It was a sort of drunkenness they were into. They wondered aloud if the concrete between the roof tiles had always looked so cruddy. If the black cross on the tower was Episcopalian or Dominican. When was the last time that the bell tolled. It would have surprised them that there was anything beyond the crooked driveway that looked now like a river in drought.”

On Location with Andrew Tonkovich

This installment of On Location comes from Ecotone contributor Andrew Tonkovich, whose story, “Falling,” appears in the Abnormal Issue and Astoria to Zion: Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone‘s First Decade. More recently, his story, “Reelection Day,” appears in the Migration Issue.

Self-Storage

I’m curator of a thousand pieces of decaying artwork, including a few still-brilliant canvases, intricate miniatures, hand-illustrated broadsides, an unpublished (typed) book or two, posters, journals, sketches, all produced by someone dear and, yes, still near, nearer than ever.

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I’d lived decades with a representative sampling of these tattered pen-and-ink drawings, oil and acrylic paintings, watercolors, and writings. Their titles: “The Discovery of California,” “You Don’t Have to Eat God,” and “In the Summer We Went to the Mountains.” All were made by the late Dr. Peter Carr of Laguna Beach, California. He was my Comp Lit professor, an activist, a larger-than-life fellow of small stature if terrific self-esteem who created in whatever medium he found handy. He scribbled, typed, drew, painted (even on cardboard and plywood), was perhaps a bit manic or only urgently, unceasingly productive. Just as well because he died, suddenly, in 1981 at age 56, no plan for any of it, not the life’s work, unpublished memoirs, anticipated triumphant gallery show, or incredible output. Thirty years later they came to me.

Here, the rest of it, in a storage unit a mile from my home, behind a roll-up corrugated door: flying-swimming humans and fishes, peace demonstrators, killer jets, Central American ghosts, talking bear, coyote, raven. Peter drew finely layered mountains, captured the transparent, glowing leaves of our Pacific kelp forest, organized the intricate botany of tide pools and assembled among these lonely, alienated humans he meant to save.

Think Kenneth Patchen meets German Expressionist George Grosz. Caricature meets narrative in visionary doomed landscape reverie. Intersecting colors with enthusiastic, funny speech bubble dialog from creature-persons. Or narration by an all-knowing off-stage guide sounding like Peter.

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Save Your Place: through mist and damp

Ecotone10_Cover-325x491Ecotone’s tagline is “reimagining place,” and we love work that brings us to a specific location, real or imagined. In this new department, Save Your Place, we’ll highlight our favorite descriptions of place from work we’ve published at Ecotone and Lookout.

This place is from Annie Proulx’s essay, “A Yard of Cloth” from Ecotone 10.

“We drove west through the mist and damp. The light was a somber, northern gray, the road blurred with light rain. Fog hung over the Pemigewasset. On the outskirts of town the road widened. We were alone on the highway. My sister was reading a letter. We came into the broad, sweeping curve that follows the river’s course. In front of us, skewed across the empty road in the smoking-gray silence, were two smashed gray cars, pillars of steam rising from each, the road a fine carpet of glass.”

Save Your Place: A dusting of backlit snow

2015S-Ecotone19-frontcover-650x964Ecotone’s tagline is “reimagining place,” and we love work that brings us to a specific location, real or imagined. In this new department, Save Your Place, we’ll highlight our favorite descriptions of place from work we’ve published at Ecotone and Lookout.

From Jamie Quatro’s story “Wreckage” in Ecotone 19

“What a thing it is to see moonlight on the tips of saguaros. A dusting of backlit snow. And the Catalina Mountains, dimensional at sunrise, crevices and folds articulated in light and shadow—flattening into a stage set by evening, gradient purples and blues becoming uniformly dark against the darkening sky.”

Save Your Place: Out the fire road

Ecotone15_Cover-325x480Ecotone’s tagline is “reimagining place,” and we love work that brings us to a specific location, real or imagined. In this new department, Save Your Place, we’ll highlight our favorite descriptions of place from work we’ve published at Ecotone and Lookout.

This is from Cynthia Huntington’s poem “Boletes in September” from Ecotone 15.

“Home is knowing how the land can feed you, he said. He had / known hunger. And now I wander, out the fire road giving way to sand / where the dunes open and trees part to sky.”

Shawn Vestal Video

We continue our video series featuring three Astoria to Zion authors with Shawn Vestal, author of Godforsaken Idaho, a collection of short stories. Last week, we heard from Rebecca Makkai and the origin of her story: bog mummies! In this video, Shawn Vestal discusses place and risk in his writing, as well as what it means to write about his Mormon upbringing and family. Check out his story “Winter Elders” in Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade.

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Rebecca Makkai Video

With the AWP conference fast approaching, we can’t help reflecting on last year’s fabulous Astoria to Zion launch party and reading, when several contributors, including Ben Fountain, Cary Holladay, Rebecca Makkai, Brock Clarke, and Shawn Vestal, joined us to celebrate and to discuss their stories in the anthology. In this video, Rebecca Makkai, author of the novel The Hundred-Year House, talks about the inspiration for “The Way You Hold Your Knife” from Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade. Spoiler alert: it involves bog mummies!

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AWP Video Series

During the AWP conference in February, three Ecotone contributors—Cary Holladay, Rebecca Makkai, and Shawn Vestal—gathered to help celebrate the publication of Astoria to Zion and were kind enough to sit down with us afterwards and discuss their stories in the anthology and the importance of place in their writing. Today we kick off this series with Cary Holladay, who talks about place, travel, and risk in her writing. Her story “Horse People” appears in Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade, published by Lookout Books (2014).

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