Photo by Jesse Ryan Brown

Spencer Brown

Small Planes
By Spencer K. M. Brown 

A twelve-year-old boy from a family obsessed with all manner of flying things enlists help from his damaged uncle to build himself wings. A captivating story of dreaming, climbing, and falling, the story holds out hope for all who yearn to touch the sky. 

“Once you see something like that, you want it again. Forever. You want that feeling of nothingness, entirely weightless. But you never can quite get it back. No matter how hard you try. You let your soul go up each time and, after a while, you haven’t got any more soul left.”

Jordan Faber

Dock Ellis’ Disciple
By Jordan Faber

Mississippi high school baseball pitcher Turner Bloom fashions his style after vintage major leaguer, Dock Ellis—including playing high on LSD—as he and his family prepare for a visit from a pro scout. 

“He’d practice until 2 a.m. Calloused palms dropping his maple wood bat, Turner’s body would give way to sleep in an acquiescent slide through sweltering, recurrent dreams of unassisted triple plays, glossed lips, and category-five hurricanes.

It didn’t trouble the Blooms that their only child slept blanketed by moonlight alone. The seventeen-year old’s muscled determination, its sinewy force, galvanized the couple.” 

Elizabeth Fergason

Rescue Strategy
By Elizabeth Fergason

After Buddhist chaplain, Isabel, cheats on her Silicon Valley businessman husband, Gary, the couple endures marriage therapy, ignoring the exercises the therapist asks them to do. Contemplating Eastern and Western thoughts around forgiveness, Isabel realizes that in order to forgive herself—and perhaps rescue her marriage—she must first find and rescue herself.

“The sadness she felt wasn’t only about the end of their affair, for what was the affair in essence, but a distraction from her isolation? The sadness came also from understanding how far she’d fallen, how very lost she’d become.”

Caroline Kim

Not Usual For Korean
By Caroline Kim

A college-age daughter and “good girl” must act as an intermediary between her Korean parents and her brother, who’s been kicked out of college. 

“Jin had never been serious enough for my father. At ten, he made the mistake of announcing he wanted to grow up to be a magician. Then a comedian. He listened to Steve Martin records and practiced walking like a drunk in the living room while my parents were at work. He watched David Letterman religiously and learned to squirt milk out of his nose. He could flip both eyelids inside out.”

Pas de Deux
By Randy Kraft

A small-town reporter, who botched her profile of the local Dancercise teacher, a “simple subject,” tries to get the real, nuanced story the second time around—and winds up revealing as much about herself and her preconceptions as she does her subject.

“The sheer banality of her life, I think, is akin to reality television, infusing her with virtually patron saint status among disciples. However I failed to appreciate the complexity of that relationship because I tend to be a snob about franchised frivolity. I never peeked beyond the bright lights and spandex to the heart of the story.”