Full of complex and rewarding reads that engage the emotions and the mind, this magazine is doing good work. Tayler Heuston’s piece was quite memorable: striking, imagistic prose that seems to draw on her stated love for O’Connor and transmute it into a story that is significant parts homage and departure, while still remaining decidedly her own. I will be reading future issues for more like this.
This is one of the best volumes so far. “Iberian” and “Yemen” by Gregory Zorko were vibrant little passages, jam packed with emotion. I look forward to longer work from this author. “The Sweet Smell of Pine Needles” by Aaron Saylor is a great start to the issue and probably the strongest entry here – a haunting look at alcoholism and lost promise. “Love Like Light” by Tayler Heuston is an interesting story although the review above is a bit pretentious (don’t let that turn you against the story).
I agree about the “Sweet Smell of Pine Needles” but there is plenty of good work in this issue!
Wow, James… “the new guy”…what an amazing story, I could picture and feel every moment.
Tayler Heuston’s “Love Like Light” is a well-wound little piece, gothic and tragic and haunting from its first word. It brings new life to old emotions, and stands out. I’d like to read more short fiction by Heuston.
having met Thelonious when James was working in a group home , i can picture the resemblance but not the behaviour.
having seen so others workers with clients i can understand the New Guy
it made me smile christian carriere
Great story James. You kept me hanging on each word and when I reached the end of the story I wanted to hear more. I felt for the woman who was tipped over and I’m sure I have seen the same scene played out in Safeway albiet with different individuals. We have come a long way!
I enjoyed Aaron Saylor’s “The Sweet Smell of Pine Needles.” It featured so many great little lines, particularly the part about the brain sloshing like a rubber duck, then later how “those pine needles stuck to you for a while.”
I was struck with the wonderful “Love Like Light” and it’s striking detail to such beautiful, tight, and horrid characters and the chilling surrounding scenery. I hope that more of Crack the Spine involves the liquid of life spilling onto wheat colored floors.
Nice zine. This the second issue I’ve read, and I look forward to reading the next. I’ve got to say, “The New Guy” shocked me, mostly b/c I laughed out loud, although truly I was horrified. Excellent story, Mr. Reynolds!
Solid issue. Cool. Tayler Heuston’s “Love like Light” was a standout. The shift in narrative perspective at the end marks a smart and clever writer. Yeah. Good stuff.
Just finished reading ‘The New Guy’. Really enjoyed it!
The whole issue is great — one standout is Theologicoustics — pithy and fun.
Interesting read “the new guy”. Surprisingly I got sucked in reading it and I don’t even really like reading that much in general. 🙂
Another awesome issue. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who thought “The New Guy” was hilarious. I felt a bit guilty for laughing so hard but I guess there are others out there with a sense of humor as twisted as mine.
Well done James. The struggle of the narrator really came through. Nice work!
David Elsensohn captured the true essence if a much under-appreciated tool we all use in Theologicoustics.
I’ve read the “The new guy” by James P. Reynolds. The interesting thing I found about this story, is that it outlines a sad reality, but the author somehow made it easy and fun to read.
It gives us a window into a world that exists, but we all try to ignore.
Eeee! That made me squirm! Thank you for taking me where my comfort zone typically ain’t take me!
Mission accomplished! 🙂 Thanks for the comment Stephen.
Just read The New Guy by James Reynolds and found myself travelling through a realty that is not part of my venue – just know that it exists and appreciate the manner in which the story was written. I did find myself wondering if these realities, in part, do not lie deeply hidden in all of us and hence the reflection out there…… just wondering…
Barbara – Starbucks Companion
Great story from James Reynolds, “The New Guy”. Made me squirm, creeped me out, and had me mumbling WTF a few times. Very effective writing. Awesome job!
Great story James,made me feel like I was at that Safeway witnessing the characters in action.
“The Sweet Smell of Pine Needles” by Aaron Saylor touched me very deeply. My brother is an alcoholic and I could see a lot of him in the main character. I didn’t feel like the story was judging its protagonist, but simply laying him open for the world to see. It’s heartbreaking. I hope Mr. Saylor gets a wider audience because if this story is any indication, he deserves it!
Really interesting pieces, especially the one by James Reynolds. A really fascinating topic, and really vivid writing. It’s amazing that the story can be about such a sad and often uncomfortable topic and yet be fun to read at the same time. Really great work.
The New Guy by James P. ReynoldsI was immediately drawn in by this piece, told as a first person narrative, it resonates strongly with me. The protagonist must deal with the incongruous behavior of two characters who are at once vulnerable and dangerous, needy and frightening. James P. Reynolds wields a pen which is truly mightier than the sword: revealing the struggles not only of the institutionalized but of those who would care for them. The humor of this piece contrasts with the mayhem and quiet tragedy and makes it all the more human and touching. Thank you James. – Sara
Oh “Love Like Light” is gorgeous! I saw all that shining light when I read it. There was just great imagery in general – the dress, the blooded floors, the swelling of the sour cherries. And it’s great when a short fiction can read like a novel – there’s so much backstory about Ethan’s past relationship with Sarah that Heuston deftly cut out. The characters are well developed with simple anecdotes (“‘a man has pride,’ he’d said”; or “California’s answer to Katherine Hepburn,” etc.). Heuston also proves herself to be a master of time, dealing in present, past, future, and other time periods in between. I love how the whole story is soaked in light, beginning and ending in light, echoing the way that Heuston describes families coming and going. It’s good in the perspective of Sarah’s friend; the whole set-up is a very fresh take on old wisdoms, like how love goes on or love triumphs. Love, like light, is all around and will always be there. This story will be too.
the new guy by jp reynoldsat once painful and humorous this gem strikes at the heart of a general dysfunction that i feel touches everyone. institutional apathy intimately collides with the sense that the world is too much to reckon with.really wonderful work.
I’ve ready several great issues and this is the best one yet. Loved ‘The New Guy’ by James Reynolds. On the surface, a laugh-out-loud, voyeuristic look at the awful first day of an inexperienced and ill-prepared support worker. Beneath the surface, an indictment of an era in which society thought it best to lock up and forget about its most vulnerable citizens. Brilliant!
Sweet Smell of Pine Needles – goodness. I loved that story. Solid issue overall but that and The New Guy are my favorites. -Matthew L
I really enjoyed James Renolds’ “The New Guy”. A vivid and beautifully written short story… at times downright scary! I will never look at Safeway the same way! My only complaint is that it’s too short!-Nico
“The New Guy” cuts unnervingly close to home. It puts you in the shoes of someone who feels forced to control an impossible situation. The main character’s last triumphant act (or non-act) is so satisfying and says so much.
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