Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ink Stains: Let Student Talent Shine

Hey Everyone,


Getting published is the moment where all the silent effort of a writer receives light. For students across the Mississippi Delta that moment can come in the form of Ink Stains, a publication that I, and my two compatriots, have put together. These students have rewritten, added concrete imagery, appealed to the senses, performed for their schools, and are ready to see their names in print. Ink Stains will feature short fiction, memoir, and poetry. As of this moment we have 11 days to raise the last $285 on Kickstarter. If we fail to raise it we get none of the money pledged.

You can donate here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/334505540/ink-stains-magazine

When you donate we will mail you a copy of the magazine. Your donation is the same as buying a small press publication off the rack at a fraction of the cost.

Even one dollar gets us closer. Writing this makes me think of all the NPR pledge campaigns there are. I remember the guilt I feel and the strong desire for my radio to possess some kind of fast forward button, but if you donate you will receive the powerful and original work of new emerging writers who are not heard by the big publishing houses, television stations, or even seen in films. These are voices that deserve to be heard.

Let me just give you a taste, two different stanzas from two different poems that I think puts into perspective what we're trying to put out to donors across the country and communities across the Delta.


 Honestly,
my abnormal anomalies usually mirror astronomy,
So greatest praise to the most high honorably,
But it’s funny to me how I covet the same things that I was structured to be.



And here's another in a much more direct and conversational language: 

Hey You,
You know that land they call
Free, but still tries to prevent
Me from being me


Give a few of your dollars so that these poems can be read by the audience that they deserve. Share the Kickstarter link and this post with anyone you think can help. 

Thanks for journeying with me to this point. 


Word is bond, 

Mr. Stevens




Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Zombies Elected America's Saviors


Photo From The Walker Stalkers




                Somewhere along the line our greatest fantasy became survival. I see it in our pop culture, namely The Walking Dead.  Our new desire is the right to live and shoot guns at an onslaught of people who are inhuman and Other. We can execute our adversaries with little guilt or greater remorse.

                Goodbye frustrating boss take this pick-axe to the head.
                Hey taxman, taste my buckshot.
                Hello foreigner, whose ethnicity and Otherness makes me uncomfortable, feel the thunderous wallop of my baseball bat and boots.

                With this apocalypse comes an end to debt, promotions, and going to work. Now each task we complete is directly related to meaning. Wash the clothes, fish, and go on patrol. Each task serves a purpose. No e-mails to answer or texts to send. In the zombie apocalypse you have: A FAMILY, A COMMUNITY, and A MISSION. These things clearly define you. Life is hell, but hell in a way that differs from the beige hell you live in now. The old hell dissipates and is replaced with a hell that can be confronted. We can finally live and triumph now that everyone else is dead.

                These desires we exercise in The Walking Dead are nothing new. The ancient Israelites, in their times of greatest distress and suffering, would write apocalypse narratives. Many scholars see these stories in those times as breaths of relief. Those stories (the book of Daniel for example) are artifacts of an ancient culture in great pain that is crying for deliverance. In drafting such a vision the present became more bearable for the ancient Jews and – spoiler alert –may have had a hand in how many Jews still exist today.

                Today, in our life of little control, we fantasize and are captivated by the living dead, those grotesque and visceral representations of population anxiety, daily drudgery, and economic strife. It even further demonstrates our amygdala’s (the part of your brain that recognizes threats and outsiders) response to the vibrant mosaic of cultures foreign.  

                Maybe, like other civilizations of the past, our fascination with apocalypse (literally “disclosing of knowledge”) is our own sojourn toward peace. In confronting our greatest fears in entertaining dramas, reflecting on the crushing world we inhabit, and in gaining temporary relief in the vision of a possible end, maybe we’ll make it to the next millennium. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kudzu

Hey everyone,

This week I'm directing you to my short story "Kudzu," which has been published at this link: http://landthatilive.com/kudzu/

Enjoy,

Mr. Stevens