Photo by author
June 25th, 2015

Photo by author

Your name: Liam Callanan

Current city or town: Milwaukee

How long have you lived here? 10 years

Three words to describe the climate: cooler by lake

Best time of year to visit? Summer, summer, summer, which doesn’t start until July 4 and ends about 12 hours later.

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user rubyblossom.
June 24th, 2015

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user rubyblossom.

North of the Long Range Mountains in spring time, where the road swings east off the long northerly climb up the west coast, and a little farther on, back to the north again to the land’s end on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, a place where Norsemen and women came ashore 500 years before Columbus, and the great icebergs, calved off the great Greenland ice sheet, march along the eastern shore with the currents of the North Atlantic: here, in this place, a polar bear passed by.

June 18th, 2015

Welcome readers and listeners! This is The Common Contributor Podcast from The Common magazine. Every other month, we invite our contributors to read and discuss each others work. This month, we discuss two pieces from Issue 07: “The Common Statement” by our editor in chief Jennifer Acker and the story “Con” by Stephen OConnor.

Photo by author
June 16th, 2015

Photo by author

Stephen O’Connor is a writer of fiction and nonfiction, the author of four books, a professor of creative writing at Columbia University and Sarah Lawrence College, and a husband and father. His short stories “Con” and “Double Life” appear in Issues 07 and 03 respectively of The Common. His new novel, Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings, is forthcoming from Viking-Penguin. Melody Nixon talked with OConnor this month while she was in Norway and he in London. They both endured the rainiest of European springs and the crackling of Skype to talk dreams, the unconscious, and the right/ability of white writers to write across identity lines.

reviewed by Karen Uhlmann
June 15th, 2015

The title of Michelle Brafman’s debut novel, Washing the Dead, is taken from the sacred washing of a traditional Jewish burial ceremony. Volunteering for a washing, or tahara, is considered one of the most selfless deeds in Orthodox Judaism because the beneficiary cannot thank the participants. The book’s three sections are named for and center around different occasions of ritual washing in the life of the narrator, Barbara Blumfield, as she tries to fathom the family secrets that bind her to her Orthodox community and repel her. The first and last are taharas and the middle is a mikveh, a purifying immersion in water.