South Congress | Structo | 18 February 2017


UPDATE 30 July 2017: “South Congress” is available digitally today. The whole issue is a marvel — love the opener, “Dangerous Objects” by Mark Reece, and Niamh McCabe delivers a saviour-dog’s-eye view in “Golden Stone Territory.” There is a fantastic interview of Oscar Schwarz which explicates the Literary Turing Test, e.g. “Bot or Not” which is really interesting.  My love and appreciation to the editors of Structo, in particular Euan and Elaine. Jump to the story here.

Original 18 February 2017 post continues below.

Structo 17 launches today!  Congratulations are in order — it’s a beautiful magazine, and a favorite.  Thanks to editor Euan Monaghan and the staff at Structo for selecting this story.  I wish I were able to attend tonight’s launch!

“South Congress” is one of my rare full-length short stories, and it tells the tale of two lonely souls sharing an Uber across town. (Uber used to operate in Austin, but I think it’s a Lyft town, now.)

Fellow writers might relate to the fact that all acceptance notices from magazines and journals make me cry a little — is it relief? happiness? shock? — because I’m so overwhelmed that this peculiar type of writing I like to do might find its needle-in-the-haystack right reader. Writing is such a lonely vocation.

The acceptance notification on this story certainly made me cry: This piece was very popular with everyone. A section of one review which sums things up: “Love this entire piece. Love how it comments on our disconnection from each other, our isolation, our loneliness. Beautifully crafted.”

Here are some snapshots from Austin.



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“South Congress” is the name of a street in Austin, in an area of the city called SoCo.

As far as craft commentary goes, this has a very traditional Freytag framework: 2 characters, a setting, a problem right off the bat, then a propelling event, escalation, crisis, ending.  I often think of the Wordsworth sonnet when I default to these structures: “Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent’s Narrow Room.” It can be very liberating, very freeing spiritually to write within small frameworks, constricting confines.  That’s the wonder of language, isn’t it?

This is the third story to be published out of my notes from visiting Austin, Texas.  Previously published are “Cavalry” at b(OINK) Magazine, and “Abilene” at Stoneslide Corrective.

I hope that you enjoy “South Congress.”  You can find links to Structo 17 here if you’d like to purchase a copy of the journal. Structo’s practice is to make a new issue print only for 3 months; therefore the contents are not available online until May 18.  I’ll try to remember to come back and update with a link to the story in a few months.

Thank you for visiting and reading my blog.  I’m grateful for your company here, and hope that you’ll check out Structo, and see if you fall in love with it as I did!