online magazine for short, good writing

Month: November, 2012

5 Things That Will Taunt My Loved Ones after I Die

by a contributor

from Andrea Rogers, author of When I Was Seventeen and Ohio:

Maybe I’ve watched Beetlejuice one too many times in the past month, but lately, I’ve been preoccupied with things and their lingering meanings. What will my loved ones think of my material belongings when they have to pack them up and send them to Goodwill? Bear with me: it’s not all tragedy and tears.

  1. Keys. No one will know what they go to, or what they were for. Their very presence will insinuate that portions of my life will remain closed off from them forever… At least until they get the notice for the late fees: P.O. Box 5555555 fee overdue. Please pay at your earliest convenience.
  2. Beauty supplies. How unnerving will it be to pack up all the products that claim to stop time, perhaps even repair the damage it causes? Strange hands will unearth a stockpile of anti-aging creams and leave-in conditioners and petal pink razors, oh my!
  3. Facebook. I think I had better write down my password so someone can delete my page when I expire. There’s nothing creepier than someone writing on your wall after you’re dead. I miss you…I can’t wait to join you in Heaven…Happy Birthday! This is a self-serving activity at best, and most likely would not be duly noted from the Afterlife.
  4. My cat. She is evil, and thus she will outlive me. She demands many cans of Fancy Feast.
  5. Pictures. A lingering reminder of a poignant moment shared by two people creates a special kind of pain. This is especially true when the loved one moves on and my ghost angrily hurls the picture across the room, pegging him in the back of the head with it.


by a contributor

Andrea Rogers

“It’s just something about Ohio,”
he said. “Nothing works the way
it should up here.”

Like her picture. It fades
in and out and sometimes
he can’t see it at all.

Features swim
between the tree line
and the highway,

the grass of her forehead,
the gathering clouds
of her cheekbones,

the double yellow lines
of her legs, uncrossed,
stretching onward.

Andrea Rogers is a musician and a Ph.D. Poetry student at Georgia State University. Her work appears in Odradek, The 11th Hour, and elsewhere. She and her band, Night Driving in Small Towns, have appeared in features by Rolling Stone and NPR.

Also check out Andrea’s poem When I Was Seventeen and her 5 Things You Should Read in our ongoing contributors’ series.

When I Was Seventeen

by a contributor

Andrea Rogers

there was a town the size
of a tornado, an unincorporated dot
on the map of the sky

there were trees and knives and
initials carving themselves there,
a rabbit and a fawn in the woods
on the screen

there was a cul-de-sac
with a name like a bad
Shirley Temple movie,

lined with condoms and beer bottles,
beacons beckoning to another world,
litter telling stories like an old sailor
with more time than teeth

back then I liked to think of sex
symbolically, in sexy similes,
like a car entering a car wash,

the soap spiraling down the body,
water working its way into crevices
the car never knew it had, lapping at
the mud flaps, undercarriage

I liked to think that afterwards, you’d come out shining,
gleaming like the hurt was never there,

the pain evaporating like dew
into the morning sky

Andrea Rogers is a musician and a Ph.D. Poetry student at Georgia State University. Her work appears in Odradek, The 11th Hour, and elsewhere. She and her band, Night Driving in Small Towns, have appeared in features by Rolling Stone and NPR.

See also: Andrea’s poem Ohio and her contribution to our 5 Things You Should Read series.

This Week in Words – Nov 10

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

It’s National Novel Writing Month! Time discusses whether that’s a good thing or not. I think it can be a helpful lesson in discipline; it gets you in the habit of writing every day. But I also worry about how many people out there might think because you can do it, you should.

Amazon apparently hates that other writers like one another. They’ve begun deleting what are essentially peer reviews by writers of other writers’ books. Why? Other than their form answer, Amazon won’t tell us.

Finally, a legitimate reason to justify why I still prefer writing my work by hand!

You say you love [insert your favorite children’s book here]. But would you be willing to immortalize it on your skin? These people did.

5 Books (& Other Things) I Loved Recently That You Should Love, Too

by a contributor

from Justin Lawrence Daugherty, author of Here, the Invisible Man…: Notes on a Letter Written in Invisible Ink:

  1. Shampoo Horns by Aaron Teel (Rose Metal Press). This book started out as a memoir and morphed into a flash collection centered around a central event. This book will knock you on your ass. I promise. It won Rose Metal Press’ Chapbook Contest last year, and for good reason.
  2. Amber Sparks’ May We Shed These Human Bodies. Amber Sparks is writing some of the coolest stuff out there right now. Many of her stories make new fairytales and myths and create them in mysterious, beautiful ways. Check out “The Monstrous Sadness of Mythical Creatures,” about an aging Paul Bunyan, or especially, man, “The Effect of All This Light Upon You” for exactly what I’m talking about. My own writing deals heavily in myth and the nature of story, so Amber’s work really appeals to me and should appeal to everyone. Also, Amber’s really cool, so there’s that.
  3. Horse racing. Not simply the sport of horse racing, necessarily, but just horse racing stuff in general. Check out the (tragically-cut-short) HBO series, Luck, with Dustin Hoffman. Just one season, but there is some killer stuff in there. I really wanted to see it succeed. From the creator of Deadwood. There’s also Blood Horses by John Jeremiah Sullivan, who’s absolutely killing it on the nonfiction scene right now and, a new all-time favorite, The Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon. I plotted out a horse racing novel briefly. It’s still outlined on my computer. Someday.
  4. Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. I can’t have a 5 Things without dropping this one. This is my all-time favorite novel and probably influenced me the most and continues to influence what I (try to) do with my work. There is a beauty in the violence of this thing that will wreck you.
  5. The Master, a film, by Paul Thomas Anderson. If you aren’t familiar with Paul Thomas Anderson, you should be. Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood. His other stuff. All great. He was a protege, of sorts, of Robert Altman and you can see the influence. The Master is by far one of the best films I’ve seen in recent memory, right up there with City of God. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix are brilliant in this.

Here, the Invisible Man…: Notes on a Letter Written in Invisible Ink

by a contributor

Justin Lawrence Daugherty





1  Here, the Invisible Man rants of clothing, of vision. Here, he asks for forgiveness. Here, the Invisible man lies awake, here his eyelids fluttering, an awakened REM, here he fails to dream. And, here the dreamy streets at night.
2  Here, the Invisible Man asks why.
3  Here, her rose-colored hair, her shape-forming dress, her hips like Siren calls, her hair a road to everywhere, and, here, still, the Invisible Man aches, here he follows, hand outstretched for just one strand of that hair, for a touch of skin, of heat.
4  Here, the Invisible Man followed by slathering dogs, jaws hung wide, following, their snouts shivering with the intake of scent. Here, the roving strays.


5  Here, the Invisible Man shoos the dogs, here he kicks at their snapping mouths, their reeking bodies, and here the woman turns, her eyes wide with fear of these mad beasts and of slick-wet cobblestones and darkness and the dim, untrustworthy light of street lamps, and here she turns to run and how the dogs followed her and their barks and howling and their bands of terrible numbers, and here the Invisible Man follows, running after this woman, after this crimson hair, after something he wants more than anything: the breath on skin raising hairs, the slope of her breasts, the whisper of words spoken into his ear, the sweetness of voice and tone, the dragging of nails, the taste of her sweat from the small of her back and saliva on her tongue, the embrace, the tangling, the welding of bodies, the fire.


6  Here, the Invisible Man throws dogs off the fallen woman, here her hair caught in snarling teeth, here he feels the rake of their teeth, the drawing of blood, here he withdraws for fear of being seen, the blood visible, here he covers his arm, his bleeding stomach, and here some of the dogs continue their assault, their tearing of flesh, and here the woman escapes and runs. Here, the Invisible Man wishes he could call to the woman, here he wishes a sound could erupt other than screams, here he wishes she could hear his voice, his sound. Here, he wishes she would echo the noise.

Winner of the 2012 Gigantic Sequins Flash Fiction Contest, Justin Lawrence Daugherty manages Sundog Lit from a basement in Omaha, Nebraska. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Normal School, NANO Fiction, Barrelhouse, Monkeybicycle, NAP, Housefire, Bluestem, and elsewhere. He writes some on this blog and says strange things on twitter @jdaugherty1081. He is at work on a novel and is slowly working on a novella.

See Justin’s 5 Things You Should Read in our ongoing contributors’ series.

This Week in Words – Nov 3

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

What’s so great about the short story? Let Lorin Stein tell you. He’s the editor for The Paris Review so I suggest we take him at his word.

Similarly, Ian McEwan praises the beauty and precision of the novella and argues for its merit in The New Yorker.

Vote for your favorite books of the year with the Goodreads Choice Awards. The first of three rounds is open for voting now. This is the kind of election I can get on board with.

Though there’s something I hate about the word “aftermath,” there’s no question that is what most of the East Coast is dealing with this weekend post-Sandy. Bookstores, libraries, and book owners were (of course) not immune to damage. Offering support in their own way: Melville House has some tips on saving your water-damaged books; and The New Yorker has a poem called “Into the Ark” by Wislaw Szymborska, a poet the bulk of whose work communicates most naturally the storm and the “pick up and keep moving” that follows.