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Spring 2008

Salt Lick

Anyone familiar with Brian Ames’s three books of short stories⁠—Smoke Follows Beauty, Head Full of Traffic, and Eighty‑Sixed⁠—will know that he’s a writer of imagination and depth. His stories explore the boundaries between everyday existence and the chaos that lurks beneath the surface of ordinary life. Some of his characters are shaken when they glimpse the reality that underlies the world of appearances, as when Dr. Mullenix, in “A Taste Like Fear” (SFB), discovers a murdered angel half buried at the edge of an African watering hole. Others slip through the fissures that open beneath their feet and are lost—sometimes literally, as in the title … » More …

Spring 2006

Words on words


Mark Twain is rumored to have said that he had no respect for a man who could spell a word in just one way. Many college students wish that their English professors shared this view. Yes, it’s true that conventional spelling promotes effective communication—no one denies it—but at the same time there’s always a loss when capitulation to conformity extends too far. A good example is vocabulary usage, particularly in academic settings. Am I the only person in the University who’s heard the words “benchmarking” and “networking” a few times too often? Somehow I doubt it. In my own field of study, English literature, … » More …