From the Files

J.A. Bernstein


Application of E. Hemingway


to the University of Idaho


Idaho is a good place. It is warm and clear and sunny in the morning, and I feel good when I study there. I want to study there. My name is Ernest. I am a writer. I also fish. I like Idaho, because it is a pretty place for fishing, and the bass jump swiftly through the long and clear stream. I hope to fish while at Idaho.

My father was a madman, but he was a good madman, and he taught me to fish and hunt. We used to go hunting up in Michigan, along the big lake and in the wooded pine trails, where it was very clear in the morning. I liked it very much there. For a while, I considered studying at the University of Michigan, but there are no fish there, and I like to fish. This is why I like Idaho.

I’ve done some good things in this world. Whether they make me an adequate candidate for admission, I cannot say. Words like glory, honor, courage, they are obscene to me beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of regiments and dates. I served in a regiment once. I cannot remember it.

I’ve been married several times. Women are also difficult to remember. They’re best kept in sleeping bags for cold nights in Spain, or for musing with at cafes in Paris. I also like lesbians.

As far as my goals go, I don’t have any goals. What are goals in this world? I just enjoy fishing and the beauty of lakes, the way the trout sparkle in the cool morning streams, the way dew collects on my forehead as I amble through the woods, and so on and so on. I also hope to study some newspaper writing. I very much like newspaper writing, though all of it is lies.

J.A. Bernstein’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Kenyon Review Online, Harpur Palate, Crab Orchard Review, and other journals.