So this is my third issue of The Rag. Again, there were no fabulous stories, but overall I thought this issue was better than the other two that I had read (with the exception of the Zeke story in the most recent issue). I was not inspired by the artwork in this issue at all...it was just pictures of buildings and birds mostly and it did not really seem to coalesce at all with the stories. The theme of this issue was family and child/parent relationships, there was also a birthday motif throughout.
Lily: I like this one, I thought that it captured the simultaneous guilt and resentment that we can feel towards our kids.
The Story of a Cold Bud: I wasn't impressed with this poem, it was a commentary on class and alcoholism and anyway I'm not a big poetry lover.
How 'Bout it Mr. Twain: I wasn't really compelled by this story, but it was interesting. Slightly unbelievable that the boy would be able to exist so much on his own.
That Thing with the Dog: The mother in this story had absolutely no backbone. It was interesting to think about the power a child could have if essentially ignored, but it was just a bit too much in my opinion.
le salamander: So this was not really a poem or a short story, just a mesh of stream of consciousness almost. I didn't really like it.
Sweatpants: I liked the subtlety in this story. We know that Bill is a bad influence and that he is an odd duck, but it is not until the end that we learn that the main character's father is also a drunk and as the reader sees the jealousy over Bill's relationship and ease with the main character's father that it comes clear that the main character is probably seen by others the same way that Bill is seen by them.
Pseudonymous: I didn't like this story. It seemed pointless. Essentially the commentary is don't judge others because we all have our mental issues. Ugh.
pa pa power: best line in the poem: "power will continue to hopscotch through the avenues of the city". It was okay and the idea that power is not static is certainly true.
The Final Reel: This was my favorite. I liked that the story unfolded through the movies. I liked that the transvestitism and gay-ness were not resolved. And I really liked that the adultery (or almost adultery) which was the main plot point went unmentioned in the end. Life itself is so anti-climatic. It also had two great quotes: "A world of authenticity, Althea understands, might inherently be a darker place to live, but at least people would cease to be disappointed" and "What they cannot see--no one ever does--is the blatant fact that loneliness has nothing to do with being alone."
Silence: This story was not compelling or believable. It was believable that they would lose the kid. Not so much that they'd leave the beach. I was also unconvinced by the parent's affection for each other.
Aperture: A poem. Interesting description of the rough housing of boys; as a mom of two boys it seemed accurate, nothing special.
In-World: This was just weird. Virtual reality taken to the next level; I like that Ethan did not want to go to the virtual world to escape his paralysis and that Cynthia left him when she realized that he was accepting his new identity. That seemed plausible and unexpected.