Shabby Doll House
Shabby Doll House becomes a little haunted this October. All those cobwebs and general disarray suit the Doll House just fine. With this issue Shabby Doll House once again confirm that alt lit is not just a polite poetic place. There are short stories, poems, and even a long overdue collection of ‘selected tweets’. Indeed tweets are becoming the new ‘letters’ of the digital age.
Stacey Teague becomes a multi-dimensional object with that special someone. When two people care about each other very much they become one. The Spice Girls sang about this phenomenon in their chart-topping hit ‘2 become 1’. Before the Spice Girls got to the topic there was Mark 10:8, some bible bro, who stated ‘And the Two shall become One Flesh’. Basically bible bro Mark was talking about sex. Stacey’s small noises indicate that she loves somebody real special. It also shows that she is capable of making small noises.
Colin Drohan experiences the positive part of New York City. This is important. Wherever someone lives a sense of community exists. The larger the city, the more this feeling of alienation is multiplied. Sometimes it is the unplanned, the spontaneous experiences in life that bring the most joy. Simply speaking to people can create a sense of belonging. Perhaps small towns do a better job of this, but the city offers the experience of a small village with the option of leaving the social scene. Few places have this flexibility the way New York does.
Matthew Donahoo shoplifts. Society in general frowns upon shoplifting. Poor Matthew spends some time with a motley crew of misfits. A former meth addict heads up the session. Various other shoplifters are there, not stealing things for a change. Others desired chairs from fast food restaurants. Failed escorts are there too, who failed in their one objective to have sex for money. The room bonds over drugs. Drugs are probably the only experience most Americans have in common.
Pancho Espinosa is amazing. This is the existential search of the bro. While Pancho calls himself a ‘bro’ bros generally have meaningless tweets like ‘420 bro’ that they tweet at 4:23 PM in the afternoon because they are totally fucking useless. Here Pancho reveals ‘a ton’ about his life. Does he know where he’s going? More importantly, does he care? College is the happiest, saddest, and most alienating experience. Then there is the rest of life which is basically college on mute.
Stephen Michael McDowell laughs. Laughter is contagious. Many have gotten healthy from Stephen’s hearty laughter. It is a full-bodied rich laugh. Basements hold futons hold people who hold Stephen. This is life. Life is mostly underground, left in the dark. It is a better way that way. Otherwise things can get too heavy. He forgets faces and Google Image searches them in his own mind.
Kristina Mahler lists the top twelve things that can happen this month. How many of them can possibly happen? Not everybody has a dog. Nor does everybody get to have ‘bed fun times’ all the time. Such is life. Public transportation tries to imply meaning through blank stares. It is impossible. There are secrets in the faces of strangers but they only create more questions.
Patrick Lee remembers the death of a child. Nothing is sadder than a life taken by an accident. Weirdly the deaths of the elderly rarely register; it is expected or at least somewhat expected. The deaths of children though are truly horrible as they are often complete accidents. Who knows what they could have achieved with more time.
Meghan Lamb really dislikes pancakes. What did they ever do? They are just there, chilling, panicking as pancakes, wondering what their fate will be. Good pancakes, bad pancakes, it doesn’t really matter. Eventually these pancakes take over her life. She makes shrines out of pancakes dedicated to pancakes for the making of pancakes. It is a Ponzi scheme of pancakes, of affection, and how it lingers after it’s all gone.
Ashley Opheim includes everyone for her final poem. It starts small and snowballs. Eventually everyone, everything, and everywhere are consumed in a brilliant glowing orb of pure affection. It is easy to hate the world for all the problems. What is hard is appreciating the simple good that exists and can exist.
This is such a great collection. Every piece tugs at the little heartstrings, for both good and bad. All ranges are shown from the beginning of happiness to the escape from a relationship. Life can become so confusing, complicated and sad. Sometimes it is good to reflect on those past experiences that can change a life for the better. Occasionally watching a sunset alone is one of the best things someone can do, to realize that at some point every day ends and a new one is born. Cycles make up so much of this and once more Shabby Doll House bears the best of alt lit’s artistic impulses.