Muddled, In-betweens

“The writer is that person who, embarking upon her task, does not know what to do.” —Donald Barthelme

Here are more examples of the muddled, in-betweens, the unsaids, the fervent:

Katie Jean Shinkle’s Ruination:

I kiss the outside of Paula’s collarbone and she turns her back to
me. We aren’t anything you know, you are my best friend, she says.
I lie back down, my arm behind my head. How to stretch, how to
Breathe. Count back from 100 into perpetuity. Repeat pi digits.
Visualization. Behavior Modification. We always think we mistake a
slight breeze for breath or fan. Hot air. What gives. I turn my back
to Paula, but leave my hand out behind me just in case she wants it
to Paula, but leave my hand out behind me just in case she wants it
to touch her back in the night. No sound outside, no insects or bird
calls. The trees are turning brown and leaves are falling prematurely.
They believe it is different months than July or August.

Katie Schmid’s “False Starts” and “God-Machine

Zbigniew Herbert’s “From the Top of the Stairs

Diane Seuss at The Lithub:

Mini interviews with 2023 National Book Award Finalists: