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This edition of Litro Magazine aims to bring a little brightness and laughter to dark times and winter months, with an edition of comedy. Not that comedy can’t be dark, of course; not that there’s no pain beneath the chuckles and comedy can’t tackle difficult subject matter. So there’s bad stuff too – violence and blackmail and oppression and poetry readings – in these stories and essays. Pleasingly against women-aren’t-funny stereotypes, though, eight of the issue’s ten contributors are women, and happily, there’s love in these pages too: between a middle-aged couple in Kathy Anderson’s “Welcome New Lesbians”; illicit love in a Jewish retirement community upsetting the family in Brandon French’s “Pop Goes the Weasel”; and in Kate Felix’s “Whereupon the World Rears Its Ugly Head”, a piece with a witty and unusual form, a courtroom stenographer puts her skills to unlikely use.
On the other hand, there’s not much love in Rachele Salvini’s “Breakfast with a Douchebag”, as an Italian in London navigates the morning after the night before in the run-up up to 2016 referendum. Anna Pook’s “Am Wife, Will Write” also plays with the form and definition of a true story. And Ross McClearly’s “Idea For A Poetry Show” isn’t exactly a story, either – and has more ideas than one. Finally there’s a Shakespearean tale of false prophets and sex and blackmail and usurping sons in Ernest O. Ogyunyemi’s “The New Messiah’s Son”.
The titles of this issue’s essays are introduction enough to their contents, especially for Mattison Merritt’s “I Screamed ‘Every White Man Should be Considered a Rapist Until Proven Innocent’ at a Halloween Party and Got Kicked Out”; and there’s overheard “Locker-Room Talk” in Maria Terrone’s piece of that name; while Krystin Santos’s “A Broke Girl’s Guide to Atlantic City” is an account of, to say the least, an interesting trip to that town.