As we come out of this pandemic – or learn to live with the endemic – we lament that we may have ‘forgotten’ how to live more communally with others. bioStories is a wonderful way to keep ourselves in tune to the lives of others and how we interact both locally and globally. Publishing nonfiction prose only, bioStories offers submission guidelines that help writers focus their craft on what the editors are looking for, and express the understanding that “real life is messy,” yet acknowledge: “human nature is idiosyncratic and frequently contradictory, and, quite often, when you look close enough, it is downright graceful.” The publication features a weekly essay on its homepage and prints two issues each year. Recent online contributions include Neil Cawley “Speech and Debate in the Time of Covid,“ Al Czarnowsky “Buck,“ Nancy Deyo “Naked Facebook Friday,“ William Keiser “A Postcard from the End,“ Jae Nolan “Better Left Unsaid,“ Kristen Ott Hogan “Give that Dog a Bone,“ Gretchen Roselli “Aunt Aggie, Bobby Kennedy, and My Parents’ Summer Theater,“ Nancy Smith Harris “Ida Ziegler,“ Aminah Wells “The Ballet Barre.“ and Andrew Yim “Grammy’s Secret.“
New on bioStories so far this year: Tim Bascom “At Ease,” Emma Berndt “Wisdom from the Alligator Purse,” Deborah Burghardt “Leaving Mum Behind,” Joe Dworetzky “Big League,” Patricia Feeney “Holy Mother,” Karen Foster “Carrying Sam,” J. Malcolm Garcia “The Reporter and the Reporter’s Mother,” and more. See a list of all of 2021’s contributors so far at the bioStories website.
The latest issue of bioStories introduces readers to the survivors of wars and the survivors of accidents, transports them to homeless shelters and hospitals, onto urban campuses and within rural farmhouses, and invites them to live briefly alongside occupants of cramped Brooklyn apartments and Southwest desert trailer parks. Work by Steven Beckwith, J. Malcolm Garcia, Jay Bush, Gary Fincke, and more.
Magazine Review by Katy Haas
bioStories invites readers into the daily lives of those around us. Ann S. Epstein’s “My Name Could Be Toby Gardner” explores a topic that follows all of us daily: our names.
Born to a family of immigrants, Epstein begins by breaking down her parents’, grandparents’, sibling’s, and aunt’s name, each of them going by one that was not given to them at birth. Once she makes it to her own name, Epstein considers the ways which we tie identity to the name people call us. But she’s never felt connected to neither her first nor last names.
There is something almost comical about the way Epstein rights about this. The constant back and forth and corrections of the names of the people she’s mentioning in her piece are handled with levity, but she concludes on a more serious tone, wondering if names can be lost if they don’t make their mark on their person when they’re young.
Whether you want to spend some time thinking about what names mean to identity, or you just want to learn about the intricacies of the names of Epstein’s family, this is a quick and interesting read.
About the reviewer: Katy Haas is Assistant Editor at NewPages. Recent poetry can be found in Taco Bell Quarterly, petrichor, and other journals. She regularly blogs at: https://newpagesblog.com/.