Dzanc Books Best of the Web be out, shimmering upstream, all 2009 like a disco ball senate hearing, all lightning wrenches and cackle at the handicraft clusters. Fiction of fine thin bones and thick blood. Creative nonfiction that coughs and shaves and goes to parties. Poetry like poetry like poetry. All of it online.
I am the host with the toast today, as we raise our glasses to Amy Clark, a contributor from the 2009 issue. She will drop some words right here now. Amy Clark is an Assistant Professor of College Composition at Pine Manor College and has taught fiction, revision, and personal essay classes at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education for several years. She has had fiction published in literary journals, including McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Quick Fiction and Fringe, and her work appears in the anthology Brevity and Echo. Her collection Wanting, which was a finalist for the Rose Metal Press annual chapbook contest judged by Ron Carlson, was published by Rose Metal Press as part of the book A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women. She has always secretly wanted to be an astronaut.
Here is Amy’s post of goodness:
I wrote “Forearm and Elbow” while I was hiking in the Himalayas. At the time, I was having an affair with a British photojournalist, so I was concerned about radiation poisoning. And since we were camping pretty rough, I didn’t have my computer with me. I asked our guide, who was also our cook, if I could borrow some spare saffron, which I ground into a fine paste, using salt and a mortar and pestle. Dipping my finger into the mixture, I painted the story on leaves of toilet paper and carried it all home in a plastic bag.
Okay, none of that is true. I wrote “Forearm and Elbow” when my best friend, who has never been in a bus accident, and was not dating anyone at the time, was a freelance textbook editor. She kept calling me on the phone in the middle of the day with bizarre statistics she had learned, and I spent a lot of time that summer trying to make sense of this minutia. What did it mean, I was always asking myself, that it is possible to mediate some of the effects of radiation exposure? Or that it is recommended that we all have a gallon of potable water in our house at all times, in case of environmental or political catastrophe? So I suppose it is a story about the impotent sense of foreboding I can get sometimes when I think about the randomness of chance, and the difficulty of being lucky in life and in love.
I am enormously gratified that this piece found a home –first online at Juked, and now in the anthology Best of the Web 2009, even if it is still very much open to debate whether my character will ever find a real home. My best friend, by the way, found a new home shortly after I wrote “Forearm and Elbow.” She lives two doors down from where I live with my husband (who never complains about the dishes), and as I write this now I can look out from my back porch and see her garden.