The Summer 2017 issue of Ploughshares. Ploughshares is an award-winning journal of new writing. Two out of each year’s three issues are guest-edited by prominent writers who explore different personal visions, aesthetics, and literary circles; the Winter issue is staff-edited.

Distinguished writer Stewart O’Nan guest-edits this issue. As O’Nan writes in his introduction, “I want to feel moral confusion, because nothing in this world is simple. As a writer reading, I also admire the precision and audacity of an author’s language and use of form. Do it differently or better, or don’t do it at all.” Featuring new work from Stephen King, Christie Hodgen, Askold Melnyczuk, and Michael Byers, the pieces in this issue cover a wide range of themes and explore inventive narrative structures.

Available at the online store of Emerson College

Thin Scenery

The lights come up on the office of DR. GEORGE FROBISHER, a psychiatrist. The office is pleasantly and expensively furnished. FROBISHER is in his late fifties or early sixties, a handsome man with swept-back white hair. He’s wearing slacks and a nice sport coat, no tie. He sits at his desk (stage left), making notes.

At stage center, the back of the room, a large window looks out on a bright and bucolic morning (9 AM). There’s an expanse of green lawn, flowers, perhaps a small reflecting pond. A fieldstone wall in the distance. A man (MR. RAINER) passes by, walking a dog. This is a motion picture projection.

To the right of the window is a conversation area where FROBISHER’S patients bare their worries, obsessions, and neuroses—their souls, in other words. It consists of two easy chairs, a couch, and a coffee table with a carafe of ice water and two glasses on it.

Farther to the right are bookcases and the door leading to the outer office where FROBISHER’S nurse/receptionist, MISS NELSON, holds court.

The intercom on FROBISHER’S desk gives a low buzz.

FROBISHER: Yes, Miss Nelson?

MISS NELSON (V-O): Your nine o’clock is here, Dr. Frobisher. Mr. Harold Crosby. Referral from his family doctor, Randolph—

FROBISHER: —Dunning. Yes, yes. I’ve played golf with him.

NELSON: May I come in with Mr. Crosby and get two quick signatures? It’s accreditation time again.

 

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