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This is from an assignment in the Innovative Fiction Course taught by Karen

I'm just not making it in my innovative fiction course.
What is innovative fiction you might ask? Well, if you have to ask, I'd say you're one of those rubes who still thinks old farts like Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky are relevant. So you probably don't care.
But if you're artistic, you would understand there is nothing more important and more relevant than innovative fiction.
I'm working on a number of major innovative fiction projects. But due to a lack of cooperation, or just being too far ahead of my time, they're just not working out.
Let’s start with collage.

Collage Fiction.

I know, I'll have to explain this to you. You combine many disparate parts to make a really interesting whole.

Project number 1
Take the boring, dull works of Shakespeare. A few plays will suffice. Cut the pages into paragraphs, throw the paragraphs into a hat, and pull them out.
Paste them all together, photocopy them, and voila, you have a great innovative work far superior to the Bard’s lines known the world over.
Extra credit.
Don't use whole paragraphs, using several pages, just cut whole words out. This process expands the originality, creating something completely nonsensical that has no relationships to Shakespeare.

I started this project, but my local library has objected to my modernizing ancient works and says they consider the books now destroyed. Destroyed? I brought that old fool into the modern innovative age.

A Hyper-text Drama

Woods. Dark. Trees. Young girl in a red hood. Do you need any more? This is the new, innovative fiction. It's not my job to paint pictures for you. Use your imagination.
Now, click here to see what happens as the wolf approaches.
Here. I said click here. If you want to read the fruits of my high-level labor, you un-dear reader, need to do some of the work.
So, click here for enlightenment. Here. I said click here. You do know how to click, don't you?
Are you one of those fools who only reads books? Want to stay in the past forever? Try.
Put your cursor over the spot. Right over the spot. Get that cursor over that spot.
Did you find it? Is your cursor over that spot? Are you sure? Be sure. This matters.
Now click. You do know how to click, don't you? Take your finger, be sure it's on that spot over your mouse. Is it there? Can you feel it? Push down, down with your finger. Not too hard? Just get the right rhythm. And click. Click.
Click here. You'll see the wolf and be enlightened.
Did you click? Were you in the right spot? Did you use the right finger, and do it gently, but with confidence?
Well, I don't think so. I don't think you care enough. You’re selfish.

You don't care about me or my story. You don't care how you click. You're just focused on your own satisfaction. If you weren't, you'd be clicking right and you wouldn't be stuck here anxious for satisfaction but unfulfilled.
One last try. Here. Click here.
You fool. You're unworthy of my new, creative innovative fiction, but if you ask nicely, I might share some other output of my genius.

Another collage project.

The original idea behind the play, "Found," came from some young people who created a magazine with "found" notes, etc. scattered about, I think, San Francisco.
Good idea, I thought, but who under the age of 60 today uses paper for notes? Everybody keeps everything on their smartphones.
A genius idea. Gather random smartphones of varying kinds. Not just one model, true art is eclectic. Gather those phones and collect random notes from their notepad apps, random appointments, etc. A true modern day collage of grace, beauty, and wit.

This would be my crowning achievement, and I'm sure lead to major grants from national artistic funds if they stay around.
With determined artistic dedication, I proceeded to gather cell phones. I didn’t think I’d need many, perhaps ten would give me wide enough range to critically select the most important and interesting notes that those less talented than me might jot down on their phones. I would take these silly day-to-day ramblings and weave them into a great piece of beauty.
Of course, I planned to give the phones back. I’m not a thief. I also believed those who had their phones chosen for my project would be thrilled to enter into artistic immortality.
What a fool I was!
Pearls before swine. Thrilled? I met only bitter accusations and a couple very nice detectives who, while polite and courteous, scorned my art. They gathered up my collected cell phones and referred me to a good lawyer who, not surprisingly, was little impressed with my desire to expand my work by recording our discussions and making a collage of her advice.

Some other techniques I tried.

Freewriting.

First thing in the morning, a few minutes capturing my thoughts.
Pain in my chest. Man. Is that just heartburn? Could it have been the Indian food? My wife said we wanted a 10 out of 10 spice level. Is she trying to kill me?
Okay.
Start over.
Think of nothing. What is nothing? Can you see nothing? If you could see nothing, wouldn’t it then be something?
Start over.
Empty your mind. A task my wife claims should be easy for me. Still. Count your breaths. One. Two. Working. Thinking of nothing. Mind empty. Waiting. Calm. My mind is empty. Waiting.

I am the demon Harvey. Thank you for welcoming me to your mind. It’s been a long time. Let me take a minute to look around.

Jump up. Search frantically for a Bible and some Holy Water.
Cross automatic writing off your list.

Innovative publishing

Prepare a hardbound book with two hundred blank pages. Market it with the ads, “You Write the Book You’ve Always Wanted to Read.” Sell it via massive campaigns on the Internet. Figure out how to hack the Kardashian’s twitter tag. Add the caveat that once the book is written, you send it to me, assigning me all rights. I pick the best publisher and rush it off to them. Will it work? Trust the words of P. T. Barnum about suckers and minutes.

Tattoo art.

Ask my friends to get tattoos of my fiction. Start with a short poem. “War and Peace” is out of the question for this project. Don’t have that many friends. The few I have, respond: “Are you crazy?”
Those who are still talking to me after I’ve insulted their limited acceptance of art.
“Tattoos?” they say. “Have needles piercing my skin? In this day and age?”
A few who already have tattoos, offer what they have. I am sorry, but a big heart with your ex-wife’s name slightly visible after the attempted blackout in it doesn’t make it.
And no, I do not want to meet the rather odd angry friend you just met at a local biker bar who has L-O-V-E tattooed on the knuckles of his left hand, and H-A-T-E tattooed on the knuckles of his right. Yes, you tell me, the fact that he’s right-handed says it all. He says his hands can tell a story on their own. He says bring a full wallet to that dive bar at closing time, and he’ll tell that story. I say, I think the story he will tell is about the frustrated writer who gets mugged for his art, and it seems too pedestrian.
Decide to show them it’s not a big deal to get tattoos.
Stop into a tattoo parlor.
Have a brief conversation that ends with me saying, “You’re going to use that thing to do what on my flesh?”
Once again, art meets reality. Cancel that project.


Another option. Modern Tarot cards.

That sounds like a good idea, like the I-Ching book.
I’ll create a deck of modern Tarot cards with more meaning for our times. Assign a plot scene to each one on the back, then market them as a really innovative, innovative fiction project.
Here’s a small smattering from my fertile brain. And I don’t need any snide comments as some might make about what is the best fertilizer, and it’s in my brains.

Card 1: Eternal Wanderer. A young person in a car condemned to wander without end because their cell phone went dead and their only clue to get where they’re going is their GPS on the phone.
Card 2: Dangerous Snow Shoveling. A picture of a man over 60, forgetting he is over 60, as many men over 60 often do, standing before his pavement with a shovel, glancing at his young next door neighbor who has a happy smile on her face, and snow flying from her shovel.
Card 3: The Lost Author. An author sits before a computer screen. Some Word file we cannot make out is in the corner. In the center of the screen, large and glowing, is a video game battle scene.
Card 4: The Stuck in Freeway Traffic Skeleton. This is a picture of a skeleton sitting in a car on a long slowdown on a freeway road. Note: if you get this card after the Eternal Wanderer, cancel your vacation road trip. Stay home and write a story from the cards.

Now all I need to do is design these cards and package them and I’ll be on my way.
But not in time for my class.


Random Art Selection
Okay, this assignment is due, and this is one I must be able to handle. Take your favorite book or novel, open it to several pages at random, poke your finger down and find words to include in your next story. Huh. Sounds good.
First stab: potatoes, fried chicken, yams, onions, garlic.
Okay. Lesson number one on choosing a book for your innovative fiction. Avoid cookbooks. If you use a cookbook, you’ll look like you’re practicing for an episode of “Chopped,” on “The Food Network.” Don’t say it’s a dumb idea, we’re all learning here.
Second stab: Running scared, happy belly rub, and wicked angel.
Winner. This is the name of three horses that ran in a local race, in the order they won. I bet big on them and won something I discovered is a trifecta and pays big.

I’m wealthier than I ever dreamed of, and my wife says this is the best writing course I’ve ever taken. I think so, too. And am working on picking up a copy of the latest sports schedules to find names for my next story–er…bet

  


Ed Kratz is a retired civil servant who heard about Writer's Village many years ago from a member at the Philadelphia Writer's Conference. Since then he's taken a number of courses at Writer's Viillage.
He has been published in Daily Science Fiction, Every Day Fiction, and OG's Speculative Fiction.


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David Snyder

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Why I’m Failing My Innovative Fiction Course

by

Ed Kratz

   

This is from an assignment in the Innovative Fiction Course taught by Karen

I'm just not making it in my innovative fiction course.
What is innovative fiction you might ask? Well, if you have to ask, I'd say you're one of those rubes...

Read more: Why I’m Failing My Innovative Fiction Course

 

 

 

Dear Don...

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Ed Kratz

   

The Don, whose real name you do not want to know, ever, has vast experience solving problems. Our organization, Don’t Try to Find Us Press, never advocates violence. We take no responsibility for violent acts committed by those misinterpreting the Don’s recommendations.
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The late August sun hung hot in a bare blue sky. Matilda picked up a tattered straw bushel basket and trudged into the garden with it. The rows of beans were dusty green, the corn stalks tall, their leaves edged with yellow. She settled on...

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50 Minutes

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“So, ...

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Her Fortune is the Future in the Past

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The toe drags umber, the pressure of holding paint forces the belly to bulge, and the canvas texture causes tired bristles to bend and stretch, casting tinted shadows in their wake. The resulting undertones bring life to the painting. The vitalizing paint bled from the brush is drawn from the...

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The Compulsion of Water Lilies

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Gevera Bert Piedmont



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Lessons In Plot: From Setup To Payoff

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By Joy Manné (the student) with Help and Encouragement from Karen Barr (the teacher)



From ‘The Road from Setup to Payoff’ by Karen Barr, (Writers Village University, MFA 250-261 Story Focus series based on the book by Lisa Cron)

One of our most hardwired expectations is that anything that reads like the beginning of a new pattern—that is a setup—will in fact, be a...

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Meatloaf and Mashed Taters

by

Art Subklew


Art Subklew is a 55-year-old Paramedic residing and working in The Southern Berkshires, Massachusetts. He began creative writing as a teenager, mostly focusing on fictional short stories grounded in his experiences as a teenager growing up on a small farm. He has attended numerous classes in Creative Writing...

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Found: A $20 Bill

by

Brigitte Whiting


Brigitte lives in Maine and often uses settings and experiences from her yard in her writing. She earned Fiction Writing Certificates from Gotham Writers Workshop and UCLA-Ext and is working on her WVU-MFA Certificate. In addition to facilitating WVU classes, she meets weekly with two local writers' groups

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Jesus is Lord

by

Eviano George



“Esu, Esu”, the aged priest in the white skullcap screams, flecks of spittle flying out of his mouth. His Adam’s apple stretches against his reedy, leathery neck as incantations burst forth in a torrent. As if on cue, a monstrous, heavily tattooed novice runs out of the shadows. In...

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The Bus Station

by

Joyce Hertzoff


Joyce Hertzoff retired after over 45 years in the scientific information field. Since then she has published three YA novels. There of her short stories were included in anthologies. She is a facilitator and mentor for the MFA program at WVU.

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He Looked Like Quiet

by

Kathryn Pollard


An alarm sounded in the distance. I paid it no mind. Instead, I focused on the peculiar man sitting on the park bench. He looked like quiet—the epitome of it. When he breathed, the slight rise and fall of his shoulders did not compromise his placid composure. His hair, ...

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The Curious Case of Solomon Gbajabiamila

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Eviano George

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Portrait of the Artist at a Hideous Moment

by

Frank Richards

The man sits at a desk, in a garage, under a single light, a stack of white eight by eleven sheets of paper before him. The man sits at a desk, in a garage, under a good old neon light, a stack of neatly typed eight by eleven pages on...

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Zephyr

by

Linda Murray

The winding dirt road abandons the highway five miles south of town. But perhaps road is too grand a term for what meanders lazily into the otherwise untouched coastal forest. Maybe trail would be a better description. Alder and cedar boughs mesh in a green canopy that nearly blocks the...

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The Five-Hundred-Foot Ladder

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Rob Samborn

“Come on, Dad,” Savannah said. “Whatever happened to relaxing in your golden years? Sipping mint juleps on the porch, listening to U2, or whatever you old folk like?”

“Mint juleps?”

“I don’t know. What do you old folk drink?”

“You’re not funny, sweetheart. And fifty-eight’s not old. ...

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Empty Box

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Albert Orjuela

I’ve lived my whole life and people are still always trying to change me. Especially more so because I am empty. I don’t understand what the problem is, is it my fault? I am not a storage box, a moving box, a shipping box, or even a jewelry box. I...

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Stasis

by

Jeffrey M. Keenan

We hold hands, our palms sweat but we don't let go to wipe them off. Under my right hand is the switch. Once I close it, well...

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The Fisherman

by

Brigitte Whiting

I shuffle down the path from our house to the dock. I've been on the water for so long, my wife Molly tells me, that I've gotten permanent sea legs. I step down into my seine-net fishing boat, the one I bought from my father forty years ago, slide my...

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The Weight of Emotions

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Angela Hess

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An Apology

by

Brigitte Whiting

   I'm sorry that I hadn't thought of how I would take care of a puppy. It had seemed like a good idea, accept the gift of a puppy from acquaintances. She had the coloring of a coyote and was named Brindle for those tawny markings. I'd...

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Baby Precious

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Louise E. Sawyer

It was Christmas Day 1950 and my sixth birthday. Under the tree was an unusually long, large box with my name on it. I was excited to open it. I couldn’t wait. When I finally did, I was amazed to look upon the most gorgeous doll I’d...

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Downsizing

by

M Clare Paris

 
I think about death quite a bit. Not morbidly, nor do I worry about what happens when one dies. Although I enjoy a spiritual life, I am also philosophical about the end of my life. If there is something else, it will be darned interesting. If there isn’t, ...

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Absent But Present

by

Louise E. Sawyer


My father, Thomas George Sawyer, was absent at my birth and absent the first seven months of my life.

It was Christmas Eve 1944 at the two-story white house on Beechwood Drive-my Grannie’s house in Victoria, the capital city of British Colombia on Vancouver Island. Grannie Price, my...

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Gathering: A Contemplative Essay

by

Brigitte Whiting

I'm always looking for ideas to use in writing: for that prompt at which I first gulp and then slowly retrieve some thread of an idea, for the poem I need for the Monday morning poetry group, for an essay that's due in two days.

I've heeded...

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Seasons in a Wild Turkey Hen's Life

by

Brigitte Whiting

Last spring, a wild turkey hen incubated her eggs for twenty-eight days. When they hatched, she scrambled to keep up with them. Poults to scientific literature. Babies to her. She didn't need to teach them to scratch for bugs—they came with that instinct. Nighttimes during their first four weeks, ...

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Lesson in Subtext

by

Joy Manné and Karen Barr

Roles

Teacher – Karen Barr

Student – Joy Manné

Teacher

WELCOME TO WEEK 8 OF SUBTEXT.

There is no word count, but the challenge is to get all ten types of subtext in as few words as possible. Here they are:

Show don’t...

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Teenage Escape Plan

by

Danielle Dayney

I woke to warm, gooey air smothering me even though the ceiling fan was spinning on high. Dangling lightpulls smacked and banged the glass globe with each rotation of the blades. The base of the fan swayed and groaned, ready to jump from its screws in the drywall any second.

...

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Miracle Baby

by

Harry C. Hobbs

The mother and father watched as the sun rose on a cold morning in February 1945, wondering if their four-month-old son had lived through the night. Could miracles really happen? Perhaps this child they had wanted so badly wanted wasn’t meant to survive. His mother was a month past her...

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Ylva the Úlfr

by

Cynthia Reed

When I flew to California in September, the golden archipelago summer, verdant below and mazarine above, still held sway. Twenty-three days and eleven thousand two hundred and forty miles later, if you’d sat here with me on the back deck this afternoon--you’d know, too--autumn now envelopes Sweden in...

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Stargazer

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

 A Poem in Free Verse

Stargazer, Rhode Island Red

So much like me,

Always...

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Eagles in Winter Storm "Stella"

by

Brigitte Whiting

A poem in free verse

Before the nor'easter "Stella" arrives here—

weather warnings have...

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Heads I Win

by

Joy Manné

A Chant in Free Verse

Bathed and blessed, in fine white cotton clad,

to...

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Do you wear shoes? Do they make a sound?

by

Gerardine Baugh

I looked up and saw it.  I would have missed it if I hadn’t looked up when I...

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Wakeful Nights

by

Catherine McArdle

A Sonnet

These midnight doubts have power to kill your peace

and numbing...

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Dragons

by

Judy Beaston

A Cinquain poem

 

 dragons

dance on night walls

swift runners, fire breathers

...

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Disquiet - Winner of our April 2018 Poetry Contest!

by

Judy Beaston

   

 A Poem in Free Verse

 

Waves crash, tumble, rumble

upon...

Read more: Disquiet - Winner of our April 2018 Poetry Contest!

 

 

 

Shellina, Part 2 ~ A Fairy Tale

by

Louise E. Sawyer

It’s winter morning at Bullrush Cove 

Where dawn paints with pink.
Shellina opens up her eyes. Last night
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Rest In Peace My Canine Daughter

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

 

I don't want a zombie dog,

No pet to rise from the dead,

Up from...

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Ode To A Pair Of Faithful Boots

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

                                        ...

Read more: Ode To A Pair Of Faithful Boots

 

 

 

Sins of Forefathers

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

Sinners

Blood stained hands

Must wash hands

Of my sins and sins of our forefathers.

...

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Conversation At The Checkout

by

Gerardine Baugh

 

“I love black cats with golden-green eyes”

She said, moving the cat treats over the scanner


...

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Night is a Swim

by

Gerardine Baugh

Night is a swim of soundless scribbles, clicking keys

A thrum, thrum, thrumming of deep sensations

...

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Dark And Stormy Month   

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

 

Over cast skies,

  Darkened unrested raccoon eyes,

Now more like those of a hungry night...

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Days of Fall

by

Brigitte Whiting

 

In these first days of fall, I water

my wildflowers. A shadow flutters

past my hat. ...

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Whiskey Half-Barrel

by

Brigitte Whiting

 

 

Through my back window overlooking the yard

sits the whiskey barrel, shaded by oaks and...

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Mid Seasons

by

Brigitte Whiting

 

I've left the last brown-eyed Susans,

their yellow petals drooped around

dark brown seed-filled cones,

...

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Fruit of Betrayal

by

Katelyn Thomas

 

I am disturbed by the inconsistency of yellow apples -

the way they invite you in...

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Roadkill

by

Katelyn Thomas

 

Asphalt sprouts wings -

all that remains.

Unfortunate crow.


Katelyn Thomas is...

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When Did You Last See Her?

by

Katelyn Thomas

 

 

The visitor pours out the moon,

watches the top crater,

before he realizes one...

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Serenity Prayer, Long Beach, 1956...a #MeToo recollection

by

Cynthia Reed

 

‘Whiskey,’ said my Nana, ‘too much whiskey in that man.’

he was big and his...

Read more: Serenity Prayer, Long Beach, 1956...a #MeToo recollection

 

 

 

Recipe for Writing a Poem

by

Glennis Walker Hobbs

After reading How to Write a Poem by Billy Collins

Gather the ingredients:

1 bushel of...

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Queen Elizabeth Gardens - Haiban

by

Glennis Walker Hobbs

The Queen Elizabeth Gardens, hidden in the geographic centre of Vancouver, British Columbia,

come as a complete...

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Bees

by

Gerardine Baugh


Gerardine Gail Baugh is a native Chicagoan who moved into the Northwest burbs of Illinois. Where she...

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9/11 – A Kyrielle

by

Glennis Walker Hobbs

They were days of desperation

and anxious anticipation,

planes hijacked, Bin Laden’s command,

and winds of...

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Farm Field

by

Gerardine Baugh

black dirt in hot sun
pieces of the past calling
seeds sown in straight rows

Sprouting green soft...

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Change Is

by

Albert Orjuela

Change is a boundless mechanism. It is not subject to time,and never seems to have a particular sense of...

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Ragdoll

by

Gerardine Baugh

Ragdoll flopping

Up and running fur flying

Walls, ceilings- my coffee


Gerardine Gail...

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To the Bottle Blonde in the White Car

by

Katelyn Thomas

I thought it was snowing in August until
one of the flakes swirling from your red
tipped fingers as...

Read more: To the Bottle Blonde in the White Car

 

 

 

There Isn't Any Narcan In My Purse

by

Katelyn Thomas

She is
another
woman's
daughter.
She gives
her body,
would give
her soul -
funds
for one
more
hit.
...

Read more: There Isn't Any Narcan In My Purse

 

 

 

Losing You

by

Brigitte Whiting

They said there'd be a new normal
to which others nodded in agreement.
A cliché that implies losses are...

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Twilight

by

Brigitte Whiting

The last hour of dusk, while pine shadows
stretch and lengthen along the rocky shoreline,
and water laps and flows...

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Writing Excuses

by

Brigitte Whiting

I listen to the excuses, all of them finely honed.

He says, I'm reaching for a package of hamburger,
...

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First and Third Person

by

Andrew Dabar

She entered through one door
As he by another
Did cross a crowded floor
Strangers to each other

...

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Halloween Costume

by

Andrew Dabar

Another wolf in disguise
A pair of glowing eyes
Oh, cute little boy
Small as a toy
Let go...

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Why Poetry?

by

Luann Lewis

To capture a moment.
The moment a cool breeze lifts your hair.
The moment the scent of lilacs delights your...

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Why Flash?

by

Luann Lewis

Each story is like stepping through a door to an alternate dimension where time is out of proportion. Intellectually, I...

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Autumn Wind

by

Andrew Dabar

Late autumn wind
Whispering friend
You speak to my heart
Again and again
At times with the strongest of...

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Shellina ~ a Fairy Tale

by

Louise Saywer

Part I Bullrush Cove

The Bullrush Cove is a seaside nook,
Asleep in fairyland.
This summer eve...

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Knitting on the Corner in Winslow Arizona

by

Joyce Hertzoff

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Who Me?

by

Albert Orjuela

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Do They Make a Sound?

by

Gerardine Baugh

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Do you see what I see?

by

Albert Orjuela

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Frosty Morning

by

Gerardine Baugh

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Evening at the Beach

by

Kathryn Pollard

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March Nor'Easter #2

by

Brigitte Whiting

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First Morning Light

by

Albert Orjuela

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A View For All Faiths

by

Luann Lewis

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Feed Me

by

Gerardine Baugh

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A Mid-Winter's Summer Dream

by

Albert Orjuela

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Hitchcock Presbyterian Church at Night

by

Albert Orjuela

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Bodie Lighthouse at Sunset

by

RJ Hembree

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Croton Dam Waterfall

by

Albert Orjuela

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Itching for Your Love

by

Karen Barr

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Winter Tree

by

Hugo Janke

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Not So Fast...

by

Donna Sundblad

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First Encounters

by

Karen Barr

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Time To Shovel

by

Gerardine (Gail) Baugh

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Natural Thoughts

by

Ann Butts

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Super Moon

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

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Get Your Own Flower

by

Albert Orjuela

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Frozen Puddle

by

Gerardine (Gail) Baugh

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Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur

by

Cynthia Reed

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In Flight

by

Karen Barr

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This Guy Cracks Me Up

by

Albert Orjuela

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Cardinal in the Snow

by

RJ Hembree

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White Tailed Deer

by

Bert Piedmont

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Truck in a Field

by

RJ Hembree

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The Nose that Knows

by

Albert Orjuela

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All Roads Lead to Autumn

by

Albert Orjuela

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