Saturday, August 16, 2008

LitMag Wave: Whitefish Review Vol. 2, No. 1

The third issue of Whitefish Review (Volume 2, Number 1) isn’t memorable for my short story, “The Nymph and the Woodsman,” although it has that, too, which I’m happy about. I enjoyed reading pretty much everything in the magazine:

There’s a wonderful excerpt from Annick Smith’s forthcoming memoir, Crossing the Plains with Bruno.
“I have always wanted a totem pole to guard my house. I would like a tall cedar log carved by a fine craftsman in the manner of the All Frogs pole. It would stand in the meadow near our driveway looking down on Bear Creek canyon and across the Blackfoot to the Rattlesnake Wilderness. The brightly painted, carved figures would not represent Frog. They would be Dog—a domesticated creature with wildness not quite bred out. An animal that binds us to our origins as well as to our day-to-day chores and pleasures.”

Shortly after this passage we get to meet Bruno, a chocolate lab puppy who is a gift from the author’s granddaughter. I suppose that’s why I liked this excerpt and will have to read the book.

Then there is my story, “The Nymph and the Woodsman,” which I think found a perfect home, since the magazine has a mountain theme and it is a mountain story about one Bobby Cabe.
“On his way up the mountain one cold morning, head pounding from closing Rocky’s the night before, there was barely enough light to see. But Bobby knew those woods like the rusty ceiling above his cot. He knew where the game trails wandered and where the stream trickled through the limestone from the spring in the high pasture. Downed leaves covered the path, soaked after a rainy fall but frosted on top, soft and brittle underfoot at the same time. Christmas was still a ways off, but the weather had turned. Solitary snow flakes nested in his beard. Ice rimmed the creek, and there were jaws of the stuff, icicle teeth and all, where the rocks churned the creek into foamy spray.”
This story, based on a Korean folktale I translated years ago, is part of an unpublished collection that may, with some luck, one day be a published collection.

I don’t usually mention the poetry in the magazines I discuss, but I really liked “Find a Crack in the Earth” by Catherine A. Still, which begins
Find a crack in the Earth
a fractured cliff born of upheaval
of furious forces of extrusion
fold and ferment.
It’s perfect for this journal—and memorable.

I also don’t usually talk about the artwork in a journal, but what’s interesting here is that the 12 different pieces—photographs and paintings—fit the theme, and the editors have also included one page of prose by each of the artists explaining the images. It was great to read about what they were thinking, and who the artists are.

I haven’t read Rick Bass in a long time, but I’m going to now. The magazine includes an interview with him along with an excerpt from his new book, Why I Came West. I’ve long thought highly of Bass, and this just reinforces that view.

Besides all this, there are a few more essays, stories, poems and novel excerpts, including a couple of pieces by winners of a high school writing contest. It is great to give these young writers this exposure, and I congratulate the editors for doing so.

This is a fine young magazine. Subscribe!

3 comments:

sharon said...

cliff,
congrats on your latest publication. i love the imagery in the excerpt. btw, do you find there's any advantage or disadvantage in submitting a story by email vs. snail mail?
sharon mauldin reynolds

Clifford Garstang said...

Hi, Sharon!
It depends on the magazine whether email or snail mail submission is better. I like the idea of electronic submissions generally, but the submission manager systems (like One Story's) are preferable to email attachments, I think. On the other hand, I like the tangible snail mail submissions and responses . . .

ryan call said...

congrats on seeing that one in print, cliff