Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Peter Stenson. His new novel Thirty Seven is available from Dzanc Books. It is the official February pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

Get the free Otherppl app.

Support the show at Patreon or via PayPal.

The first-ever Firefly Music Festival descended upon the Dover International Speedway from July 20th-22nd  with a lineup boasting acts with profiles so high, one was forced to contemplate whether both artists and fans could simultaneously fit within the state’s modest borders (one in, one out?).  Every hotel within 30 miles advertises “No Vacancies- Welcome Firefly!” Telltale campground sprawls around the gates; weekend homes for the braver souls.

July 19th 2008


Mom,

 I know you must have been worried sick about me. It’s okay, I’m safe and it’s not your fault.

 I’m not running from you-— I love.

It’s because of Larry.

I’m safe here— it’s a commune for young people like myself to live away from the normal rules of society. It’s like, sooo liberating.

I’m only trying to make Larry jealous.

That’ll teach him for fucking that Starbucks barista whilst I was having my appendectomy.

Has he called?

Love

Alex


 

July 28th 2008

Mom,

Relax. This isn’t some crazy cult like you keeping making out. You are NOT a terrible mother. I told you, this isn’t about you. This is about me and Larry.

Is he still with that coffee slinging slut? I hope she gets a yeast infection.

Anyway, even if Number 1 did try and ‘brainwash me into being his sex slave’ there’s no way it’d work. I don’t fall for mind games like that.

And he’s got like six wives or something— what would he want with me?

Still love you, but not coming home. So happy here!

Alex

P.S Thanx for the care package!


 

August 2nd 2008

Mom,

No, I don’t have ‘confidence issues.’ And if I did it certainly wouldn’t be because of what Larry did with a glorified waitress in the back of his uncle’s shitty SUV.

I know I’m a beautiful young woman, that wasn’t my point— I wasn’t subtly asking for you to pay for a nose job either. My point was the guy has six wives… even Larry would be satisfied with that!

And who says I’d be interested in him anyway? Just because he’s in a position of power doesn’t stop him from looking kind of creepy. He’s all scrawny with like, this barely there beard and totally gross dirty hair. He’s no Johnny Depp— I don’t care what the group mantras say about him; he’s totally not my type.

I know you’re just worried about me, but really, everything is just great here.

Love

Alex


 

September 5th 2008

Mom,

Great news! Guess who just got ascended to the second rung of the outer sanctum?!

And this from the girl voted ‘Most Likely to Be a Homemaker’ in High School. Ha! If only they could see me now!

I bet that stupid coffee girl will never do better than branch manager— and she’ll only get there by sleeping her way to the top.

I never want to leave here— it’s just so great. I never thought I’d feel this enlightened. I was spiritually awakened last night by Number 14— if things work out you could be a Grandma soon! Exciting, right?

All Power to the Celestial Oak and his Prophets

Alex


 

September 20th 2008

Enemy of the Celestial Oak (and his many Prophets),

This is NOT a cult.

If you want to talk about cults then why don’t we talk about YOUR cult of atheism, hanging on the every word of your infallible leader Richard Dawkins and angrily reacting to those who disapprove?!

Yours is a cult of spiritual emptiness, sexual repression and material things!

How do you like the violation of YOUR ‘false truths’?!

Still no word from Larry?

Alex



 

September 29th 2008

Enemy of the Celestial Oak/Mom,

I’m sorry for the last letter.

I said a lot of things I didn’t mean to— except the bit about Number One. Really, Wow!

You might be interested to hear that since embracing the Celestial Oak with mind and body I’ve now been ascended to the inner sanctum. Things are working out great.

Next week is my ceremonial entwinement with Number 14— yes, it’s official!

I’d really love for you to come, but the Elders are very strict about allowing ‘outsiders’ into the community. We consider you to be impure and corrupting spirits— no offence! Hopefully I’ll be able to send you some photographs of the ritual…

May the acorns of understanding within you grow into mighty trees of love,

Number 34

P.S. I take back what I said about Number 1; the mantras were true. WOW!



 

October 3rd 2008

Mom,

I’m sorry you didn’t feel up to responding to my last letter.

Anyway, things are getting very busy here. On top of preparing for my ritual I’m now in charge of catering for our Christmas party— a little early if you ask me, but who am I to question our Celestial guides? Not even the Elders are permitted such impudence!

I’m mentioned in the community newsletter. I’ve included some clippings.

I hope you can be happy for me,

34


P.S. What’s Larry up to these days? Did he get into college like he wanted?