My story “Goose Island” was recently featured on the website of Panhandler Magazine, the literary publication of the University of West Florida’s English Department.
I really enjoy what they do there, and whom they’ve published previously (George Saunders, Jason Ockert, Jeff Parker, Stefan Keisbye).
The first draft of this story was written between my second and third residencies at the University of Tampa, was then titled “Refuge Rats”, and a version of it was an honorable mention one summer for Glimmer Train.
The only real inspiration for this piece came from the surreal presence of nutria in the lake behind my condo. They’ve since disappeared, which is all the more chilling to me, but the way they’d hump around the lake at night, and bathe peacefully under the stars, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I wonder whether they would ever arrive at night in large numbers… so I started writing.
I worked extensively with Jessica Anthony (The Convalescent, Chopsticks) on this story. I submitted the third draft to her workshop, and in our months together she had me revise the story twice, giving me extensive notes and advising I change the title because alliteration is not a good thing. I owe her a bunch for this publication.
Read “Goose Island” here, and feel free to let me know what you think.