The research for my novel-in-progress involves reading books about the culture and economics of railroads in the post-Civil War period stretching until World War I. It’s fascinating time, full of myth and heroics, but it's also disheartening to read about how one of the technological marvels of the modern world caused such a disparity in wealth, widespread corruption, and brutality...not to mention what terrible bedfellows the government and business can make. Though I’m only a third of the way through it, I highly recommend Railroaded by Richard White. He’s a former UW professor (and current Stanford prof) who weaves together the various forces of the age in a way that’s at times difficult to understand—not because of the way it’s written, but because the true complexity of the times. I’m learning a lot.
In writing news, I’m taking a breather on novel edits for The Hummingbirds, and have focused my attention on the novel-in-progress and Spartan, whose new issue you can read here. It features shorts by Anthony Warnke, Kathy Fish, Tommy Dean, and Daniel R. Julian. We’re now reading submissions for our 5th anniversary issue, so if you’ve got some short prose or prose poems, read the guidelines here and consider submitting.