Santa Monica Review

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Santa Monica Review is distributed locally by Armadillo.

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Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice and
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Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words. — Ursula Le Guin

The Cossacks call me “frozen tongue.” The old soldier calls me “the gnat who buzzes but does not speak.” I hope that my hands say what my mouth cannot. — William Woolfitt

I told her about how writers read, about living inside the story like a sniper, or a spy, until you have transformed its secrets into your own. My hands were cold. — Stephen Cooper

I allowed my mind to wander, looking again at that brown stain on the ceiling and thinking of Estonia and trying to recall the name of the capital and wondering if what the man on the train had said of Estonian girls was true, until the porter rapped again with short, sharp knocks, and I jumped. — Dawna Kemper

When the sun finishes wringing the last moisture out of the land, reducing it to one endless cramped muscle, if that water tower really does hold water, everyone will come looking for it. We’ll have to wall off Santana from the dazed would-be conquerors, and defend our water Mad Max-style from the legions of the thirsty. — Kristen Leigh Schwarz

There was no telling if she would make it, no use asking God to save her, but I kissed my fingers and slapped the stern anyway, which I guess was a sort of prayer. — David Hernandez

But Sanatomba Singh secretly aspired to be an Indian Administrative Service Officer—to be a District Magistrate and live in a red tin-covered bungalow built by the British that had a porch wrapped all around it, with electric ceiling fans every ten feet or so, ten or more servants to wait on him, and a uniformed chauffeur to drive him around in a sanitarily white Ambassador car with the national emblem in brass on the bonnet. — Grace Singh Smith

Say what you want about Los Angeles—where else would you find a car museum?—but when I stare at those early photos, two commercial airfields, empty and sprawling across what will become, in less than the span of a single human lifetime, one of the busiest intersections in the soon-to-be-erected city, what I see is possibility.— David L. Ulin

Know my friends have grown weary of me. I mean, doesn’t it follow, since we were close and agreed on everything? And if one does the algebra, why it follows that I have grown weary of myself. That’s the real rub. — Dwight Yates

He went to sleep knowing that tomorrow, after he set his phone down, he would close his eyes and smile, since something had finally happened to vindicate his years and years of editing light humor, ghost-written presidential policy blurbs, cheap-shot satire, books about writers, and, worst of all, books whose authors had literary pretensions but nothing to recommend them other than an allergy to clauses, adverbs, clarity, and hatred. — J.D. Evans

His face looked feminine and soft, and his beard trimmed into two peaks reminded me of something more devil-like than holy. A ring of thorns squeezed his exposed heart. When I saw the drops of blood, I couldn’t help but flinch and bring my own hand to my chest. — Jennifer Rae Smith

I selected the monkey I wanted as soon as I walked in. He was the only one who didn’t leer or act out with prisonhouse toughness as I passed the cage. His eyes worried up at me once and then returned to their monkey equanimity. — Geoff Wyss

He wondered if bystanders ever failed to report crimes by racially-ambiguous looking people because of the embarrassment of telling a stranger over the phone you couldn’t figure out someone’s race. — James Warner

He wonders if this isn’t what irritates him even more, that his mother has always been the one to accept these twists of fate and destiny, to draw some card or rune and make the meaning count beyond the people involved or their actions. His mother calls this forgiveness and lights another proverbial candle. — Vicki Forman

I stood in front of the mirror and looked at the face that betrayed me. It looked like two interlocked possums, my big disturbing ears empurpled and coiled like two marsupial tails. — Benjamin Weissman

When the political situation started to stabilize, Ismene came for a couple of days at a time and brought friends: snakes and lizards, a quartet of feral parrots and once a dazed vulture who needed to clean up her act for a few weeks. Things down the mountain were good, but intense. — Alisa Slaughter

Their languages were beautiful, he said, but their savagery caused them to turn aside the olive branch of our forefathers, the White Russian settlers, and lose forever the chance of redemption our ancestors offered them. — Richard Wirick

He would lie in bed, staring up at the ceiling, sucking on a penny, listening to the cacophonous choir in his head as the clock in the hall clicked and chimed away the hours. Sometimes, he would fall asleep with the penny still in his mouth. — Mark Maxwell

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