The Materials of the Situation

“The interest is not in consciousness and its freedom, but in the production of new situations as an end in themselves” (Wark 58).

In The Beach Beneath the Street, McKenzie Wark introduces the many players in the Situationist movement through a historical derive. This form allows the reader to experience the feeling of being within the SI. It’s a process I’ve enacted in my own life many times: someone introduces me to a new subject or concept, and then I spin off into learning more, following hidden paths of information, making my own map of the topic. What I remember most about these moments is the feeling of being absorbed, of traveling into a different mindspace where connections can occur. Transposing myself into a moment where time is past and present, and a time outside of both.Continue reading “The Materials of the Situation”

Who Am I? Who Are We? What Are We?

“Towards the end of his life, Aimé Césaire has declared that the question he and his friend Léopold Sédar Senghor came to raise after they first met was: ‘Who am I? Who are we? What are we in this white world?’ And he commented: ‘That’s quite a problem” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

Shifting from Breton’s question, “Who am I?” to the collective “Who are we?” helps me to consider the roles that both the individual and the collective play in social movements. In his poem, “Emmett Till,” Césaire flips the equation of a racist, rural South by positioning a young black man as an individual person and his white murderers and the society that enabled their violence as a faceless group. They are an assimilation of “five centuries of torturers,” “five centuries of cheap gin of big cigars/ of fat bellies filled with slices of rancid bibles.”Continue reading “Who Am I? Who Are We? What Are We?”

Flower of Glass, Flesh, Fire


In the short film L’Etoile de Mer, Man Ray portrays the story of a love affair. Using gel to cover the lens of the camera, most of the scenes of the lovers together and of the woman by herself are seen through a gauzy film, as if we are underwater.

The human story is familiar – two people meet in public and walk together, get to know each other better, and then move to a private space. Plot-wise, they move away from each other in their own narrative lines, and then return to each other for brief heightened moments of interaction.

Alongside this narrative is the image of a starfish, which we see in three forms: preserved in a glass jar filled with a clear liquid, alive and in motion in the sea, and dried and dead, lying on the floor.

Continue reading “Flower of Glass, Flesh, Fire”

The Embodiment of Revolutionary Writing

We might have coupled
In the bed-ridden monopoly of a moment
Or broken flesh with one another
At the profane communion table
Where wine is spill’t on promiscuous lips
We might have given birth to a butterfly
With the daily-news
Printed in blood on its wings

— from Mina Loy’s “Songs to Joannes”, Part III

Continue reading “The Embodiment of Revolutionary Writing”

The Body is a Stage, a Theater of Light

“We need above all a theater that wakes us up: nerves and heart” (Artaud 84).

In “The Theater and Its Double, “ Artaud describes a kind of theater that engages its audience on a bodily level. The location of the theater shifts: “instead of making the stage and auditorium two closed worlds, without possible communication, {it} spreads its visual and sonorous outbursts over the entire mass of the spectators” (86). I believe that for Artaud, the cruelty of his theater was denying the audience safety and separation offered by traditional modes of theater. He argues that in this way: “a direct communication will be re-established between the spectator and the spectacle, between the actor and the spectator, from the fact that the spectator, placed in the middle of the action, is engulfed and physically affected by it” (96). The audience becomes a part of the performance and its ultimate purpose – which is not to merely entertain or inform, but to change the audience on a physical, bodily level.

Continue reading “The Body is a Stage, a Theater of Light”

cream city review @ AWP

Next week I’ll be at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Washington, D.C. I’m looking forward to attending some great panels (like “The Animal That Therefore I Am: “I”-ing and Eyeing the Animal), going to great readings, reconnecting with writing friends, and discovering great journals at the Book Fair.

If you’re at AWP this year, please stop by the cream city review table!  We’re booth#769. I’m currently one of the Fiction Editors, and I’d love to meet fiction writers in person. I’ll be at the table on Friday, 4:00 – 6:00, and Saturday, 12:00 – 2:00. If you’re interested in submitting to ccr and want to ask some questions about what we’re looking for, I’d be happy to chat!


cream city review is also taking part in an off-site reading on Thursday evening. Here are the details:

The Magnificent Seven: A reading hosted by Pleiades, AGNI, American Literary Review, Boulevard, cream city review, Gulf Coast Journal, and 

Thursday, February 9th, 8:00PM – 10:00PM

Bayou: 2519 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20037

I’ll be live-tweeting from the conference, so follow me @moodyjenni to see photos and updates, and check here later in February for an AWP wrap up!

Can art be subversive?

Size is important. Or at least, the consideration of comparisons, exaggerations and miniatures, reflected realities.

When I think of political art, I think first of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, the giant clock and a man working for 10 hours straight to move the arms according to the directions that appear in miniature. Lang created a city that appeared on film as expansive, but in real life was a model. Eugen Schüfftan, the effects expert for the film, pioneered the Schüfftan process – a technique that uses mirrors to project the images of actors onto model sets.

Continue reading “Can art be subversive?”

Clarion West Write-a-thon 2016: Goals and Supporter Gifts

My Experience at Clarion West, Class of 2011

Five years ago this summer, I attended the Clarion West Writing Workshop in Seattle. For six weeks, I lived in a sorority house with seventeen other writers. Each week I wrote a new story, was workshopped by my peers and a pro-writer or editor, and read seventeen amazing new stories.

I learned as much (and in some ways, more) than I did in my MFA program.

I found my rhythm as a short story writer.

I made friends. I made friendships. Friends who, five years later, I can talk with as easily as if we’d never left that giant slumber party we held our last night in the sorority house.

CW Five Year Reunion
Five-year reunion of part of the Clarion West class of 2011 @ WisCon 40, with a note to the rest of our class

Clarion West was a formative experience for me as a writer. It made me feel, for the first time, that I could call myself by that title. That other people could recognize me by that name, by my work. That I was not alone and not crazy to spend my time on this path.

My Goals for the 2016 Write-a-thon

Each summer Clarion West holds a write-a-thon, where writers can set goals for themselves during the six weeks that the current year’s class is experiencing their workshop. And while writing, participants can help to raise funds for future classes.

This year, I’m joining the write-a-thon to work on my linked story novel about a woman and her dog journeying through the zombie apocalypse. Starting June 19th, each week I will write one complete short story for this linked novel.

You Can Help! And Get Sponsor Appreciation Gifts!

If you’d like to sponsor me in the write-a-thon and donate $10 to Clarion West here, then for each week until the write-a-thon ends on July 31, I will email you:

(1) a photo of my doggy companion, Abe, and

(2) the first page of that week’s short story.

Here’s one for the road. May it be long, and devoid of zombies.