Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism

F I C T I O N   2 0 0 2 - 2 0 0 3
Stories of Magical Realism
s t o r i e s   ~   e x c e r p t s

f r o m   t h e   e d i t o r


LUPE VARGA, DECEASED May 2003 - 6 pages
b r i a n   e v e n s o n   ~   p r o v i d e n c e,   r h o d e   i s l a n d
"When they found the artist Georges Pont-du-Lyon Traba's body on the main street of the capital, it had been penetrated by hundreds of miniature arrows."

MOTHER'S MILK: A DAIRY TALE June 2002 - 3 pages
g a y l e   b r a n d e i s   ~   r i v e r s i d e ,   c a l i f or n i a
"The breast pump stretches Ruth's nipple out so far it looks like a hitchhiker's thumb."
     GAYLE BRANDEIS WRITES: "I think magical realism requires an openness, a fluidity of thought and experience, a melting of boundaries between the senses, between dream and wakefulness. Even though magical realism can veer into darkness, I see it primarily as an expression of hope, of faith in imagination and possibility. A good appreciation for the absurd, a fearlessness, also seem to be part and parcel of the genre."

TUXEDO BIRD SPRING June 2002 - 11 pages
r o b e r t   p o p e   ~   a k r o n ,   o h i o
"I cleared my throat again, preparing myself to take on this personality."
     ROBERT POPE WRITES: "Many years later, as he faced his definition of Magical Realism, he remembered that distant afternoon when Gogol’s nose once lit him up with joy; it's not sad knowledge of the real that is the ancient key to storytelling, but the wonder of a human soul alive inside the knowledge of the real."

THE BLOOD CAKE VENDOR June 2002 - 7 pages
j. l.   n a v a r r o   ~   s a n   d i e g o ,   c a l i f o r n i a
" 'I will tell you when the wars are over,' the vendor said. 'In which case, I will not be able to sell them anymore. The required ingredients will no longer be available.' "
     J.L. NAVARRO WRITES: "Magical realism is Rod Serling's Twilight Zone. He was the most direct early influence on me. It's also the works of Kafka and Juan Rulfo, García Márquez and many others too numerous to mention. It is writing in the realm of the fantastic for the sake of grabbing the reader from the onset. You don't want him running away for fear of being bored to death if you were to approach the story in a more conventional format. I sometimes write in this mode for that very reason, to keep myself from falling asleep while penning the story. The mundane can be made much more interesting if you spice it up by adding a dash of the unreal and a generous portion of fragmented dreams, mix well and pop it into your imagination. If done correctly, the results will amaze you."

WITHOUT WINGS June 2002 - 9 pages
l i a   s c o t t   p r i c e   ~   l o s   a n g e l e s ,   c a l i f o r n i a
"They were especially alert for the lady in white, who was said to announce her appearance with a heart-wrenching, wailing cry that announced death or disaster to anyone unlucky enough to hear her."
     LIA SCOTT PRICE WRITES: "There is always a reality behind every story, and fiction is a medium in which it can be told. We don't know what goes on in other people's lives, but through magical realism, we can see into their souls. When you dream, there is always a catalyst for that dream, and you drift from one world to another. Your dream world is fiction that has a reality behind it, and your reality is often based on what you dream about. They are interconnected in one way or another. And just like life and folklore, they are inseparable."

SALAMAT SO LONG June 2002 - 4 pages
c a n t a r a    c h r i s t o p h e r   ~   s a n   f r a n c i s c o / p a r i s
"And oh the reports and oh the dreary police, the cocking eyebrows and my father crumbling, can’t you bring in Scotland Yard? Scotland Yard, the sigh, oh sir..."
     CANTARA CHRISTOPHER WRITES: "Magic Realism: A work of fiction that contains at least one 'fantastic' element while remaining grounded in the quotidian."

WE MISSED YOU June 2002 - 5 pages
w y a t t   b o n i k o w s k i   ~   m a r g i n
"Rumors began circulating the moment the man arrived in town."
     WYATT BONIKOWSKI WRITES: "The pairing of magic and realism to me suggests the infusion of reality with magic, or the uncovering of a magical reality within the normative world of appearances."

MADAM'S CURSE June 2002 - 10 pages
t a m a r a   k a y e   s e l l m a n   ~   m a r g i n
"…Rest assured…that for more than thirty years as a small-time Seer of Futures and Gazer of Crystals, I have never sold, not to any person, a fortune borne of real clairvoyance."
     TAMARA SELLMAN WRITES: "I have always been interested in Outsiderism, which may explain my fascination with magical realism, as it often brings to us marginal characters, ideas, places -- not marginal in the sense that they are lesser, but in the sense that they are extraordinary."

THE FRIDGE May 2002 - 2 pages
i s a b e l l e    s o j f e r   ~   p a r i s ,   f r a n c e
"After my grandmother died, she refused to go to a cemetery."
     ISABELLE SOJFER WRITES: "Magic realism works like a dream -- it's rich in mundane details, woven into reality, and it springs from the unconscious. The premises can be totally outrageous, but somehow they make sense on a deeper level, so you accept them."

FULL FATHOM FIVE May 2002 - 7 pages
g a y e   j e e   ~   s u s s e x ,   e n g l a n d
"I dive down and brush the sand and small nibbling fishes away from her face."
     GAYE JEE WRITES: "My definition of magic realism would be fiction or poetry that contain events that are seemingly impossible, yet which are not perceived as extraordinary by the characters within the work; instead they inform the plot or theme and are therefore congruent with it."

CRASHING May 2002 - 5 pages
s o n d r a   k e l l y - g r e e n   ~   o c e a n s i d e ,   o r e g o n
"A slightly built woman stepped out of the cockpit and peered over the fuselage at the top of my Christmas tree, taking in the sad strings of tinsel that clung tenaciously to the tinder-dry limbs."
     SONDRA KELLY-GREEN WRITES: "Magical realism implements the impossible in order to express the possible. It exists on a plane on which reality is challenged and the mind and soul are set free of conventional restraints and allowed to soar towards enlightenment."


i a n   w i l d   ~   e n n i s k e a n ,   w e s t   c o r k ,   i r e l a n d
"Freya was twenty by the time she discovered -- to her dismay -- that other sinners thought eating bibles was weird."
     IAN WILD WRITES: "Magical Realism: The impossible barely raising an eyebrow."

THE PALM TREE BANDIT May 2002 - 5 pages
n n e d i m m a    o k o r a f o r   ~   o l y m p i a   f i e l d s ,   i l l i n o i s
"Not all of the women evaporated when they climbed a palm tree, but the parents of the offender were cautioned and cleansing rituals were performed to appease the gods for her misdeed."
     NNEDIMMA OKORAFOR WRITES: "Trying to define magical realism is like trying to keep warm water in a mesh box; something always seeps out. It's easier to show than to give words to. It's the ghost rustling the leaves at the top of the tree, or maybe it's just the wind. It's the lady who can fly but only when she knows she's awake. It's all that we know seen through the eyes of a God or goddess. It's what makes sense and it's the unexplained. It's one of those things that you know when you see it but you can't quite explain."

BLUE PLATE SPECIAL March 2002 - 13 pages
o z z i e   n o g g   ~   o m a h a ,   n e b r a s k a
"The rest of the attic's sprawling space was filled with replicas of the world's most famous tourist attractions. They stood, side by side, their gardens, windowpanes and frescoes, their chandeliers, dungeons and doorknobs, perfect in every detail."
     OZZIE NOGG WRITES: "Since others far wiser than I have trouble defining Magic Realism… and since I come from a Talmudic background... let me answer the question: What is Magical Realism? with more questions… Where is it written that there is only one reality?... When was it determined that our wishes, dreams and intentions can not take on tangible shape?... Who has decided that every event needs to be explainable and understood?"

TIERRA Y LIBERTAD March 2002 - 13 pages
c a r o l   z a p a t a - w h e l a n   ~   c l o v i s ,   c a l i f o r n i a
"While Dulce Esperanza, tethered to this earth only by tubes, lines and beeping blue screens, wavered between worlds, Tranquilino waited, the only soul allowed across the threshold of the ICU. 'Am I dead, Abuelito?' she asked as he stood near, his hand on her dry, hot forehead."
     CAROL ZAPATA-WHELAN WRITES: "Magical realism is a term German critic Franz Roh used to address post-expressionist art in the 1920's, taken up by Venezuelan writer Arturo Uslar Pietri in 1948 in reference to a literature with surrealist elements. While the term Magical Realism has been widely applied to contemporary Latin American works, its incarnation is so variable that literary critics often dismiss the expression as overextended and artists resist it as a classification. The brand of Magical Realism grown in Latin America's soil is not just a transplanted version of surrealism: it bears a legacy of beliefs and practices informed by both native and imported rituals, some of which include Roman Catholicism, African religions, varied indigenous creeds, all contributing in some fashion to the artist's visions of the mundane, the marvelous and the terrifying. The narratives of Magical Realism, with their matter-of-fact mix of the the 'real,' the commonplace, with the unreal, the strange, often employ carnivalesque hyperbole, surreal coincidences and 'naturally' occuring supernatural events to attack social hierarchy, to state the political realities of the artist's vision, strange ballasts for what are often strange and elusive truths."

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