Escape Into Life Digest No. 34

Alex Mclean, Flower Fields

Escape Into Chris . . . This month is a good time to explore the newest segment of EIL, edited by Mandy Al-Aswad. This section of the site include passages from the diverse and compelling writing of EIL founder, the late Chris Al-Aswad. Anyone who knew Chris, either in person or through his enormous and very personal influence on Twitter, will not be surprised at the quality of his varied, and creative work. Readers are familiar with his work or those drawn to it for the first time will find themselves quickly drawn into his writing and much to be gleaned from his observations concerning himself and the world he knew.  While reading Chris’s work painfully reminds us of our collective loss, it also allows us to share again in his shimmering intellect and artistic vision.

Film Review: Crazy Heart . . . The film that brought Jeff Bridges an Oscar for Best Actor in 2010, shines a moody moonlight on the American South — a geographical co-star that grounds and illuminates the film. This month’s review reminds those who haven’t seen the film of all the reasons to do so now. While the story follows a traditional arc, Bridges performance and the music, nuance, and atmosphere make it a movie worth seeing.

Poetry by Risa Denenberg . . . In elegant and concise words and images Denenberg colors the shadows of many kinds of loss and mourning, then penciling in the subtle colors and daily beauty claimed by the redemptive eye from patterns of daily life. In her poetry March goes out like a lion and lamb, simultaneously.

Book Review: A Question of Values by Morris Berman . . . According to EIL reviewer Tony Thomas, this collection of essays benefits from Berman’s established mastery of the difficult task of combining a variety of detailed information (in this case historical and sociological information, scientific and philosophical analysis, and politico-cultural observations) with a vigorous and readable writing style. Berman’s disenchantment with the United States as a whole maybe unpalatable, but his talent makes the collection a fascinating choice for bedside table of the discerning reader.

Fiction by Tony Noland: Straight and True, My Arrow, Fly . . . A short-short story that will challenge traditional assumptions about the true nature of Eros/Cupid. In Noland’s descriptive piece Eros seems to have allied with Hestia and Hera, perhaps in a classic youthful rebellion against the dangerous boundary-challenging inclinations of his mother, Aphrodite. Readers are sure to enjoy the twist!

Stacy Ericson is an editor and photographerwho is interested in imagery both in word and in art.  Her work often reflects her roots in the western states and her abiding interest in other cultures, ancient languages and religion, and visceral passions. She lives and works in Boise, Idaho. and her poety, fiction, essays, and photos can be found at

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