Notes on the Fiction Selections

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September 23, 2019 by The Citron Review

Summer went by entirely too quickly for my family. As I write this, I am in disbelief that fall truly is upon us. While I look forward to the smells and tastes of fall, I will keep clinging to the tail ends of summer: one last trip to the beach, one last picnic outside in the sunlight, one last homemade popsicle. Then, once the air turns crisp, and the rhythms of the school year have become second nature, my restless bones will settle, and I will delight in the crimson and rust landscape, and remember why I love fall so much as soon as I go on my first long run of the season.

In the first weekend of September, I joined my father and brother in a six-hour endurance relay. From 6 pm to midnight, one Saturday evening, the three of us took turns running laps around a park in Chandler, Arizona because that kind of miserable-but-miserable-together of fun is our idea of a good time. That, and avid runners tend to be a little crazy. When I was packing to leave for the weekend, my oldest son asked me why I was doing the run. His intentions behind the question were different from my youngest, who was bitter that I was leaving him for the weekend. Instead, my oldest did not understand why I would want to attempt this kind of feat. Really, I do not blame him. At the start of our race, it was 105 degrees and there was an excessive heat warning for the city. If I am honest, his question took me by surprise. Why was I doing this? Part of it was really an excuse to get together with my family and share a common love of running. When I thought about it more, and the answer that I ended up giving him was that while my body still could do something like this, I wanted to. I wanted to celebrate the ways in which my body can function. This answer, was undoubtedly, over my eight-year-old’s head, and he scoffed at me and went on his way, but for the rest of the weekend, and especially as I was running those laps in excessive heat, I focused on the fact that my body could run and the way that felt like magic.

Intrinsically, all of the pieces for this fall issue feel very magical and celebrate the body in some way. In “The Princess of Fantasistan”  Riham Adly sets up the narrator: “I change my skin every time someone takes a good look at me. It hurts like hell because sometimes – just sometimes – I want to be looked at. I want to be real.” Though we know the narrator is not of this world, the universal idea of being seen makes this world one we can not only believe in, but one we have all known.

“I Try to Get Out of the Way So the Soul May Draw Near” by Mary Morris is a rich, flowing love song wrapped up in a tidy micro package. It has much to say in only two sentences. Tisha Marie Reichle-Aguilera’s “Swirling Debris” captures the magic of a body knowing exactly when to jump to action and how being in the right place at the right time might just save a life. “Battling Stones” by Ronald Hartley shows how magic can be around us, even if it is just the childlike imagination of fantasy and talking animals. Eleanor Levine’s “Hebrew Girl” has the magic of a body that will not forget—the lingering impressions people leave on the very fabric of our beings. Frances Gapper’s “Curious” and Timothy Reilly’s “Which Came First” round out this issue’s selections with their ability to insert the magic into the ordinary; as ordinary as thoughts of murder or life’s biggest questions can be.

Both genres, flash and micro, were very blessed this reading period with so many stand-out pieces. I very much hope you enjoy reading them as much as we have.


Elizabeth De Arcos
Senior Fiction Editor
The Citron Review


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