Motherhood, Monkeys, and Morality

I published a short story, “The Neighborhood,” in Granta last month, and they asked me to write an essay about the story for their “First Sentence” series. The first sentence of the story is “The wire children move independently and have recognizable faces.” Read the story “The Neighborhood” here, and read the “First Sentence” essay here.

The story was heavily influenced by Harry Harlow’s disturbing experiments with baby primates. Listen to the radio show on which I first learned about these experiments here. (This American Life, Episode 317, “Unconditional Love.”)

And check out Lauren Slater’s book Opening Skinner’s Box, which has a chapter dedicated to Harlow here. Then read the rest of her book and write a story based on a psychological experiment!

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Read More Books!

This is my resolution for 2017, and if it’s yours too, I offer a few of mine that have recently come out or are going to soon:

The Neighborhood — a collection of fairy tales and retellings

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A Guide to Strange Places: Stories — a chapbook of stories, each of which gives a setting its own point of view

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The Reckless Remainder — a collection of prose poetry, co-written with Carol Guess (coming out in May 2017)

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I’m very excited about these books, and I’d be happy to send signed copies to anyone who’d like one. Email me at kmagee29@gmail.com for more information!

The Neighborhood

My new collection of short stories, The Neighborhood, is out from Gold Wake Press, and the title story has just been published in Granta Magazine here. If you’re interested in picking up a signed copy of the collection, which will be officially released in January, send $12 to PayPal here and include your address, and I’ll get one right out to you!

One out of one cats recommend this book!

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Origin Story

“Once a girl found a stray tornado. She lured it inside with a dog biscuit.”

Check out a new story of mine, “Origin Story,” in Eleven Eleven. This story is from my collection, The Neighborhood, which will be out soon from Gold Wake Press.

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Orlando Love

I’ve had a couple of stories come out recently that I’m super happy about: Telltale Signs of Disaster in Booth and Ten Ideas for Small Talk Upon Re-entering the Dating Scene in Monkeybicycle. I’m excited to see both of these stories appear in such fantastic journals.

But.

I’ve been in Orlando the past week, and that has overshadowed everything else. I couldn’t be sadder for, and prouder of, my hometown. Orlando is known for being a place of many theme parks, and while I’ve certainly gotten in my fair share of digs about the weirdness and superficiality of growing up under Disney’s shadow, I’ve always been more interested in writing about the real people of this area. Simply, I love it here. And as a queer person, as a member of the LGBT community, I feel wrecked over the Pulse shooting. So here, too, are some images of O-town in the wake of this horrendous violence. It’s always been The City Beautiful, and the way the people here have come together to support queer people of color, and latinx people specifically, has made it all the more beautiful to me.

 

 

Mirrors and Prisms

Nimrod International Journal has just released their themed issue, “Mirrors and Prisms: Writers of Marginalized Orientations and Gender Identities,” and they’ve included my story “Nobody Understands You Like You” in it. Read it here.

The story is about a woman who may or may not have accidentally adopted a pet wolf, and though the story has queer content, the call for submissions for this issue was specifically about the identity of the writer, not the content of the writing. I’m really interested in the different ways attention to inclusivity and diversity are playing out in the literary marketplace. What are the reasons to issue a call for writing about marginalized orientations vs. a call for stories by writers who consider themselves part of that marginalized group?

As I’m gearing up to teach a course on Queer Literature this fall, I’ll be thinking about questions like this, so I’m really happy to have my own work in the mix! I hope you check out all the great work by writers in this issue!

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Nobody Understands You…

…Like You.

The fantastic Gold Wake Press just released their list of winners, finalists, and semi-finalists for their open reading period, and I’m thrilled to announce that my collection of fairy tale retellings, Nobody Understands You Like You, was chosen for publication in Spring 2017. I can’t wait to peddle this collection — it’s got fanged mermaids, pet wolves, philandering Little Red Riding Hoods, and more. Stay tuned!

Mothers Always Write

I wrote a poem. Like, with line breaks. And this fantastic journal, Mothers Always Write, published it. If you parent, this is definitely a journal to know about.

The Rapunzel story has always fascinated me because the mother’s craving is what gets the trouble going, but then the mother drops out of the story entirely, replaced by the witch/ogress and the prince who, of course, finally saves Rapunzel from the tower. In Western culture, most versions share this quality, even when the details differ. So what is the lesson here? Don’t live next door to ogresses with green thumbs? Don’t give in to cravings, even for something as mild as veggies and salad greens? I suppose the real lesson doesn’t pertain to the mother at all, but I’m fixated on her loss, returning to where the fairy tale leaves her.

Here’s a photo of one mother-to-be’s consumption of rapunzel. She’s going to lose her baby over this, but the line on this page is “His wife was content that night.”

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