Session 56: Salt – Featuring Hannah Carmack, Author of Seven-Sided Spy

Hannah Carmack, author of Seven-Sided Spy joins us for this episode where we workshop using the EB Session: Salt. Hannah talks about living with an invisible illness and how that has brought challenges and opportunities for her. We also make some bold predictions about the future of entertainment and identity!

Hannah Carmack

Hannah Carmack is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University. She enjoys volunteer work and spends most of her time working for the organization STEM Read, connecting reluctant readers and bookworms alike to the world of literature and science. She has a number of poetry publications, all of which regard living with ulcerative colitis. Although living with an auto-immune disease is difficult, she finds power in using her writing as a way to convey the world that people with disabilities live in to people who may not fully comprehend it. Her debut novel Seven-Sided Spy just hit shelves this January with NineStar Press.


  • Rain Martinique Morning
  • Messing with Lock in Basement
  • Food Truck Night Music
  • Wisconsin Woodpecker
  • Air Mattress
  • Super Mario World
  • Roof Work
  • Shoveling and Salting Driveway

Hannah’s Result

Listen to the episode!

Lucas’s Result

He watched the grey surf pound the distant beach below the beachside balcony. Jan snapped a couple photos. The lighting wasn’t good. It was never as good as he wanted. Jan had tried to take a class on photography once, but his mother had come down with vertigo, and he had used it as an excuse to drop out. Now his pictures were always too dark in the morning.

Jan put the lense cap back on the barrel of his camera and went back into the room. Room was softly playing from the old radio that they had provided. He couldn’t tell if it was a novelty to have such an old thing or if that’s what they were dealing with. Maybe radios had ceased to evolve years ago. Perhaps they had reached their perfect form.

He flipped on the stream vision. The monitor screen below showed him in perfect contrasted definition. Even though the lights weren’t on. It combined different rays of the spectrum to construct the perfect visage, something that he had never experienced in a mirror, something that he never would, but that perfectly defined form was how the rest of the world knew him.

He put his stream finder on random and began surfing. It cut to a forested scene. The sound of the wind was soothing. The rattle of a woodpecker somewhere deep in its heart. This was good.

The channel flipped.

It was on a shipyard somewhere. Workers were using welding torches to cut off bits of a giant metal hulk – some kind of barge. It was orange with rust, and giant chains pulled off elephant sized pieces of decayed slag into the ocean. The camera switched to two men eating sandwiches and wiping their noses against the brisk polluted wind.

The stream transitioned.

It was of someone sitting on the bed gaping at the screen. A silhouette of a human, a slight shade of pink where the mouth should be, eyes too blue to be of this earth. Perhaps even the muscles of an Olympian.

It was Jan. He was the featured channel.

He watched the counter on his monitor shoot up. 10,000 viewers across the world were watching him, and he was sitting on his hotel bed looking like an all-powerful dumbass.

Should he stand on his head? Should he tell a joke?

Jan couldn’t think of anything. He had been streaming for 24 years, and this had never come up. Once in a lifetime. This was a once in a lifetime event.

He stood and raised his hand to wave.

And the stream changed.

Carolyn’s Result

Hills upon hills
the many gates to heaven,
the stone portals–passed through
and missing air–
the whistles of birds get lost,
swallowed tongues lie dormant.

It is easier to slow down
when time does not exist–
to sleep in the crooks of trees
where all the land is sleeping,
inked into sepia stillness.

In the hollow of the tree trunk
in the gulley under the hill,
there is a light–
a glow round as a guitar string.

The dry underneath of a curled leaf,
the interstitial between termite
and the standing snag,
the world turning to pulp, pressed,
served, stretched, illustrated.

Again it is illuminated–the bulb,
a green sprout through the discarded page,
ivy pulling down the frame,
running over it–dicotyledon–
monocotyledon, a rhythm in the garden,
one and two, a waltz. A rattle.

A pattern. A stitch.
A plastic bag rolling down the street
into a pile of birdseed. The gutter
cluttered with mud like a mouse nest.
Sunflower husk and wooden bones,
littler monuments to littler hills.

-Carolyn Decker
EB 056, 1.13.18