Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Interview Series Kick-Off: Amanda Miller

With today's blog post, I hereby begin a brand new No-Alternative Interview Series, which I hope to update often!
I'll be taking my music/culture journalism skills and  focusing on some very talented people I know, support, and admire. It's my goal to share and expose their art --- be it writing, photography, visual art, music, lifestyle choices, etc. Living a life full of creativity and meaning, and doing what you want regardless of societal expectation, has always been my modus operandi, and the same is true (if not more so) for those I will be spotlighting in this new Series.
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To kick off the series, I am overjoyed to share an interview conducted with a very good friend, and a very good writer, named Amanda Miller. 

She recently completed her memoir, One Breath, Then Another, after earning an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from The New School (which is where we met!). A chapter from the memoir has already been published in Underwired Magazine and another will appear in a book-length anthology by Telling Our Stories Press.

Amanda also holds a BFA in Acting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is the co-creator and performer of Please Don’t Let Me Die Alone, a theater piece that has been presented twice at New York’s Tank Theater. She's a member of the interactive, improv performance company Playing With Reality, and of an all-girl long form improv comedy group called Tom, Dick and Harry. Amanda is also a yoga instructor and a nationally certified massage therapist.
Quick Look:
Birthday: September 2, 1983
Living in: Brooklyn, New York
Originally from: San Diego, California

No-Alternative: How did you come to write your first memoir, One Breath, Then Another? What parts of your life does this book encompass, and is any of it gleaned from journals or other writings?

Amanda Miller: started writing pieces of the memoir during my first year in the MFA program at The New School, back in 2004-2005. My father passed away in 2001 from lung cancer and I had been plagued for a long time by the self-hating self-destructive tendencies I had inherited from him, so my first bits of this book had to do with our parallel issues, as well as his death and the effect it had on me. I had written several journal entries on these matters, as well as a solo show that I performed in college, so I referenced these materials for inspiration. But at the time, I had no idea that what I was writing would actually be part of a full-fledged book.

In Spring of 2005 I had a mental breakdown and wrote several journal entries about this experience that would later also become a part of the book. My breakdown turned out to be so severe that I had to take a leave of absence from the MFA program. I returned to The New School in Fall 2008 and worked on more pieces as well as editing and expanding earlier material. I still didn’t know all these pieces would eventually join together to become a book. For a long time, I thought they would just be a series of related personal essays. But then I realized I was writing bits that fit a linear chronology so it made sense to join them together.

This book encompasses parts of my life from age three all the way to twenty-six. The last third, which takes place in India (a trip I took in the Fall of 2009), is almost entirely derived from journals. When I planned this trip, I knew it would take up a substantial amount of the book, so I was prepared to record my experiences there daily. Parts of the rest of the book did come from journalistic bits or other shorter pieces of writing that I expanded. In general when I write, I usually create longer works by merging things together.

Can you discuss some of the themes in One Breath, Then Another --- did these themes sort of find you while you were writing, or have you always been aware of them, even before starting this project?

The overarching theme is that, as human beings, our greatest enemies are often ourselves and if we don’t work to overcome the negativity running our minds, we will cheat ourselves out of a meaningful existence. I watched my father commit a slow suicide as a result of his own self-destructive mind, which scared me. He was a heavy smoker with food issues and he starved himself until he was skeletal. I, in turn, developed a severe case of anorexia that led to hospitalization. Nearly a year after I recovered, he died of lung cancer. His death propelled me on a vigorous mission to live my life to the absolute fullest, thereby defying that what happened to him could ever happen to me. I fled San Diego to pursue acting and writing in Manhattan, but I was pushing myself so hard that I crumbled under all the self-induced pressure, had a mental breakdown and had to move home. Eventually I found massage therapy and became a yoga teacher, and discovered that easing the pain of others was a powerful way to find my own healing.

The book is essentially about learning how to get out of our own ways and support each other so we can make the most of the time we have. These are themes that were dominant in my consciousness as I was putting this book together, but they were deepened and explored more fully through the process of writing and editing.

What was the most painful part about writing this memoir? And what was the most enjoyable?

The most painful part was reliving my anorexia, my dad’s illness and death, and my breakdown. I had intense visceral emotional memories as I recounted these experiences and I cried a lot. But ultimately I found the process of writing the memoir cathartic and empowering, and that was most enjoyable.

Do you have any particular writing habits --- good or bad? Do you find that a certain setting, schedule, or personal attitude helps the words and thoughts flow?

When I was writing the memoir I had much more disciplined writing habits than I do now. I wrote every morning in my apartment for at least an hour first thing after coffee and breakfast. Now that I am not working on such a big project, but rather shorter things like essays and short stories, I am more erratic as far as a schedule. I try to engage with my writing at some point in the day at least four days a week, but I would like to try to get back on a more regular schedule. I think that is the best way to be most productive.

My teacher Jonathan Ames said the best thing a writer can do is devote an hour to sit at the computer, without the pressure of producing a certain amount or quality of writing. I would like to make that hour start happening more regularly on a near daily basis. Also, I would like to emphasize the importance of relieving myself of these pressures. Writing is a long process and involves a great deal of revision, so when faced with a blank page, the best thing I can do is get my ideas out without censoring myself, remembering that I can edit and shape it all later. I find I work best in the morning and usually best in a private setting with instrumental music playing low in the background.

Has writing so openly changed you, or your self-awareness, in any way? Can the act of writing about a situation make that situation easier, or make you more accepting of it?

Writing so openly has absolutely changed my self-awareness and general openness toward others. When I first finished the book I was most nervous about family and relatives reading it (particularly the parts about sex and masturbation). Writing about painful things from the past has definitely made it easier for me to accept them and let them go. I was driven to write this memoir so I could reflect on difficult experiences and gain important perspective to be able to live an empowered life, and I hope it will inspire others to do the same.

In addition to writing, you also act, teach yoga, and work as a massage therapist. Do you ever feel that you shape-shift and become a slightly different person when performing these separate roles? Or are they not really so separate?

I don’t think I become a different person when performing these different roles. I just access different parts of myself, which I find really fulfilling. They are all related practices, in that they all involve human connection and aim to access the deeper parts of consciousness to facilitate a cathartic experience. These interests all grew out of each other and continue to inform each other.

Can you discuss your two-man show, Please Don't Let Me Die Alone? How did this develop, and does it also serve as a form of "nonfiction" for you?

This is a darkly comedic theater piece I wrote with my collaborator, Shawn Shafner, about love and dating in New York City. It’s about neighbors Susan and George who brave psychos, stalkers and sex addicts through speed dating, online dating, and matchmaking services only to find the love might be right next door. It draws out the humor and pathos associated with love and dating, particularly exploring desperation and vulnerability.

Susan and George discover that they have a genuine connection, but because they are neighbors they assume it won’t work out and things will end up awkward and uncomfortable, so they make things more awkward and uncomfortable by looking elsewhere for something that already exists and cannot be replicated. The piece exposes the ways that while people claim to be seeking true connection, they are often afraid of the vulnerability it brings, so when they find it, they often avoid it and create a lot of suffering for themselves in the process. (Again, there’s that theme that our worst enemies are often ourselves.)

Shawn and I met in college at NYU in 2002 where we performed improv and studied experimental theater together. We have always had great rapport as friends and improvisers so we wanted to make performance pieces together. Initially we thought we were writing sketch comedy, but realized it was becoming more of a play. We like to think of it as a sketchy play. It does serve as a form of nonfiction, in that I draw heavily from real experiences I have had with love and dating.

What do you hope people who read your writing, catch your performances, or experience your yoga classes or massage sessions come away with?

My goal with everything I do is always healing and empowerment. At minimum, I hope to give people positive memorable experiences and at maximum, transformative ones.

And finally, what have been some of your strangest acting experiences?

I would say my strangest acting experiences have more to do with actor training than any actual performance. At NYU, I studied for a year in the Experimental Theatre Wing, the philosophy of which was based primarily on the teachings of Polish Theater director, Jerzy Grotowski. He spawned a whole new approach to acting, believing that memory is in the muscle and movement connects the body with impulse. I had several strange experiences there, but one in particular stands out…

There was an exercise we practiced one day in class called plastiques, which begin with physical isolations and lead into a sort of current of impulses in the body. My teacher turned off all the lights in the studio and covered all the windows with black curtains. There were about fourteen of us in the class and we were all given our own space in the room in which to practice the exercise. We started lying on our backs and our teacher gave us a phrase to initiate our first physical impulse. “Get away from me” was the phrase. We were instructed to go deeply into the emotions that the phrase and its resulting movement inspired. We were given permission to make as much sound as we felt necessary, as long as it was organic, not forced. So the dark room was filled with thrashing, screaming, crying people under some sort of attack via their imaginations. I imagined I was being raped. That night when I got home, I was distraught and teary. When my roommate asked me what was wrong, I said I had been raped by my imagination.

Please visit Amanda's website: http://onebreaththenanother.com/

Friday, May 27, 2011

New(ish) Song: "My Body"

Thanks to Spin's monthly music samplers (free!), I came upon this song by Young the Giant. Hailing from Orange County, the five bandmembers are all between the ages of 20 and 22 (gasp, I feel old), but that doesn't mean they aren't seasoned, and it certainly doesn't mean they aren't capable of writing a poppy/rock/dancey/truly enlightening song like "My Body," along with other melodic tracks they've created (like "Strings"). I am abandoning all music-reviewer jargon here to just say man, "My Body" is really good. It's really good! It's great, even. Give a listen. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Album Review: Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts

Thurston Moore is a master songwriter --- solo, in collaboration, and of course with Sonic Youth. His brand new album, Demolished  Thoughts, is yet another testament to his immense talent. 

Moore has the ability to shift-shape --- he can rev up his guitar and break into voluminous distortion, or he can glide his fingers over an acoustic and whisper across its subdued sound. Demolished Thoughts --- even more so than his last solo record --- possesses the latter, with hints of his grungy, noisy, experimental past. Production by Beck is an added bonus. 
At the start of the beautiful "Benediction," the album's opening track, I was more than happy to hear Samara Lubelski's familiar violin. She appeared on Moore's Trees Outside the Academy (2007), as well as in live performances. I happened to work with Samara at Kim's Video in NYC several years ago, and I've always been entranced by her emotive violin, which, along with a harpist, perfectly accompanies Thurston's whimsical melodies, stirring up the dust of something truly profound.
Demolished Thoughts is musical poetry, with neo-classic flourishes and an emotional, but not melancholic, weight. As with Trees Outside the Academy, the song titles are lyrical too, like "Blood Never Lies," "In Silver Rain with Paper Key," and "Illuminine." Most of the album feels hushed and fluid, but I particularly love those moments when the thoughts become "demolished."  
While a song like "Blood Never Lies" is thoroughly peaceful, "Mina Loy" immediately pulls you into a darker setting. Here, Moore's guitar is hypnotic and witchy, reinforced soon by the gypsy-like strings. I can't get enough of this song's instrumental opening, pierced by a ghostly whisper right before Moore's voice further haunts the space. Certainly an album highlight! "Circulation" also starts off boldly, with guitars and violin charging as Moore's voice really takes off. "I'm not running away," he sings in the chorus --- echoing and full of tension, just like the riveting strings.
Demolished Thoughts is only nine songs long, but the album feels complete --- of course, Moore has long since mastered the art of knowing when to stop versus when to spiral out into an instrumental malestrom. And while the album could use a little more grit, feedback and destruction, in my opinion, it's nonetheless gorgeous. A perfect album for a rainy walk with your headphones. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Cover Bliss

We all know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but that doesn't mean a good cover isn't important. Just like album cover art, book covers will eventually fizzle out by way of Kindles and e-Books, but nothing will ever change the fact that the book cover is an art form, and one which I absolutely wish I could delve into (anyone want to hire me to design their books? I'm cheap!). 

I recently discovered a website just as enraptured by good book covers as I am...well, maybe even more. It's The Book Cover Archive, edited and maintained by Ben Pieratt of General Projects and Eric Jacobsen of Whisky Van Gogh Go, and it's quite a site indeed. Click "Randomize" (or "Rzdmeiano," etc.) and book cover images will magically reveal themselves. You can also search by designer, publisher, genre, year, art director, author...even typeface! Truly a site for book design freaks! Also check out the Blog, which has some interesting photographs. 

In my various Random searches lately, I've come upon some truly fantastic covers that absolutely make me want to read the book in question (which seems like part of the point, other than to represent key images or themes)...so here are some of those covers from books I have not read (though In This Way I Was Saved is on my bookshelf, all ready for my eyes; I didn't actually see that one on this site. Talk about an example of an actual "oooh look at this cover, I want to read this!" moment in a three-dimensional, real-life bookstore).

I have a thing for water-related covers!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Album Review: The Kills - Blood Pressures

To be perfectly blunt, The Kills are cool as fuck. I doubt many rock fans would disagree with that statement. Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart have proven themselves to be one slick duo, most notably on Midnight Boom, released in 2008. From the lyrics to the beats to the sometimes deadened vocal delivery, it was one of the coolest albums released that year. Now, three years later, The Kills are back with Blood Pressure...still cool, still rife with sexy beats and daring rock n' roll riffs, but can it compete with the joy ride that was Midnight Boom, which, for me, was rather like an album full of Iggy Pop's "Nightclubbing?"

 The Kills are inspired by a mutual obsession with
 The Velvet Underground, ‘70s London and New York punk, as well as bands like Cabaret Voltaire and Suicide. They're into that stripped-down, No Wave, mildly synthetic but still garage-y sound, and Blood Pressure showcases these musical passions. The record reaffirms that they're "bringing romance and sex and glamour back to rock ‘n’ roll"...but topping an A+ album like Midnight Boom is a difficult endeavor. For me, Blood Pressure is one grade lower, though still completely admirable.

The album kicks off with four bold tracks, and "Future Starts Slow" is almost as alluring as 
Midnight Boom's opener, "U.R.A. Fever." With the duo blending their slightly raspy voices, it feels like you're putting on a leather jacket and heading out into the blackest night --- and not just because that's the central image of their music video for "Satellite." The guitars on this opening track jab at you, especially when they're at the forefront of otherwise minimal instrumentation that gradually becomes denser, until the thick drumbeats peter out...segueing, via mechanical noises, into "Satellite." Even though it's the album's single, and therefore the most obviously good, "Satellite" really is a gem. "Cool" doesn't even begin to describe it. We've got vocals layered atop vocals, and Mosshart's "oh's oh's" gliding across a marching, neo-industrial backdrop. "Heart Is A Beating Drum" continues the band's riveting mash-up of electronic-meets-organic, with a fuzzed-out guitar taking a backseat to more dynamic and prominent vocals, courtesy of Mosshart.

But then we dip into "Wild Charms," sung only by Hince. Slow and sleepy, it's just 1:15, but that's long enough to disturb the momentum. It would have been better as a bonus track...though it does lead nicely into "DNA." At this point, Mosshart's vocals become too front-and-center, and the song's starkness doesn't serve the song. However, a catchy chorus and crunchy guitar solidify the track's edginess, so all of its fragmented pieces seem to slowly fall into place. "Baby Says" is another melodic gem --- certainly the album's cutest --- and the guitar riff elevates its retro charm. "Last Goodbye" comes next...and I, for one, find it unlistenable. It sounds like Marianne Faithful with a sore throat, playing a few notes on a piano. What is it doing on this album? 

The last three tracks aren't quite as interesting as the first, and "You Don't Own The Road" sounds a lot like "Heart Is A Beating Drum," but the finale, "Pots and Pans," is rather beautiful --- like an asphalt sidewalk that sparkles under the streetlight. The melody leads us through experimental noises that literally sound like pots and pans being hit by hands, or maybe by spoons (recall the telephone noises on "U.R.A. Fever"). It's got a country thing going on too, even through its rock n' roll veneer, and as the instruments get louder and Mosshart's voice begins to recede, you're content in lingering in all of that reverberation, until it fades out.  

-a.dupcak for BRM.

Friday, May 13, 2011

John Lennon & God

"God" is one of the most controversial songs of John Lennon's controversial career...though my former religion teacher, who had a big issue with "Imagine" of all things, probably never heard it. Let me explain that story real quick --- it was the year 2000 and "Imagine" was just deemed the song of the millennium. My tenth grade religion teacher told my class that she "hated that song" simply because of the line "imagine there's no heaven" and the bit about "no religion too." Her reasoning was that "of course there's a heaven!" I raised my hand and said, "But he's saying IMAGINE!" And not only that, but one of the points of the song is that we all need to experience and appreciate the here and now rather than worrying about the afterlife and such. I can only "imagine" what she would think about "God." 

The thing about "God" is that it really showcases another side of Lennon. He was often seen as extremely optimistic, uplifting, energetic, and peaceful --- which certainly isn't untrue. But John wasn't always a dreamer; his feet were also planted on the soil (especially that of New York) and he was very much aware of his image and his impact. When The Beatles broke up and the world collectively sobbed over that musical departure, John swiftly took off on his own path, creating an album with wife Yoko called John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. No album could be more truthful.

For months after the great Beatle break-up, John and Yoko underwent primal therapy, which strongly influenced the lyrical content of John's first solo album. He explored many personal psychological demons (rather than world issues for which he was better known), such as abandonment by his mother, his former issue of class, and his "renouncement of external saviors." John's trip to India with his fellow Beatles, and the resulting magic of Sergeant Pepper, was largely understood as a spiritual quest and a fountain of inspiration, but in "God," John professes what he doesn't believe in, rather than referencing what he does. Something about this, at least to me (and maybe in my current state of migraine) feels even more honest. 

In "God," John denounces everyone from Hitler to Jesus (and back-to-back too!), as well as JFK, Elvis and Bob Dylan. All of these figures might be considered "gods." He also denounces elements of Eastern faith, such as Buddha, mantra and yoga, as well as the New Age practices he formerly embraced. The main point of the song, though, isn't to tell listeners what they should or shouldn't believe in...it's to profess that he believes in himself (and his right hand, Yoko) and not in the people and objects and practices in which people try to find themselves. Therefore, we too need only believe in ourselves.

The dream is over because The Beatles are dead, and now the only person John really has is John (once again, and Yoko...talk about love). He used to be the walrus (though I thought the walrus was Paul!), but now he's really and truly just John: reborn, rebuilt, maybe even re-imagined. He tells his fans and friends to carry on, and though the song ends with the rather dismal "the dream is over," it feels like a thrilling reality is just beginning and a veil has been lifted --- the heart-wrenching sadness is actually a reward, not a punishment. If The Beatles were God, or as John once said, "more popular than Jesus," then that God is now dead...but the good news is that all of us can keep on living. 

Released on December 11, 1970 (almost exactly 10 years before John himself would die), "God" is delivered in a minimal, no-thrills fashion, with the lyrics jabbing you as each new line comes. It is beautiful, painful, raw, and deeply felt. 
God is a concept,
By which we can measure,
Our pain,
I'll say it again,
God is a concept,
By which we can measure,
Our pain,
I don't believe in magic,
I don't believe in I-ching,
I don't believe in bible,
I don't believe in tarot,
I don't believe in Hitler,
I don't believe in Jesus,
I don't believe in Kennedy,
I don't believe in Buddha,
I don't believe in mantra,
I don't believe in Gita,
I don't believe in yoga,
I don't believe in kings,
I don't believe in Elvis,
I don't believe in Zimmerman,
I don't believe in Beatles,
I just believe in me,
Yoko and me,
And that's reality.
The dream is over,
What can I say?
The dream is over,
I was dreamweaver,
But now I'm reborn,
I was the walrus,
But now I'm John,
And so dear friends,
You just have to carry on,
The dream is over.


Thursday, May 5, 2011


Transitions between songs are truly important -- there is nothing more jarring than a bad transition, caused by genre, mood, instrument, tempo, or volume. The best transitions typically occur within concept albums; Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Cocteau Twins, Nine Inch Nails, and even the Pixies and Arcade Fire are perfect examples of bands who have mastered the art of the ideal transition.

But in our modern age of iPods and mp3s, and our ability to purchase single songs on almost any album (conceptual or not), transitions are often eliminated completely. We're more than happy to skip between songs in ADD fashion, creating odd alignments and choppy flows. I would like to think that I am still, largely, an album type of person, since I do listen to records from start to finish -- but still, I too am guilty of merrily skipping through Shuffle, especially when I'm walking or driving. I have a history of and passion for making customized mixes (long live kid A mix tapes!!), where I spend a lot of time perfecting song transitions in the hopes of creating an album that feels like a movie-score; or like the work of one brain, when really it's comprised of twenty different bands that have nothing to do with one another. One might suggest I prefer controlled order to random chaos.

The remarkable thing about Shuffle, though, is that sometimes -- not terribly often, but sometimes -- my iPod creates its own perfect transitions...at least to my ears, and with my collection. Much like the iTunes visualizer nicely pairs the movements within songs to the movements of hypnotic swirls, so does my dear pod occasionally pair two or more songs in a way that sounds flawless and purposeful. For the past few days, I have been keeping track of these sporadic pairings. So here are some great transitions (two at a time for now...maybe I'll up the ante next time) I have recently experienced. Sometimes we really can leave technology to its own "devices"...
"U.R.A. Fever" - The Kills
"When I'm Small" - Phantogram
"Fight Test" - Flaming Lips
"Up Against the Wall" - Peter Bjorn and John
"Crown on the Ground" - Sleigh Bells
"Heart it Races" - Architecture in Helsinki
"Innocente" - Delirium
"Hyenas" - Moby
"Intergalactic Menopause" - Murder by Death
"Strotha Tynhe" - Aphex Twin
"Honest James" - Thurston Moore
"Heroin" - Velvet Underground
"Birdy" - Lightning Bolt
"All I Gotta Do" (Live) - Darcy Clay
"Blue Dress" - Depeche Mode
"Tea Lights" - Lower Dens
"VCR" - The XX
"Crying (Telepathe Remix)" - TV On The Radio
"Finally Grunge" - When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth
"Lexicon Devil" - The Germs
"One of These Days" - Pink Floyd
"Some Things Last a Long Time" - Beach House
"Better Things" - Passion Pit
"Let's Make Love" - CSS
"Sing" - Blur
"Hope Overture" - Clint Mansell
"I'm Good, I'm Gone" - Lykke Li
"Casual" - Here We Go Magic
"Reckoner" - Radiohead
"You're a Wolf" - Sea Wolf
"The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegroove" - Dead Can Dance
"Pleasure and Pain" - The Chameleons 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Real-Life Alice

Who in the world am I? 
Ah, that's the greatest puzzle.
-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

May 4th is the birthday of real-life Alice, who led the world on many a chase through Wonderland. Born on this day in 1852, she came to know Lewis Carroll when she was a child. The two often spent time together, and sometimes Carroll took photographs of her (and other young girls).

On July 4 in 1864, Carroll, Alice and her two sisters rowed toward a picnic outing, and Alice requested a new story. Carroll (real name Charles Ludwidge Dodgson) had told her stories before, but this time she asked him to write down the epic tale. Months later, in 1864, he handed her a manuscript called Alice's Adventures Under Ground, which would become the illustrated Alice's Adventures in Wonderland the following year. Those famous illustrations by John Tenniel depicted a large-foreheaded, blond Alice who looked nothing like Alice Liddell, with darker and smaller features.

But Alice was certainly Alice, as is evidenced in many ways. For one, her adventures took place today, on May 4th (though this isn't mentioned when the Mad Hatter introduces his "unbirthday" idea). In Carroll's follow-up, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, fictional Alice says she is "seven-and-a-half exactly," meaning that this story took place on November 4th, her half-birthday. Many other references point to the friendship between Alice and Carroll, as well as the origins of Wonderland, and an acrostic poem -- "A Boat Beneath A Sunny Sky" -- bearing her full name also appears in Looking-Glass.

Personally, I find all of this beautiful.
(and I am born on Lewis Carroll's birthday; January 27)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sonora Review #58

In yet another effort to spotlight indie literary journals, I am going to call attention to Sonora Review, which can also boast being the oldest student-run lit mag in this country. It was established by the Creative Writing graduate department of the University of Arizona in the fall of 1980, and since then has featured an astonishing array of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as interviews, book reviews, and art. David Foster Wallace, among other notable writers, was a former staff writer.

For Issue 58 this past year, Sonora Review decided to go the hand-bound route. Yes, this makes for a slightly trickier time producing and acquiring the journal, but it also creates a wonderful merging of art and writing. Sonora turned to Spork Press and the creativity of Margaret Kimball to create a book that serves as both a work of d.i.y.-esque art and a literary gem. I was honored that a piece of nonfiction I wrote was selected for this Issue. It is called "words on his death, and other related things," and is one of a few works of nonfiction in the issue. 

Check out the art design of the journal at the following two websites, and then purchase it, if you are so inclined.