Archive for the journal updates Category

A Valentine’s Day story that you won’t want to miss

Posted in journal updates with tags , , , , , on February 13, 2015 by Tim Elhajj

Take Heart by Mari Casey.

But of course he doesn’t want to hear that truth. I can see it in his eyes. He wants to hear something that makes me forgivable—a sob story with neglect, abuse, foster homes, some chronic disease or horrible injury that required a prescription that got me “hooked,” any story with some mitigating factor. It wasn’t like that. He wants some part of my story to explain how I couldn’t have been as bad as he thinks I was, as bad reality was. He wants an excuse because he needs me to be better than a drug addict to fall for me, and he wants to fall for me. He likes me. He thinks I’m funny. He thinks I’m kind, bless his heart. But I’m not a special type of drug addict, not some innocent who accidentally fell arm-first into a needle. I’m not a bad person, either, just an addict. And I’m looking into his eyes which are searching for excuses I don’t have. I’m not a heroic survivor of tragic circumstances. I don’t know what to say.

Read more on Junk.


Merrill Sunderland Gives Us Stroke

Posted in journal updates on November 20, 2014 by Tim Elhajj

Stroke by Merrill Sunderland.

Few people are ever willing to barter with the boy: to trade a back rub for a neck rub, for instance, or a foot massage for a scalp massage. And those who even occasionally entertain such requests, he abuses without a second’s though. He becomes animal. He nudges and whimpers and lies down for them, his belly flat on the carpet.

Junk is back with new work from Gina Warren

Posted in journal updates on September 29, 2014 by Tim Elhajj

Some Things Calculable by Gina Warren.

“I’m noticing some tension between us,” Mom tells me, leaning forward to look past Dad, cramped into the narrow airplane seat between us. “And I would like to clear the air before our trip.”

Ten minutes until take-off.

Eighteen hours since I found Mom’s stash of Vicodin in the top left bathroom drawer.


Passages by Fiona Helmsley

Posted in journal updates with tags , , on November 15, 2012 by Tim Elhajj

I read some of Fiona Helmsley’s work on The Rumpus and it blew me away. I was so impressed I immediately commented on it. I think I said something like, “You’re an amazing writer!” Perhaps I even asked for her hand in marriage. I can’t remember anymore. Not more than a few days later, I came into the office and found the entire Junk editorial staff gathered round the water cooler, chattering excitedly.

Passages had arrived by carrier pigeon. Everyone was agog. I snatched a copy of the story and then raced up the winding stairs to my office to read it, huffing all the while. Now it’s your turn.

Junk is proud to present Passages by Fiona Helmsley.

The Point of Failure by Alan Schulte

Posted in journal updates with tags , , , on April 17, 2012 by Tim Elhajj

Alan Schulte’s story is the story of Everyman, addict or not.

Failure is a condition of life, the point of which sometimes happens in unexpected places. While addicts might be encouraged, more than most, to direct a spotlight into the darkest parts of their soul, it is every writer’s burden to tell their story in such a way that the spotlight shines in the reader’s soul as well, illuminating our deepest fears, and reminding us that the light won’t kill us after all.

Join the Junk editorial staff in celebrating Alan Schulte‘s story, The Point of Failure.

A Reason to Smile by Alan Kaufman

Posted in journal updates with tags , , , , , on February 15, 2012 by Tim Elhajj

The esteemed Alan Kaufman closes out our winter issue with A Reason to Smile. This story is an excerpt from Kaufman’s new book, Drunken Angel.

A Reason to Smile is wonderfully pointed criticism of American values, especially care for the poor, mentally ill and homeless. It’s exactly the sort of political, self-aware writing we love.

We visited San Francisco and heard Alan read from Drunken Angel and were suitably impressed. We’re so proud to present his work on Junk.

Later this month we’ll sit down with Alan to discuss writing and recovery.

When You Wake Up by Aimee E. Millwood

Posted in journal updates with tags , , , on January 16, 2012 by Tim Elhajj

Aimee Millwood lights the house on fire with her story, When You Wake Up.

I’m so blow away by this piece. I love how she stays in the aftermath of the event throughout the story. Absolutely the best way to tell a story like this, so unrelenting and frightening for the reader (smart, smart choice to tell it in second person).

The fine detail and excellent imagery stand as testaments to her recovery, the return of her skill with language. And the ending… Just sublime. I can totally relate, I’m sure most people will.

A String of Lights by Allison McCabe

Posted in journal updates with tags , , on November 15, 2011 by Tim Elhajj

Allison McCabe closes the door on the Fall 2011 issue with her haunting look at the San Fernando Valley in A String of Lights.

I love how unabashedly nostalgic this piece feels, but without pulling any of its punches, the way talk of the past often does.

Junk is proud to present, Allison McCabe, my friends.

Allison McCabe.

New work for October will get you “High”

Posted in journal updates on October 17, 2011 by Tim Elhajj

Higher Ground, the new work for October, is an amazing piece.

Most people consider addiction a disease. But if it is a disease, the stories we read about addiction are unlike any ever told about, say, cancer or autism. With addiction, there is usually some element of contrition. Not that there shouldn’t be. After all, if it is a disease, it’s a disease like no other.

But when you come across a story that does something different, as Higher Ground does, it’s really quite amazing. Not an ounce of contrition. But it’s not a romantic story about the old days, either. And there is something spiritual here. Some sort of natural commune with nature.

Check it out. See if you agree.

Brock Kingsley kicks off Junk’s Fall issue with All Filler

Posted in journal updates with tags , , , , , on September 19, 2011 by Tim Elhajj

Brock Kingsley’s story, All Filler, kicks off a new Fall season on Junk!

All Filler captures the capricious nature of addiction, the mystery of how some people fall, while others narrowly miss disaster. It’s a mesmerizing story.

In the comments section, Gary Presley, author of Seven Wheelchairs: A Life beyond Polio, notes how subtly Kingsley ratchets up the tension, even as the story’s opening line reveals the ending. Until Gary mentioned it, I hadn’t noticed that aspect of the story. Part of the joy of sharing these stories is when someone points out something I might have otherwise never noticed. I love these conversations!

Upcoming Fall issue contributors include Joe Whalen and Allison McCabe. We couldn’t be more pleased with the wonderful stories we’ve been so fortunate to receive at Junk.


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