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eSCENE 1997 Authors

Darrin Navarro, Atlas' Hips

"I live in a modest house in Glendale, California, with my wife and our two kids. There is a detached garage behind the house which serves during my prolific periods as my writing space. I've recently cleared it of a bunch of stuff that we don't really need, and am trying to jumpstart one of those periods again.

"The mortgage on the house is paid with work I do for the movies."

Of Atlas' Hips:

"Atlas' Hips was inspired by two things, each of which had a similar effect on me. The first was some traveling my wife and I did just before we conceived our first child; the second was her second pregnancy. We had travelled very fast, visiting dozens of countries in too short a span of time, and we rarely had an opportunity to thoroughly soak up a moment. By the time our first baby was seventeen months old (the second was due within weeks) I had the same sensation as I had at the end of our trip: that some marvelous things had gone by me very quickly and I'd not known how to observe them fully before they were gone.

"This feeling was distilled and made literal for me when my wife and I were walking past one another in the house and I casually put my hand on my her belly to feel for the new baby. She said, "You're not going to be able to do that anymore." (We were in agreement that this second was our last child). That line seemed to descibe many of the very small but magnificent things I had seen over the previous couple of years."

Victoria Lancelotta, Festival

Victoria Lancelotta was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, before driving south a few years back and winding up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Her fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, The Threepenny Review, the Mississippi Review Web, and other magazines. She has been a resident of the MacDowell Colony and the Djerassi Resident Artists' Program and will be a visiting scholar at the 1997 Breadloaf Writers' Conference. She is the fiction editor of the Georgetown Review.

"I usually agonize over stories for months at a shot, taking weeks to get a single paragraph down and right (or rather, as 'right' as I can get it). "Festival," though, was different - as soon as I had the opening scene on the page, the rest came in a rush, fast and furious: I think because I had such a clear idea of what the backdrop of the action would be. The greasy pole (a real and annual contest at a particular church carnival in Baltimore), the heat of summer, the character's sense of witness and waiting, and the way family members can betray one another without a word: these things seemed to 'tell' themselves."

Lucy Harrison, Just Another Night and Day

Lucy Harrison works full time as a Reference Librarian at a community college in Florida. She has been writing fiction for some years now, since taking Harry Crews' creative writing class at the University of Florida. Many of Lucy's works have been published online in the ezine Oyster Boy, and another one of her stories, "Sanctuary's for the Birds", was also selected for inclusion in eSCENE 1996.

The inspiration for "Just Another Night and Day" came from a trip her boyfriend took to Georgia, to pick up a friend's piano. From there it evolved, very slowly, and with a lot of help from Oyster Boy editor Damon Sauve. Lucy welcomes email questions, comments, or inquiries about her work, and is always open to publishing in new forums.

Gregory Cowles, Kosher

Gregory Cowles is pursuing his MFA at Columbia University, where he has a teaching-writing fellowship, and where he serves as editor of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. He is writing a novel.

"It's been so long since I wrote Kosher that it's a little strange to revisit that time and remember what gave rise to the story. I did have a friend with a retarded sister while I was growing up, and when we were in seventh grade the rumor went around school that he had taken her to bed; I never spent a lot of time wondering whether the rumor was true or not, but I suppose this story is a way of letting him off the hook all these years later. When I started writing it I was working, unhappily, as a paralegal in California, and taking hockey lessons in an attempt to enrich my free time: hence hockey's appearance in the story. Beyond these autobiographical nuggets, Kosher is wholly invented, and stems from my obsessive neurotic musings on conformity and betrayal."

Allen Woodman, Saved by Mr. F. Scott Fitzgerald

Allen Woodman was born and raised in Alabama. He was educated at Huntingdon College and Florida State University. Woodman's latest collection of short stories, Saved by Mr. F. Scott Fitzgerald, was published in 1997 by The University of West Alabama's Livingston Press (Station 22, Livingston, AL 35470), in their Contemporary Writers Series, specializing in offbeat and Southern literature. Woodman is also the co-author of several children's picture books, including the popular classic, The Cows Are Going To Paris. He now lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he directs the Creative Writing Program at Northern Arizona University.

"As a child, I used to play in the cemetery where Hank Williams is buried. I also attended a small, liberal arts college, not too different than the one in the story. Yes, there was a 'real' George and the Red Lady still walks the halls of the college. Oh, the Fitzgerald house is still standing. I guess there's something in the story about man's quest for a nude bibliophile, something for the great literary symbol hunters to enjoy, but, mostly, I hope the story makes the reader smile."

Marcus Eubanks, Selections from the New World

Marcus Eubanks' day (and often night) job as an Emergency Medicine resident at a big inner-city teaching hospital leaves him rather less time for writing than he'd really like. He has an almost maniacal passion for the work though, so he puts up with it. His sole regret about the whole thing is that unlike the characters in the tv show E.R. he has yet to arrive home after work to find a lovely dripping-wet nude woman waiting for him in his living room.

When he's not working, writing or trying to make up for chronic sleep deprivation, he can be found on various balconies around Pittsburgh, drinking beer with friends and occasionally shouting at passers-by.

"Selections" marks his second appearance in eSCENE.

"'Selections' was conceived during my training in Philadelphia where I saw report after report reveal that our options for treating infections caused by organisms we'd cultured from patients were becomming increasingly limited. The characters are friends of mine, and yes, I do wonder occasionally if our jobs might not quite literally kill us one of these days.

"The title is courtesy of the editorial staff of InterText. Without their encouragement, and specifically the help of Jason Snell who helped me shape the piece, it's likely that I would have abandoned my attempts at writing years ago."

Neal Gordon, When Something Goes

Neal Gordon began studying writing at Iowa State University under Jane Smiley. At her recommendation, he transferred as an undergraduate to the University of Iowa creative writing program. Following completion of his degree in general studies, he took Frank Conroy's recommendation and left the Midwest for the east coast. In 1991, he began to study with David Bradley at Temple University in Philadelphia and completed graduate school while publishing several stories, including an excerpt from an unpublished novel. Currently, Gordon teaches at the Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia and works with the Working Writer's Group, a long-running critical group residing in the Philadelphia area.

"I remember that I was interested in writing a small, quiet story. 'When Something Goes' stems from a few pieces of disparate information. Gossamer threads, the fireworks displays of my childhood, and a stormy night when I was 14 or so, living in a small town in rural Iowa in the middle of my parent's disintegration, are the sources. I tried to let the emotional content of those items dictate a tone for the story. The plot itself was simple enough to allow for a wide range of memory and digression while encapsulating a short time sequence.

Robert Olen Butler, Woman Uses Glass Eye to Spy on Philandering Husband

Robert Olen Butler has published nine critically acclaimed books since 1981 - seven novels and two books of short stories, one of which, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1993. The other collection of stories, Tabloid Dreams, was published in the fall of 1997 and included "Woman Uses Glass Eye to Spy on Philandering Husband." Though some of the stories in that volume first appeared in such magazines as The New Yorker, Esquire, and The Paris Review, two of them made their debut online, at the Mississippi Review Web. Butler's short fiction has been chosen four times by Best American Short Stories and six times by New Stories from the South. He is currently co-producing a proposed HBO series based on Tabloid Dreams.

"'Woman Uses Glass Eye to Spy on Philandering Husband' was inspired, as were all the stories in Tabloid Dreams, by the headlines in that bottom rack at the supermarket, the fantasy-apocalypse rack, which includes The Weekly World News and The Sun. I figured these papers consistently got the headlines right but the stories all wrong, so I took on the first-person voices of the central characters behind the headlines and set the record straight. I could have placed this story in a print magazine, but I made the conscious decision to embrace the Web. Sitting at my computer screen with the whole Internet laid out before me, I feel the same way my great grandfather must have felt sitting on his front porch watching his first horseless carriage go by. The technology still may be crude, but this is the future."

eSCENE 1997 Copyright Information

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