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Stories 182-185

All four of these are from a cool magazine I found called Ecotone: reimagining place, put out by the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.  As with most literary magazines by large universities, if you can find them in a bookstore chances are good most of the material is not student-written although the magazine is student-edited I believe.

Story 182: Insectuality by Jason Ockert.  This is a slightly-disturbing story about unrequited love, and about how we can interpret the simplest actions of another person as an interest in ourselves.  The main character is somewhat relatable, although the object of his affection seems to be the worst kind of self-absorbed performance artist.  I would not find this person attractive at all, but the main character is smitten and it affects every choice he makes.

Story 183: You Are The One by Scott D. Pomfret.  Another slightly disturbing tale, this one about requited love that still dares not reveal itself in public.  On the surface, it's an almost stereotypical "don't ask, don't tell / queer love in the military closet" tale, but Pomfret embues his narrator with such strong, almost vehement, emotion that even the cliches feel fresh.  Another narrator that I probably would want to smack upside the head if he were my friend, more for the selfishness he shows than for the choice to be in a relationship that can only exist in bedrooms and private moments.  And yet, even that cliche is turned slightly on its head in little ways throughout the story. 

Story 184: The Body Autumnal by Lisa Wells.  This might be one of those stories that I just don't get.  Perhaps I need to reread it, but I don't particularly feel the urge to.  It's about psychosis and loss and therapy and despair, I think.  It's about unrequited connections (if not necessarily unrequited love), perhaps.  And there seems to be a historical component that has some bearing on the present day of the story, but I couldn't quite see the connection for the tangent.

Story 185: For Love To Waken In His Face by Haven Kimmel.  Another odd story (that's four for four if you're keeping track).  This one is also about unrequited love, and a bit about psychosis and transference, and about how far your "friends" will let you depart from the norm before, or even if, they try to reel you back to normalcy.  There's a sense of loss, there's a sense of finding yourself.  It sort of ties the previous three stories together, drawing themes, if not setting or narrative threads, from the previous three stories.  One has to assume the editor of the issue placed this story last for a reason.  It's a strong ender, even if the narrator again was a little too weird for me to be able to claim to have liked her.

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