UNKNOWN BY ESSENCE MOORE 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 18
I turn and face my mother and as I take a breath my heart breaks. I feel slightly lightheaded. The tears are welling up in my eyes and I’m unable to hold them in, they fall down my face ruining my make-up.
I take another deep breath and I say to my mother: “It pains me to bring you to my session to reveal what I am about to reveal to you, and it pains me even more of the hurt that I am sure will follow after I’m done saying what I have to say.”
She remains silent.
I tell my mother, “Mommy I have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and the reason I have this is due to the sexual abuse I suffered as a child.”
The air seems thicker now.
“No one knew this, I have kept this to myself for a little over twenty years. I didn’t want to tell you because I didn’t want you to hurt or think there was something you could have protected me from, because you are a great mother and I couldn’t have asked for a better one. I just decided I would shoulder the burden and try to forget about it.”
I waited for my mother’s response.
She asked, “Who did this to you?”
IVAN DE MONBRISON
Ivan de Monbrison is an artist living in Paris. He has exhibited his work in art galleries in Paris, Brussels, Siena, Barcelona, New York, and Pittsburgh. He has three poetry books published by éditions la Bartavelle.
Writing poetry became a passion of mine after I studied at the Bloom School of Jazz—in many ways jazz taught me how to write poetry.
I live in Charlotte, NC, working at Trader Joe’s and attending Queens University en route to an MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry. I’ve been published in Poets/Artists Magazine, Buffalo Carp, and Columbia Poetry Review.
Rick Neumayer has a BA and an MA, currently is a grad student at Spalding U. He has taught in high school and college, co-edited a literary journal, been lead singer in rock’n’roll bands, and published short stories in such magazines as Bartleby Snopes, Eunoia Review, New Southerner, and The Louisville Review. He also writes Broadway-style original musicals, three of which have been produced at RiverStage in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Charles Lowe has stories published in Essays & Fictions, Guernica, Fiction International, the Pacific Review, and Pedestal. He lives with his wife and daughter in Shanghai where when not teaching, he is at work on a collection of short stories.
TISHA MARIE REICHLE
I am a Chicana feminist who writes so that the desert landscape of my childhood can be heard as loudly as the urban chaos of my adulthood. I grew up in tiny, isolated corners of the Southwest: Holtville, California; Hatch, New Mexico; Poston, Arizona; and Blythe, California. At 17, I escaped to UCLA (and a slew of parking tickets because I’d never seen a meter before and paying to park was an alien concept). In spring of 1995 my professor suggested I attend a Latina Writer’s Workshop. There I discovered that my imaginary friends and all the conversations I’d been having with myself didn’t mean that I was crazy, they meant I was a writer. Some of my writing has been published at Annotation Nation, Travel by the Books, and The Splinter Generation.
I chose to write Unknown as an inspiration to those who may be going through what I went through. I was taking a creative writing course at my school and my teacher really inspired me to dig deep into what we were going to write. I decided this may be the opportunity for me to be an inspiration to others but also an exhale moment for me which could be therapeutic. I hope to be of some help to someone. I want people to know they are not alone and you can overcome any obstacle.
I am a new writer, this is my first published work. The only advice I have for other new writers would be to not hold anything back. The topics that may seem the most scariest to write about are the topics that will probably be of most help to someone.
Essence Moore is an English major at the University of Maryland University College. She works in the non-profit arts field.
STEVEN MARSHALL NEWTON
“I’ve learned that the fundamental philosophy underlying my writing is primarily based, oddly enough, on Modigliani’s minimalist style of painting and Giocometti’s even more stark sculpture. These artists strip a piece of art down to the heart of its elemental essence by eliminating every ounce of waste, pretension, and maudlin sentimentality, fearlessly leaving nothing behind but raw flesh and bone, the spirit of the thing.” Newton’s stories have been published in The Lakeview Review, Blink, Apollo’s Lyre, The Adirondack Review, Hot Metal Press, The Gator Springs Gazette, Calliope, Ascent Aspirations, Santa Fe Reporter, Alibi Magazine, Calliope, The Evergreen Review, and others. Illinois Line is an excerpt from Newton’s novel in progress, Southeast of Eden.
I wrote And This is You because being an Asian-American woman I am particularly interested in gender and racial identity issues in a country woven together by such diverse cultures. With this story, I hope to illuminate the subtle complexities and conflicts of what it means to be a woman and especially an Writing is like therapy for me. It is like going for a spa or massage session. Writing helps me think, it helps me remember, and reflect. I write because life it too short and too unpredictable. I write because I am curious about humanity and can never tire from exploring its possibilities and complexities.
Kate Brody is a junior English major at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Her poetry has been published in the Red River Review and she has begun working on her first novel. “My writing,” she says, “tends to center around strong, complicated female characters who deal with thematic issues of grief, sisterhood, and the negotiation of their gender roles. To borrow from Joan Didion, I write to discover what I want and what I fear.
Rohan Chhetri lives in Delhi. His poetry is published online in Eclectica Magazine,Subtletea,andIstanbul Literary Review,and in print inWeyfarers, The Antigonish Review,andRattle Magazine. He co-edits the quarterly literary magazine Nether (nethermagazine.org) and he works as an editorial assistant at Hachette India. “Ten people reading a poem are ten different readers reading ten different poems,” he says. “By that logic a poemis never really finished.”
Brian Kayser is a writer from Charlottesville, Virginia. When he’s not teaching middle school students, he’s playing with his son and wife, running, or writing something.