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interviews

Author Q & A with Katherine Kubarski

Author Q & A with Katherine Kubarski

January 19, 2022

This week’s Author Q&A is with Katherine Kubarski. Katherine is a grant proposal writer from Santa Fe, New Mexico. She’s long had an affinity for creative writing and rediscovered her passion at a retreat on the sacred island of Molokai. Her poem “Another April,” appeared in our latest issue of The Good Life Review.

We asked Katherine a number of questions and she elected to combine two of the questions to explain both how the pandemic affected her life and writing and how she came to finish a 14 year old poem. Her response was as follows: 

“The onset of the pandemic coincided with my father’s precipitous plunge into deep dementia that sadly altered the last 16 months of his life. As his primary caregiver, I became his human compass, orienting him when confused, redirecting him when agitated, and connecting him as best I could to the things that had lit up the length of his 94 years – jitterbugging to Sinatra, the memory of my mother, assembling a Polish casserole to share with family and friends. There is something miraculous about muscle memory, the spot-on execution of a dance step or the perfect slicing of thin rounds of potatoes and onions. Well-worn pathways lead to one’s former self, even when almost all is lost. 

“Well-meaning friends would encourage me to write about my pandemic caregiving as a possible path to my own catharsis and release.  But it was all too fresh and raw to handle. I had little strength to write about the storm while smack in the middle of it. 

“Instead, I took refuge in the toil of revision. Many nights, I’d dig up safe, familiar writing and tuck myself into the folds of the old work, often inhabiting a single poem for weeks at a time. Draft after draft, I’d burrow deep until on occasional mornings I’d wake up to a new image, wordplay, or insight that would take the poem in a new, truer direction. 

“’Another April’ is one of those poems. The bones of the piece were set 14 years ago as I emerged from another period of loss and exhaustion. As I revisited the poem during the pandemic I started by dwelling in its strata – of soft snow, frozen ground, fabric, epidermis – and gradually added new layers to convey the anticipated experience of surviving isolation, emerging from “cocoon-ment,” and unwinding the self to connect with the natural world and others once again. In the process, I have come to appreciate how in times when inspiration appears to be in short supply, taking a well-trodden path back to previous work can be a deeply rewarding experience.”

Katherine’s work has appeared in Mountain Gazette, Santa Fe Literary Review, Santa Fe Reporter (awarded first prize in the 2019 Poetry Contest), and Snow Poems Project.  In search of post-pandemic inspiration, she is headed with her laptop to a cabin in the forest of Chilean Patagonia where the world’s tiniest deer and other surprises await her.

Thanks, Katherine, for being a part of our 5th issue and for participating in this Q & A!

Cheers,
~The Good Life Review Team

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interviews

Author Q & A with Laurie Guerin

Author Q & A with Laurie Guerin

January 13, 2022

This week’s Author Q&A is with Laurie Guerin. Laurie is a spoken word artist who has performed her original works on stage throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She has co-produced two live storytelling series, Word Up and Tell Me More in Santa Cruz,  California. Her flash essay, “The Code,” appeared in our latest issue of The Good Life Review.

We asked Laurie what fuels her desire to write?

Her response:  I’ve written ever since I was a kid. It was just in me. I’d disappear into my room at home or go sit by a lake on camping trips and return with a story. My mom would ask me to read them to her and sometimes, she’d cry. In high school, I wrote a story about a young woman who had found love just before discovering she was dying of cancer. It was awful, packed full of cheap romance novel tropes, but I had an audience of girlfriends who would gather around during lunch break to hear the latest installment. I’m sure the attention was heady, but so was pouring my unrequited romantic longing into bad prose and discovering it resonated. This remains a big factor in what fuels my writing. Connecting with people in an intimate way; a shared exploration into the heart of things.

We also asked her how the pandemic affected her writing?

Her response: “Much of what I’ve written over the past 10 years, I’ve presented at small storytelling venues. I love the collaboration with other performers as well as the immediacy of the reaction of the audience. The venues closed their doors and it felt as though anything I wanted to write was meaningless in the face of this catastrophe. But the beautiful community of writers to which I belong kept writing. We met over Zoom at first and later outside with six feet of space between us. Writing was a lifeline. We supported one another in delving deeply into the fear of what was happening, and we also found meaning in writing stories and poems where there was no mention of the pandemic. Stories that made us laugh and cry and reminded us we were still standing.”

And finally, as it is will all our artists, we asked what she thinks of when she hears the phrase “The Good Life?” 

Her response was touching and very true: “Initially I thought about The Good Life as a collection of simple, sweet moments: Watching my youngest grandson spar with waves at the beach; the warm body of the man I love snuggled next to mine; drinking wine with friends around a fire-pit during the quarantine. Then I reflected on hard moments- like my mother’s death last year. The circumstances were traumatic and tragic, yet in her final hours, there was healing and love. And I thought, it’s all of it. The good life is all of it.”

Laurie is a student of Roxan McDonald’s and she has also studied with Danusha Lameris, Ellen Bass and most recently Pam Houston. Her work has appeared in Literary Mama and more recently in Prometheus Dreaming. She is currently working on a collection of creative nonfiction essays.

Thanks, Laurie, for being a part of our 5th issue and for participating in this Q & A!

Cheers,
~The Good Life Review Team

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announcements

Nonprofit Announcement

The Good Life Review is Now a Nonprofit Organization

January 7, 2022

It’s official… Finally! One of our goals for 2021 was to obtain nonprofit/tax-exempt status for our organization. After waiting for many moons to hear back from the federal government (AKA, the IRS), we are pleased to report that The Good Life Review is now recognized as a 501(c)(3) corporation. We believe that this will provide a favorable number of opportunities in the coming years as well as help us work toward realizing our mission and vision. 

In light of that, we are marching full speed ahead with changes we’ve been scheming about over the past year. The first of which is to begin paying contributing writers for their work. As of Issue #7, Spring 2022, we will be paying $25 for each original story, script, or poem published. Submissions are open now for that issue; visit Submittable today to send us your work.

As for the other mad plans we have in our back pocket, all will be revealed in time. 

With this good news, we also want to express our gratitude, for you and your time. Thank you for being here with us!

Happy New Year,
The Good Life Review Team

Categories
interviews

Author Q & A with Kara Davidson

Author Q & A with Kara Davidson

December 30, 2021

This week’s Author Q&A is with Kara Davidson. Kara is an actor, playwright, and teaching artist currently pursuing her MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her script, “The Farewell Burn,” won the 2021 Honey Bee Literature Prize in script writing and was published in our 5th issue of The Good Life Review.

Kara elected to answer a number of our questions however, in order to put priority on this time-sensitive answer, we’re stepping out of the typical flow to highlight the 10-episode serial audio play she wrote that is available for free only through December 31st. It was inspired by Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula and features a beautiful original score by Kevin O’Donnell. To listen please visit https://www.thehousetheatre.com/dracula.

We asked Kara what fuels her desire to write.

Her response: What fuels my desire to write is the possibility that my work will feel familiar to someone else, and how it could help them illuminate something touching or true about their own life, their relationships, or their journey. Providing a vehicle through which someone can process previously intangible or inaccessible emotions is a very meaningful gift to be able to give someone.

We also asked Kara how she knows when a piece of writing is finished.

Her response: “I don’t ever think of my writing as “finished”. It’s more of a snapshot of who I was in a specific time/place/moment of my life. And it’s possible that I might return to a piece, again and again, to morph it into something new or different. I also feel this way because I write for the theatre, which is such a team sport. Knowing that actors will inhabit my words, a director will infuse their own experiences into shaping the piece, and designers will make my fabricated world tangible — it’s incredibly exciting to think of my piece as an unfinished part of the puzzle.”

Circling back to her winning script in the latest issue, we asked Kara to tell us some unique or surprising detail about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of that script. 

Her response: This piece was inspired by an essay written by Brian Phillips which is included in his book, Impossible Owls. I was killing time at a bookstore and made a random grab at the shelves and developed an immediate crush on his writing/reportage style. I live for these moments when art inspires art — it makes me feel like artists of all mediums are cosmically and intrinsically connected, nourished by breathing each others’ air back and forth. It’s very intimate.

And finally, as it is will all our artists, we asked what she thinks of when she hears the phrase “The Good Life?” 

She summed this up nicely by responding: “Alignment. With self, nature, and community.”

Kara has previously worked with Manual Cinema, The House Theatre of Chicago, Lookingglass Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, ABLE Ensemble, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Nebraska Repertory Theatre, and Flatwater Shakespeare, among others. She is a co-founder and director of a monthly virtual workshop called The Lab which aids in developing new works-in-progress by artists from all across the country (www.thelab.blog).


Thanks, Kara, for being a part of our 5th issue and for participating in this Q & A!

Cheers,
~The Good Life Review Team

Categories
announcements

Introducing Kim Louise

Introducing Kim Louise

December 21, 2021

Today we could not be more pleased to introduce the third of three new editors on The Good Life Review Team, Kim Louise!

Kim joins us as an editor on the stage & screen team as of Issue #6. She holds an MFA in Writing from the University of Nebraska and an MS from Drake University. Her plays have been part of the Metropolitan Community College touring play series, Dia de Los Muertos-Verbal Ofrenda celebration, and produced as part of the Union for Contemporary Art Centering the Margins series. 

Kim’s play Umarage was part of a trio of plays nominated for Best Original Play for Omaha Arts and Entertainment Award. She is a resident artist in the Great Plains Theater Commons. Currently, Kim is a contributing playwright in the Pursuing Legacy Series sponsored by the Union for Contemporary Art.

When we asked Kim to tell us some unique, fun, or quirky detail about herself, she told us that she suspects she may have been Mothra in a former life. Very curious… we think a follow-up question is needed.

Welcome to the Good Life Miss Kim! We hope you enjoy every minute of working with us and reading some incredible scripts!!

Cheers,
~The Good Life Review Team

PS. More about all of our editors can be found on our masthead.

Categories
interviews

Author Q & A with Adam Graham

Author Q & A with Adam Graham

December 16, 2021

This week’s Author Q&A is with Adam Graham. Adam is a writer and artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. His work is rooted in the complexities and dynamics of relationships and explores issues of social class, identity, and the role language plays as both a force of connectivity and a force of disintegration. His flash fiction story “On Art, Authority, and Crows: A Modern Fable” appears in our latest issue of The Good Life Review.

We asked Adam to tell us some unique or surprising detail about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of his story. 

His Response: “My process of writing is very much influenced by the cut-up techniques of the Dadaist. I begin each story by randomly selecting a smattering of texts and typing them into my document in no particular order. These random texts may be a sentence from a car insurance magazine, a phrase from an old song, the small print from a medicine commercial, that sort of thing. These segments of text, and the ideas they envelop, act as a series of sequential destinations my emerging story travels through as I write from one text to the next. This process demands a very open flow, in which free association between ideas is paramount.

“At the end of the process, I extract the originating found texts, and what remains are bizarre little tinkering literary machines that buzz across a table-top for a few minutes. Because of the extraction of the originating texts, there are “gaps” in my stories, openings built into the very foundations of the stories, missing places in the boundary the delineates the story at its very core. These openings in the story allow things to drift in and out, to cross the border of the story, it opens up the circuitry of the literary machines. 

“The found texts I used for the current story, On Art, Authority, and Crows: A Modern Fable, come from the Time-Life Library of Art, a series of biographies of various artists in history. The set of twenty-eight books was published in the 1960s.”

The other question that Adam elected to answer is what he thinks of when he hears the phrase “The Good Life?” 

Adam’s Response: “To me, the “good life” consists of artistic experimentation, of having the courage to think dangerously, of making time to build new concepts in one’s own head, and then to bring these new ideas into the world via the written word, maybe in the form of a short story, or maybe a poem, or maybe even a single sentence smudged on the bathroom mirror.  I find I feel most alive when a new idea is wriggling through my mind, slowly taking form as the flotsam and jetsam of thoughts, experience, random bits of psychological association stick to the bourgeoning form crawling out of my head.”


Thanks, Adam, for being a part of our autumn issue and for participating in this Q & A!

Cheers,
~The Good Life Review Team

Categories
announcements

Introducing Tana Buoy

Introducing Tana Buoy

December 10, 2021

Today we are excited to introduce the second of three new editors on The Good Life Review Team, Tana Buoy!

Tana joins us as an editor on the flash fiction team as of Issue #6. She received her MFA in Writing from the University of Nebraska in July of this year which just happened to coincide with her BIG move from Norfolk, Nebraska to the city of Lincoln. Tana currently tutors English, History, and Geography for Northeast Community College.

When she isn’t tutoring, Tana is jotting down micro fiction on sticky notes, dabbling in photography, and reading scary books to her two cats. She has an impressive bookshelf that is home to many horror novels and is currently working diligently on the first draft of her own book, set in the Sandhills of Nebraska. 

When we asked Tana to tell us some unique, fun, or quirky detail about herself, she told us that she is an avid list maker (which we admire) and also confessed that she trips a lot, and not in a fun way. 

Welcome to the Good Life Tana! We are thrilled that you’ve agreed to join us on this adventure and are looking forward to working with you!

Cheers,
~The Good Life Review Team

PS. More about all of our editors can be found on our masthead.

Categories
interviews

Author Q & A with Christi Krug

Author Q & A with Christi Krug

December 8, 2021

This week’s Author Q&A is with Christi Krug. Christi has been a community educator in Vancouver, Washington since 1997 and she is also and a creativity and mindfulness coach. Her piece appearing in this issue of The Good Life Review is a nonfiction essay titled “The Coats in Summer People.” 

We asked Christi to tell us some unique or surprising detail about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of her essay. 

Her Response: “I was working as a human resources temp many years ago, chatting with a co-worker about my new pursuit of hiking. She was a hiker too, but there was one situation that had given her pause. It was a hot day in July and a man in a thick down jacket came down the trail and she felt unsafe. “Anyone who wears a coat like that in summer – you just know there’s something wrong,” she said. Until she spoke those words aloud, I had never realized how awkward and embarrassed and sad I felt about the clothing choices of my mother and brother. The remark stayed in my mind until a couple of years ago when I used it for what I call “wildwriting” – writing all my thoughts fast. Leafing through my notebook earlier this year, I liked the piece and decided to revise and submit it.”

We then asked what she learned (about herself or craft or the world) through writing and revising the essay?

Her Response: “Writing this piece, I learned that the younger me, still in there somewhere, feels a lot of shame and confusion about my early years with a mentally ill family. There is also a great deal of guilt that I didn’t develop their diagnosis and a longing for their recovery. And under all those layers is my love for my biological mother, who is no longer alive, and for my sensitive, smart, older brother.”

And finally, we asked Christi if she has any exciting projects she’s working on or something she’d like to promote. She let us know that she frequently facilitates 20 minute “wildwriting” sessions via zoom audio Zoom (no screens) and participants follow intriguing prompts in order to make all kinds of discoveries on the page. She has several lined up for December and anyone interested in attending should reach out to her via her website www.christikrug.com.

In addition, in January she will be facilitating “Wildfire Writing,” which she’s been teaching for 23 years. The class shares the practice that has helped her write with confidence while processing her life stories, harvesting their beauty. It is a distance-learning class available through Clark College and anyone interested can learn more or signup here.

Christi’s poetry and prose have appeared in everything from religious magazines to horror anthologies to comic zines. Her latest stories appear in Griffel, Nightingale & Sparrow, Montana Mouthful, and Luna Station Quarterly. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and recently served as writer-in-residence at North Cascades Institute. Christi is the author of Burn Wild: A Writer’s Guide to Creative Breakthrough. If you want to get in touch www.christikrug.com


Thanks, Christi, for being a part of our 5th issue and for participating in this Q & A!

Cheers,
~The Good Life Review Team

Categories
announcements

Introducing Michelle Pierce Lyles

Introducing Michelle Pierce Lyles

December 3, 2021

With the release of our fifth issue last month we announced that The Good Life Review is growing and adding three new editors to our existing staff. We could not be more pleased to introduce Michelle Pierce Lyles who is joining us as a poetry editor. 

When we first began this endeavor, part of our intent was to create a literary journal that would be edited and operated by fellow graduates and candidates of the University of Nebraska MFA in Writing program. Michelle is no exception to that rule. In addition to holding that degree, she is a non-profit organization board member and teaching facilitator who has conducted creative writing workshops for urban youth and has also led other writing events.

Being partially mute in her early childhood led her to ‘word gathering’, which was partnered with an intense study of written and verbal word expression. She currently resides in eastern Nebraska and credits her husband and daughters for providing unending support on her journey as a writer.

One of the things we ask all of our editors is to provide us with some unique, fun, or quirky detail about them that we can share with our readers. In addition to being a poet, Michelle is an avid knitter and so her tagline on the masthead is:  She never met a ball of yarn she didn’t like.

Welcome, Michelle! We are excited to have you on the team and hope that you absolutely love working with us!!

Cheers,
~The Good Life Review Team

PS. More about all of our editors can be found on our masthead.

Categories
announcements

2021 Pushcart Prize Nominations

2021 Pushcart Prize Nominations

November 29, 2021

It’s official! This year’s Pushcart Nominations have been signed, sealed, and delivered (or at least dropped off at the USPS)!! 

Each year editors of small book presses, magazines, and journals are invited to nominate six pieces of poetry, short stories, essays, memoirs or stand-alone excerpts from novels. Pieces published (or scheduled to be published) between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 are eligible which for us meant work from Issues #3, #4, and #5. We’re excited to announce the following nominations:

Congratulations and best of luck write on!

Cheers,
The Good Life Review Team