Oct/Nov 2023

Tom Dooley co-founded Eclectica in 1996 and serves as its Managing and Fiction Editor. In the 12 years between earning a BA in English literature from the University of Chicago and a MPA in municipal management from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he taught middle and high school English in Alaska, Arizona, and Wisconsin, amassing fond memories, dubious experiences, and debt. Two careers post-teaching later, he now creates spreadsheets and PowerPoint slides for the man by day, edits Eclectica by night, and feels very grateful for the blessings he has received—chief among them being married to the sweetest gal and the best poet he knows. He and said gal reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with enough rescued lapdogs to field a diminutive Iditarod racing team and the empty-nest echoes of two amazing Haitian-American children who have flown the coop.

Evan Martin Richards is Eclectica's Poetry Editor. He grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, and lives in Chicago. He received his MA in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University, where he worked as a writing tutor and facilitated creative writing and EdD candidate writing groups. His poetry has appeared in Poetry East and Eclectica. He has read fiction for Another Chicago Magazine and served as a poetry judge for the Golden Shovel Anthology Competition hosted by Roosevelt University. He works as an editor, both freelance and in the nonprofit management field.

Stuart Ross is Eclectica's Reviews Editor and a former Spotlight Author. He is the author of the novels Jenny in Corona (Tortoise Books, 2019) and The Hotel Egypt (Spuyten Duyvil, 2024).

Marko Fong is Eclectica's Nonfiction Coeditor. A former Spotlight Author, he lives in North Carolina with his wife, dog, and two cats. He's written fiction and non-fiction for many years, and publications include Solstice, Prick of the Spindle, RKVRY, and Volleyball Magazine.

Margaret Donovan Bauer is a native of Louisiana. She teaches Southern literature at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where she has served as the editor of the North Carolina Literary Review for over 25 years. She is also the author of four books of literary criticism, including A Study of Scarletts: Scarlett O'Hara and Her Literary Daughters. Over the past decade, though, she has turned to writing in creative genres, including mainly memoir, which she's published in Chautauqua, storySouth, Cold Mountain Review, Deep South, and her essay "Bad Bells" here in Eclectica.

Andrew Bertaina is appearing in Eclectica for the seventh time. He is the author of the short story collection One Person Away From You (2021), which won the Moon City Short Fiction Award, and the forthcoming essay collection, The Body is a Temporary Gathering Place (Autofocus). His work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Witness Magazine, Prairie Schooner, Orion, and The Best American Poetry. He has an MFA from American University in Washington, DC, and is currently the Visiting Writer at American University. He says, "This piece was inspired by the Italian writer, Natalia Ginzburg, a writer whom I love dearly. I found myself reflecting on her work a lot over the past few years, and I wanted to put a character in Italy who was also thinking about Ginzburg."

Gerald Brennan is a self-described corporate brat who hails from the eastern half of the continent but now resides in Chicago. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and later earned a Master's from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He's the founder of Tortoise Books and the author of several books, most recently Alone on the Moon.

Scott Burwash is a graduate of Southern Oregon University and a novice writer of poetry and prose with work appearing previously in Apeiron Review. He lives in the Willamette Valley with his wife and children and can be found on Instagram at @scottburwash.

Donna Cameron is author of A Year of Living Kindly. She considers herself an activist for kindness, though admits to occasional lapses into bitchiness. Her articles and essays have been featured in The Washington Post, Seattle Times, Writer's Digest, Dorothy Parker's Ashes, and numerous other publications. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she loves outdoor activities requiring little or no coordination.

Michael W. Cox is the author of two books of fiction, Against the Hidden River (stories) and The Best Way to Get Even (a novel), both from Mammoth Press. His stories have appeared in Atticus Review, Columbia, Drunk Monkeys, Fiction Southeast, and Salt Hill; his essays and criticism can be found in New Letters, River Teeth, Sport Literate, Midwest Quarterly, and Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies. He teaches creative and professional writing at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

Bobby Crace is a creative writing teacher at Stony Brook University who ghostwrites for Kevin Anderson & Associates, and you can find his work in The Brooklyn Rail, The Southampton Review, The Under Review, Mayday, and other journals.

John Cullen is this issue's Spotlight Runner-Up. He graduated from SUNY Geneseo and worked in the entertainment business booking rock bands, a clown troupe, and an R-rated magician. Recently he has had work published in American Journal of Poetry, The MacGuffin, Harpur Palate, North Dakota Quarterly, Cleaver, and Pembrok and he won the 52nd New Millennium Award for Poetry.

Hiya and Jiya D. are high school twins from North Carolina. Hiya plays the flute, Jiya plays the piano, and they both enjoy writing.

Deborah Doolittle having lived in lots of different places now calls North Carolina home. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she is the author of Floribunda and three chapbooks: No Crazy Notions, That Echo, and Bogbound. Some of her poems have recently appeared (or will soon) in Cloudbank, Comstock Review, Kakalak, Plant-Human Quarterly, Ravensperch, Slant, The Stand, and in audio format on The Writer's Almanac. The creative editor of Brillig: a micro lit mag, she shares a home with her husband, four housecats, and a backyard full of birds.

Vincent Francone is the author of Like a Dog and The Soft Lunacy, and the editor of Open Heart Chicago: an Anthology of Chicago Writing. He is also Editor-in-Chief at Jabber and teaches at Roosevelt University.

Michael J. Galko is a scientist and poet who lives and works in Houston, Texas. He was a 2019 Pushcart Award nominee, a finalist in the 2020 Naugatuck River Review narrative poetry contest, and a finalist in the 2022 Bellevue Literary Review poetry contest. In the past year he has had poems published or accepted by Talking River Review, Epiphany, Gargoyle, Louisville Review, Tar River Poetry, Noon: journal of the short poem, and The Paterson Literary Review, among other journals..

Grace Glass is this issue's Spotlight Author. She lives and writes in Frederick, Maryland, and was most recently published in Packingtown Review, Sandy River Review, Evening Street Review, and Takahe Magazine.

Eve Goldberg is a writer and filmmaker who lives in Northern California. Her writing has appeared in Hippocampus, The Gay & Lesbian Review, CinemaRetro, All About Jazz, The Rumpus, and American Popular Culture.

Marj Hahne is a freelance editor, writer, and teacher, and a 2015 MFA graduate from the Rainier Writing Workshop. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, anthologies, art exhibits, and dance performances. She reads poems to dogs and pairs poems with craft beers, spirits, and coffee for her YouTube channel.

Cathy Hollister is an older writer whose work celebrates treasures embedded in age, isolation, and continual readjustments. When not writing, you might find her on the dance floor enjoying the company of friends or deep in the woods basking in the peace of solitude. Her work has been in Smokey Blue Literary and Arts Magazine, Open Door Magazine, Humans of the World Blog, Beyond Words Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, Poet's Choice anthologies, and others. Her new book Seasoned Women is available at Poet's Choice. She lives in middle Tennessee.

Thomas J. Hubschman is a regular contributor to Eclectica's Salon and is the author of Look at Me Now, My Bess, Billy Boy, Father Walther's Temptation, Song of the Mockingbird, and The Jew's Wife & Other Stories, as well as three science fiction novels. His work has appeared in New York Press, The Antigonish Review, The Blue Moon Review and many other publications. Two of his short stories were broadcast on the BBC World Service. He has also edited two anthologies of new writing from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, and he was the founding editor of the pioneering online publication Gowanus. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, which remains his chief inspiration.

Erin Jamieson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Miami University. Her writing has been published in over eighty literary magazines, including a Pushcart Prize nomination. She is the author of a poetry collection (Clothesline, 2023) and four poetry chapbooks. Her latest poetry chapbook, Fairytales, was published by Bottle Cap Press. Her debut novel will be published by Type Eighteen Books in November, 2023.

William Luvaas is this issue's Spotlight Runner-Up. He has published four novels and two story collections. Ashes Rain Down: A Story Cycle was The Huffington Post's 2013 Book of the Year and a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. His new collection, The Three Devils is forthcoming from Cornerstone Press. Other honors include an NEA fellowship, first place in Glimmer Train's Fiction Open Contest, The Ledge Magazine's International Fiction Prize, and Fiction Network's 2nd National Fiction Competition. Dozens of his short stories, essays, and articles have appeared in many publications, including The Village Voice, The American Literary Review, Antioch Review, Harpers Weekly, North American Review, Short Story, The Sun, Stand Magazine, The Washington Post Book World, and the American Fiction Anthology, with work forthcoming from the Cimarron Review. Regarding "The Seizural Sixties," he says, "This account was inspired by a series of multiple, nonstop grand mal seizures (status epilepticus) that took me to the hospital from hell in Riverside County, California in 2010 and nearly killed me. Afterwards, I realized it was time to write about my strange ailment and tell others what it is like to experience an epileptic seizure first hand, about the otherworldly auras that precede them, the time distortion and sense of stepping out of your body, the feeling that you have risen from the dead after a seizure, although retrograde amnesia has erased all memory of it. In 'The Seizural Sixties' I explore how, on a certain level, the '60s was like a prolonged social seizure in America, wherein many norms were stood on their head and the body politic was fiercely shaken. I go into my own experience of that remarkable decade, into which I threw myself body and soul: the civil rights movement, the tune in, turn on, drop out social rebellion, and the movement back to the land."

Richard L. Matta grew up in New York's Hudson Valley, practiced forensic science, and now lives in San Diego with his golden-doodle dog. Some of his work is found in Ancient Paths, Dewdrop, Hole in the Head Review, San Pedro River Review, and Third Wednesday.

Benjamin Nash has had poems published in Blueline, Pilgrimage, The Cape Rock, Pembroke Magazine, and other publications.

Ann Skea lives in Australia. She is the author of Ted Hughes: The Poetic Quest (UNE Press, Australia) and has been contributing reviews to Eclectica Magazine since our very first issue back in October of 1996.

Gregory Stephenson grew up in Colorado and Arizona but has lived in Denmark for many years. His most recent book is And the Rivers Thereof: Reflections on Riverine Imagery in the Writing of Jack Kerouac (Felixstowe, UK Felix Culpa Press, 2023).

Brooke Turner is featured in South 85 Journal, White Wall Review, Wraparound South, and Quills & Pixels. She obtained an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Mississippi and most recently worked as Managing Editor for a human rights organization. She lives in LA's Koreatown with her two cats Sing Sing and Lil' Sebastian. She says, "I wrote 'Don't Look Directly at it' in 2021 while the world was still scraping through the COVID-19 pandemic. Reading the news and social media response to the racially-motivated police shootings and other acts of injustice at the time provoked me to examine what it means to be just. I saw a lot of anger from white people like mysel—a lot of big reactions—but I wondered what they were actually doing to back up their radical statements. In this story, I wanted to explore what it means to be generous, that embracing generosity and justice isn't just a glib 40-character statement but requires sacrifice—of time, money, and even comfort. If we are truly generous, we can't just decide to be based on whether the other person 'deserves it.' Generosity is risky and requires something of us, and I don't think a lot of people understand the reality of this."