CULTURE

IN SEARCH OF EMPTIED TIME

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I remember her bloody, drained, and happy, her thighs trembling from exertion, spread open to the sides. And I'm holding a piece of living flesh in my hands and trembling with fear. Through my fogged-up glasses I see her torn pelvic floor still spitting blood. I shout, "Another unit! Quick!" and raise the slimy little body above my head – for everyone to see the tiny penis – and the midwife takes it. The entire operating room sighs, like a punctured bus tire. They hand me scissors, I grasp the umbilical cord close to the little tummy, and I cut it.

Fri, 12/03/2021 - 10:42
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THE WRITER AS SPY

I have a story in which the main character is a voyeur. It is called The Red Room. Every few months this guy rents a new place to stay in search of more and more new scenes for observation. One night, the lens of his powerful telescope falls upon a room flooded with intense red light. It is completely empty, except for the plain wooden chair in the middle. For days, weeks on end, our voyeur observes the room, but no one enters. The chair remains empty and the red light streams relentlessly into the night.

Thu, 04/29/2021 - 16:58
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iliyan ivanov and dana prodanova.jpg

FEELING THROUGH

Dr Iliyan Ivanov and Dr Dana Prodanova, a family, emigrated to the United States in the late 1990s. Dr Ivanov, who has recently become a professor, is a child psychiatrist at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York while his wife, Dr Prodanova, runs a successful dental practice in midtown Manhattan. The couple is an associate producer of Feeling Through, nominated for an Academy Award in the Short Film category.

Thu, 04/01/2021 - 11:27
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RUIN BLUES

Why is it that there are places in the world which chime with us, even if we've never been there before? While others make us ill at ease, in some subtle but incurable way not unlike a dysfunctional relationship. When I was in my late teens, our family emigrated from Sofia to the south island of New Zealand. It was immediately obvious that we had landed in the world's most beautiful landscape, which is why it felt perverse to feel as disconnected as I felt from the start.

Thu, 04/01/2021 - 10:59
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RAKIYA, a short story

Comparisons of rakiya and other spirits are nothing new in Bulgaria – one such competition takes place annually in Sofia – but those contests consider alcoholic drinks mass-produced by established wineries and corporations. The event in the village, on the other hand, is open to residents of the area who make rakiya in their bathrooms, garages, and cellars. This competition attracts little fanfare and winning is solely a matter of local pride.

"Nazdrave!"

Thu, 12/31/2020 - 11:44
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TOO FAR FOR COMFORT

"Are all Bulgarians as touchy-feely as you?" The question had never occurred to me, until my friend Jenny asked me a few weeks after we met during our freshman year of college in Saint Paul, Minnesota. This was the first time I thought about personal space explicitly, even though I'd probably experienced it on a sensory level throughout my whole life. I was coming from a high school in Kuwait, which, although American in name, spirit, and language of instruction, was actually a hard-to-disentangle jumble of cultures, customs, greeting habits, and levels of touchiness.

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 11:29
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RED TIDE

To defrost from a long Arctic Vortex and to draw mangroves in charcoal I flew to an artist colony near Fort Myers, Florida, on an elongated and thin island, a Key. I didn't know there were Keys on the West Coast of Florida, only south of Miami, where I had never been. It seems a Key is a glorified sandbar which has gained solidity through vegetation sinking roots and tides bringing in more sand, mostly white but with specks of black. Some of the black came from thousands of years of shark teeth, and every morning I could see people collecting the teeth. It was an art form.

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 10:57
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