BREW X got me thinking a lot about the vulnerability inherent in writing. Even when a writer isn’t specifically exploring the autobiographical there is still so much vulnerability in the act of putting one’s thoughts and feelings down on paper–or upon laptop screen–and even more so in sharing them with an audience. I started things off by reading some random selections from a notebook of story ideas kept in college, most of which were ludicrous and / or incoherent but which I found interesting for the way my younger self’s thought processes were laid bare and exposed. Emma Komlo-Hrobsky was our first guest reader and took us on a metaphysical journey via the works of a fictional astronomer and while her story was perhaps as far from the autobiographical as could be there was vulnerability–and the strength that comes along with it–in her decision to take on such speculative and bold material. Robert Carlos Garcia read from his upcoming full length poetry collection Melancolía (Cervená Barva Press, 2016) in which he peeled away layer after layer of human emotion until he arrived at that which seems to motivate so much of our behavior–love and need and fear–so that we felt truly reflected in the vulnerability of his work. Julia Philips, a writer specializing in stories of modern Russia, read to us of Nadia and her daughter Luda as they transition from a troubled existence into a new life with Nadia’s parents which in many ways turns out to bee as perilous as that which they left behind. This, too, was a story of vulnerability, and my sincerest thanks go out to these three wonderful readers who allowed themselves to stand up and be vulnerable for a little while–and also to the audience, who were as warm and welcoming as ever.
Emma Komlos-Hrobsky writing has appeared in Guernica, Web Conjunctions, Bookforum, the Story Collider, Tin House, and Hunger Mountain. She received her MFA from the New School, where she now teaches for the Riggio Honors Program. She is associate editor at Tin House and director of Tin House’s Brooklyn writing classes.Visit her at https://ekomloshrobs.wordpress.com/
Roberto Carlos Garcia’s chapbook amores gitano (gypsy loves) was published by Červená Barva Press in 2013. His poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in Public Pool, Stillwater Review, Gawker, Barrelhouse, Tuesday; An Art Project, The Acentos Review, Lunch Ticket, Bold As Love Magazine, Entropy, PLUCK!: The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, The Rumpus, 5 AM Magazine, Wilderness House, Connotation Press- An Online Artifact, Poets/Artists, Levure Litteraire, and others. His first full collection, Melancolía, is forthcoming from Červená Barva Press in 2016. A native New Yorker, Roberto holds an MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation, and is an Instructor of English at Union County College. His website is www.robertocarlosgarcia.tumblr.com.
Julia Phillips writes about Russia. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Glimmer Train, The Antioch Review, and The Rumpus, while her nonfiction has appeared in BuzzFeed, Slate, and Jezebel. Find her at juliaphillipswrites.com.