On December 27, 2012, Torrey House Press, publisher of Steve Peck’s novel The Scholar of Moab, among other fine works of literary fiction and nonfiction, issued a call for environmentally-oriented nonfiction. In its call for submissions, THP noted that while it can’t help but like and publish novels and short stories, the literary fiction genre is huge and thus an extremely difficult field in which to make a mark. THP’s thinking is that “Topical, environmental nonfiction has a smaller, more focused market in which it is easier to identify and reach interested readers.”
Acting on this strategy to achieve a workable balance between literary fiction and environmental nonfiction in its publishing line and to brand itself more conspicuously, THP is
calling for lively, controversial, leading edge manuscripts on topics like water catchment, public land use, environmental health, environmental economics, sustainable living, renewable energy, land use policy, the importance of wilderness, the trans-formative power of natural places, environmental building and landscape design, about how small is beautiful, the local food and business movement and other ideas of enlightened, sustainable living. (Torrey House Press)
This looks like a good opportunity for WIZ readers and writers to send work and see if it makes a good fit with THP’s goals. This little press looks to be putting every effort into becoming a literary mover and shaker in environmental writing and environmentally-based literary fiction and, as far as I know, keeps its authors’ interests in mind. Not every writer can say that’s true of his or her publisher. In fact, early last year, THP forged a new relationship with Minnesota based book distributor Consortium Book Sales and Distribution that it hopes will help it achieve its goals of continuing to evolve in a healthy direction. This is not only something they’ve done for their own good but to my eye appears an act geared toward looking out for their writers.
If you’ve been thinking of launching yourself and are looking for a publisher, try Torrey House Press. Check out their site. Have I mentioned that it was me that put Steve Peck onto Torrey House Press, which match-making resulted in the publication of The Scholar of Moab?Â In May 2011, THP managing partner and publisher Mark Bailey sent an email thanking me for making the referral. So don’t write this opportunity off. I’m on to something here.
Was that deceiver so lacking
in diabolical imagination that
he appeared loudly, graceless in
I think not.
Rather he brought to mind sweet
cool Spring mornings, mother’s bread
baking thick and moist. Its smell
tickling every corner, happily.
Broken, pulled apart, steam dancing
upward from two hot halves. Honey losing
viscosity as bread and sweetness meet.
“Surely it would be no crime,”
“Take these rocks, you
made them anyway, and
to that bread.
Command these bees:
`Bring honey my friends
for this fast of mine is over.’
The Son of God must have his strength
for the mission ahead. Surely
you deserve this.”
But rising, the Master
smiled at his memories, brushed the
dust from his robe. And walked homeward
over the rocks
tired and hungry.
Steve Peck is an ecologist at Brigham Young University. His novel, The Scholar of Moab, by Torrey House Press was awarded the Association of Mormon Letters award for best novel of 2011. Other creative works include a novel: The Gift of the Kingâ€™s Jeweler (2003 Covenant Communications) and aÂ novella A Short Stay in Hell was recently published by Strange Violins Editions. He has published numerous short stories and his poetry as appeared in Dialogue, Bellowing Ark, BYU Studies, Irreantum, Red Rock Review, Glyphs III, Pedestal Magazine, Tales of the Talisman (nominated for the Rhysling Award), Victorian Violet, and a chapbook of poetry published by the American Tolkien Society called Flyfishing in Middle Earth.Â Steve blogs at bycommonconsent.com and has a faith/science blog called The Mormon Organon.
She rests on her grandmotherâ€™s quilt,
the Spring air cool, but sun warmingâ€”healing
She, face turned to the sun,
is thinking back on the line of mothers
who gave her being and body . . .Â She thinks about
an Eve, way back . . .
Out of some Cambrian longing
her distant grandmother emerged
hard shelled, many limbed,
singular in purpose, only a
crustacean of sorts, but a
crustacean on its way somewhere.
What a piece of work, this creature.
There would be many cuts,
restitchings, corrections, additions,
before her story appeared leaping
onto this wet fabric, around this sun, in this
neighborhood of stars,
in this galaxy,Â in this cluster, in this universe,
in this multiverse, in this embedding,
in this quilt.
She is a small thing compared to a star,
attached to eternity
by only a pineal of complexityâ€”maybe
netting consciousness from some other
place. Is she some eternal piecework or
does she arise like her
new and shining from lesser things?
On this day, she notices that
a far more distant
relation has shed an apple
leaf, which spirals
downward with grace.
She, saturated in connections, turning
over, leans off the quilt
and breaths in the scent of fragrant
face first, she smells existence
in the loam, and feels some of
wrapping its arms around her and whispering
sentences that that grandmother knew and
passed on to this mammal woman,
her childâ€™s child and so on.
Mothers running backwards, for eons.
This patchwork on which she lies
is of certain origins, and
she can wrap herself in its squares
and enjoy its warmth and the mercy of
the long chain of its history and
Steve Peck is an ecologist at Brigham Young University. He has a novel soon to be published, The Scholar of Moab, by Torrey House Press. Other creative works include a novel:Â The Gift of the Kingâ€™s Jeweler (2003 Covenant Communications); a self-published novellaÂ A Short Stay in Hell (reviewedÂ here andÂ here), a short science fiction story:Â The Flaw in the Lord Harrington Scenario, published inÂ HMS Beagle (online journal by Elsevier); poetry inÂ Dialogue,Â Bellowing Ark,Â BYU Studies,Â Irreantum, Red Rock Review,Â Glyphs III,Â Pedestal Magazine, Tales of the Talisman (nominated for the Rhysling Award), Victorian Violet, and a chapbook of poetry published by the American Tolkien Society calledÂ Flyfishing in Middle Earth.Â Steve blogs at bycommonconsent.com and has a faith/science blog called The Mormon Organon.
Coming soon to a mailbox (or computer) near you: Dialogue’s environmental issue.Â Several Wilderness Interface Zone contributors are included therein–congratulations, friends! Frequent WIZ contributor Steven Peck guest edited this issue.
Table of contents:
Page Â Â Â Author Â Â Â Title
Mary Toscano Â Â Â Front Cover
Inside Cover, Title Page
v Â Â Â Edwin Firmage, Jr. Â Â Â Letters
1 Â Â Â Steven L. Peck Â Â Â Why Nature Matters: A Special Issue of Dialogue on Mormonism and the Environment
6 Â Â Â George B. Handley Â Â Â Faith and the Ethics of Climate Change
36 Â Â Â Craig D. Galli Â Â Â Enoch’s Vision and Gaia: An LDS Perspective on Environmental Stewardship
57 Â Â Â Bryan V. Wallis Â Â Â Flexibility in the Ecology of Ideas: Revelatory Religion and the Environment
67 Â Â Â Jason M. Brown Â Â Â Whither Environmental Theology
87 Â Â Â Bart H. Welling Â Â Â “The Blood of Every Beast”: Mormonism and the Question of the Animal
118 Â Â Â Mary Toscano Â Â Â A Perch, A Foothold, A Float
119 Â Â Â Patricia Gunter Karamesines Â Â Â Why Joseph Went to the Woods: Rootstock for LDS Literary Nature Writers
134 Â Â Â Adam S. Miller Â Â Â Recompense
143 Â Â Â Ron Madson Â Â Â Grandpa’s Hat
148 Â Â Â Sarah Dunster Â Â Â Gaius
150 Â Â Â Harlow Soderborg Clark Â Â Â Easter Sermons
152 Â Â Â Jon Ogden Â Â Â Seasonal Ritual
153 Â Â Â Jonathon Penny Â Â Â Winterscape: Prairie
154 Â Â Â Karen Kelsay Â Â Â Mother Willow
155 Â Â Â Sandra Skouson Â Â Â Girl Without a Mother to Her Big Brother
156 Â Â Â Mary Toscano Â Â Â The Tightrope Walker
157 Â Â Â Hugo Olaiz Â Â Â The Birth of Tragedy
161 Â Â Â David G. Pace Â Â Â American Trinity
177 Â Â Â Benjamin E. Park Â Â Â Image and Reality in the Utah Zion
180 Â Â Â Polly Aird Â Â Â Not Just Buchanan’s Blunder
190 Â Â Â Rob Fergus Â Â Â Scry Me a River
196 Â Â Â Mary Toscano Â Â Â Wherever He May Go
197 Â Â Â Peter L. McMurray Â Â Â This Little Light of Ours: Ecologies of Revelation
Can’t wait to get my copy.Â Â I’m very happy to see so many WIZards’ work appearing in the issue, including poems from WIZ’s 2010 Spring Poetry Runoff.
Only complaint: The cover girl or boy polar bear is cute, but I would have put hummingbirds up front.
To read Part One, click here.
H. is unwilling to give up and is looking more closely at the little hole we might be able to climb in. I back up and find a passage behind a fallen slab about the size of a pancaked SUV leaning against the wall of rock. I tell H. and he looks and we decide it is worth a try. He goes first (again, being the less timid) and wiggles his way through on his belly. He yells that it ends at a drop off about seven feet high. I hear grunting, huffing and puffing . . . â€If I can just twist around . . . I can go feet first . . .â€ More grunting then an exclamation, â€œIâ€™ve done it!â€ I then belly through the birth canal and emerge scratched up but smiling. We continue. The canyon is very narrow now. We cannot face forward in some places without each shoulder touching the wall. Two more places require us to chimney to get down similar seven-foot drops, but they are coming more often and getting trickier to negotiate. Continue reading Crossing Boundaries, Part Two by Steven L. Peck
Every year an old friend and I undertake an adventure. H. and I are middle-aged now. Past our prime and youth when our adventures were bolder and more carefree. I can remember when we then, full of laughter, took his new pickup and rubbed its shiny sides against aspens for luck while searching out some secreted beaver dam in which to toss a fly. Now we fuss and fret. We worry endlessly about our kids and their kids and temper our exuberance with caution, having faced too many sorrows and misfortunes since. We are stressed and plagued with the press of the day to day, and we both in demeanor have that worn edge that cheese graters achieve when used on granite.
But once a year we become eighteen again. We plan a day and fashion ourselves into grand explorers and take to the environs of our youth. His wife drops us off on a dirt road. In pictures she took, we cut a pair of comical figures. Camelbacks, pants, and trekking poles make us look like a pair of amateur bird watchers more suited to a stroll along a paved parkway than two bold men (in our minds at least) out for rugged adventure. In one of the pictures, one of us points to the desert. It is a hint that today we are not taking to common trails. Continue reading Crossing Boundaries, Part One by Steven L. Peck
While weâ€™re teetering on the very edges of our seats gripping our arm rests watching the heated race for the Most Popular Poem Award, I have a few announcements Iâ€™d like to make. Continue reading WIZ announcements
When the bobcat
flashed angrily through
of Alan’s famous
we sliced the
silence to a primitive
stop and wild
.22s resting cold and
the back seat
from the car
The canyon echoed the crack
crack, crack as we fired
We didn’t know then,
have cured us
and the quiet Spring night
She painted herself
into the landscape. On
a canvas she had
magicked from deep-self,
April sunlight streamed
from the clouds
in spectacular, uncanny, raysâ€”
soul stuff made flesh.
She brought it to her
father who pointed out
how she should have
painted the sunbeams with
pointing to a maudlin
hung ceremoniously on
a well-manicured wallâ€”
an oil anyone could have techniqued
with hackneyed accuracy. Thatâ€™s
how it should be done he said, then
He missed the remarkable
enchantment of his
little girl capturing light mixed with
quintessence and vital
spilling onto canvass.
Unable to penetrate
she spread Platinum White
over the surface
and put down her brushes.