Author: Idle Ink


Josh Rank is a debut writer with guts. In his first published novel, The Present is Past (from Unsolicited Press), he tells the story of Mary, a middle-aged teacher whose life has been thrown into disarray by dementia. Whilst less courageous writers would perhaps tip-toe around the subject of cognitive decline, Rank immerses the reader in disorientation – the story is dream-like, infused with magical realism, blurring our concept of memory and pushing the limits of reality.

Rank was kind enough to answer some questions about his writing process and how his own family’s experience with dementia prompted him to write a book about it.

Worms by Logan Markko

It’s Saturday night, but Mac doesn’t have any plans. He pours himself a glass of whiskey and settles into his recliner to watch the Adam Sandler movie marathon playing on cable TV. There’s a warmth to Sandler’s performances and Mac laughs for a few hours, making it through Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and some of Big Daddy, before passing out during the scene when Sandler teaches his roommate’s son how to urinate in public.

Ellie left him almost a month ago. His family and friends back in Pittsburgh warned him that moving to Denver with a woman he’d only known for a year was foolish, but Mac was in love and ready to start the next chapter of his life. He knows now that she never loved him the way he loved her, yet he can’t keep his subconscious from stirring up memories of Ellie as he sleeps, ruining even his dreams.

Bottled Up by Yolanda DeLoach

“I can’t take this heat anymore,” I said, pushing back strands of hair that blew free from my headband. The open car windows did little to bring relief from Louisiana’s thick, oppressing air. “Might as well be holding a hair dryer up against my face,” I added for dramatic effect.

“For someone who grew up here, you sure complain a lot about the heat,” Daniel said. He poked me in the thigh.

“Well, we had this thing called air conditioning and it actually worked,” I said, returning a double jab to his thigh.

Teen Night by Brad Austin

A different boy calling this time—how many were there? Sounded like a party was happening in the background. Were parties so boring now that kids made prank calls to random businesses in the phone book? Or crank calls, was that the correct term? Roger was maybe 12 the last time he called someone as a joke. As a teenager he mostly called Steve. He’d ask Steve what he was doing, Steve would answer nothing, and they’d meet at one of their houses and do nothing. When they discovered drugs, they added drugs to the nothing-doing which made them feel like they were doing something. But they were doing nothing, especially not prank- or crank-calling anyone.

Bad Fruit by Catherine Roberts

Falling in love is like lighting a scented candle. You spend years in the dark and suddenly everything is filled with light and the sweet smell of berries and roses. But before long, it’s snuffed – a part of you forever melted away until the wick is lit again. This can only happen for so long until you’re left with nothing but a pool of cool wax. 

After the first few loves of my life, I only had boyfriends I couldn’t stand. Jake with the specks of toilet paper stuck to razor cuts on his chin, or Troy who peed in the sink while brushing his teeth for “convenience”. There was always an urge, squirming, eyeless and hungry, under the surface of that once-sweet fruit. To feel more.

So, I started crashing funerals.   

When Sweet turns Sour by Mel Fawcett

I’d often seen the hoodie-clad cyclist in the neighbourhood – forever going too fast,  jumping lights, and screaming at pedestrians and motorists alike. On this occasion he attempted to pass on the inside of a car, but he misjudged the manoeuvre, was squeezed against the curb and narrowly missed coming to grief. He shouted abuse at the hapless motorist as she drove away.

Memories of an Island by Ian Johnson

Byron Tatterman pulled open the big church doors and stepped inside. He was early, but Father Holm was already in the lobby, a hand raised in greeting. He wore khakis and the standard black shirt and white collar, and approached Byron with the step of someone comfortable on his home turf.

“Hey there,” the Father said. “Thanks for coming in.”

Byron said, “Sorry to interrupt your day.”

Movie Magic by George Nevgodovskyy

I could always spot the look. That glint of recognition. A sideways glance, a tinge of embarrassment. Most people crumble – unable to separate fiction from reality. You’ve thrilled them. Aroused them. You’ve made them sob violently in an empty theatre. A matinee.

They’ve even modelled themselves on the characters you’ve played. The way they speak. The way they dress. That’s why most can’t resist the urge to approach you. Make sure you know they exist too.

Aren’t you that actress from –

I just loved you in –