Miciah Bay Gault, Managing Editor of Hunger Mountain, was inspired by a note George Saunders wrote on one of her stories to discover what was “unique and iconic” to her. In her engaging Editor’s Note to Hunger Mountain 15, she describes Ray Bradbury’s “writing practice of word association, in which he scribbled long lists of nouns.” It was a practice he did quickly and without thinking. From Bradbury:
I leave you now at the bottom of your own stair, at half past midnight, with a pad, a pen, and a list to be made. Conjure the nouns, alert the secret self, taste the darkness. Your own THING stands waiting ‘way up there in the attic shadows. If you speak softly, and write any old word that wants to jump out of your nerves onto the page…Your Thing at the top of the stairs in your own private night…may well come down.
In Hunger Mountain 15, Miciah brilliantly invited 21 writers (Michael Martone and Paul Lisicky among them) to share their lists, their “raw bits of writing, meant to invite the Thing down.” While you’re waiting for your copy to arrive, I invite you to leave your own list in the comments below. I’ll start us off…[Hunger Mountain 15: The Thing at the Top of the Stairs. And I haven’t even mentioned the fiction or the photography.]