June 22, 2021

“Tatiana’s Tango,” The Poetry of J.P. Christiansen

“Tatiana’s Tango,” The Poetry of J.P. Christiansen

Tatiana’s Tango    Her sex is a tango, sung in any language, please,  in a black and white picture, mono chrome,   with shadows of that desire, please.    She stands under the lamp-post dividing day and lust,  the music of a moon having come out to guide you, Tatiana.  The small orchestra plays the seductive tones,  the singer caresses words and refrain,  here in the bar in Warsaw, 1938,  where two bodies meet in a dance to celebrate life.    A tango may last three minutes.  I listen to the scratched vinyl surface of the 78.  A memory arises with each turning of the needle in its grooves.  Haunting notes and voice of a song which used to be.    Now, 1939, and the gramophone is silent.  The vinyl is broken.    Did the walls fall on you, too, Tatiana…

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June 18, 2021

“Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones

“Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones

Welcome back Fictional Café Listeners, it’s time for our second audiobook for Audiobook Month! I’d like to share with you a personal favorite, “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones, read by Jenny Sterling. Many of you may be familiar with Hayao Miyazaki’s 2004 film adaptation of this book, but I prefer the narrative version, as Diana is able to create a story that is beautiful in its detail and wonderful in its world-building. Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the…

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June 18, 2021

Juneteenth: A Day of Remembrance and Celebration

Juneteenth: A Day of Remembrance and Celebration

Editor’s Note: Black lives matter. Creative lives matter. We’re very fortunate to see both embodied in The Fictional Café’s Residency program. In both instances, these are word-artists who had already discovered The Fictional Café and been published here. Mbizo Chirasha was asked to become our Poet-in-Residence because of the powerful messages of freedom from oppression and tyranny in his poetry. We are saddened to learn that he remains in exile, now for four long years, in large part because of his book of poetry, A Letter to the President, which drew the ire of the dictatorship in Mbizo’s native country. Against powerfully thwarting odds, we’re trying to help. Derrick R. Lafayette is, with pun intended, our Black Knight of fiction. His fierce, compelling stories captivated us from his first submission. His strong advocacy for our…

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June 15, 2021

“Books for Writers,” An Editorial by Lorraine Martindale

“Books for Writers,” An Editorial by Lorraine Martindale

Books for Writers Though writing is solitary art, it’s also communal, and we all have favorite authors that teach and inspire us. Here’s a list of books I read often to gain deeper understanding how to write and edit my work. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard What is this writing life? Annie Dillard asks. “You climb a long ladder until you can see over the roof, or over the clouds. You are writing a book. You watch your shod feet step on each round rung, one at a time; you do not hurry and do not rest. Your feet feel the steep ladder’s balance; the long muscles in your thighs check its sway. You climb steadily, doing your job in the dark.” Like her celebrated work, Dillard illuminates the writing life with intelligence, humility,…

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June 10, 2021

“Dottie,” A Short Story by Kerry Breen

“Dottie,” A Short Story by Kerry Breen

Dottie looked past her reflection in the bathroom mirror to the metallic petals outlining her slight frame. She’d found the vinyl-coated wallpaper in W.T. Grants on Washington Street that Wednesday and had spent half of Thursday hanging it. Looking back to the mirror, she folded the final curler into her hair and snapped it shut. She then began her nightly routine of wrapping toilet paper around the circumference of her head to keep her cropped, platinum hair smooth around each bubblegum pink foam roller. She had thought the yellow and orange flowers traced in gold were just the springy boost the tiny bath needed, but now she wasn’t sure. “George? Hey, George?” she called into the hallway. “Yes, dear,” George replied, stealthily dipping his left hand into the candy dish on the kitchen counter.  …

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June 7, 2021

“Sonnet to Morrow,” Poems by Yuan Changming

“Sonnet to Morrow,”  Poems by Yuan Changming

Sonnet to Morrow    Since yester twilight  Along  the borderline of tonight  With  fits of thirst & hunger  Among  storms of pain  Under  attacks of viruses   Between    interludes of insomnia  Beyond  both hope & expectation     At  the depth of darkness  Amidst the nightmare  Through  one tiny antlike moment  After  another . . .   Against       deadly despair  Until  awakening   To  the first ray of dawn   Holistic Relationship  (for Qi Hong)    99% from me plus  1% from you  Makes  Our love   Just happily perfect    Though, alas  Not exactly ideal  As anyone might wish   Tips for Becoming a Great World Citizen in the e.Age    1. Don’t argue with any numbers, but just follow the google algorithm;  2. Abide by American interest rather than international law;  3. Whatever game Uncle Sam is up to play, join the team led by him;   4. Always shore…

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June 4, 2021

“Wuthering Heights” adapted by Rachel Pulliam

“Wuthering Heights” adapted by Rachel Pulliam

Happy June Everyone! This week we are going to listen to “Wuthering Heights,” written by Emily Bronte and adapted by Rachel Pulliam. In honor of June being Audiobook Month, I thought it would be fun to post an old classic, that is both timeless and – in this case – produced by Dream Realm Enterprises. Penned in 1847, Emily Bronte’s story of love, hate, and revenge has remained an eternal classic. Heathcliff, a foundling boy, is taken in by the kind Mr. Earnshaw and raised with his own children, Cathy and Hindley. While Hindley’s jealousy grows, Cathy finds the boy endearing and together they form an inseparable bond. Despite her connection and love for Heathcliff, Cathy struggles with fulfilling society’s expectations of her to marry a rich man or the desire to follow her heart….

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June 3, 2021

“Bicycling with Butterflies,” A New Book by Sara Dykman

“Bicycling with Butterflies,” A New Book by Sara Dykman

Editor’s note: Most of us are likely curious about the person who writes a book — in particular, one who rode her bicycle 10,201 miles to follow the monarch butterfly migration from Mexico across the United States to Canada and back again. So we’re introducing a new feature to our book excerpts: a Zoom interview with the author. If you like what you’re about to listen to, watch, read, please leave a note in the Comments—and treat yourself to a copy of Sara’s book. This is the best book about adventure cycling I’ve ever read, and it’s available on Amazon in hardcover, Kindle and Audible. ~ Jack Bicycling with Butterflies excerpt: “A Million-Winged Sendoff” DAYS 1 AND 2 / MARCH 12 AND 13 MILES 1–118 The sun’s warmth began to pour steadily through the branches,…

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June 1, 2021

Rebecca Hosking — Multitalented Creative

Rebecca Hosking — Multitalented Creative

Photo above: Elephant Camp, Chang Mai, Thailand Editor’s Note: This month’s featured artist is also a very talented musician and poet. Check out Rebecca Hosking’s diverse creative endeavors below. Not All Witches Belong to a Coven Not all witches belong to a coven. Put aside the stereotypes. Expand your mind and think outside of the box. Mother nature lives inside all of us. She is the mother of the earth. Her medicine lives in the plants that feed off the dirt. Get your feet wet, dabble, and expand your mind. Not all witches wear black clothing or dance naked in the garden just before dawn. This woman lives alone. She lives among her dreams, works hard like a graceful wave carrying life to the shore. She warms her skin with the sun and finds energy…

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