The perfect pairing for all your stillhouse reads


THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS UPON US!

As 2018 steadily approaches, we've go a few drink recommendations
 to pair with your favorite Stillhouse Press selections.


Carmen Gillespie’s latest collection interrupts the everyday to bring us the spiritual visitations of Sally Hemings, her half-sister Martha Wayles Jefferson, and other famed and forgotten residents of the Monticello plantation. These poems reach into the distant past to unearth songs of pain and longing, weighty with the long history of American silence that continues to circumscribe our lives today.

Monticello Spiced Rum Punch

History is a tough pill to swallow. For this, we'll need plenty of rum.  Adapted from this Bon Appétit recipe, this rum punchis made to satiate partygoers and historical ghosts alike. 

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup Kopper Kettel chai spiced rum

  • 1 cup George Bowman rum

  • 1 cup fresh grapefruit juice

  • 1 cup meyer lemon juice

  • 1/3 cup Luxardo maraschino liqueur

  • 1/4 cup simple syrup, 2 teaspoons bitters (Angostura works well)

  • 1 cup sliced mangoes

  • 1 cup of assorted citrus fruits, sliced into rounds

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to bowl. Mix well.

  2. Chill.

  3. Serve with ice.


Maybe mermaids and robots are lonely. Maybe stargazing dinosaurs escape extinction, and ‘80s icons share their secrets and scams. A boardwalk Elvis impersonator declines in a Graceland of his own, Bigfoot works as a temp, families fall apart and come back together.

The Elvis Peach

Rumor has it, Elvis once reportedly drank so much peach brandy it nearly killed him. Adapted from Food & Wine, this brandy-based brew will take you from fabulist faraway worlds to Great Recession realism in a single sip.

Directions

  1. Add the rum, peach brandy, black tea, simple syrup and lemon juice to a large pitcher.

  2. Stir, add the water and stir again.

  3. Refrigerate until cold.

  4. Serve in collins glasses with citrus garnish.

Ingredients


When Mark Polanzak was seventeen, his father spontaneously combusted on the tennis court, vanishing forever. It is also entirely possible that he died of a heart attack. 

The Gin Fiz Wallop

Like Polanzak's hybrid memoir, each slurp of this fizzy little number is scarcely what you might expect.

Ingredients

  • Combine 2 ounces Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin

  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon

  • 2 teaspoons of simple syrup

  • Club soda

  • 1/2 package of Pop Rocks

  • Pinch of granulated sugar

Directions  

  1. On a small plate, combine Pop Rocks and sugar

  2. Wet rim of highball glass with a slice of lemon

  3. Add gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice to cocktail shaker and shake well.

  4. Strain into glass, careful not to disrupt the rim.

  5. Top with club soda and serve.


Bryan Borland’s third poetry collection examines what it means to dig—to undertake the intense labor of unearthing the personal/political/artistic self and embracing the consequences of that knowledge.

The "DIG This" Manhattan

We're craving bourbon for this sexy love story, the way readers crave
their next Stillhouse fix. Adapted from this Ted Allen cocktail, you need this Manhattan like you need blood in the throat. 

 

Directions

  1. Add ingredients to cocktail shaker.

  2. Shake well.

  3. Rub an orange pee along the rim of your martini glass.

  4. Strain drink into glass.

  5. Garnish with one (or two!) cherries.



Ingredients


For poet Anna Leahy and scientist Douglas R. Dechow, quintessential children of the Space Age, love for each other and love of space are inseparable. The moon landings, the shuttle program, the prospect of manned travel to Mars: each stop in humanity’s journey to space has marked a step in their ongoing love affair with each other and the cosmos.

[Generation] Space Punch

Adapted from the Belle Isle Craft Sprits recipe, this spacey brew will have you reaching for your dearest... or maybe just another mug of this stellar concoction. 

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients in punch bowl.

  2. Add ice.

  3. Garnish with rosemary and serve immediately.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle Belle Isle Ruby Red Grapefruit

  • 2 bottle sparkling wine (try Virginia's Horton Sparkling Viognier)

  • 5 ounces St. Germain elderflower liquer

  • 5 ounces white grapefruit juice

  • 3 ounces lemon juice


Lindley-0100.jpg

 

Lindley Estes is a first-year fiction student in
George Mason University's Master's of Fine Arts program
and an editor for the Moonshine Murmurs blog.
She's partial to bourbon. 

From Still to Shelf, Pt. 2: A Relational Approach to Editing

By Justin Lafreniere

What an editor should do is often the subject of debate and disagreement. It is a role that changes based on era, economics, the size of the press, or the individual personality of the author or the editor. Editing requires teamwork and cooperation, but what makes an editor talented, successful, or effective for an author? There isn’t a single right way to be an editor, but developing an editorial identity takes time and opportunity, both of which we strive to provide at Stillhouse Press.

Once the author has signed his or her contract, our Editor-in-Chief selects an editorial team for the book, choosing experienced staff who would best fit the project. Each team is made up of two or three Editorial Assistants and a Managing Editor.  Usually, Managing Editors are in their second or third year of the MFA program and have worked as Editorial Assistants on other books.  It is not uncommon for staff members to speak up for projects they are interested in developing when they encounter them as readers.  As a teaching press, we encourage staff members to work on projects that excite them and have found that the editor/author relationship progresses smoothest when both parties are passionate about the project.  

Managing Editors and Editorial Assistants meet to discuss future projects. 

Managing Editors and Editorial Assistants meet to discuss future projects. 

The Editorial Assistants (usually MFA or BFA candidates) assist the Managing Editor in performing two or three editorial passes on each manuscript.  The first is for developmental improvements and to alleviate points of confusion, the second for organization and structure, and the third for line-level concerns.  This process varies from editor to editor as manuscripts come to us at various levels of publication readiness, and some require more work than others.  All of these comments are sent to the Managing Editor, who filters through them, adds remarks, and passes the suggestions along to the author.

At Stillhouse Press, we believe that a successful editorial relationship hinges on two things: editorial identity and respect for the author and his or her project. An editor must come to a book not as a writer, but as a collaborator with the author.  Every writer is an editor in some capacity, but becoming a Managing Editor means abandoning personal stylistic quips and writing biases and embracing the author’s voice and project.  MFA students, who are still smack-dab in the middle of their program and their most intensive workshop experience, have the added challenge of recognizing the influence of the pervasive workshop mentality. When editing in workshops, writers provide feedback and give authors suggestions for revision, but these suggestions are given in a theoretical mode.

Editing in a publishing house does not  have that nicety. Sometimes things must be done. But other times, things that an author composes must be left to stand on their own. People wearing that double-hat of MFA student and editor must be aware of which is dominant when they discuss their editorial projects. Workshops are prescriptive. It’s the subtext to the name: a manuscript is only brought to a workshop if it needs fixing. Editorial relationships are not like that. So much more must be going right for it to come into an editor’s hands. Even if it isn’t a book that an editor finds exciting, he or she must be able to look at it from the perspective of the imagined reader, not from the standpoint of a fellow writer or even as a craft-oriented MFA student. Editorial relationships that are the strongest are built on a positive notion: “This is already good.”

Respecting the author and the project may seem like a no-brainer, but this fundamental component of the editor/author relationship has the most far-reaching consequences of all.  One of the most difficult things as an editor is knowing when and how to suggest large changes to a manuscript: the presence of a character, the deletion or rearrangement of scenes, or large-scale structural or organizational changes.  This is where respecting the project comes into play.  Our memoir POP! was experimental, and in any experimental work, there are going to be conversations on structure. But that book knew what it wanted to be from the outset; it was just a matter of making sure each chapter or section lined up with that vision.  When we discussed our first round of comments with Mark Polanzak, we learned that acquisition editors from other houses had resisted the book’s hybrid identity, which is what we loved most about it.  At Stillhouse, we have many conversations with our authors to discover their vision for their work before we even begin the editorial process to get a sense of the project from the author’s perspective.  We strive to present the best versions of their stories, to help them become the best books they can be, and the only way to do that is with respect for authorial vision.

There is no right way to edit, but there are certainly wrong ways.  Stillhouse strives to build a constructive relationship with our authors and their projects, one where the author is always free to reject or resist our suggestions.  Our team structure allows for multiple voices and points of view on what’s working or not working in a manuscript, which ultimately means a more thorough reader’s perspective.  Our Managing Editors distill that information and keep an open dialogue with authors from first read to final draft. We’ve found in many instances that authors and editors continue to stay in touch even after the journey has finished and the book is in print. There's no better indicator of a successful working relationship than that. 


Justin Lafreniere is the Prose Editor at Stillhouse Press and worked as the Assistant Managing Editor for POP! (Mark Polanzak, March 2016) and the Managing Editor for Maybe Mermaids & Robots are Lonely: Stories (Matthew Fogarty, September 2016).  He graduated with an MFA in fiction from George Mason University in 2016, where he also served as the Fiction Editor for So to Speak, GMU's feminist literary journal.  His work has appeared in Charlotte Viewpoint, The Western Online, and Frostwriting.

 

The "Process" of Grief: POP!

By Mark Polanzak, author of Stillhouse Press' first memoir, POP!

Drag Me to Hell  (2009)

Drag Me to Hell (2009)

If you've seen Sam Raimi’s comedy-horror film Drag Me to Hell, you'll understand my writing and grieving process pretty well. The main character, Christine, finds herself cursed and goes to a medium for help. The medium channels the dark spirit haunting her into a goat in order to slaughter it and rid Christine of the curse. There are parallels between Raimi’s film and my father’s death, and subsequently my writing about it years later. But although there is a proper process for channeling spirits, there isn’t a prescribed path for grieving. And instead of a goat, there’s my first book, POP!.

As a bereaved seventeen-year-old, I didn’t want to go through the grieving process. Not because I didn’t want to admit that I had lost my dad—though that was in there—but because it seemed really, really difficult and complicated. I didn’t want to cross the Rubicon that separates blissful teenage naivety and experienced young adulthood. I was having enough trouble learning the mitosis cycle and how cosine waves worked; I would surely botch the task of grief. But of course you can’t refuse to grieve. It’s autonomic.

One important thing I learned about grief is that there is no standard process. You can’t do it wrong. The order of grief operations we’ve all heard about—denial, anger, acceptance, and stuff—isn’t real. The person who conceived of it flat out made it up. But I didn’t know this between the ages of 17 and 21, which messed me up. I thought there was a right way to grieve, and so my sadness and sacredness and confusion and anxiety—all coming at me out of order and without warning—were compounded by a sense of self-castigation that I wasn’t doing it right, wasn’t being serious and dedicated enough to the process of grieving. I had no control over any of it. It owned me.

POP!,  Stillhouse Press, March 2016

POP!, Stillhouse Press, March 2016

The process of writing my very personal, if-not-exactly-memoir, POP! mirrors my discoveries along the path of grief. After two years of writing fabulist, fantastical, magically realist, and absurdist short stories in my MFA program at the University of Arizona, I thought it was time to write a magical, fantastical novel. It seemed really, really hard, but I did it anyway. I began a book (it was about a stick figure). And pretty quickly, I hit an enormous problem in the story (big shock—the character was flat). I abandoned it after a year. I concluded that I was not ready to write a book, not there yet. So, I stopped trying.

I thought that there was a certain way a book was supposed to look sound, arc, unfold, and there was a way a writer wrote a book—through diligence every single day, working through scenes, developing characters, constructing plot and making the setting just so—I knew I couldn’t be working on a book when I began, at first haphazardly, writing what would become POP!. I wrote unlinked vignettes in a notebook, wrote a scene four different ways, drew characters and then redrew them, stuck them where they didn’t belong, and never gave a thought to the elements that I believed all real books needed.

But that’s just it: there is no proper way to write a book. These vignettes, fragments, character morphs, and all the rest eventually presented themselves as parts of a single organism that was steadily growing together. The pieces I had simply thought of as good practice for a big project began to come together, to brush up against one another, until one day there was a whole. The ending scene reached back and connected to the beginning. I had done it without really knowing it. I had written a book.

The book is about my father’s death, its many meanings and effects on me as a son and a writer, and on my mom and my brother. Yet I was never sad while writing it; I was in the medium’s trance. I was excited and energized to be writing something personal, something that broke the rules of how I felt I was supposed to write. I am sad now when I read sections of POP!. I channeled my grief into the book. It no longer possesses me. I can kill the goat or keep it.


Mark Polanzak is the author of the forthcoming hybrid memoir, POP! (Stillhouse Press, 2016) and several short stories. Despite his conclusion that there are no rules in grieving or writing, he is currently writing a fictional rule book on etiquette. Read more about Polanzak here.

Source: http://www.stillhousepress.org/pop