Fiction in Creative Nonfiction Clothing

December 15th, 2009


Sometimes we find our art in faces, distorted in pain or joy, other times in the geometry of a rugged landscape or even in the contours of what we have chosen to discard, its worth hidden from view until it is revealed by the artist. And sometimes this art is only called such because of whose hand has produced it. We will, of course, know this art when we see it, won’t we?

Robert McGowan, a skillful writer, who is as well, an accomplished artist, joins a growing list of writers included in the first issue of the Camera Obscura Journal. “The McCaig Photographs,” excerpted below, is part of a recently completed story collection called Happy Again at Last: Stories from the Art World.

“Surely no class of object more mundane could be brought to the attention, there being, one might suggest, no good reason to think of them at all. Horizontal slots set in the curbs of city streets for the purpose of relieving the streets of rainwater. Everyone has seen these things, but almost no one notices them. They’re in fact so unnoticed that it would be difficult for many people even to call to mind’s eye an image of one, or for that matter to know for sure what a storm drain is, unless one be pointed out to them.”

“It seemed however that Andrew McCaig had known storm drains uncommonly well. It would be no exaggeration to assert he knew storm drains intimately,  having been very cozy with them for some time, precisely when or for exactly how long no one knew.”

Robert McGowan’s fiction and essays are published in, among many others, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Connecticut Review, Crucible, The Dos Passos Review, Etchings (Australia), The Savage Kick (UK), South Dakota Review, and have been anthologized. His work as an artist is in numerous collections internationally, including Bank of America, Bank of Korea, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), Smithsonian Institution. He lives in Memphis.

More updates as they become available.
Happy Holidays,
M.E. Parker, Editor
Camera Obscura Journal

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A visit to Otherwhere

December 4th, 2009


The most recent addition to the inaugural lineup of the Camera Obscura Journal is the latest unpublished selections from Otherwhere by Claire Bateman. Previous selections have appeared in Harper’s, Mississippi Review, and Blackbird. Her vivid prose and magical descriptions of a place that exists, perhaps, in the aether of a fractal dimension, or somewhere near Sonoma, make me wish I could traverse the byways of Otherwhere as a tourist with a camera, freezing snippets in time and tucking those moments away until their secrets are exposed, only later, in the faces of the inhabitants of this amazing place. Here is an excerpt:

“In this realm, all the people walk around in flowing reflective garb, beholding along the contours of each others’ bodies every change of their own expressions, as if all the tailors had one day decided to eschew textiles in order to work instead with liquid glass.”

Claire Bateman’s books are:
*The Bicycle Slow Race *(Wesleyan, 1991);
*Friction* (Eighth Mountain, 1998);
*At the Funeral of the Ether * (Ninety-SixPress, 1998); 
*Clumsy* (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2003); *Leap*   (New Issues, 2005);
*Coronology and Other Poems* (Etruscan Press, forthcoming). The title poem from Coronology is also an e-chapbook of the same name  produced by World Voices at:,

and is forthcoming as a print chapbook from Serving House Press.  She has received grants and fellowships from the NEA, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Surdna Foundation.  She lives in Greenville, S.C.

More journal updates soon…

M.E. Parker, Editor
Camera Obscura Journal

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