Before “A Fireball for Edgar”

The following is a guest post by Brandon Jenkins, whose short story “A Fireball for Edgar” appeared in Issue 11 of Typehouse.


While reflecting on this past year, the first year I actually started submitting my stories to publications, I began pondering why I’m a writer and why I chose to write about the things I write about. I found myself reminiscing about the first story I ever wrote a long time ago. Although the details of that first short story I ever wrote are foggy at best, I can recall the circumstances surrounding that story as if it were yesterday.

The assignment from our third grade teacher, Mrs. West, was to write about the moon then read it aloud to the class. I can vaguely remember a few of my classmates reading their stories to the class: My best friend Justin talking about eating ice cream on the moon; my friend and little league teammate Lance talking about a neon green moon that would drip radioactive ooze; and my friend and teacher’s pet C.B. who ingeniously created a world on the moon and used the earth to light up its sky at night.

I can remember taking my turn immediately after C.B. because I had a clever plan to one-up him. I had decided to use everybody in the class in my story. Since it was a big class (there were about thirty of us), I had to group a lot of people together to make it read faster but at the very least every student would get a mention. Those who were close friends of mine, however, got prominent roles in my story.

As I mentioned, I don’t remember too much of the story itself but one thing I am certain of is that it was titled The Remote Control Moon and the premise was simple: our class had the remote that controlled the moon. I was a few sentences in when I remember all hell breaking loose both figuratively and literally.

As I read about Lance accidentally smashing the side of the Empire State Building with the moon, or Justin nearly killing himself while trying to control the moon, the actual Lance and Justin were convulsing with laughter on the floor at hearing their names mentioned. I remember at one point my friend Matthew actually injuring his elbow when he fell out his chair from laughing so hard when he smashed another classmate into the ground with the moon.

All of the girls in the story were broken down into several “gangs” which I based on their real life cliques. I couldn’t help but notice Mrs. West getting a special kick out of this. Their job in the story was to find the “special” remote that controlled the room.

When I was finished, and nearly out of breath from both reading and laughing, there was maybe one or two boys still seated properly. The rest were scattered around the room hyperventilating as if they just ran a marathon. I handed my story to Mrs. West and got a polite applause from those able to do so.

Maybe that’s what made me want to be a writer: The fact that I was able to entertain thirty of my classmates while just being myself. Maybe I would’ve become a writer regardless of how the story was received. All I know for sure is my friend Matthew was still in considerable pain when we went to recess later that day.


You can find Brandon on Twitter.

Writing is Gross

The following is a guest post by Ruy Arango, whose short story “Waking” appeared in Issue 11 of Typehouse.

A lot of people think writing is great, that it’s cool and sexy, that there’s something really special about it, something artistic.Those people are wrong. Writing is gross.

Writing is gross because it’s personal. Not the warm conversation kind of personal, the middle-school-sans-antiperspirant kind of personal. In fact, it’s so personal writers often shy away from showing it to anyone, the way you’d shy away from lending out your underwear. Writing is hope and desire and fear all rolled up into a ball of letters. Sometimes there are even semicolons. Gross.

Writing is gross because it’s work. It’s not spontaneous and it doesn’t feel good. It’s unpleasant enough that many writers struggle to do it at all. They think of the drafting and re-drafting and pages of line edits and decide to do something else entirely, like clip their nails or masturbate. It’s the sort of thing people put off. Gross.

Writing is gross because most of it is bad. That’s right, bad. And a lot isn’t even bad, it’s really bad. It has typos and too many commas. Sometimes it doesn’t go anywhere, just limps on page after page. Sometimes it doesn’t even do that, just sits there, dense and off-putting, like a stool sample. It’s the kind of stuff that attracts flies, that leaves a trail of slime. Really bad. Gross.

So, writing is gross, but what about stories? We like those, love them even. They’re great, fantastic, the best. We couldn’t do without them. Is there something to be said about this? About the fact that stories are made from writing (ew), that they’re forged over days and weeks and years, and that if the writer had a soul (doubtful), some part of it would surely be in that story, that thing we read and take into ourselves like nothing less than the communion of God almighty?


But writing is still gross.

How I Accomplish “Pride, Excellence & Beauty”

The following is a guest post by Carolyn McMurry, whose artwork appeared in Issue 11 of Typehouse.


Scrolling on Instagram can make you feel obsolete about your skills. I know I did, but I also knew I wasn’t so much obsolete as I was on a different level artistically. I mean, I have a lot to do, I have a family to take care of, school, work; so drawing wasn’t exactly my first priority. Not to mention, I just don’t have the time to devote to a heavily detailed work. However, I saw what abilities I wanted to accomplish in those Instagram artists. I mean, I really, really wanted to get there. So I decided to make time and learn from them instead.

This particular series, “Pride, Excellence & Beauty,” was inspired by many of those works on social media and the techniques that were used to create them. I have also currently been very aware and inspired by my culture and natural hair movement. This embraces our skin, our hair, our bodies, and our pride. I wanted to show that in my work. For the longest, I didn’t have any real meaning behind most of my art. Portraits have always been my thing but they were just random photos from the internet of my favorite celebrities. I took a new direction. Still portraits, but they were more culturally aware with opportunities to improve on texture, shading, and detail.

In a way, I wanted to give myself some form of a foundation. I asked myself, What about my art do I want to change, improve? I didn’t want my outlines to be too heavily defined, so I picked up different textured pencils and experimented. I didn’t realize there were so many shades that resulted in different outcomes. Graphite, soft and dark charcoal, layering…I can’t believe it took me this long to figure out why a No.2 pencil is a No.2 pencil. I studied the shading, blending, posture, and detail of many other artists (@ts_abe is my favorite). I worked on curls and the texture of hair, because curls are a significant part of the culture; and our hair is much of our pride in itself. Not to mention, curls are a challenge all their own. Shaping the face and its features properly was a major goal. To think, all this time and I still hadn’t gotten it right. In my defense, using a reference was simple. I was great at that. But that wasn’t the case for my freehand style. Freestyle was the struggle.

I challenged myself to draw differently on purpose to get away from what I had always done, while still expressing the beauty of what I had always known. Thus, the pride was born. Pride in my culture, pride in my work, and pride in my choice to learn rather than envy. This series was a part of my coming out, artistically and as a new woman who refuses to let others dictate how I express myself. If I took a risk with nudity, I told myself not to care what someone else might say. In fact, I was going to freehand the same type of photos until I was satisfied with my improvement. So really, “Pride, Excellence, and Beauty” was reflective of my own personal journey and where I’m trying to go. Hopefully, people can be inspired by this change of life artistically and personally.


You can find Carolyn on Facebook 1 or 2, Instagram and Twitter.