Hello, everyone, and happy Fiction Friday! (What are you talking about? It's totally a real Thing with a Capital T. Go with it.)
This week's rec was published by Literary Orphans, a magazine that's known for publishing some pretty top-notch material despite its comparatively generous acceptance rates. I had vaguely heard of the publication before around the online lit sphere, but I hadn't really delved into it until I stumbled upon its archives by accident.
(Let's face it; the entirety of the Internet is composed of fortuitous accidents and we all like it that way.)
Anyway, I took one look at the magazine's 'mission statement' of sorts and I was absolutely intrigued. It's a gorgeous idea captured in equally gorgeous language:
It’s the nervous glances back at your apartment when you go for a walk without your cell phone. It’s the nostalgia you have for squeaking cassette tapes and Soviet ICBMs. It’s an analog dream in a digital era. The writing on Literary Orphans is an exorcism of the mind of its contributors, and reading the work here is putting up your fists and getting confrontational with solitude–solitude in a world where neon signs are out and LCD billboards are in, a world where you can’t think for following because everyone is doing all the thinking for you.The Lit Orphans story that I read was "Gray Girls" by Tess Walsh. This is a rich and reflective short story about two sisters, Harper and Ophelia Gray. Its greatest strength lies in its characterization; Harper and Ophelia are polar opposites, and that's evident in the mood, the tone, the taste of the entire piece. Walsh explores how we don't really realize how tightly intertwined our selves and souls are with those of our siblings until it's almost too late to fix any damage each of us has done to the other. We're shown that our siblings can be our lifelines and our weaknesses all at once. It seems ordinary, and maybe on some level all of it is, but Walsh's writing tells us the truth: deep down, it's anything but.
It helps that the writing is really elegant and wonderful, too:
The girl in the bed looked like Ophelia’s corpse, bones and wires glued to the skin as if there were nothing left inside anymore but parts and strings. Unnatural. Something dug up from a grave and scrubbed over. She looked even worse than their dead father had in the casket, and Harper could hear the breath shaking in her own lungs as panic crested inside her, lots of foam and the sensation of drowning.You can read the full story here.