My newest short story, “Not From Here,” is out in the Summer 2015 issue of Carve Magazine, a really terrific online and print journal. I don’t usually write in first person, but this story was sort of an experiment in taking on that voice and I’m pleased that the good people at Carve enjoyed it enough to put it into print. This is also one of only two stories that have made it to print that take place in my real “home”: southern Missouri. I’m not sure why I’ve been so hesitant to set stories in this place that I know better than anywhere else in the world, where my own family has been since early in the 19th century. I think that a lot of us from southern Missouri have a love/hate relationship with home, especially if we left. The Missouri Ozarks brings with it images of hillbillies and backwoods witches and everything else Branson can market and sell, most of it completely fictional. It’s not uncommon for people to believe that the hills are filled with highly superstitious, mystical people, a stereotype that I’ve come to believe is actually grounded in our deep and abiding love for stories, including ghost stories, and practical jokes. Every native family has stories to tell of the pranks pulled by their immediate family and ancestors to scare neighbors and friends, hoaxes pulled off sheerly for the entertainment value. In short, native Ozarkians are more into having a good time than actually believing in magic, but people believe what they want to believe.
In any case, I’ve made my return in fiction writing to the Missouri Ozarks and I’m hoping this is the beginning of a greater, deeper exploration of home. If you’re looking for some additional insight into the writing of this story, pop over to the “subscribe” button on Carve and buy yourself the print edition. Carve does something really incredible for its featured writers by following up with an interview and giving information about the rejection history of every piece–a comfort to anyone slugging it out in the lonely business of literary publishing.