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    The Interstitial Arts Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the study, support, and promotion of interstitial art: literature, music, visual and performance art found in between categories and genres – art that crosses borders. Find out more!

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    Thanks to 277 generous backers for our Interfictions Indiegogo Campaign, we raised $10,318 by the time our campaign ended at midnight, July 14th, 2014.  When we launched on June 3rd, we were staggered to find donations doubling almost daily, until after about 3 weeks we had reached our original target goal of $8,500, and were able to move on to our Stretch Goal of $10,000.

    Which means we not only get to publish Interfictions Online for another year, but we can pay our contributors at higher rates now, rates more in line with the effort and talent that innovation requires. Thank you, each and every one of the 277 generous donors who stepped forward to say that interstitial art is valued and valuable. The number of people is as important as the number of dollars raised. We are awed by your generosity.
    Now [...]

    INTERFICTIONS issue #3 is up online!

    The editors of Interfictions Online are happy to announce the birth of the journal’s latest issue, on May 22, 2014!

    The Spring 2014 issue’s non-fiction offerings include Mark Craddock’s poignant collage in Aerial Acrobatics and Gender Reassignment Surgery – A How-To Guide, while Inda Lauryn’s Parallels and Transitions splices analysis of contemporary female vocalists into a graduate school memoir. Isabel Yap’s Life Is Not a Shoujo Manga speaks for itself. And in an interview with Jeff VanderMeer and Jeremy Zerfoss, the two creators discuss their illustrated guide to writing, Wonderbook.

    The fiction offerings remix tropes from ghosts to automata, with new work by Richard Butner, Su-Yee Lin, Kat Howard, Tade Thompson and S. Craig Renfroe Jr.

    Several of the poems in this issue reimagine older narratives: Sridala Swami’s AI Winter draws on the Mahabharata, Sonya Taaffe’s Double Business on Hamlet, and Mary Alexandra Agner’s Hypothesis Between Your Ribs on the brief life of Charles Darwin’s daughter.


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  • ≡ Four Very True Tales

    Kelly Barnhill


    The moon has just risen, and I run, breathless, skipping steps and bounding into the bedroom to watch it bloom over the garage. It is wide and livid and orange, its bottom edge cut by the shadowed branches of the denuded silver maple. I turn and grab your foot, squeezing slightly at the arch.

    “Wake up,” I say. “You should see this.” You stir slightly, mumbling something in a language that might be English, though really, it’s anyone’s guess. With a slow tilt of denimed hips, you curl your body away from the window, drape your right arm across your brow, as though to shield your face from the light. If that was your intention, you have failed. The moon illuminates the room with a light that is red, then silver, then orange, then purple. Your skin dapples, shimmers and glows. You are still water; you are glass; you are glowing embers. I do not let go of your foot. I do not turn back to the window.

    You loved a mountain before you ever did love me. I say this without petulance or accusation. I say this because we are animal and we love what we love.

    I have never noticed until now the tender cut of your jaw, how the skin scoops inwards towards the throat, a reservoir for rain, or honey, or milk. I have never noticed the way your neck quivers next to the jugular. I have never noticed the way your sleep-sigh takes on a musical pattern, moving along in harmonic thirds, as though somewhere, in some dream, people are singing in chords.

    Outside, the wind pulls the leaves in our unraked yard into tall columns. They take the shape of buildings, of trees, of women making one last backward glance. We are leaf. We are salt. We are warm earth, bracing itself for snow.

    I give your foot a shake, but you do not stir. Briefly, I consider curling next to you, fitting my body neatly into the whorl of your torso, pulling your arm around my shoulders like a shawl. But I don’t. Later, you will rouse yourself, stumble to your desk and work. Later, I will crawl into bed, shake the dust and sand from my feet before settling into the impression made by your body. Later, from the southern window, moonlight will spill down the wall, ripple across the bed, wash over my sleeping hands and shoulders and mouth. It will taste of salt.


    The sound you hear is water. It clicks and tumbles over the rock eighteen steps from our tent and hurls itself over the side of the mountain, tumbling into the river, the river into the sound, the sound into the ocean and the ocean into the sky. You move your jaw in rhythm with the water and murmur in tune to dreams that you will not remember. In the dark, I try to read them from your face, but they are elusive and mysterious – a map I cannot read, a language I will never know.

    We spent a summer on the mountain’s rim, above the limit of trees, below the edge of the snows. We spent a summer with hundreds of marmots whistling warnings like cars in traffic, with the King Elk and his hundred wives – and the smell of them, wafting across the valley each morning. We lived with the fear of cougars – or I did, anyway, until it seemed that every shadow had teeth and every branch was a grasping claw. We spent a summer with heavy tools repairing trails, which is to say we rearranged rocks. And re-rearranged. We cleaned campsites and shoveled the shit of strangers.

    You loved a mountain before you ever did love me. I say this without petulance or accusation. I say this because we are animal and we love what we love.

    Sometimes I dream about a mountain locking me inside the rock, absorbing my body into itself. You would look for me, but you would only find rocky breasts, rocky thighs, a face carved from the surety of ice. In my dream you sit upon my granite knees and you are happy.

    I had a dream that the mountain took you away. I dreamt that I woke and you were gone, leaving a warm imprint ghosting the place where your body lay. In my dream, I walked out of the tent to find you, running the eighteen steps to water, ignoring the shadows filled with eyes, the forest moving with sharpening claws. I looked up to the mountain’s face and you were there, your body slung upon sharp sheets of snow. In my dream, I hiked back to the valley alone, and ordered that you would not be disturbed. No one should disturb a man in love.


    It’s cold and we need fire. I wrap myself in a blanket while you clomp to the porch and clomp back in, your arms wrapped around a pile of logs raining debris in a trail from the door to the fireplace.

    You open the door and lean in, gather ash and dead coals with your hand, deposit it into a bag, let it fall in a soft gray cloud. Slowly, you pile the knots of paper just so and lay down the small logs and light.

    As I watch you, I see what you will look like when you are very old. Your nose enlarges and bulbs forward: a tender beak. Your smooth brow folds upon itself like a topographical map. Your hands, your long fingers, gnarl at the knuckle, sprout spots like mushrooms, grow yellow at the nails. Your hair, shining now in the growing light, thins, pales, floats over your shining scalp like feathers.

    Outside, the snow arranges itself into mountains, canyons and plains, retelling the story of a land built from the cruelties of water and wind. Outside, the black sky cracks into infinite shards of light, while the air etches love poems on the windowpanes. Outside, the wind hurls itself against the house, while the trees lean and flail as though about to fall.


    Once – don’t ask me when – I told a story to a child. “Once,” I said, “there was a girl who stepped into the water. When she stepped into the water the muck under her feet began to sing. The loons across the lake called her name. The trees whispered that she should not be afraid. She dove in. Her mouth narrowed and puckered, her skin greened and shone. She thought fishy thoughts and sang fishy songs and when she was hungry, she swam to the surface to swallow a mayfly. She was full, and cool, and very, very happy.”

    The child thought about this story. The child thought for a very long time. “Is this story true?” the child asked.

    “Yes,” I said.

    “Are you sure?” the child asked.

    “Very sure.”

    “How can you know?”

    “The nature of believing is that we believe and it is. If I tell you that I once was a fish, and you believe that I once was a fish, then apparently, I once was a fish. It’s simple. Like a song, or a fable, or a science book. In the end, everything is poetry.”

    “Did you used to be a fish?” the child asked.

    “Did you?” I asked, and I kissed the child on the forehead and said goodnight.

    About the Author

    Kelly Barnhill is a former schoolteacher, former wildland firefighter, former bartender, former janitor and former park ranger. Now she is a mom by day and a freelance writer by night. She enjoys her double life. Her short stories have appeared in Fantasy, Weird Tales, The Sun, Postscripts, and Polluto, and her first two novels were recently purchased by Little, Brown, and are set to be released in 2010 and 2011.

    Author’s Note

    After reading the first volume of Interfictions, I realized that I was an interstitial writer, far before I ever even heard of the term. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to participate in two very different mentorship programs – one in Speculative Fiction and one in Narrative Nonfiction and Memoir. It bordered on insanity to do the two at once, but freelance writers are trained to say yes to everything, and so I did. During that year, I thought very hard about the relationship between memory and imagination, or more specifically, when a person spends most of her life focusing on her own imagination – weaving the possible, the actual and the impossible so tightly that she doesn’t even notice that it’s occurring – what would that memoir look like? What I discovered is that in unpacking memory, the real and the surreal are as close as a breath in and a breath out. So, I started a series of experiments – fictional nonfictions, imagined memories, pieces that wavered between dream and waking while still being utterly true – mostly focused on family life, and on the strange shapes that love can take.