Treeswing by Lee Bob Black


 

“Mommy, do trees grow up out of the ground,” Waffles says, “or do they grow from the top up?” “I don’t know,” Isabelle says to her daughter. Then Isabelle takes a stab in the dark and says, “From the top.” “Do you want to know what time it is?” Waffles says, smiling. “Sure.” “Sure yes?” “Yes,” her mother says. Waffles awkwardly brings her wrist up level with her eyes, like she’s blocking the sun. She squints and studies her watch. “It’s three thirty, and ten seconds, in the p.m.” “You mean it’s half past three.” … Continue reading Treeswing by Lee Bob Black

The Sea, The Sea


 

[frame align=”right”][/frame]Dame Iris Murdoch (1919-1999) was a serious student of Platonic idealism, in addition to being a highly successful novelist. Her exploits as scholar and philosopher – she was fellow at St. Anne’s College, Oxford – add a resonance to her work that gives critics plenty to speculate about, but the most interesting thing for me, about Murdoch, is her cool-headed skill as a storyteller. Over the course of a long writing career, she produced more than twenty engrossing tales. Her novel, The Sea, The Sea is a prime example – and a good place … Continue reading The Sea, The Sea

On Keeping a Journal


 

[frame align=”right”][/frame]This morning I sit on my porch and gaze across the bottom lands and pastures of the James River valley. I open up my journal, swipe my fingers across its soft green leather cover, the embossed Celtic design like a brail pattern slides beneath my fingertips. A green satin ribbon curls in the journal’s crease. The pages measure five and a half inches wide from the seam of the spine to the paper’s edge. No more, no less. Lined. For a long time I would not write in journals with lines. Lines forced me … Continue reading On Keeping a Journal

Ode to the Long Form

Blurry Text
 

In contrast to my subject matter, I will try to be brief: I don’t have any long range studies to back this up, but I think communication is getting, in general, faster and briefer. I have anecdotal evidence galore; the text message has replaced email which replaced phone conversation which replaced the handwritten letter. Newspaper articles have been overtaken by blurbs on a blog (which may be soon sunsetted by tweets). I have a bit of empirical evidence too, like how in nightly news stories, sound bites from U.S. Presidential candidates have gone from an average of … Continue reading Ode to the Long Form

“Whose Boundaries Are That of Imagination”


 

A couple of weeks ago I discovered the original “Twilight Zone” series was available on Netflix Instant. Needless to say I have (happily) surrendered hours of my life re-watching this classic series, which I still believe is one of the very few truly great things to have aired on television. (“The Muppet Show” is probably a close second.) The far-reaching influence of the show is undeniable. The twists and bitter ironies for which the show was famous have informed dozens of tropes in film and popular culture (including fiction). A quick survey of the first season, … Continue reading “Whose Boundaries Are That of Imagination”

Poetry as Reprieve


 

[frame align=”right”][/frame]In my twenties I thought of language as a bridge, not from one place to another, but above an abyss. The damnation waiting below was ordinary chaos, the dissonant march of hours, the rush of unsorted, simultaneous emotions – terror, desire, depression, exultation – swirling together without structure or purpose. Raw consciousness, natural and unimpeded. I needed some artifact of the patterning mind to survive nothing more terrible than my daily life, and I found in words the material for these necessary shapings. I had always loved words, found them concrete, caressable. Never a … Continue reading Poetry as Reprieve

What You Don’t See


 

[frame align=”right”][/frame]In 2006, Farrar Straus and Giroux published Edgar Allan Poe and the Jukebox, a medley of previously uncollected work by Elizabeth Bishop (edited by Alice Quinn, poetry editor of The New Yorker and executive director of the Poetry Society of America). Running to over three hundred pages, it’s a bigger book than any book of poetry Bishop published in her lifetime and includes all sorts of things: juvenilia, scraps of unfinished poetry, and prose pieces of many kinds, in varying degrees of completion. “For those who love Elizabeth Bishop, “ said John Ashbery (perhaps … Continue reading What You Don’t See

Art in Albemarle and Beyond…{issue no.1}


 

Maybe it’s the Blue Ridge Mountains. Maybe it’s the red clay, rolling pastures, horse farms, holsteins and herefords. Of course, it could be Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village. Whatever the lure, Charlottesville and Albemarle County have an abundance of talented and varied visual artists. Streetlight looks forward to highlighting many of their works in the months ahead. Our first issue features the black and white photographs of Bill Emory and the paintings and mixed media of Rosamond Casey, both Charlottesville residents. Emory’s fine photographs document the past and present, candid and mysterious images confronting family, cows … Continue reading Art in Albemarle and Beyond…{issue no.1}

How To Start A Magazine


 

[frame align=”right”][/frame]Sometime after Streetlight published the 5th issue, I met Browning Porter. The staff of SL had just heard bad news. Our printer Lexis Nexis was pulling the plug. It was during the financial crash of ’08 and we were a bit stunned. What to do to keep the magazine alive? None of us had the stomach for knocking on doors with our tin cups. Someone thought to call Browning. (He had not been active on the magazine since I had joined the staff). After more than a few meetings, plotting and paper, he helped … Continue reading How To Start A Magazine

Of Solecisms & Video Games


 

[frame align=”right”][/frame]There probably isn’t very much overlap between those who follow current events in the world of video games and the literature enthusiasts who would frequent this blog, so I’ll try to go over the basics quickly: there is a great storm of controversy currently roaring through the world of electronic gaming! When the third and final entry in the Mass Effect series was released in March, it was the object of great critical acclaim and much player mockery. The gamers’ derision stems from its ending, which many found underwhelming, inconclusive, and inexplicable. I bring … Continue reading Of Solecisms & Video Games

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