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    Slow Reveal

    By Michele Karlsberg–

    Michele Karlsberg: As our world contracts through nationalism, narcissism, and self-righteousness, burdened by a pandemic, the inequality and political turmoil are echoed in the nuclear family at risk. While Slow Reveal is set in the 90s, the 2021 alternate universe perceived as truth reflects how we deceive ourselves and sabotage what we love most. Slow Reveal by Melanie Mitzner takes a deep dive into the personal lives of the characters and reveals the tenuousness of the nuclear family that vacillates between connection and alienation. Family dysfunction is a central theme in all of Melanie’s work. The opposing need to liberate oneself from the psychological entrapment of family history while yearning for more intimate relationships with your parents and siblings always drives her narratives. In Slow Reveal Melanie wanted to reflect on how this conundrum is further complicated for the LGBTQ community and how the struggle one encounters with art—a messy, risky, unpredictable process mired in self-doubt—mirrors the interpersonal struggle for intimacy and love.

    Please enjoy the following excerpt from Slow Reveal:

    Naomi took a hot bath instead of a morning shower. Her body ached and her throat felt like seared sirloin. No small wonder after the snowy trek when she was practically flattened by a dump truck, weaving on a reckless descent down the cliffs surrounding the falls. For a while she couldn’t move, afraid she’d broken a bone and she’d be lying there frozen to death by the time someone found her. Lucky or in her opinion, unlucky. Now she had to endure a fever of 103 in the confines of a cabin in the middle of east bum f–k. 

    The dead die hard, she thought, as she breathed into the aches and pains for relief. That’s what her acupuncturist told her. To embrace the pain, ease into it. Once she tried to explain the concept to Katharine, who had ovarian cysts. “What a bunch of crap,” her lover replied, flinching, pressing her palm to that burning sensation in her pelvis. Naomi held her in her arms until she pulled away. After the surgery, a year of utter confusion followed, when Jonathan took responsibility for the kids while Katharine ran off to recuperate by seeking refuge in an extramarital affair that turned into a lifelong relationship.

    The word lifelong stuck in Naomi’s craw like a hook in a fish. That’s how she envisioned it, with or without the family Katharine had started. Never did she imagine being out of the picture completely. She couldn’t conceive of The End. Theirs was not a transactional love but one filled with passion and ardor. Like art, a creative process, the failures a means to success, the process an end unto itself. Something that over time would be realized, even though from the start it felt like it was complete. 

    Hot water cascaded over the ankle she twisted in her acrobatic leap off the highway. The heat radiated from the cast iron stove, keeping the cabin exceptionally warm. She would sweat out the fever under a pile of blankets while she worked on her poem “Animal Magnetism.” 

    The object of the urge
    the urge of desire …
    The desire to object.

    Her words were empty vessels from which she drank the pressed fruit. Nothing left but the hollow darkness and the dank smell of sour wine. She could blame it on the fever that blanketed her thoughts with ellipses, those three lazy dots conveniently poised after a phrase to suggest something one couldn’t articulate, something incapable of defining, more often meaning less than one intended. 

    Entombed by the woolen comforter, she lay on the tattered couch in front of the plate glass window and looked past the gulch that dipped then soared in a dramatic display of forest pines planted along the cliffs skirting the falls. The sky peeked over the mountain range with a show of storm clouds waiting to happen. Another snowfall on the horizon. That much she knew or in other words, nothing much at all.

    An Edward Albee Fellow and fiction grant recipient, Melanie Mitzner is the author of “Slow Reveal” and a finalist in four fiction and screenwriting competitions. She lives with her partner, artist Nicke Gorney, in Montréal and New York. For more information:

     Michele Karlsberg Marketing and Management specializes in publicity for the LGBTQ+ community. This year, Karlsberg celebrates 33 years of successful marketing campaigns. For more information:

    Published on May 19, 2022