Best of the Bests


Holy shit! Already another Best of the Bests…these things are fun, huh? Over 200 responses. Good job. Creepy, each year seems evident there’s a larger force hovering. Pulling the strings of our lives. The unannounced theme this year: Grief. Reading got heavier than usual. But—what wasn’t unusual? Quality. Y’all made me sad. In a good way. Without further blah, blah, blahing, here they are!!! (And, of course, continue scrolling for the last two years’ lists. Love y’all.)

The World’s Biggest Moron Stops Laughing,” by Kyle Seibel (@kylerseibel) in HAD.

How to Run Away When You Are Pushing Fifty,” by Rachel Zients Schinderman (@rzschinderman) in Wanderlust.

After Victor Died,” by Austin Ross (@AustinTRoss) in Lost Balloon.

A Fan’s Fiction,” by Derek Maine (@mainely) in The Last Estate.

Seeing Scars,” by Jillian Luft (@JillianLuft) in Identity Theory.

For Old Times’ Sake,” by Jonathan Lee (@JonnyLeeWriter) in Nation Cymru.

How to Heal a Sunburn,” by Hattie Hayes (@QueenHattieJean) in The Puritan.

Man Turns Forty (Throws Pity Party),” by Benjamin Drevlow (@thedrevlow) in Roi Fainéant Literary Press.

Sapphic Saints,” by Holden Tyler Wright (@holdenwrightnow) in Ninth Letter.

Grace & Separation,” by Joshua Burton (@joshuaburton23) in TriQuarterly.

You Crown Paul Shaffer’s Head with Mustard,” by Kirsti MacKenzie (@KeersteeMack) in HAD.

Fourteen Ways of Looking,” by Erin Vincent (@erin_hearmeroar) in The Offing.

Where There’s Smoke…,” by Liz Alterman (@LizAlterman) in Jellyfish Review.

Special Beam Cannon,” by Jon Berger (@bergerbomb44) in Misery Tourism.

Le Spleen de Barcelona,” by Rafael Mendes (@rafaelmendes341) in Litro Magazine.

Outside Noises,” by Teddy Burnette (@teddyburnette) in Apocalypse Confidential.

A Song Comes On at a Party,” by J-T Kelly (@JHyphenTKelly) in Five South.

I am Alive, and I am Surviving,” by Max Asher Miller (@maxashermiller) in Fatal Flaw.

The Disaster Lottery,” by David Williamson (@Williamsonism) in X-R-A-Y.

Whoosh,” by D.T. Robbins (@dt_robbins) in HAD.


Again, I asked for YOUR best. You came through. I was SO moved by writers reading/lifting each other and friends who enjoyed last year’s list, I had to make it an annual thing. 2021 was a year of stretching time, endings/beginnings, shifting love, Paris, colons, and shit. Whatever motivated, the outcomes were marvelous. Here are my 15 faves of the 113 entries. Enjoy, and if so, keep scrolling for 2020’s list!

What I Think King Kong is About (Having Never Seen King Kong)” by Kirsten Reneau (@ReneauGlow) in No Contact Mag.

Bar Rot” by Felicia Rosemary Urso (@felishonaleash) in ExPat.

Fiction Reader/Writer” by Derek Maine (@mainely) in ExPat.

Keening” by Josh Denslow (@joshdenslow) in Lunch Ticket.

Shagging Flies in Ballard” by Alexandrine Ogundimu (@cross_radical) in X-R-A-Y.

Lovebirds” (video) by Kyle Seibel (@kylerseibel) story originally in Wrath Bearing Tree.

The Twins” by Ben Niespodziany (@neonpajamas) in phoebe journal.

All the Notes I’ve Left” by Lee Anderson (@bxfrizzle) in Gertude Press.

My Pal Luca” by J. Evan Self (@puppetflesh) in Bear Creek Gazette.

Shopping in Chernobyl” by Amy Barnes (@amygcb) in Complete Sentence.

Aging Out” by Candace Walsh (@candacewalsh) in Leon Literary Review.

The Way Olivia Benson is Both Extremely Protective and Extremely Able to Fuck You Up is Some Serious Daddy Energy” by Melissa Boles (@melloftheball) in The Daily Drunk.

Squirrels” by Hugh Behm-Steinberg (@behm_steinberg) in Mercurious.

Ice Cream Math” by Dev Jannerson (@DJannerson) in Porter House Review.

my heart weaving” by Twila Newey (@motleybookshelf) in Sugar House Review.


I asked for YOUR favorite story you had published in 2020. Over 200 responses came in–essays, poems, prose, news articles–on wildfires, #BLM, Trump, COVID-19, sexuality/growing up, about pain, dental bills, minotaurs, barking dogs, psychotropic drugs, children murdering their family. There were unexpected ones, too. With humor. These stories are the ones that jumped. Hope they lead you to down a rabbit hole, where you too spend 2 weeks having your hair knocked back; being proud of, and amongst, angels.

Easter Sunday” by Anney Bolgiano (@Sadjunct_Prof) in Nashville Review.

Sunset Lounge,” by Alice Kaltman (@AliceKaltman) in Joyland Magazine.

Insomnia,” by Will Donnelly (@Will_Donnelly) in Zone 3 Press.

Flower Sickness,” by Anna Lindwasser (@annalindwasser) in Scarlet Leaf Review.

And Another and Another and Another Glass of Rosé,” by Christopher Gonzalez (@livesinpages) in Catapult.

On Things Now Burning or Soon to Ignite,” by M.K. Sturdevant (@mksturdevant) in Nashville Review.

Rain Delay,” by Rachel A.G. Gilman (@rachelaggilman) in Delicate Friend.

A Lexicon of Decay,” by Rebecca Hazelwood (@rlhazelwood) in Passages North.

Classified,” by Josh Denslow (@joshdenslow) in Vol. 1 Brooklyn.

The night I met God in the drugstore,” by Lindsey Heatherly (@rydanmardsey) in trampset.

The Pinch,” by Pascale Potvin (@pascalepalaces) in Quail Bell Magazine.

For a Good Time, Call,” by Natalie Lima (@NatalieLima09) in Guernica.

The 1965 Johnny Roseboro, Mint Condition,” by Eric Scot Tryon (@EricScotTryon) in monkeybicycle.

For Dorothy, Who Made It,” by Sarah Brody (@sbbrody) in The Normal School.

“Irradiate,” by Jeannine Hall Gailey (@webbish6) in Ploughshares.


The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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