SHAKEDOWN - AMY J. E. MACKENZIE

Winner of the 2016 Pinch Literary Nonfiction Contest. For information about how to enter 2017 Pinch Literary Contest,click here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I am a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina-based writer. I graduated with my M.A. in Writing from Coastal Carolina University in 2015, with a concentration in Creative Nonfiction and Literary Editing. My work has appeared in The Truth About the Fact: International Journal of Literary Nonfiction. 

Twitter:

@amyjemackenzie

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FELICIA ROSE CHAVEZ - ELECTROSHOCK

“Electroshock” offers voice to three women who have undergone medically induced seizures: Polly, a 75-year-old housewife; Anita, a 52-year-old minister; and Barbara, a 44-year-old nurse. Their intimate testimonies interrogate the physical, emotional, and psychological complexities of electroshock therapy (ECT). Is electroshock an antidepressant or a form of violence against women? 

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Bought Words: On Product Placement in Fiction - Christopher Linforth

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about money and writing. Namely: the inverse relationship between one and the other. Since I published my debut short-story collection last year, the large pay-checks have been noticeably absent. This was no surprise. With all the anecdotes I had heard from colleagues and friends, I didn’t plan for my book to add to my 401(k). Quite the opposite, in fact. I received a small advance, a handful of good reviews and was longlisted for one prestigious award. Not too bad. 

But more money would have been nice. 

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The Cosmology of Humpty Dumpty - J.G. McClure

Note the poem’s nightmarish opening: this uncanny character—at once everyman and no-man, perhaps an egg though this is never stated—sits upon a wall. Where is this wall? How did Dumpty come to be sitting upon it? Surrounding this proclamation we see no answers, merely the barren whiteness of the page.

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Do Stars Welcome Us Into Their Realms? - Dana D'Amico

Imagine, if you can, one single, stranded molecule in space –not even a pinpoint in the darkness.  In the whole of the universe, a molecule is truly an island to itself, its nearest neighbor some ten million molecular body-lengths away. If it were a person on Earth heading east from San Diego, it would not see another person until New York, and these two friends might then hike, swim, and wade their way to Denmark before finding anyone else. That is how isolated it is, this thing you cannot quite imagine: a solitary something vanished into a sea of nothing.

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Grazing Patterns - Kendra Atleework

It’s mid-June in California, and the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada spread for miles under a pelt of yellow grass. Bristly invasive weeds fill the stomachs of the sheep but provide little nutrition. This summer there is drought, the most extreme in one hundred and fifty years, perhaps longer. The weeds that cover these hills are all that remain for the shepherd to feed his flock after a dry winter, when the germinating rains came late and meager and not much new grass grew.

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Superman Dam Fool - Randal O'Wain

My mother and I were driving downtown so that I could re-enroll in Junior High after an arrest and suspension. It was a humid Memphis spring, and two men leaned against the sidewall of a liquor store sharing a bottle wrapped in brown paper. Painted on the wall behind them, the words SUPERMAN DAM FOOL covered the length of brickwork, each letter composed uncertainly as if by a different hand.

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My Murderer's Futon - Sarah Viren

"Robert Durst is not a murderer, legally speaking. He is a billion-dollar real estate heir who in 2000 went missing from his New York apartment. He arrived in Galveston some time later disguised, albeit poorly, as a mute woman named Dorothy Ciner. Rather than talk, they say, he would write down messages on a piece of paper.

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Pins and Needles - Janet Buttenwieser

"Mornings before work, she performs the routine: validate the parking garage ticket at the front desk. Enter the dimly-lit ultrasound room. Clothes off, gown on, open in the back. Jelly on the wand, the wand inserted by the kind or peppy or indifferent nurse. The Wife’s reproductive system displayed on the screen, the doctor measuring follicles, pleased with her progress."

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At the Setia Darma Museum of Masks and Puppetry - Angela Woodward

"Ongoing nausea even three weeks after my return. Got so sick of my own company. Every time I looked up, a little golden bird flitted by, or an azure butterfly landed on my foot. After not having heard from him for all that time, a short note, a kind of affirming prayer. Very little to put in the journal, she wrote, as the days are all the same. Across the river, white herons followed the farmer around, lifting and flapping down again as he moved along the row."

 

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The Hummingbird Wives - Spencer Hyde

"Marinda was one of those wives. Her name is scrolled in beautiful gilt-embedded gold cursive across the front of the book in the bottom right-hand corner. The first time I opened it I saw that there were numerous markings in the book, all in red pencil. The markings cut deep into the old leaflet pages, the weight of Marinda’s veined, snowy hands sinking into the pencil and page, weighted down by her obsession with certain passages. I imagine her hands so heavy that at times they almost dropped through the book, through the table, and through the oak floor below."

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So I Dated a Bigfoot Hunter - Megan Kerns

"Then we got lost. The trip was a bust, with zero Sasquatch sightings; it took us hours to get out of the woods. Back to Henry’s house, we ate potato salad and charred hot dogs. We sat next to a bonfire in silence, occasionally poking at the glowing logs and scratching our mosquito bites. Finally, my date looked tenderly at me over the snapping orange flames, and then slowly lifted a sweet vidalia onion to his mouth. Henry bit into the onion like an apple, producing a satisfying crunch. I looked steadily back at him. Henry took a few more bites, then gently set the onion on a log."

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The Ways We Pace Ourselves - Andrew Johnson

 "I found them in the nursery, Annen sitting on Kristen’s lap, Kristen wearing blue jeans, a t-shirt, and no shoes, both of them laughing and singing and enjoying each other. I stood in the doorway watching them, suddenly aware of this distance between where they were and where my mind was."

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