Month: October 2018

Retrograde Movement

A poem

BY: WILLIAM CULLEN JR.

 

A spider on the window

centers its web

like a bull’s-eye

on the full moon

and then moves diagonally

eight legs in motion

across its creation

to the darkest corner

where it will wait

for that hypnotic light

to draw white wings near

until the faintest tremor

radiating outward

from the dead center

sets in motion

a very local eclipse.

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TCR Talks with James Comtois

BY A.E. Santana

James Comtois has long been a fan of horror and is a skilled and adventurous storyteller, writing dramatic, thoughtful, and frightening onstage scenes. As the cofounder and co-artistic director of New York–based theater company Nosedive Productions, where he also served as resident playwright, Comtois was involved with creating original and fantastically bizarre plays. He has produced more than twenty plays, including the award-winning titles The Awaited Visit and Mayonnaise Sandwiches. He is an accomplished reporter and reviewer.

Just in time for Halloween, The Coachella Review talks with Comtois on horror, crafting scripts in this genre, and his experience writing the acclaimed vampire play, The Little One.

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Book Review: Leah Dieterich’s “Vanishing Twins”

BY: A.M. Larks

I have begun this review eight times now. I know the topics I want to cover, the words I want to say, but the disjointed and interrelated concepts resist a cohesive narrative. The cause, I suspect, is not my lack of writing skills but the high quality of Leah Dieterich’s in her memoir, Vanishing Twins.

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Kennedy’s Acolytes

by Jack Gilhooley

It’s the evening of November 22, 1963, in rural Ireland. Three mid-teenage girls grapple with the news that U.S. president John F. Kennedy has just been assassinated.

CHARACTERS: Deirdre, Moira, and Eileen all speak with a brogue
PLACE: A basically empty town square (A bench? A streetlamp?). There’s a shabby sign reading “Doyle’s Public House” inconspicuously situated far left or right. The pub itself is offstage.
TIME: Evening, Nov. 22, 1963.

Deirdre and Moira are heavily dressed. Each carries an unlit flashlight (“torch”).
.
DEIRDRE: How close did you get?

MOIRA: I could touch him.

DEIRDRE: So did ye?

MOIRA: Lord, no.

DEIRDRE: Why not?

MOIRA: I was afraid.

DEIRDRE: Of who?

MOIRA: Not a person. Just the situation.

DEIRDRE: Were you afraid of Kennedy?

MOIRA: Course not. But he had these big bruiser-type guards.

DEIRDRE: He shoulda left them home. He didn’t need them here. In the states, yeah. But not in Wexford. We’re civilized over here. Except on the football pitch. Rumor had it that he’d move over here when his presidency was over. And why not? He’d be able to walk into any pub in the land without guards. The gents wouldn’t let him buy a round. Lift a jar an’ have a bit of craic with the boyos. A game of darts or two. Then home for dinner with Jackie and the kids. Little John-John woulda been old enough to join a football club. His da would have been a sponsor. Take alla the lads out after a match. Treat them to sweets and such.

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TCR Talks with Kristi Coulter

BY CHARLI ENGELHORN

Alcohol is the drug of choice for many people, and the war on drugs tends to kindly turn a blind eye to the copious amounts of alcohol consumed daily and advertisements that glorify social drinking. Yet, millions of Americans are living with alcoholism, and thousands die alcohol-related deaths each year. In her debut collection of essays, Nothing Good Can Come from This, writer Kristi Coulter tackles the prevalence of alcohol in society and the motivations behind the desire to overconsume. Through her personal narrative of drinking and sobriety, Coulter examines the reasons why women drink, the effects of drinking on her life, and the long road to self-discovery and strength as a sober person.

The author spoke with contributing writer Charli Engelhorn about the inception of this book and the value of discussing the role alcohol plays in our lives.

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Book Review: Sandra Gail Lambert’s “A Certain Loneliness”

 by Annette Davis

In her touching memoir of life as a disabled lesbian, Sandra Gail Lambert probes the issue of what quality of life really means. Throughout the series of short essays, Lambert takes the reader on a journey from the author’s childhood, where we learn Lambert is stricken with polio, to an adult struggling to maintain her independence in the face of the disease that wracks her body with pain and limitations. In equal parts, the memoir is a story of self-love and the search for Lambert’s one true love—a life partner.

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Black Mirrors

By Liz Betz

Just for a split second I can picture my grossly overweight cousin. Perhaps he fell so that he ended like a large sack of potatoes draped over a small tractor moored in green—dead weight.

“What good he was doing is another thing,” Rachel says. “At least he managed to get the lawn mower turned off, before he died.”

I watch my crow Petey take off from the tree outside the window while I thirstily quaff water. There is a stack of wet dishes in the sink. It’s five in the afternoon and these are breakfast dishes, perhaps the only thing Rachel has done today. It feels like I’ve spent a million moments like this, waiting for some reason to endure.

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Age of Loneliness

BY: AUDRA LORD

This is an age of loneliness. This is what I’m thinking on the bus during my morning commute. I’m surrounded by a seawall of slack, blank faces, the impassive slate of cliffs. Nobody says a word; they just gaze into the cups of their palms, thirsty for plastic wisdom and blinky emoticons, which have mostly replaced emotions. Even liking something nowadays is a deliberate act.

Everyone is lost in the magic of tiny screens, wrapped in private thought bubbles, protected from the silence by noise-canceling earbuds, selecting the clatter of podcasts or the hum of iTunes over the warm body in the next seat. Their faces are still, but their fingers are industrious: it’s a factory of people engaged in the same repetitive swipes, clicks and taps, over and over and over again.

Aside from the tapping, nobody makes a sound.

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TCR Talks with Keithan Jones and Amber Tillman

BY:  A.M. Larks AND A.E. Santana

While many may think of comics as superhero-kid stuff, the comic book business is an immense global industry—reaching a huge and diverse audience. In 2017, North American sales totaled over $1 billion. Whether it’s a classic comic book or a graphic novel, the combination of words and images need to work in perfect harmony to tell a story.

What is the process of a harmonic collaboration between author and artist? TCR contributors A. E. Santana and A. M. Larks talk to both sides of this equation: creator and artist of “The Power Knights” and owner and founder of Kid Comics, Keithan Jones, and Amber Tillman, author and creator of Medicine Cabinet, about developing comics as either the artist or writer, and just how this harmony is achieved.

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