Tag Archives: Guernica Magazine

Why I’m voting for Barack Obama

Joel Whitney, co-editor-in-chief of Guernica, wrote the following on the Guernica blog….

“Liberal” and “conservative” have become highly problematic phrases, and–unsurprisingly–the presidency of George W. Bush has accelerated slippage in meaning. Conservatives these days aren’t seeking to conserve much of anything from the tradition of conservatism itself but to change and strike and radically pre-empt. Liberals, for their part, don’t seem to be doing much more than conserving the tenets of the Constitution and of the traditions of their party. Which is why, during this election cycle, and on the eve of tomorrow’s primary voting, it seems as good a time as ever to redefine our terms as we decide who should get our vote.

Conservatives today are defined by their interest in an overall appearance of strength, the blunt assurance of easily repeated values, slogans, mantras, and previously tested ideas. It is particularly in their readiness to judge intent (of individuals or groups, public or private) as good or bad that makes them conservatives; this is why the term absolutist seems more pertinent for Republicans today than “conservative.” (I’m getting this from Dr. John Alford of Rice University.) Good and evil (Axis of Evil; Evil Empire)–these are the chief tools of the political absolutist. Absolutism is based on the assumption of knowing, we already know what we need to know in terms of who we are and where we wanna be. We just need to know if you’re with us or against us. Outside the family of American politics, those against us are evil, simply put. Within the family of American politics, the ultimate absolutist diss is “flip flopper” as we heard in 2004 against Candidate Kerry and as we have heard Republicans foist on each other this campaign season. An effective absolutist doesn’t need to understand the context of someone’s actions; in fact, events themselves, choices, decisions, character are far more important than the history that led to that event. Character, identity, values–these are the buzzwords of the absolutist. And the ultimate sign of weakness is changing your mind or admitting you were wrong.


Francisco Goldman in Guernica

Years ago, I saw Francisco Goldman at the New York Public Library, in conversation with Junot Diaz. Goldman’s warmth and humor was everywhere that night, along with his intelligence and humor. When I asked him to be our guest fiction editor, I received that same generous response.

And then his wife Aura Estrada died. He decided to dedicate his efforts to her. Read his essay to find out more.

Picture is of Francisco and his late wife, Aura. Francisco took the picture himself.

Stories include:

A Person of Interest (a novel excerpt) By Susan Choi

Everything as it always was, day after day, until the thunderous boom.

Two Films (a novel excerpt) By Ernesto Mestre-Reed

As the projector unexplainably kept on rolling even after the house lights went up and the medics made their way to the front, some, apparently to the filmmaker’s credit as an artist and perhaps his detriment as a person, continued to watch and even laugh at the hazy antics on the screen.

Ball Game (a novel excerpt) By Gabriela Jauregui

He should have been thankful that Xavi died when their friendship was still intact, still unconditionally generous, as strong as their youthful athletes’ muscles, as stubbornly perfect.

You’re My Only Home (a novel excerpt) By Jay Caspian Kang

The mirror needs to be hung up at a height of 18 feet. The four-foot stepladder we borrowed from the Weisses comes up nine feet short, and climbing the low-hanging branches has not been as easy as I first imagined. The bark leaves a slippery residue on my palms and the needles tear away as easily as leper hair.

Atmospheric Disturbances (a novel excerpt) By Rivka Galchen

Those phrases, something has changed, just need to get away, personal vacation, were not really my words but TV words, movie words, pollen in the air.

456 Victoria (a novel excerpt) By Bex Brian

“I can’t study here.” Karenne’s hand waved loosely over the room. Augati saw the whole shabby truth of her life. The coffee table: a door, the handle still on poking up through the magazines that concealed the rest, rows upon rows of old magazines, many with missing covers, many marked and marred by grease, spilled coffee, forgotten bubble gum. Even the pillow she had picked up when she joined Karenne was bald, and it stank.

Belated Posting: Publishers Weekly on Guernica

I’m been beaten-down and swamped by life’s bric-a-brac, which has made me unable to post. Or that’s what I tell myself.

But I really have to put this one up:

Rachel Deahl at Publishers Weekly conducted an interview with the editors of Guernica.

Here’s the first paragraph:

Guernica: Lit Mag Beats the Odds
Former M.F.A. students Joel Whitney and Michael Archer had no grand plan, much less a business plan, when they started the online-only lit mag Guernica. Compelled by a shared passion for international literature and serious journalism, the duo, who met during a teaching program in Puerto Rico, decided to try their hand at publishing a magazine and launched their vision online. Roughly four years later, Guernica has bucked the trend among literary magazines, not only surviving but growing. Next spring it will appear in print for the first time and, according to Whitney and Archer, that’s just the beginning.


New Information on the Guernica Magazine Benefit/Hudson Cruise

In addition to the literary talent that will be aboard the Star of Palm Beach this Thursday (see earlier entry, just below), Leah Siegel will perform and the Vintage DJ will spin.

The cruise around the Hudson is in celebration of Guernica‘s 3rd Anniversary and its spring print debut.

Buy Tickets Now!

Guernica Benefit & Evening Cruise on the Hudson

Guernica will be having a benefit aboard the Star of Palm Beach on Thursday, September 27, 2007 (reception at 7pm). There will be an evening cruise around the Hudson to celebrate Guernica’s third anniversary–and to announce the magazine’s print debut, available Spring 2008. The evening includes Pulitzer Prize-winner Oscar Hijuelos in a short conversation with renowned novelist Frederic Tuten as well as best-selling author Melissa Bank, and special musical guest. The evening will be emceed by comedian Laura Krafft, two-time Emmy nominee & staff writer of The Colbert Report.

Click HERE to purchase tickets at a discounted price before September 12th.

Sam Lipsyte, Guest fiction editor

Sam was never a teacher of mine. I met him in Russia when I’d a scholarship for a fiction workshop. But Sam was a standout: a nice guy and a true advocate for his students.

Plus, and this I can attest to, he’s a great fellow passenger on the hell-ride known as Aeroflot. I spent many, many hours with that guy in various threadbare airports.

His efforts are now up on the Guernica site.

The background blah-blah

I’m a writer.


I’ve erased everything that was here because I found it so appalling.

I’ve never kept a diary (on a regular basis, that is) for the same reason.

I have had just about all I can take of myself. — S. N. Behrman

I write about books, movies, travel, and interesting people. I’ve written for both Maxim and Good Housekeeping (that’s a gamut), Reel.com, Time Out New York, Museums New York, Museums Boston, Four Seasons magazine, USAir Magazine, TV Guide, for a book called New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomberg (2008, U of Chicago/Reaktion Books) and many others–most of which are not on the Internet.

I’ve been writing forever: I was an editor at my high school paper, and arts editor of my college paper, and even founded my school paper in 6th grade. I have an MFA from Columbia in screenwriting. My work has been (ugh) optioned. “Development Hell” it was. I also worked on countless short films. Such as this and this. I wrote and directed two sync-sound 16mm films that played such festivals as Chicago, and elsewhere.

I’m an editor for Guernica magazine , where I edit fiction, along with the occasional nonfiction piece.

I have blogged for Guernica HERE. Mostly the pieces are about Republicans. And they’re a rant. Yes, I know that.

Search my name, you’ll see I’m a signer of petitions (signed it–just one–in Union Square, unaware that it would be broadcast around the world.) And that I’ve written for magazines. Sometimes the stuff shouldn’t be on the Internet

Because I didn’t sign a contract that allowed it.

This shouldn’t be on the Internet either (because again, I didn’t sign a contract that allowed it).

Sometimes, it should

I write mostly because of these demons. They offered my a Faustian bargain: fun at school in exchange for 10 years of paying it off. Not on the internet: my fiction. That’s what I do. I’ve read here
and here

and here

and here

and here and elsewhere in little places around NYC.

I’ve also gotten a 2005 partial scholarship to Summer Literary Workshops in St. Petersburg, Russia.

and a 2006 Conference Grant
to here

And a “waitership” to Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2007.

UPDATE: More about me in this autobiographical piece I wrote for the Web Site, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, an essay called, “From Kobe, Japan to New York City (and Back Again)

Also have a few more stories out there on the Internet and a page on The Atlantic. This entry is an old one.