Author: Jasmine Swaney Lamb

Montana Mouthful Update and New Instagram Series

Greetings MM Community, After we published our debut issue, MM staff took a brief hiatus to regroup and celebrate more than a year’s work dedicated to creating a new literary magazine. Now we’re back, refreshed, and focused on Issue 2. The theme of our second […]

Seeking Submissions for Issue 2 and a Contest

Seeking Submissions for Issue 2 and a Contest

Greetings! Last Thursday, we published the first issue of Montana Mouthful! We’ve received a lot of positive feedback, and we hope you enjoy the inaugural issue if you’ve not yet read it. You can read the issue for free, and you can also purchase digital […]

Montana Mouthful’s “Firsts” Issue is Live!

Montana Mouthful’s “Firsts” Issue is Live!

We are excited to share our inaugural issue of Montana Mouthful Magazine!  More than a year of planning and preparation by the MM staff has led to this exciting moment, and we sincerely thank all of the writers and artists who had confidence in us and submitted work for our debut issue.

Inside, you’ll travel through a variety of stories and images that represent a “first” in some capacity. Joy and sadness exist within these pages: first loves, first losses, and a range of firsts in between.

Montana Mouthful’s “Firsts” Issue can be read for free here.

If you’d like to own a copy of the issue, you can purchase digital and print copies here.

Feel free to share the “firsts” with your friends and loved ones! Since we’re a fledgling magazine, let us know what you think of the issue, as we’re excited to get your feedback.

Thank you and enjoy,

The Montana Mouthful Editors

Montana Mouthful joins Literistic’s “Friends Program”

Montana Mouthful joins Literistic’s “Friends Program”

We are proud to add a new link on our Partners webpage! Montana Mouthful has recently joined Literistic’s “Friends Program,” and we are excited to share this information with you.  Literistic provides deadlines for submissions to literary magazines, contests, and more. Each month, Literstic sends […]

Winter Community Story

Winter Community Story

If you missed it, our first Montana Mouthful Community Story was a success! Fifteen people contributed lines for our eerie Halloween tale. Thanks again! For the next community story, we’ve added a twist: the story happens in two parts. First, from now until Friday, November […]

Editor’s Pick: Author – Denis Johnson

Editor’s Pick: Author – Denis Johnson

* One of our aims, aside from showcasing exceptional stories and visual artwork, is to share information from other literary sources. For instance, we might share a story we love, a magazine’s call for submissions, or a helpful service for writers and artists. Not only will we share information, we’ll create our own. This post is the first in the series, Editor’s Pick. One of our editors will share her pick for such things as a favorite author, a favorite book, a favorite genre, etc. We’re also interested in hearing about your picks in the comments section of the website or on social media. 

I have my longtime friend, Sarah, to thank for introducing me to the works of the late Denis Johnson. At the time, Sarah and I were in grad school together, and she dropped by my flat just to put a copy of Johnson’s short story collection, Jesus’ Son, in my hands. The collection remained in my hands for several hours, as I read the stories over and over. How does Johnson do it? I wondered. The collection was small – only 11 short stories – yet each story – each word even – blasted off the page.

For instance, this description, from “Work,” blew me away (and still does): “Wayne cradled his burlap sack of tools in his lap as we drove out of town to where the fields bunched up into hills and then dipped down toward a cool river mothered by benevolent clouds.” A man cradling a sack, fields bunched up, and clouds mothering? Talk about verbs bringing a description to life.

And then there was Johnson’s dialogue. This passage, from “Emergency,” is another favorite:

“Georgie’s in O.R.,” Nurse said. 

Again?” 

“No,” Nurse said. “Still.”

“Still? Doing what?” 

“Cleaning the floor.”

“Again?”

“No,” Nurse said again. “Still.” 

Talk about dialogue moving a story forward. A mere fifteen words of speech give the reader a sense of Georgie’s character, but they also give a sense of the relationship between Nurse and the doctor to whom she’s speaking. The passage also provides a brief moment of of humor – of relief – in a story that’s far from funny.

Many years have passed since I first read Jesus’ Son, but to this day, whenever I teach creative writing classes, I refer to passages from this collection when I want to show students how an author can load words, so to speak. At Montana Mouthful, we’re asking for short fiction and nonfiction; if you want examples of powerful, short prose, I’d encourage you to read Johnson’s collection, Jesus’ Son, if you haven’t already done so.

In the meantime, who is one of your favorite authors? Give us a short snippet of the author’s work and tell us why you find it compelling. Let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Happy creating,

J