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A Conversation with Forrest Aguirre
Interview by Trent Walters
September 2003
Copyright © Forrest Aguirre Forrest Aguirre
Forrest Aguirre
Forrest Aguirre received a BA in Humanities from Brigham Young University and an MA in African History from the University of Wisconsin. The uselessness of his education is shown in his employment: he is the inventory manager at Rutabaga, the world's largest canoe and kayak shop. His work has appeared or will appear online and in print in DeathGrip, Demensions, SteelCaves, Pegasus Online, Twilight Showcase, Flesh & Blood, Indigenous Fiction, The Earwig Flesh Factory, Redsine, Dark Planet, The Regurgitated Spork, Roadworks and Eraserhead Press's Strangewood Tales anthology. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and four children.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Forrest Aguirre: Experimental Fiction
SF Site Review: Leviathan Three

The Butterfly Artist
Leviathan Three
You seem to write, to borrow a word from one of your titles, fugues: works that develop off not one path but several, sometimes settling back on the beginning like the snake consuming itself, sometimes picking up and discarding points of view like iridescent seashells on a beach, and sometimes all the viewpoints, shells, and themes are entirely different throughout, as one might expect from a fugue. Are you fond of listening to fugues? Is it the form your mind most finds comfortable or are you consciously trying to stretch the forms of what people call narratives?
One word that seems to have fallen into disuse among writers is "composition". I like to view my act of writing as something akin to musical composition. Sometimes the composition simply flows from beginning to end, like Beethoven's acts of automatic musical writing; sometimes the work is carefully timed and constructed for effect (think of Ravel's Bolero); and sometimes I intentionally interject dissonance into an otherwise smooth-flowing piece, àla early Arvo Pärt. As you have pointed out, some of my works have the quality of fugues. Perhaps my brain is attuned to "fugal" writing, but these stories are ofttimes the most painstaking for me to write. The trick is to add depth as you go along without entirely breaking from the threads of plot, characterization, and oeuvre by which the composition is defined. This is only possible with a strong idea of these elements. So, at times, I need to write an abstract (I'm thinking of the academic abstract here) defining characters, plot, and atmosphere. After that, I can effectively write a first draft (I always write first drafts by hand), then revisit the piece with a second draft (on the computer) and a third (making corrections and marginal notes with a pen on the printed second draft). Usually, by the fourth draft, when I'm entering the handwritten modifications to the third draft into the computer, I'm done -- but not always. If things don't seem quite right by this point, I will sometimes rearrange paragraphs in order to find the weak links in the text (usually bad transitions between paragraphs at this point, but I have been known to completely rearrange the structure of a story and effectively do another rewrite at this point). Through all this, I'm constantly referring back to the initial abstract, sometimes modifying it also as I go, but always revisiting the initial emotional impetus, whether plot or character driven. It is, ultimately, the emotional impetus of an idea or some outside stimulus (oftentimes felt when I am outdoors, listening to music, or viewing art) that drives the tale -- so, perhaps my soul is full of fugues.

What do you generally start with when writing a story: dialogue, scene, image, idea, metaphor, character, theme, plot? Where does it go from there? If "Reverie Styx" and "Kaleidoscope in Africa" are typical, please demonstrate on them.
I almost always start with an idea and an image. "Reverie Styx" started with the image of a man in a diving suit (the really old kind, with the on-deck bellows pump and all) descending into murky water. I had read Dante's Inferno to my children a few months before, so the association was rather quick. I then tried to get into the diver's head, but soon found myself abandoning him for the people supplying him with air. I didn't care for him anymore. In fact, I hated him and wanted him to die. I needed ruthless characters to kill him off -- devils on earth, as it were. Thus developed the split "plot" line on earth and in hell.

"Kaleidoscopes of Africa" started with a little fancy for fancy kaleidoscopes. I thought of the many forms that a kaleidoscope could take in and out of the tube and glass paradigm. Then I thought about those who would own such instruments (or, in some cases, be trapped in such instruments), so I suppose character came second, though the characters in the story are mostly just alluded to, not represented directly. More than anything I was looking for a juxtaposition of feeling in the piece: the kaleidoscopes are presented as if they are part of an art-show catalog, rather clinically, detached. But, I hope that the situations to which I allude behind the scopes and their "owners" might generate some type of emotional response that contradicts the un-emotive presentation of the items themselves.

That said, I don't know that I have a "typical" way of beginning a story. But imagery is critical -- if I don't have some kind of concrete image in my mind (even if it's wildly surreal), I can't write.

What excites me about your writing is that, from the Fantastic Metropolis interview and our discussions, it sounds like you actually think about it, are willing to and enjoy taking chances. Why? Why don't you stick to the story treadmill like a proper writer?
The questions you are posing speak, I think, to the issue of authorial responsibility (as implied by your term "proper writing" -- used, I can tell, with a good dose of sarcasm). Writers are afraid to admit this in good company, but let's face it -- the author of fiction is beholden to one person -- him or herself. Thomas Ligotti once remarked that writing, for him, took the place of the recreational drugs that he took as a youth. I'm in much the same situation: writing is my drug of choice. It's my opportunity to behave irresponsibly without (hopefully) causing harm to anything or anyone, save my reputation. I don't have an agenda when I write, though my personal biases must show through to some degree. I'm an authorial hedonist, I suppose -- a bacchanalian scribe.

That's not to say that I flout grammatical rules entirely. I might bend them to my own purposes, but I only do so in order to accentuate the flow of the story. Pacing is rather important to me, for example, so I have been known to switch a third person past tense story to present tense in media res in order to accelerate the action, to give a sense of immediacy to the text that would otherwise have been lost, had I played "by the rules". Back to the composer analogy -- all the great composers, whether you like them or not, took chances, tried something new and innovative. Sometimes they succeeded, sometimes they failed. When they failed, their work was utter dross, but when they took a chance and "won," they changed the face of music. But more importantly, they fed their internal need to satisfy their curiosity: they took their drug and enjoyed the trip, as it were. I'm willing to take the same chance. Sometimes I fail, sometimes I succeed.

How do you come to speak Swahili, study Africa in graduate school, write so much about Africa?
I was raised in the military. My father was a sergeant in the Air Force, so I was lucky enough to live in a lot of places -- Germany, the Philippines, Italy, England. Even Nebraska. But I neither lived in nor had a chance to visit Africa. This was the vacuum in which my interest in Africa was sparked. As an undergraduate, I studied humanities with an emphasis in history. It was through my studies of European history that I became acquainted with the texts on colonialism, particularly the machinations and maneuverings known collectively as the "scramble for Africa" of the late 19th Century. The rest, to use a horrid pun, is history.

The continent of Africa has an amazingly rich and complex history that is largely unappreciated or unknown by westerners. I view Africa as one of the most diverse continents -- probably a result of the many trade and shipping routes that intercept its huge landmass. For instance, the Bantu language group, of which Swahili is a member, contains around 600 distinct languages. Most Africans I know speak around four or five languages. Swahili is a trade language mixing an east African Bantu dialect, Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, Hindi, Portuguese, German, and English. It doesn't get more cosmopolitan than that! The African story tradition is rich as well, one of the richest of any continent. Written historical records were largely an Arabic introduction in most areas, with the Europeans coming along significantly later. So before Mohammed, African stories were passed along in oral form for thousands of years, changing, becoming corrupted, mutating over generations. Pile on top of all this the massive sociological and political changes that have taken place in Africa, first internally, then from external pressures, over the last several hundred years, and you have a lot of grist for writing.

What is the magic of Africa to you that you wish to return to it again and again?
I don't know if there is a magic to Africa, just an intrigue. I have several African friends here. In fact, I haven't met an African on American soil with whom I haven't felt an immediate and positive connection. So why is it that so many bad things happen there? You can blame colonialism, and much of the problems in Africa were directly caused by European colonialism, but why do they persist? Is it poverty? But poverty exists in Asia and South America on close to the same scale, and you don't see as many widespread problems. I suppose that it's these little questions that keep bothering me that cause me to reflect on Africa so much. Part of it too, I think, is a sense of ancient-ness so chronologically close to our time. Yes, most African countries are now thoroughly modern, but the traditions seem steeped in what I call "deep time" -- whether they are or not is up to debate, but there is an aura of "Ur" that seems to be woven into the fabric of Africa. Also, let's not rule out my academic training. I have a Master's Degree in African History, so, of course I'm going to have some Africana present in my own work. It's something about which I can speak halfway authoritatively!

Did collecting the stories in The Butterfly Artist give you an insight or insights into your work -- good, bad or indifferent -- that you can share?
It is clear to me now that I am insane. Seriously, collecting the stories for my collection allowed me to assess where I had been at the beginning of my writing career and where I was at the time the stories were collected. "The Nut Lady's Cabin" is the earliest story in the collection. I think it shows in that this tale is, perhaps, the most "stock" story of the collection -- nothing fancy about it. "Precognitive Myopia" is also an early one, but even by this point I was playing on the edges of experimentation. The latest of the bunch is "Tea Time," which I actually wrote as the collection progressed. It's really a character-exploration piece using what might be thought of as pop-Jungian archetypes from the modern world. "The Butterfly Artist," which is the longest piece of the collection, began as two separate stories, both of which failed miserably (and will never see publication). But when I set the ugly corpses of the two tales beside one another, they fell in love, had passionate sex right beneath my pen, and eventually gave birth to the title story of the collection. I'm rather proud of that story, and am glad that it was published in the collection, because no editor in his right mind would take such a story. It just doesn't fit neatly into any one category. Is it post-apocalyptic science fiction? Surrealism? Horror? Romance? Heck, I don't even know.

Wow. You melded two stories together. It isn't noticeable, either. Can you explain the process?
"The Butterfly Artist" began with two stories, one about the Papilio Odius butterfly and another about a masquerade. The butterfly story was, at first, a trite little piece on a butterfly-collector's relationship with Africa and Africans. I had hit a real wall with the masquerade story, so I went online to do some research on Venetian masks and masquerades (a fascinating subject, by the way). One day I stumbled on the website for a Venetian mask maker who did a leather (!) mask in the shape of a butterfly, as well as several in the form of skulls. Since the Papilio Odius' distinguishing mark was a skull marking on the back, one story simply segued into the other.

How does your interest in the outdoors impact your writing? You even have a penchant for Latin species names in "Waiting for Felicity" over at The Journal of Experimental Fiction. Are you a zoological philologist in disguise?
Whenever possible, I like to make my readers aware of all five senses as they read my stories. Writers generally do a decent job of evoking sight and sound, but often fail to engage the reader's nose, tongue, and skin. I think that the body-awareness that comes from sleeping on hard ground, exposing oneself to the sun and rain, getting grit in the teeth, and drawing through thorny brambles for days on end -- that sort of body-awareness can be related through writing, thus immersing the reader in the sensations of the story's characters and narrators. One must be careful, though, of two things. 1) Too much detail, where the reader is bored to tears as you describe every two degree temperature change, for example and, 2) the use of similes or metaphors that make little sense or come across as trite and over-used. Despite these two potential pitfalls, the writer can engage the reader in such a way that he or she is truly enveloped in the story as a sort of whole-body experience.

The use of Latin names in "Waiting for Felicity" is a bit of a fancy, I must admit. It was meant to raise the "class tenor," we shall call it, of the story by referring to the birds by their scientific names. The main narrator (there are a couple of narrators working simultaneously in the story) is unashamedly upper-class, so I surrounded him with the "official," "scientific" names of the birds to lend him some academic legitimacy. I spent a great deal of time thinking about and choosing the perfect birds (I hope) for the various sections of the story. Plumage, habitat, and the temperament of each bird were carefully chosen to reflect the text (actually the main narrator's memories) that appeared beside them. I'm extremely happy, by the way, to have had the story appear in The Journal of Experimental Fiction -- Eckhard Gerdes, the editor, has created a wonderful publication there.

You hike, canoe, work with canoes, edit, write, and father four children. Where do you fit in eating, sleeping, breathing?
Well, I don't watch a whole lot of TV. I go to the movies maybe three times a year, tops. I don't hang out at the mall and rarely go out to eat. Sundays are my family day, where I spend as much time as possible with my wife and children. I do have a lot of demands on my time, yes, but I know when to quit. There comes a point where your brain just says "break time," and I have to se the manuscripts down aside, put the novel notebook away, and go lie in the hammock and flush my thoughts. Canoeing is therapeutic that way as well: just me, my thoughts, and the water. There's something about the lulling motion of being afloat on the lake that clears my head and lets stress melt away into the waves. Another thing I do is write and edit late at night, when the children are all asleep, and do the same while walking to and from work on the days I don't canoe into work. I'll take manuscripts wherever I know I will have a five minute or more delay -- waiting for my daughter's play to start, standing in line at the post office, walking across a parking lot from my car to the grocery store -- I greedily snatch up any spare moment for editing and writing.

How has editing affected what you write? Does the following still hold sway or have you another path now on the fugue of your writing career: "I have slowed my writing significantly since then and am routinely writing longer stories, more fleshed out stories, more subtle stories. When The Butterfly Artist comes out in early September, you'll note that my early writing tends to be rather thickly layered, very short and strange. Someone once called me 'Poe on acid.' Since then, I've become a little more subtle in my writing -- more subdued, in ways. I think this change came about because I read so many stories that tried too hard to be 'cool' or 'extreme' or, heaven forbid, 'intellectual'." But, looking at the popular new novels on the bookshelves, isn't this what catches readers' and publishers' eyes? Or do you mean a parody of this phenomenon?
Editing the work of others has been the best writing workshop I never attended. The hundreds of stories I read for Leviathan 3 broadened my view of good and not-so-good writing a great deal. After having so closely read others' work, I developed a much more critical eye towards my own writing. The lessons took a little time to learn, but, I feel that by the end of the third or fourth story after I had finished editing, I really started to "hit my pace" as a writer. As you've pointed out with the quote from my previous interview, I have slowed down and assumed more control over my words (i.e., taking pains to make sure I have the right word in any given sentence) and now give my sentences a little more breathing room. My stories have gained more subtlety and nuance, I think, as I've learned to not simply write, but to craft my writing. My immersion into editing Leviathan 3 gave me the experience to quickly identify sloppiness in writing. When I see it in my own initial drafts, I strike and rewrite until I get it right. You see, there is an adequate way to communicate something, then there is the best way.

Regarding popularity -- I am not so delusional as to believe that any of my work will go down in literary history as anything more than a tiny blip on the radar. I honestly don't care what's popular and on the shelves. If enough other people like my work so much that they buy it, that's an added bonus, and I appreciate that quite a bit, but I'm not going to make the NY Times best-seller list any time soon! As I said, writing is my drug -- I don't expect to get rich from it, but my life is richer because I write. Hopefully it's made someone else's life richer somewhere as well. If anything, I stand to see poorer and poorer monetary returns on my short fiction as time goes on. I've been marketing more of my work to "literary mainstream" markets that are surreal- or experimental-friendly, with work forthcoming in 3rd Bed and Exquisite Corpse, for example. These are excellent venues, but they don't pay nearly as well as some of the more well-known speculative fiction magazines. On the other hand, these magazines are the right places for the works they've taken from me, and I'm ecstatic to see them there.

What are the good experimental venues for writers right now as you see them?
3rd Bed has to go to the top of the list. Fence, The Journal of Experimental Fiction, Jacob's Ladder, Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, and Hunger Magazine are all top-notch print venues for experimental work. There's almost too much online to go over all the great experimental literary websites, but a few deserve mention. The Dream People has a bit more of a pulp feel to it than most "literary" experimental mags, but it is a great one, nonetheless. I have been impressed over and over again by The Absinthe Literary Review, which may well be the best online magazine for experimental/decadent/cutting edge literature. I've solicited several ALR authors for Leviathan and will likely continue to do so. Others that stick out in my mind are Exquisite Corpse, Diagram, and Bathhouse.

Speaking of Poe, you list him among your influences. Who else? Have you discarded certain influences as you've grown as a writer? Is or are there a line(s) demarcating a changing of the guard in your influences? How have they influenced you?
Poe, along with writers such as Laurence Stern, Ray Bradbury, Borges, Peake and Calvino, were influential long before I first put authorial pen to paper. When I began writing in earnest, I was heavily under the influence of Jonathan Carroll, Stepan Chapman, Jeff VanderMeer, Brian Evenson, Steven Millhauser, Rikki Ducornet, and Thomas Ligotti. I was thrilled to learn recently that my work will be appearing beside Tom's in an upcoming anthology. His sense of atmosphere has had a strong influence on my work. Ligotti's stories have a certain "weight" that I find difficult to describe. His use of words is palpable, one can feel them on the soul. Millhauser is completely different -- there is a lightness to his work, an almost ephemeral wispiness that some readers lose hold of. In some ways his work is elusive, but when you really take the time to enjoy the languid pleasure of reading his work, he can transport you so clearly to another place that you question reality against his fiction. Rikki Ducornet, who is, incidentally, one of the nicest people on this planet, is simply amazing. She has the amazing ability to write so that the innermost psychological battlefields, those within her characters minds and hears, are clearly brought to the surface -- the reader's mind and the character's mind interface quite easily, in fact. Ducornet really is the inheritor of Angela Carter's legacy and is, I think, the penultimate American Surrealist. She is, quite possibly, the best writer alive today.

Despite all these great influences, I am continually inspired by new and under-published writers -- writers taking chances and pushing the boundaries of literature. Go scour the literary journals and you will find many of the best fantasists you've never heard of. Granted, some of these writers aren't necessarily new to writing, but they're new to me. I'd be willing to bet that most readers of speculative fiction have never before read their work either. But I really do believe that much of the best fantasy and speculative fiction is to be found between the covers of the literary reviews and journals.

You're going it alone this time for Leviathan 4. In what ways is that liberating or constricting? Regarding Leviathan 3, you said, "we tried very hard to avoid having to take unsolicited subs." Why? Has this changed as you seek for submissions for the fourth volume?
I suppose I ought to be fearful, being "cut loose" to edit Leviathan 4 on my own. But Jeff did a wonderful job of mentoring me with Leviathan 3. While I do miss having Jeff around as my devil's advocate, I feel confident that I've been able to pick up his critical eye.

We tried to avoid unsolicited submissions for Leviathan 3 simply because the undesireable-to-desireable ratio on unsolicited submissions is quite high. In my experience, authors tend to read and pay attention to guidelines more fully when they know that the editor has picked them, out of thousands of other writers, to send a story for consideration. Now, that said, I need to add two caveats. First, we allowed for a period of unsolicited submissions with Leviathan 3, and I am currently reading unsolicited submissions for Leviathan 4 (see the Ministry website for details: -- open submissions will only be taken until July 1st, 2003). Both times I have been quite pleased to discover wonderful work by authors previously unknown to me. Many of the unsolicited authors for Leviathan 3 did not make it into the anthology -- of hundreds of such submissions, we took two -- but many whose work struck me as excellent were invited to submit to Leviathan 4. That is, I solicited their work before opening to unsolicited submissions. You see, we rejected some wonderful pieces that didn't fit our needs at the time, but have found a home in some great publications, just as we expected they would. I really wanted to see more work from these authors, as I was genuinely impressed by some aspect of their work. The second caveat is this: Before opening Leviathan 4 to unsolicited submissions, I spent hours and hours scouring short fiction magazines in the speculative fiction fields, in the literary mainstream, in print, and online, looking for authors to solicit for submissions. I looked all over the place for new work and found some gems. Great authors in the mainstream, for instance, to whom I extended the invitation to send me work containing fantastical elements, or surrealist poets whom I asked to send me surreal pieces of prose, and authors of speculative fiction whose work I had not read previously, but had been impressed with. It was difficult work. I spent hours and days on this search. But, ultimately, I think it is proving to be worth it. I would be an ingrate if I didn't give a great deal of credit to the Ministry's Assistant Editor, Mike Simanoff, for tracking down contract information on these authors with only the slimmest bit of a lead.

What were the story issues (I promise not to ask which stories) "where Jeff and I spent much time and energy going around and around in circles, debating the merits or faults of the story in question?" Has your view of fiction and/or editing changed as a result? You write that your reading tastes have changed since Leviathan 3. Does that still hold true? Any recent reads that stick out in your mind? Any reads that have altered the way you write fiction?
While reading for Leviathan 3, I noted that many of the best surreal and decadent pieces were appearing in the literary mainstream. I had suspected this for some time, but editing the anthology hastened me along the path to that conclusion. While I still read speculative fiction, I now find more of my "for pleasure" reading time being spent on works pulled from the "literature" section of the bookstores.

Of course, my writing has been affected as a result. All of my current writing effort is being put into my as-yet-untitled novel. The structure of the work is very loosely based on Jonathan Carroll's Bones of the Moon, wherein two plot lines, one in the "real" world and one in a clearly fantastical world, bleed together by the resolution. The similarities end there. The most obvious influences on the work are Shakespeare (on the fantastical half of the plot line), A.S. Byatt (in terms of social observation -- the "real" world plot line takes place in Victorian England), and Rikki Ducornet (for the psychological atmosphere). Or perhaps you'll see none of that -- my own prose might well bury all trace of influence. But these are the influences I've felt as I write. Of course, your seeing the book depends on me finishing several rewrites and finding a publisher crazy enough to see the work to print!

Recent reads of short fiction that have really stuck out to me are the two most recent issues of Black Warrior Review, 3rd Bed #7, and the online publications Drunken Boat and the always-outstanding Absinthe Literary Review. In the longer forms I've recently enjoyed Tony Millionaire's The Adventures of Tony Millionaire'S Sock Monkey (a graphic novel), Rikki Ducornet's The Jade Cabinet, and one of the best books written in many, many years, Edward Carey's Observatory Mansions.

In terms of outstanding unpublished literature, I've read... well, now -- I can't tell you that just yet. You'll just have to see what's on tap for the Ministry over the next couple of years. I can say that we will be publishing Steve Tomasula's In&Oz this year and Zoran Zivkovic's The Fourth Circle in 2004, both of which are outstanding, if entirely different from one another. But there are several other projects (besides the ongoing Leviathan and Album Zutique series) that are in the works

Any new progress on the novel? Can you tell us any more about it?
The novel is progressing slowly, but I'm satisfied with the direction its taking. I hit a bit of a speed bump in trying to figure out my main character's childhood (which is a bit important in figuring out a character's later motives, I think), then began reading a marvelous biography of John Ruskin that prompted me to assume a biographical stance towards my main character. This helped a great deal, dissociating myself from the story for a moment, then taking a more indirect approach to the character's early years. I had to have the early years there, but didn't want to rely on dialogue (too tedious) or direct narrative (too preachy -- show, don't tell!) to get the points across.

Things have picked up in momentum again, though I am on a temporary side road -- a short story about an Edwardian English woman who follows a mystic cultist àla Aleister Crowley. Though she's never directly a part of the action, all the documents and narratives point to a hole where she should be. I wanted to mirror the Victorian/Edwardian notion that some things should not be talked about -- but those same things cannot be entirely ignored, as the absence of those things in conversation, documents, etc, leaves a hole, and in that hole is a very real person, ignored, but not forgotten entirely, by the rest of society. This is rather difficult to explain, but the main character's absence and silence imply the main character's presence and power.

Are you still seeking "darkly beautiful surreal stories?" Is the purpose of Leviathan still to prove "there is no such thing as 'genre' and 'literary' boundaries." Is this purpose present in your own work?
Well, perhaps I mis-spoke earlier. Leviathan cannot prove that a line does not exist between "genre" and "literary" works, because that line is present in the heads of those that believe such a line exists -- and I'm not very good at brainwashing. But at least part of the purpose of Leviathan is to erase that mental line that exists in reader's heads. Good writing is good writing, no matter who is doing it or where it appears. If I had my wish, bookstores would be arranged so that "genre" and "literary" works were side by side, mixed up in a new section called "fiction". That way readers of science fiction, for example, would stumble on works that might have been hidden from their view in the old "literature" section, but which contained science fictional elements. Likewise, readers of more heady academic work might accidentally pick up a work that is primarily "fantasy" and find that they enjoy it a great deal.

Some labels are helpful, though, I suppose. Unfortunately there is no handy label for the type of works that appear in Leviathan, so "darkly beautiful surreal stories" was the shortest, most encompassing description I could find when thinking about how one would describe Leviathan stories. I'm open to other suggestions. The best bet for those submitting to the market is to read its past incarnations. That's not to say that we take work that is wholly mimetic of our previously-published stories -- we're constantly looking to push the envelope -- but there is a history that informs the styles and tone of work in which we are primarily interested.

In regards to my own work, yes, I do intentionally try to erase boundaries as well. While I have works that are clearly in the speculative genre (as some people would label it), and others that are clearly "mainstream," I most enjoy writing those works that confuse reviewers and editors by not allowing them to quickly label the work as anything but (hopefully) good writing that takes chances.

Copyright © 2003 Trent Walters

Trent Walters' work has appeared or will appear in The Distillery, Fantastical Visions, Full Unit Hookup, Futures, Glyph, Harpweaver, Nebo, The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Speculon, Spires, Vacancy, The Zone and blah blah blah. He has interviewed for, Speculon and the Nebraska Center for Writers. More of his reviews can be found here. When he's not studying medicine, he can be seen coaching Notre Dame (formerly with the Minnesota Vikings as an assistant coach), or writing masterpieces of journalistic advertising, or making guest appearances in a novel by E. Lynn Harris. All other rumored Web appearances are lies.

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