“Air In The Paragraph Line” Volume 12 is the latest edition of Jon Konrath’s unique literary journal. This issue’s theme was “Weird, Paranoid, Insane” and includes 23 stories that fit this theme well. In his introduction, Konrath calls this edition “an invitation to write about insanity to the MySpace crowd,” which is the best way to describe this publication.

Most of the stories are written in the style of creative nonfiction, as if the writer truly believes the extravagant tales they are unlashing on the page. Each story is highlighted by a cover page illustration with related black-and-white ink drawings sketched by Matthew Pazzol of cartoon silhouettes of characters that resemble human beings to kick off each bizarre story that begins on the next page.

The journal’s theme allows elements of dark humor, gore, and unpredictable plot twists to flow through its bloodstream unchecked. The hardships of the work place and the family are the stories’ major themes and two of the most likely places to find the bizarre material that this publication demands.

In the opening piece, ”Uncle Bud, Chaos Superstar” by Rebel Star Hobson, the narrator reminisces about his reckless Uncle Bud who seems immune to the heavy drug abuse and terminal illnesses which plague his body and who, by sticking to his stubborn lifestyle, is able to endure those problems which knock all others who obtain them into their graves. This story sets the bar for the rest of the stories to come in this collection. Other heavy family pieces include “Shopping With the Vietcong,” author Todd Taylor’s depiction of a young boy shopping with his Vietnam scarred father and Erin O’Brien’s “Skeleton Mom” about a girl dealing with her mom’s eating disorder and her own self image.

The characters are typically hardened, cynical, and rebel against authority and society. One of these characters is even Konrath’s portrayal of former president Richard Nixon in his contributing piece, as well as a nicotine addicted head chairman of a scavenger squad named Boogerlove created by Yuppie Rockwell. The comedic elements are most present in the first few pieces. However, it is the middle of the book that shines. The quality meat of the journal starts off with Tony Byrer’s “A Brief Tale of Great Integrity” about a Hardees employee who takes the freedom of working the nightshift too far followed by “Lome Togo-Me Mongo” by Dege Legg, who through the use of letter narration nearly scams an e-mail spammer who tries to take advantage of the naïve Internet users of the world. There is also John Sheppard’s “Public Radio” which shows the differing relationships that the protagonist has in his night class as opposed to his work place.

The collection ends with Konrath’s “They,” the tale with the greatest amount of paranoia in the book, which is appropriate given the chaos of the story’s world in which Samuel L. Jackson is president and the protagonist collects a heavy fortune in stock from Haldiburson, the company in which he is employed. A short note on each of the contributors and their contact information follows, officially ending the madness that the previous 230 pages of brought on.

 

To Purchase a Copy of “Air In The Paragraph Line” Volume 12 Visit:www.Lulu.com/content/1151437 

 Price: $14.95236 pages

6” x 9”

 

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