Claire Barwise
Claire Barwise graduated from the University of Montana, and recently received her MFA from the University of Florida. She looks forward to spending this fall at the MacDowell Colony, where she will continue work on her first novel.

In 7th grade, Mr. Jeffries told our class that desire was at the heart of all good fiction and poetry. This does nothing to explain my first short story, about the inner lives of cell nuclei.

Laurel Bastian
Laurel Bastian has work in Margie, the Cream City Review, Nimrod and other journals and was a finalist for last year’s Ruth Lilly Fellowship. She lives in Wisconsin and teaches creative writing in a men’s prison there. She can be found virtually at

Some apathy comes when we get deeply broken. But the rest of it—the apathy that puts us to sleep because it can, whose co-owner is luxury—we’ve got to struggle against that mess on a daily basis. There is no place for it.

Trina Burke
Trina Burke’s work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in Phoebe, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Drunken Boat, Double Room and Word for/Word. She holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Montana. She currently lives and works in Seattle.

There’s a Radiohead video for a song I can’t remember that features a guy who whispers a thing into another guy’s ear. The latter lies down on the sidewalk. Then some chick (I think it was a chick, I could be wrong) leans over and the guy on the sidewalk whispers into her ear and she lies down, too. It goes on like this. Pretty soon everyone on the whole block is lying on the ground. I guess I identify most with that first guy.

Richard Denoncourt
Richard Denoncourt received an MFA in fiction from The New School. He has been published in Storyglossia,, Literary House Review and Pax Americana. He is currently living and teaching English in Cartagena, Colombia.

I no longer take rejection from agents personally. I just pretend they’re saying no to an invitation to my birthday party. After all, they don’t know me, so why should they care that my mother gave birth to me, or that I’ve given birth to a book? Some agents, though, are just in it for the party. Those are the ones I’m looking for.

Brian Evenson
Brian Evenson is the author of nine books of fiction, including The Open Curtain (Coffee House) which was a finalist for an Edgar Award and an IHG Award and was among Time Out New York’s top books of 2006. He lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island, where he directs Brown University’s Literary Arts Program. Other books include The Wavering Knife (which won the IHG Award for best story collection) and, most recently, Last Days. He has translated work by Chrstian Gailly, Jean Frémon, Jacques Jouet, and Claro. He has received an O. Henry Prize as well as an NEA fellowship. His latest collection Fugue State was released July of 2009.

Basically apathy is for me a kind of default state, like being in neutral. I feel it mostly in administrative meetings, many of which seem deliberately pitched to slowly reduce one to a state of non-meditative non-being in which you can be prodded and poked and manipulated without caring or, really, being aware of it. Sometimes I come out of those meetings not sure exactly what happened, not even sure what was discussed or how I voted, but now that I’ve returned to consciousness feeling vaguely violated, uncleaned. Apathy, I’m pretty sure later when I’ve entered my paranoid phase, was exactly what “they” wanted from me. Sometimes the only way to resist this is to stab oneself repeatedly with a pencil. Pain is a good cure for apathy, maybe the only real cure.

Nic Kelman
Nic Kelman attended MIT and Brown and is the author of two novels (“girls,” Little Brown and Co. and “Il Comportamento Della Luce,” Fazi) as well as a nonfiction book (“Video Game Art,” Assouline). His essays, short stories and photography have appeared in a variety of publications, journals, and collections including The Village Voice, Elle, The Kenyon Review, BlackBook, and Glamor.

I’m currently apathetic about the state of publishing in general. The more it becomes a hit-oriented business, the harder it is to find anything that takes real chances getting any attention...or even getting published in the first place. And I’m not sure the rise of e-books is really going to help!

Michael J. Lee
Michael J. Lee lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. His fiction can be found in Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, and the first issue of FAWLT. He would like to dedicate this story to J. Clark, formerly of San Jose, California.

When I was young and impressionable I used to listen to a singer who whole-heartedly believed that the worst sin in the world was apathy. He railed against it in all of his songs, and I would happily sing along to them. This singer, I should note, was a contemporary of the one that killed himself, but the singer I loved did not do such a thing. In fact, he did quite well, financially speaking, raking in millions of dollars over the course of his illustrious career. I wish I could still listen to him—I really do—but these days, every time I hear a song of his, I want to kill myself. His lyrics just don’t ring as true. But I have no doubt that fathering twenty-seven children has changed my views more than a little bit.

Sage Marsters
Sage Marsters’ short stories have appeared in several literary journals, including Green Mountains Review, The Alaska Quarterly Review, The New England Review, and Fugue. Most recently, she has published work in the June issue of the online journal Open Letters. Her short story, “Bear Story” was reprinted in Pushcart XXXII: Best of the Small Presses.

I haven’t experienced a lot of apathy in my life, but in my early twenties, I remember feeling very powerless in the world for a while. My actions felt dull; I couldn’t make anything happen—instead, I had to accept whatever person or situation entered my life. Then, this sense of torpor lifted, like a spell. I wonder if this is a common experience for women in their twenties—it’s interesting that so many fairy tales include periods of sleep for women around this age.

Justin Runge
Justin Runge is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at the University of Alabama, where he serves as design editor for Black Warrior Review. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hot Metal Bridge, DIAGRAM, Rain Fade, and elsewhere. He is also editor of Blue Hour Press, a web-based chapbook press, which can be found at

Justin Runge likes to have apathy in bathroom stalls and department store changing rooms. Once he got apathetic on the deck of a boat. His most memorable apathetic experience was in an outdoor hot tub on New Year's Eve. Some day he hopes to have apathy during a transatlantic flight, or feel apathetic with twins.

John Sellekaers
John Sellekaers (born 1973) is a musician, sound engineer, and photographer. He has released 45 records on various labels and has toured extensively in Europe and North America. Recent projects include albums by Dead Hollywood Stars and The Missing Ensemble, the soundtrack of an ARTE Television documentary, and several collaborations with the author Brian Evenson. John currently lives in Montreal, Canada, after thirty years in Brussels, Belgium. You can view his work at and at

When I get flashes of apathy—usually while sick or extremely tired—it is always a frightening experience. A glimpse of a mineral life, a void, where nothing matters. Yet, it is also strangely comforting.

Holly Williams
Holly Williams is a West Coast painter who has shown extensively in Los Angeles and San Francisco. She is a graduate of Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, and is currently finishing her MFA degree in painting at San Francisco State University.

Obsessed with capturing images from film and television, I find myself so involved with the formal aspects of the images that I completely miss out on experiencing the narrative and continuum of the story. The difficulty in being an artist and a critical viewer is that every experience turns into a quest for subject matter, and it’s difficult to live in the moment.