Fiction That Crosses The Rural – Urban Line

selection from a photograph of Barry Lopez by Robert Miller

Fiction writing is one of the art forms that we do not discuss enough on The Art of the Rural, primarily because (at least at this point) none of our staff work in that field. We are very thankful, then, to have recently received word from Josh Wallaert, a poet, writer, and Assistant Editor of Places, about the journal’s August fiction series. (Folks may remember our coverage of their slideshow for the extraordinary The Edge of Light: Wendover, by Brian Rosa and Adam Ryder.)

Simply put: Places is outstanding. Since 2009, it has been an open-acesss online publication; their mission to think in interdisciplinary terms about landscape, architecture and place stands as a shining example of how artists, academics and everyday readers can create meaningful dialogue and challenge our safe definitions of “rural” or “urban” space. To boot, the site is gorgeously designed and complete with a deep archive of materials and online features.

Given this, we are excited to pass along word of the fiction series at Places, with its impressive gathering of writers. Below I’ll reprint the journal’s introduction to two of the pieces Mr. Walleart suggested our readers would be most interested in, though there is a fascinating range of fiction to explore within the series. Enjoy:

“Dixon Marsh” by Barry Lopez:
In thirteen books of fiction and nonfiction, and the marvelous dictionary Home Ground, Barry Lopez has mapped new territory for environmental writers and located “a language for the American landscape.” Here, as we continue our August fiction series, Lopez follows field biologist Terrin Macdonald, with her dog and her semi-automatic pistol, into the Petersen Mountains on the Nevada-California border, where she has a strange encounter while collecting water samples at Dixon Marsh.
In the spirit of August and the tradition of summer reading, Places will feature short stories throughout the month in which landscapes are central to mood and meaning. Urban Waite kicks off the series with a childhood adventure set on a family farm inside the urban boundary of Long Beach, California. When a golf course replaces the neighbors’ orange field, strange things come out of the grove and ominous signs appear in the sky.