Suspend Your Disbelief

Anne Stameshkin

Founding Editor

Anne Stameshkin lives in Brooklyn. Her fiction has been published in the Chattahoochee Review andNimrod, and her book reviews have appeared inEnfuse magazine. Anne holds an MFA (fiction) from the University of Michigan. She pays the bills as a freelance editor, writer, and writing teacher, most recently at Connecticut College. While in-house at McGraw-Hill, Anne edited a number of literature and composition texts and two craft books—Tell It Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola and The Sincerest Form: Writing Fiction by Imitation by Nicholas Delbanco, among other projects. She is currently at work on a novel. Some recently published collections she recommends include If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This by Robin Black, The Theory of Light and Matter by Andrew Porter, and Boys and Girls Like You and Me by Aryn Kyle.


Interviews |

Sometimes Taking Things Out Counts as Writing: an Interview with Celeste Ng

From the Archives: “When structure is done well, it should be like architecture: you sense the overall feel of the building—tall, or airy, or strong—but you’re not looking at the buttresses that hold it up or the seams where parts are fastened together.”

Reviews |

Arcadia, by Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff’s second novel, Arcadia, gorgeously renders a commune’s rise, fall, and life-long resonance for the people who grew up within it. Unfolding as a series of snapshots, the book’s events span the birth of this late-1960s utopia and its central character, Bit Stone, to his middle age in a bleak—and imminent—dystopic future.

Shop Talk |

Book of the Week: The World of a Few Minutes Ago

This week’s feature is Jack Driscoll’s new collection, The World of a Few Minutes Ago, which was released by Wayne State University Press this month. Driscoll is the author of four books of poetry and four previous books of fiction. His first story collection, Wanting Only to be Heard, won the AWP Award for Short Fiction in 1991, his novel Lucky Man, Lucky Woman won both the Pushcart Editors’ Book Award in 1999 and was subsequently selected as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award title in 2000, and his novel How Like an Angel was a Michigan […]

Shop Talk |

Get Writing: or rather, Getting (Back to) Writing

Even the most dedicated writers go through “not-writing” phases, deliberate or accidental ones. And when we return to our writing desks after that week or month or year away, our fingers and voices may feel…rusty. How do we get back that indescribable “it,” the voice that drives our prose and compels us to write it? The following exercise has helped me get my groove back on more than one occasion. It’s adapted from an assignment used by my former teacher Blanche Boyd (Terminal Velocity, The Revolution of Little Girls), who designed it for beginning writers–yet its usefulness extends to writers […]

Interviews |

Mishpocha and Beyond: An Interview with Erika Dreifus

In conversation with Anne Stameshkin, debut author Erika Dreifus shares true stories that inspired her collection, Quiet Americans; wonders when it’s kosher for authors to write characters from backgrounds they don’t share; explores how reviewing books makes us better fiction writers; and recommends favorite novels and collections by 21st-century Jewish authors.

Shop Talk |

Curl Up with some Good Stories…from Narrative

Is SSM really almost over?! Thankfully we can read stories year round, but I still feel the urge (while they’re center stage) to list two recommendations this week. They both come from Narrative magazine, which does require (free) registration. But I promise, these stories are so good, it’s worth filling out a quick form to read them. And Narrative offers a huge, inspiring, and ever-growing archive of fiction from emerging writers to authors as well known as Margaret Atwood and T. C. Boyle; if I weren’t headed to a wedding this afternoon, I might curl up with this site all […]

Shop Talk |

Curl Up with a Good Story: "A Simple Heart," by Gustave Flaubert

Flaubert, best known for his part in fathering the modern novel, also wrote wonderful short fiction. This Saturday morning, I recommend curling up with “A Simple Heart.” A tribute to George Sand, this story was first published in 1877 as part of Flaubert’s final finished work, Three Tales; almost 100 years later it inspired Julian Barnes to write the novel Flaubert’s Parrot, which was shortlisted for the 1984 Booker Prize. Here’s a taste from “A Simple Heart”: For fifty years the ladies of Pont-l’Évêque envied Madame Aubain her servant Felicity. For a hundred francs a year she cooked, and cleaned, […]

Shop Talk |

Curl Up with Some Good Flash Fiction: Stories by Tara L. Masih

Short Story Month wouldn’t be complete without some first-rate flash fiction. This morning, enjoy the following selections by Tara L. Masih, editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction and author of the excellent collection Where the Dog Star Never Glows (Press 53, 2010) and the flash fiction chapbooks Fragile Skins and Tall Grasses. Below are first-line teasers; click on each story title to read (or listen to) the rest. “Dodging Frogs on Blackbird Road,” via Electric Flash (page 25 of the PDF) Never mind hindsight . . . after stretching and straining our bodies in […]

Shop Talk |

Curl Up with a Good Story: “The Old Economy Husband,” by Lesley Dormen

I first read “The Old Economy Husband” in the Atlantic Monthly, back when they published fiction every month and I subscribed. But I’d been thinking about canceling; I was an editorial assistant in Manhattan, and I was in no mood for what I called “stories about rich people.” It was two months after 9/11. I didn’t sit down on the subway because I felt safer near the door. This story about rich people–which wasn’t, it turned out, about rich people–made me miss my stop and renew my subscription. Here’s an excerpt: It was that summer, the summer we were fifty […]