Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Revvin' season

It's been a very warm week. May brings the opening of public waterslides in local parks (oh my!), occasional thunderstorms, and... naturally, tons of motorcycles. Lately, I've seen so many people cruising on their Harleys, rolling into the university, zooming through downtown. Seems as though everyone's kept their bike tucked away till now. Definitely a shift from the snowy, icy months.

Which reminds me: I think people's relationships to weather are fascinating. In fiction, weather often functions as an aspect of setting. It can be major or incredibly minor; sometimes, it's even absent or invisible. But when properly utilized, weather goes a long way in grounding a story and persuading you of where you are and when you are. Every place has its climate.* Which isn't to say that weather is everything -- "too much" weather can clog a story and annoy your reader -- but it can be useful to consider what your story's weather is like.

Some questions for you or your characters: do you carry an umbrella with you at all times? Do you own an ice scraper? Do you know what an earthquake feels like? Have you been near a tornado? Do you, too, own a motorcycle or moped?

Have you read any writing where the use of weather was remarkable? Please share with us!


P.S. 20 days till the 1/2 K Prize deadline!

* Thanks to Wikipedia, I now know that the "extreme southern" part of Indiana is subtropical! I'm not sure if Bloomington qualifies, but it's at least near-subtropical.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A New Bluecast

by Alec Sloth

To listen to Erika Meitner read her poems, "Niagra" and "Yiddishland," look to the left-hand side of your computer and click the > play > button! We are extremely excited to have these poems featured in our soon-to-be released Summer Issue, 32.1, which still can be ordered and delivered to your doorstep! After reading her poems, Erika was kind enough to speak with us about what inspired these poems, which lead me to peruse the website of photographer Alec Soth. His series "Niagra" captivated me for hours. We hope you will enjoy the bluecast!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The revolution is here.

...OK, not quite! But we will do our best.

Ahoy there, I'm Deborah, the new Associate Editor! I'm so stoked to be here. Fun fact: I kick-started my summer with my first trip to Seoul, Korea to visit family and just take in the sights. One of the things that struck me was the frenetic energy that infuses much of the city -- unbelievably huge masses of tourists and residents, bustling by the street vendors and blazing neon signs all fighting for attention. I've been to big cities before, but nothin' so far beats east Asia capitals. I do love metropolises, though I must say I'm glad to be back in Bloomington and its vast stretches of Midwest trees and fields. I think my ideal is to divide my time between places, to keep switching my geographic coordinates. Skyscrapers and coasts and great mountains and sprawling woods.

Which is why I think IR is so cool. Last year's staff did an amazing job, and I dearly miss their wonderful, wonderful insight and company. However, I'm also excited to work with the incoming editors! There's been several mentions so far, but I thought I'd put up the complete roster:

Alessandra Simmons, Editor
Deborah Kim, Associate Editor
Kurian Johnson, Fiction Editor
Keith Leonard, Poetry Editor
Sarah Suksiri, Nonfiction Editor

The nature of rotating editorships reminds me of the shifting geographic coordinates I mentioned earlier. And I think of the changing of the guard as a "refreshing," which isn't to say that the past is old and tired. But it's more a focus on what new people and new kinds of energy can keep bringing to IR, which means new places, new antics and adventures!

That said, a current enterprise: we're hoping to refresh our website. Soon. It's been quite interesting trying to figure out how to work with the WordPress platform.

In the meantime, a reminder: the 1/2 K Prize postmark deadline is June 15. You've still got a while, so send 'em in!

All my best,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

...brings May flowers?

It's May now, and has been for some 13 days! At IR, May is a time of transition: new editors, new interns, new schedules. I, previously the associate editor, have moved from the desk on the right side of the office to the desk on the left side, and now carry the title editor. From my new desk, I can see everything I used to see from my old desk, just at a slightly different angle.

However some things are the same every May, such as Tornado Watches, and loud thunderstorms, and of course our 1/2 K Prize. Our 1/2 K is one of my favorite prizes, perhaps because like the month of May, its malleable and full of change and surprise, just like its oblique name. We call it 1/2 K because we thought calling it The 500-words-or-less-prose-poem-short-short-or-flash-fiction Contest was not that catchy. I think both names capture the flexibility of the genre. The prize is open until June 15th! Take a look at our guidelines, and then submit!
Much IR love,

Monday, May 10, 2010

One More for the Road

Well Blue Light readers, that's it for me--it's last call. My tenure as editor has come to a close. It has been an absolute pleasure working on this journal and working with the very talented Alessandra Simmons, Marcus Wicker, Catalina Bartlett, and Lana Spendl. There are so many things I'm going to miss (hanging out in the office, reading submissions, working with our contributors) but I am eagerly awaiting our newest issue (which should be out in a few weeks! ooooh I'm so excited!) and I'm thrilled that it's summertime!

But before I go, there's one last question that I would like to answer to for y'all. A little bit of backstory: when I first became Associate Editor and began blogging here way back in 2008, I noticed a funny question that always appeared in our Google Analytics (the keywords people type into their search engines to find our blog). It was there the very first week I blogged and it's still there today: What happens to a tomato under a blue light? It's always made me a little sad that there are so many people looking for this answer and came here in vain. But that is the case no longer! According to, "Blue light regulates plant growth, which makes it ideal for growing foliage plants and short, stocky seedlings." So there ya have it--the tomato/blue light mystery solved!

Thank you to everyone who's made my editorship so much fun!
Until we meet again,

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Goodbye, Dear Readers

Hi, All,

Today, my last day as Fiction Editor, I swam for my customary hour. As I alternated between the crawl and the dolphin kick, I was trying to work out the logic of a story I'm working on. I made some ripples. Afterward, I stepped into the sunshine and headed to the IR office. I'm here in the office now. The fan blows, the treetops are visible through the window, and all the issues of the magazine surround me. I'm penning my last-ever blog as fiction editor. I'm sad to leave you, readers. It's been a wild, amazing journey. I'll remember and cherish it always. Thanks for riding the wave with me. It's been an honor to have read your work.

Not to worry, though. Kurian Johnson will be taking over in the fall. And he's an awesome wave-rider, too.

Keep writing/riding,


Monday, May 3, 2010

Dear Blue Light Readers,

Today is a sad, sad day at the Indiana Review office. I, Marcus Wicker, blogger-extraordinaire (read super sarcastic joke), have officially reached the end of my tenure at Indiana University. Do not despair. The poetry baton has been passed down to the capable hands of Mr. Keith Leonard, a fabulous poet with exquisite taste. It’s been a pleasure to serve you all.

Be Easy.