An Intuitive Animal Prayer: “Pillars” reprinted by Matter Press

NASA image of the Pillars of Creation.

Whether in response to the (in Maine, creeping and slow) green emergence of spring or to some other, more subconscious prompt, it would seem this April has proved to be a steady meditation on resurrections and resuscitations, shaped by startling returns to old work, old haunts, and to the (entirely non-metaphorical) old farmhouse where I grew up. And bookending all of that, two older stories have found new homes and new lives. First the Stoneslide Corrective re-released “Poptimistic” in their first-ever print issue, and now Matter Press (who printed my story “Firecracker” this past fall) has given my very-short story “Pillars” yet another incarnation online.

Says the publisher and editor, Randall Brown:

“If a writer tells you that he’s writing a story that begins with a kid looking at stars, you might suggest a different opening image, one less familiar. Unless of course that writer is Douglas W. Milliken. For a writer using something more familiar, I’ve always thought the stakes were high to find something less commonly found in the image. In that contrast between the stars and the space, between childhood and adulthood, between earth and elsewhere, Milliken finds that profundity, that emotional wallop, that something unexpected in the familiar. So maybe it’s not always necessary to find the odd, rarely seen image/scenario—as long as something remarkable and surprising is found within it. “

Written during a prolific term at the I-Park Foundation in East Haddam, Connecticut, “Pillars” first appeared in Issue 13 of Slice, then again on their “In the Telling” podcast, as both a live reading as well as a studio audio piece.