Issue 56, at this week’s Mag Stand, celebrates Expression. Featuring the William Van Dyke Short Story prizewinning stories “Little to Do with Rain” by Leigh Claire Schmidli and “Occupation Rock and Roll” by Etan Nechin as well as Alberto Daniels’s short story “La Bruja.”
The latest issue of Ruminate features the writers who placed in the 2020 VanderMey Nonfiction Prize.
“Destiny of Cumin” by Jasmine V. Bailey
“A True Prayer is One That You Do Not Understand” by Kelly J. Beard
“How To Ruin a Persian Wedding” by Atash Yaghmaian
Finalists include Avra Aron, Kaimana Farris, Dorothy Neagle, Alexandra Loeb, Sally Pearson, Arielle Schussler, Jamie Smith, Shannon Tsonis, and Shannon Yarbrough.
Selections were made by Ruminate’s founder, Brianna Van Dyke and says of her first-place selection: “Jasmine V. Bailey’s ‘Destiny of Cumin’ offers a wide-searching exploration of food and slavery and motherhood and becomes an essay about power and love and what it means to live among the contradictions of our own hearts.”
“The Everyday” issue celebrates Ruminate‘s focus on finding the sacred within everyday moments and routines. This issue features work from our 2019 Broadside winner Meredith Stricker, as well as the winning pieces from our 2020 VanderMey Nonfiction Prize written by Jasmine V. Bailey, Kelly J. Beard, and Atash Yaghmaian chosen by judge Brianna Van Dyke. Also in this issue: Erin Malone, Chelsea Dingman, Sneha Subramanian Kanta, Nick Yingling, Alyse Bensel, Daniel Seth Kraus, Andrew Huot, Stacy Trautwein Burns, and more. Find it at the NewPages Mag Stand.
Each issue of Ruminate opens with “Readers’ Notes,” a response from a variety of readers/writers on the issue’s theme. This is one of my favorite parts of the issue—the little snippets of connection. The Winter 2019/20 theme is “Shelter,” and thirteen readers write in with their thoughts on the subject.
It’s interesting to see the variety of approaches writers take as they cover this topic. A few speak of physical structures that offer shelter. Benjamin Malay writes of an abandoned farmhouse found while hitchhiking; Duane L. Herrmann’s shelter is a screened-in porch during childhood; and Sharon Esterly writes of a DIY Cold War bomb shelter. Moving away from man-made structures, Rebecca Martin observes a child’s own body being their shelter; Liz Degregorio’s shelter is “the kindest lie” her father could tell her as a child; and Sarah Swandell’s shelter is a womb.
Each of these pieces is short and succinct. All grab attention and hold fast as readers unfold the layers that reveal the shelter within. The Readers’ Notes section serves as a great opener for Ruminate, both as a warm-up for the rest of the issue, and as a way to jog one’s own creativity, prompting consideration on how we too might briefly write on the given topic.