August 21, 2017

John Grey’s Poetry, Part Two

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John Grey’s Poetry, Part Two

As promised last month, here are three more wonderful poems by our frequent contributor, John Grey. ALL IN ONE DAY We drove the ocean road, smothered in fog, could barely see the blue expanse, all our vision was in the hearing as it pounded the shore below.   But then that fog lifted. The day was all of a sudden warm and dazzling.   We stopped at a meadow, picked wildflowers, spotted a fawn with its mother, hiked a trail to a waterfall and rested in a cool oak grove.   We ate outdoors at a roadside restaurant. We saw a lone surfer testing his skill on medium-sized waves at some unnamed beach.   Clouds moved in and it began to rain. The wind picked up. My wipers beat like my heart had earlier.  …

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August 18, 2017

Diego Velez – A Colombian Perspective

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Diego Velez – A Colombian Perspective

Editor’s Note: Diego Velez tells stories through his paintings. I got a chance to talk with him about his perspectives on art and life recently. He told me that being an artist is something that keeps him humble and grateful of what he has. There is so much beauty in the process of creating that he does not even need to drink when he’s working; the painting quenches his thirst. He believes an artist spiritually ingests coals made from different trees to get the essence of these different colors and after creating, the art is a way to let people experience these images for years to come. But his passion goes beyond art, as he tells me his thoughts on the universe and humanity, “The earth doesn’t ask permission to reshape itself.” We present to…

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August 18, 2017

Podcast: “Emma” by Jane Austen

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Podcast: “Emma” by Jane Austen

We continue our Librivox recordings this month with a lovely reading of Jane Austen’s Emma, read by Sibelia Denton. This is the story of a “handsome, clever, and rich” young woman and her awakening and her struggles with love and relationships. Herewith the first three chapters of one of the most beloved Jane Austen novels, first published in 1815 but which has been adapted again and again on stage and screen. You can continue your listening here.

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August 18, 2017

Three Poems by Irene Son

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Three Poems by Irene Son

Battle for the Finish Line My friends step up to the starting line I look around We all look like hungry animals, Animals that were ready to get the last piece of meat I close my eyes and take a deep breath My heart is jumping in and out of my chest I open my eyes, the flag goes down My eyes are glued to the finish line I can imagine myself there, Holding the trophy with pride But then someone comes up The butterflies in my stomach wake up I take a deep breath I inhale and crank my arms up The sun’s heat is crushing me like a giant stepping on an ant Drip-drop I can’t feel my legs “I’m almost there!” I feel like I’m going to die 50 yards…40 yards…30 yards…20…

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August 11, 2017

Podcast: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Podcast: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This novel, first published in 1908, is a classic story of Mary Lennox, a quiet, withdrawn little girl who goes to live with her uncle. He lives in an enormous house which possesses a – yes, a secret garden, about which Mary grows intensely curious. Perhaps because of this fascinating novel, the secret garden has assumed the mantle of an archetype for the spiritual quest. We present here the first three chapters of The Secret Garden, read by Kara Schallenberg in this Librivox recording. If you like what you hear, you can download the entire work here. My three favorite Goodreads friends all give Kara’s reading five stars. Please click on the arrows below to listen to the first three chapters. More great Librivox stories in store for you in the coming weeks!  

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August 9, 2017

“Amnesia,” an Illustrated Story

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“Amnesia,” an Illustrated Story

Editor’s Note: Kathryn Holzman and her husband Lew Holzman have both published here at the Fictional Café in the past, but not together – until now. Kathryn wrote this story, entitled “Amnesia,” and Lew created original digital illustrations to accompany his wife’s words. We all hope you enjoy this psychological thriller!      Amnesia       The C5 transport plane crossed the spring sky descending towards the nearby Air Force base. Low and slow, the plane had a cargo compartment big enough to supply a battalion and capable of carrying six Apache helicopters. We were taking a weekend hike with friends and had almost arrived at the summit of the low, verdant hill they called Mount Blacklock. The block of ice fell dreamily from the plane. There clearly was no intent. We didn’t see…

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August 7, 2017

Paula Bonnell’s New Book of Poetry, Reviewed by Simran P. Gupta

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Paula Bonnell’s New Book of Poetry, Reviewed by Simran P. Gupta

Editor’s Note: Paula Bonnell enthralled us with her poetry two years ago here at the Café. Now Paula has written and published a new chapbook of her poetry entitled “Tales Retold,” which Simran, our poetry barista, reviews here. Paula Bonnell’s chapbook, “Tales Retold,” can be summed up as a masterpiece of words. Bonnell’s poetry demanded (and received) my full attention, with varying tone, emotion, and clever word choice. With each re-read, a new level of understanding was achieved and a new connection was made. This is not to make the poems in “Tales Retold” out to be puzzles waiting to be solved; that depends on the reader’s interpretation. It does, however, mean that anyone reading Bonnell’s poetry will never be bored, as something new awaits at each level of engagement. Before writing this review, I read…

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August 4, 2017

Podcast: A Rare Sherlock Holmes Story

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Podcast: A Rare Sherlock Holmes Story

Greetings, Podcast Fanatics! Here’s a Sherlock Holmes short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle you may have missed in your readings: “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist,” drawn from the book The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Published in 1903, this and other stories followed the fabled detective after he had purportedly been killed by the evil Professor Moriarty. It caught my attention because I’m an avid cyclist and wanted to see what the master [indeed, how often does one get English nobility for their writing?] dealt with the bicycle, which was a relatively new invention at the time he wrote. So here it is, and do let me know what you think of it! This is a LibriVox recording by Raynard. Please click on the arrows below to listen to “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist”…

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August 3, 2017

“My Last Night in Paris,” a Short Story by Sandor Blum

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“My Last Night in Paris,” a Short Story by Sandor Blum

When I become incensed at prejudice, I tend to fight back with an edge of cynicism aimed at cutting through to someone’s stupidity. I am always hopeful that I can be an educator rather than a warrior against bigotry. George, a French Jew who had come to America, had told me of the growing anti-Semitism in France and the French collaboration in the deportation of his family from Lyons to the WW II concentration camps. He had grown up with French anti-Semitism, had witnessed the attack on Jo Goldenberg’s Jewish delicatessen, battled to defend Israel at the Sorbonne and finally—fed up and exhausted—convinced his family to move to the US. It was the late 1980s. I was scheduled to meet with the president of a French firm to discuss his acquisition of my client’s company….

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August 1, 2017

Light in August: This Month’s New Work

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Light in August: This Month’s New Work

Please pardon us for snitching the title of William Faulkner’s momentous novel about race relations in the 1930s South, but it’s on our minds a lot as we continue to see ugly racism rampant in our country. Which, of course, begs the question posed in the gorgeous song, “Why Can’t We Live Together“, performed by Diana King and Kyle Eastwood. We hope you’ll find interesting and provocative aspects of what’s good about a diverse culture in our offerings this month. That’s about it, save for the more obvious metaphor of our contributors shedding some light into your own personal August with our bountiful creative offerings. Fiction. Sandor Blum has given us a short story about an American Jew who encounters latent – and perhaps blatant – discrimination in “My Last Night in Paris.” We also…

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