Saturday, January 21, 2006

Gina Ochsner

Have you ever been somewhere, a room in your house perhaps, some normally non-spooky locale where you suddenly feel an invisible presence, as if someone or something was treating you to a supernatural visit? Perhaps you thought it was from watching too many episodes of Crossing Over, or overload from that afternoon with the flu you spent watching old reruns of Dark Shadows. But hey, maybe it's simply a friend or enemy or family member or former resident recently passed on who's back for a little visit. Perhaps they return to resolve a few old issues, or from reluctance to take up permanent quarters in the great hereafter, or curiosity, or regret, or a simple unwillingness to leave the realm of the living.

Gina Ochsner writes about the dead. In beautifully wrought prose she suggests that if the dead themselves may be reluctant to leave this incarnation of unfinished business, it may be in part because the living are also unwilling to let them go. She also implies that perhaps these clumsy shades are reflections of us all as we move through the more mundane moments of our lives, unconscious and oblivious to the exciting possibilities of existence.

Eleven metaphorical tales of troubled spirits haunt the pages of The Necessary Grace to Fall, a collection that won the 2002 Oregon Book Award for Fiction and the Flannery O'Connor Award for short fiction and publication in 2002 by the University of Georgia Press.

Gina is a graduate of George Fox University where she teaches part-time. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review and Nimrod, among others. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Raymond Carver Award from Humboldt State, and the Katherine Ann Porter Award.

For more information

Photo by Carla Perry

Andres Berger-Kiss

Featured on September 19, 1997, September 18, 1999 and January 21, 2006

Andrés Berger-Kiss was born in Hungary to a man and woman who were both actors. He spent his early childhood in Holland but was raised and educated in Colombia, South America where his family fled to escape the methodical extermination of Jews. He moved to New York for undergraduate studies, earned his Masters in psychology from Indiana, then was awarded a doctorate in psychology at the University of Missouri. From there, he worked as a clinical psychologist, including two years at the Menninger Clinic, and taught psychology at the university level. Andres became chief psychologist and director of Mental Health Education for the state of Oregon but a fifteen years ago he decided to devote himself full-time to his writing.

Andrés Berger-Kiss has written over thirty publications and is the author of Children of the Dawn, published by ECOE Ediciones in Bogata, Columbia. His stories, "The Beggars, Treasure Hunters" and "Letters to my Lover" appeared in the United States. His novel, Don Alejandro, written in Spanish, was published in 1996. His most recent book is the bilingual collection of poems called Voices from the Earth.

He is co-author of the 1994 film script for "The Sharpener" based on his prize-winning short story. Other stories have been published in Best Latino Short Stories of the Decade published by the University of Houston, and Best International Short Stories, published by Europa Press in Budapest. Planeta Editors in Colombia will soon publish the Spanish version of Tomorrow’s Promise.

Photo by Carla Perry