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Driftless: “Test Surfaces”

driftless, Spring 2018

What holds us in place, makes us stop, pause, linger? Something of the senses, perhaps – a sound, a smell, something we want to touch.

In the local cafes, gift galleries and bookstores that help us slow down and remember where we are, we may find a unique magazine called driftless – which has the subtitle, “Midwest Adventuring.”

The publishers and creative directors of driftless are Anna Powell Teeter and Leah Fithian – two professionals in photography, advertising, graphic design and journalism.

I sat down with Anna Powell Teeter, who is a photographer, filmmaker and journalist in Bloomington, Indiana. She acknowledged that the journal’s name refers to the “driftless” region of the Midwest, that 12-state region that was not flattened by glaciers back in the Ice Age. But she also said the name is meant to convey that the magazine celebrates those creative souls who do not “drift away” from their roots in the Midwest, but stay. And create marvelous things, wonderful places, warm communities.

Leah Fithian (L) and Anna Powell Teeter (R)

driftless is eager to publish fiction when they can. The Spring 2018 issue carries this Reader’s Radar episode story: “Test Surfaces,” by Bella Bravo. Set in a college town, a busy intersection is where a blind woman meets a young girl in trouble.

Bella Bravo.

Bella Bravo was born in La Mesa, CA, and now lives and writes in Bloomington, IN. Bravo is the author of the collection of queer short stories, The Unpositioned Parts  and the stage play, As Bad As They. They have been published by DriftlessPeachMaskLimestone Post, and Monster House.

A longer version of the interview with driftless Co-creative Director Anna Powell Teeter can be found at


Reader's Radar is a presentation of WFIU Public Radio and Indiana Public Media. It is recorded at the studios of WFIU Public Radio on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Producer is Shayne Laughter, Production Director is Mark Chilla, Digital Director is Eoban Binder, Executive Producer is John Bailey. Music for this program is shared under Creative Commons license by artists Lobo Loco and Meydan at FreeMusicArchive. org.