Off the Grid

Issue #35, Spring 2008

To create art off society's cultural grid, to create art not powered by the currents of fashion nor vetted by critical tastemakers is risky. Indeed, one might say those who dare are choosing to live a life on "the edge." In today's McCulture, the term, "the edge" has devolved, as Anne Elizabeth Moore, editor of the DIY magazine Punk Planet, argues in "17 Theses on the Edge," into a commercial construct of the elite. It has become a tool to market soft drinks, hot wings, and lanky Irish guitar players. This issue also focuses on people and characters who make their home on the margins, whether it be deep in Southern communes or on houseboats in Sausalito. Some choose the fringe, like the paranormal searchers in Ron Carlson's story "At the Broken Ridge," and others, as Martin Preib illustrates in his essay, "Unemployment Stew," don't. Luckily for the pure of heart, there will always be poets, who, no matter how hard they try, will always exist outside of "normal" society. Jerry Williams's passionately unhinged poem "Admission" is Exhibit A. Leave your preconceptions behind and join us.

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Ron Carlson

AT THE BROKEN RIDGE • Mankind liked to think about time machines, but they were not prepared for actual time travel.

Corinna Vallianatos

MY ESCAPEE • Living a long time solves only one of life's mysteries, and that is what it is like to be very old.

Peter Rock

AN EXCERPT FROM THE NOVEL My Abandonment • People are easy to follow, and it's amazing the things they do when they think no one can see them.

George Makana Clark

HALF NIGHT • The white light of dawn penetrated Sereant Gordon's eyelids and he woke with the smell of petrol and plastic and carbonized flesh in his nostrils.

Sean Ennis

DARKFLIPS • Clip was a rapist on his board that day. He was sticking everything with speed and anger.

Baird Harper

Fiction
INTERMODAL • The thing I wasn't allowed to tell anyone, especially my mother, was that my father lived in a portable freight unit, with the velvet Jim Morrison.

Jerry Williams

ADMISSION

Ryo Yamaguchi

ANIMALS

Marie Howe

BEFORE THE FIRE
GOVERNMENT
HURRY
WHY THE NOVEL IS NECESSARY BUT SOMETIMES HARD TO READ

Roberto Bolaño, translated by Laura Healy

TWILIGHT IN BARCELONA
DINO CAMPANA REVISES HIS BIOGRAPHY IN CASTEL PULCI PSYCHIATRIC

Charles Simic

LIGHT SLEEPER
NOTHING

Samuel Amadon

EACH H (VI)
EACH H (VIII)

Heather Hartley

THE DYING ART OF LA DAME PIPI DE PARIS • Potty Talk (colon) Tin House Paris Editor explores the underground economies that arise when you have to pay to answer nature's call.

Nathan Alling Long

LIVING ON THE BODY OF THE MOUNTAIN • The queer commune is more than the husbandry, love, explosive creativity and exotic meals.

Cintra Wilson

BEWARE OF RAGING MUD FIRES • The author remembers growing up next to Marin County pirates, the anarchistic boat dwellers of Richardson Bay, for whom law (and clothing) were optional.

J.C. Hallman

APPLICATION TO UTOPIA • An "intentional community" in rural Virginia presents cause to wonder: what does pragmatism do to the idealistic dream of sustainable existence?

Glen David Gold

ON No One May Ever Have the Same Knowledge Again: Letters to Mount Wilson Observatory, 1915-1935

Carl Elliot

ON Guinea Pig Zero

Elizabeth Benedict

SHRINK-WRAPPED IN HEARTACHE

Paul Collins

NOTHING DOING

Rachel Urquhart

SHAKER MAMA

Kim Adrian

A PICKLE OF A NOVEL: ON Clarice Lispector's The Passion According to G.H.

Peter LaSalle

SECRET TEXT: ON LOUIS ARAGON'S Paris Peasant

Martin Preib

THE UNEMPLOYMENT STEW: A CHICAGO DELICACY • Grab some potatoes, onions and a little oil and you're on your way to one of the simple pleasures of a hardscrabble life.

Douglas Bauer

IOWA WINE • The only thing sweeter than some mass-produced, mass-market wines is the irony of where some of the good ones come from.

Anne Elizabeth Moore

17 THESES ON THE EDGE