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The Awkward 20-Something Guide to Dating by Adina Ferguson

Step 1: Turn to chapter 1, verse 3 of the Internets to seek guidance on the matter.
Step 2: Type in “how to ask a guy out” in the search bar and wait 18 seconds for the answer.
Step 3: Skip over all “articles” from Cosmo, Women’s Health, Men’s Health or anything alike.
Step 4: Ask Facebook. Because Facebook has real people. Real people who like to mind your business and mask their own.
Step 5: Roll your eyes at your mama who decides to chime in. Her advice is simple. “You don’t!”
Step 6: Remember yo mama is a baby boomer who met her husband at the club one night. Step 7: Contemplate revoking the question from Facebook because no one understands your life.
Step 8: Go back to Google and check out the Wikihow page with its full blown graphics. Step 9: Slam your laptop shut because clearly The Universe is worthless.
Step 10: Take your defeated feelings and your phone to your favorite place in the house and think.
Step 11: Answer the phone on the first ring because you know what the call is about.
Step 12: Listen to your best friend ask fifty-seven questions about that one Facebook status.
Step 13: Revert back to your childhood and simply answer, “I don’t know.” the awkward 20-something Adina Ferguson guide to dating 26 The Avenue: Woman
Step 14: Confirm that she is right. “Yes, I’m using the bathroom.”
Step 15: Listen to her husband chime in like background music.
Step 16: Thank the phone gods for call waiting as you click over to the other line.
Step 17: Begin explaining the Facebook status all over again to your other Best Friend B. Step 18: You decide not to merge the two calls because your gal pals are not on speaking terms at the particular moment.
Step 19: Agree to take the “be yourself ” approach, per the advice of BFB.
Step 20: Wipe, flush, wash hands and spray.
Step 21: Send text to the guy, because the important part to keep in mind is that you managed to get his number earlier in the day.
Step 22: Take phone off vibrate so you can hear it ring just in case….
Step 23: Sit patiently for an hour and double check that you’ve copied the number down right.
Step 24: Wait another hour, wipe the drool off your arm and read his text through squinted eyes.
Step 25: Go along with your premeditated response and ask him out to lunch one day soon. Step 26: Tell yourself to stop smiling so hard. He only typed “okay. Sure.”
Step 27: Be completely understanding that this week isn’t good. Tell him it’s no rush and to keep you posted.
Step 28: Wait.
Step 29: Give up all hope and just come to grips with reality. It’s you. Not him. Or him. Or any of them. You’re socially awkward when engaging with men. With women. With kids. With pets.
Step 30: Forget everything you just said. Open your laptop and go back to the internets and reactivate your dating profile, dangit.

Flipping Through Your Latest Cookbook by Jessica Hudgins

Stir-fries and sautés; Sunday night suppers; breakfast, brunch, and
bakes! You’ve done it, Isa!

Sliders, mac ‘n’ cheese, banana bread, kale salad, black bean soup…!
Isa, you’re surrounded! Isa, how do you stay so calm?

Basic proteins and modifications for common allergens! Keep
doing what you’re doing, Isa! Isa, you’ve got it in the bag!

You have so many wooden spoons!

Isa! You’re wearing a high-waisted floral dress! Your casseroles
steam in Pyrex dishes! They cool on lace napkins!

Are those new glasses? Your fingernails are long and painted
in pastels!

Isa, you’ve changed since The Post-Punk Kitchen, since
Veganomicon. When did you start straightening your hair? I’ve
never seen you use a bobby pin before, Isa.

I know you don’t pre-heat the oven.

Do you remember late-night candy runs to the Kangaroo around
the corner?

Do you remember that Bagel was my cat first?

I’ve fed many people with that buttermilk waffle recipe, Isa.

Isa, that’s my plate.

Spare Parts by Heather Rounds

After the wedding he gave her spare parts—some greenish tacks,
a sag in the lace of her wedding slip to use for curtains. Soon, the
C of her cervix and rapid J of his thumb became spare parts. And
later, several spare parts came along as smaller versions of him,
snot in the grooves and dingy. (Despite it all, she still moved like
a lullaby.) He used the spare parts of lies to stick together the
story of their lives, offered it out to others for repairs. In time he
re-made her altogether, twisted her knobs and nicknamed her Bub.
(She hated the way his spare parts jiggled.) Her true name became
a spare part

Ivy happy ladies