March 5, 2020

Katherine Coons: An Autobiographical Journey

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Katherine Coons: An Autobiographical Journey

Artist’s Statement: “My work embraces several concepts simultaneously. The images in this proposal portray an autobiographical picture of my life, my travels, and the places that I have inhabited. I make creations that fit my mood, energy, and temperament. My inspiration comes from the nature that surrounds me, and I am deeply influenced by differences of culture, color, and the diversity of attitudes and ideas gleaned from these aspects. Numerous travels abroad to Europe and Asia have greatly influenced my artworks, having spent much time observing different peoples and their cultures.  Documenting my daily thoughts in sketchbooks, and subsequent ruminations on, and drawings from my daily excursions evolve into greater arenas of art making. Collected curios from these places are infused into my mixed media artworks and installations. My creations are derived from these experiences, while my art exhibitions illustrate these memories.” “I am greatly inspired by large, sprawling landscapes such as those of Alaska where I lived for seventeen years. I describe the paintings that evolve from these landscapes as gestural, fleeting sensations of transitory time and place. I would describe my work as expressionistic. Newer paintings include…

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February 18, 2020

“The Escape to Candyland,” A Review

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“The Escape to Candyland,” A Review

In Yong Takahashi’s debut collection of stories, The Escape to Candyland, the main character is dilemma.  That’s the featured role in this series of recursive, interwoven stories: the human heart in conflict with itself.  Takahashi’s protagonists labor under myth-like predestination and curse; they are often tortured by the knowledge of what ails them, compounded by the inability or unwillingness to overcome it.  Hence dilemma.  Very few suffer in ignorance – most of the men and women in these stories know they are beset by a personal menace (an abusive husband, guilt over a brother’s death, an obsessive-compulsive mother), and many understand that their deliverance lies in plain sight, but who among them can seize it and afford to lose a pillar of their identity – past trauma.  Perhaps, then, the apt word to describe each member of…

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February 6, 2020

Brett Stout – Deep, Dark Paintings

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Brett Stout – Deep, Dark Paintings

All images copyright, Brett Stout. *** Brett Stout is a 40-year-old artist and writer. He is a high school dropout and former construction worker turned college graduate and paramedic. He creates mostly controversial work usually while breathing toxic paint fumes from a small cramped apartment known as “The Nerd Lab” in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. His work has appeared in a vast range of diverse media, from international indie zines like Litro Magazine UK to Brown University. This is his first feature in The Fictional Café.

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February 4, 2020

“Insectgroup,” Flash Fiction by Rich Ives

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“Insectgroup,” Flash Fiction by Rich Ives

The Thoughts I Live in Seem to Accept My Flight European Mining Bee  Dear Chomsky,  My colon’s gone semi. I thought telling you would explain my recent uncharacteristic lack of correspondence. Yesterday I tithed my toilet. Today I’m 90% certain I agree with what’s left. If you’d send me an opinion on breakfasting, I’d certainly think about it.  I’m still being serviced by two membranous wings, joined in flight by tiny hooks at my narrow waist. I have a saw-like ovipositor, long and slender like in parasitic wasps. I’m told that my egg was fertilized though the males’ aren’t. I’m a very social gal, and you can rely on me to spread the word about your genius. You probably get that all the time. What I mean is I’ll help explain why you’re right.  My pollen collection…

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January 30, 2020

“Kung Fu Crack Baby,” by John Reedburg

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“Kung Fu Crack Baby,” by John Reedburg

My elementary school was an off-white graffiti spectacle of a building that looked like it was a semester or two from dying of old age. Walking down the halls made me feel I’d become swallowed alive, passing down into the belly of a fire-breathing dragon until defecated into my 4th-grade class that smelled like urine. I hated going to school. My mother was a drug addict who only made sure I went so she could get a welfare check. While most kids went to learn, I went to have a hot meal. It would have been nice to live like Richie Rich with a robot maid that prepared food and protected you from bullies. Though my reality wouldn’t allow me to be a cartoon. I was Demetrius Deontay Jordan, the weirdest boy at school.   I didn’t have any friends.   Older kids called me “Kung Fu Crack Baby,” all because my mother took drugs and my…

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January 28, 2020

“Go Blow,” a Short Story by Alan Berger

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“Go Blow,” a Short Story by Alan Berger

He would have said how the fuck could they make a trumpet out of plastic and have come forth out of it with such beautiful sounds. Sounds like he heard his father play on his brass trumpet. But Gabriel was only four years of age when he got it and didn’t know yet what plastic was.  Gabe’s mother and father were always fighting. With her doing most of the fighting and him doing most of the ignoring. She was jealous of his trumpet, which he played all the time.  Gabe would listen to his father play in the next room and play along with him from his room.  That duo would harmonize until mom started hitting dad and if Gabe was still playing after a few smacks at dad, she would go into his room and smack on him.  By that time dad would start playing his horn…

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January 26, 2020

“Junk Mail,” a Short Story by T.R. Healy

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“Junk Mail,” a Short Story by T.R. Healy

As he waited in line to order a cappuccino, Poston was surprised how crowded the Java Station was this late in the morning. Generally, it was less than half full at this time but, for whatever reason, every table was occupied. He couldn’t sit outside because it was still raining so he supposed he would have to share a table with another patron which was not something he liked to do. “Do you mind if I join you?” he asked an older woman with spiky auburn hair that made it appear as if she were in a constant state of fear.  “Sorry?” she replied, looking up from the spiral writing tablet next to her espresso.  He pulled out the opposite chair. “It’s so crowded in here.”  “Oh, yes, of course. It is busy, isn’t it?”  Nodding, he sat down…

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January 22, 2020

“That Finals Hour,” Poetry by John Grey

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“That Finals Hour,” Poetry by John Grey

THAT FINALS HOURIt’s not complacency. It’s stupefaction.The final is in an hour. And I’m notsucking this pen like a popsicle.Behind my lips, I’m in a chewing frenzy.Yes, I’m sipping coffee. And peelingand orange. But the activity requiredis like a drug. My frayed nerves deserveno less. Some friends stroll by.Trades looks tell all. Once eyesadopt a principle of honesty,self-confidence falls flat on its own face.In a room to the building on my right,it’s not a simple mathematics test thatawaits but the labors of Hercules.A growling Nemean lion of an algebrapuzzle. A geometrical hydra. Astamping, snorting, trigonometryCretan Bull. Compared to me,the ancient strongman had it easy.He could stop at twelve. Ah, if onlythe test were on mythology. Allthose contradictory characteristics.Gods and heroes. The supernatural.The bloody. The inspiring. Themiraculous. Best of all, one plus oneonly had to equal…

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January 15, 2020

“Hue,” Colorful Flash Fiction by Kasondra Perez

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“Hue,” Colorful Flash Fiction by Kasondra Perez

Southern California is the same hue as your eyes. Brown rutted brush where the goats will chew out the fire breaks so maybe we won’t burn up like your rage on a Saturday night after maple colored scotch.   I remember white blankets of soft ice covered the town where I went to school. Everything was touch and go, where winds would pick up like a whip and snap you forward on the walk from your dormitory, coming up again on the return like a violent slap to the face of pitch cold, kind of like last night with your words, never actually, but reaching into my grey matter and thumbing at the tabs of files until pulling out one labeled Insecurities. You took that folder and studied it like admissions counselors studied my manuscripts. Scrutinized and memorized. …

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January 13, 2020

“True Home and A Bottle of Champagne” by Samuel Ekanem

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“True Home and A Bottle of Champagne” by Samuel Ekanem

 As the only human figure in the void corridor, Inem Ikang paused and wondered at her shadow, cast on the corridor walls – the corridor her only possible passage, its walls made of plywood. She had never imagined this: someone casting shadows in the absence of light. And so she started to dance, her body moving slowly, side to side, until the shadows made clearer semblances of her and she was sure they were not spirits. By the time her heart started to bang inside of her, she stopped dancing and craned her neck around the corridor, searching for light. But then she realised that there’s usually no light when there’s darkness.  She moved closer to the wall and caressed the shadows with both hands. The feelings awed her – the wall feeling doughy like half-baked bread. She caressed and caressed, and…

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