October 5, 2019

“Little Black Dress” and “Collegiate Correspondence” by Rachel Gonzalez

“Little Black Dress” and “Collegiate Correspondence” by Rachel Gonzalez

Two Stirring Mise-en-Scènes Little Black Dress Lilia walked 7,392 steps to and from her apartment on an average day. And being a woman, Lilia was, on an average day, cat-called at a new corner. A new stoop. A new shop front. Since her body became what it was meant to be, they were there, noticing out loud. A new man. The same bullshit. “Ay Ma, lemme talk to you!” “Yo Shawty! Where you goin so fast?” “Baby Doll! I got something for you!” Day in and day out, Lilia would leave her house in any manner of outfits—slacks, skirts, blouses, shorts, dresses, blazers, heels, flats—didn’t matter. Whatever it was, she shouldn’t be wearing it. Whatever she was wearing was subjected to a sordid request to the men she passed. If she was outside, she was…

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September 30, 2019

How To Succeed In Your Writing Career

How To Succeed In Your Writing Career

An Interview with Fictional Cafe Barista Jason Brick In this wide-ranging, 30-minute conversation about today’s writing and publishing environment, Jason shares his knowledge and experience as a writer, an author, and a publisher with curious Fictional Cafe writers who wish to create a sustainable business and income from their writing, rather than its being a hobby in which one indulges in his or her spare time. Jason Brick is a professional writer, martial artist, travel addict, and dad whose work has been published across multiple genres and formats. He has contributed over 3,000 articles and short stories to print magazines and online sites on topics ranging from home improvement, to health and wellness, to cocktail recipes, to small business management. Some of Jason’s top-level corporate clients include BlackBelt and Thrillist magazines, American Express, Intuit, and Mint.com. Jason has ghostwritten more…

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September 28, 2019

Posing the Tough Questions — Poetry by Casey Aimer

Posing the Tough Questions — Poetry by Casey Aimer

Lawrence Sullivan Ross In Aggieland where the Kool-Aid is laced with bled maroon were they conscious of the irony in 1918, preserving their confederate general in bronze skin? Today, Sully, I mapped out your statue like you mapped out the west, legs dangling as I sat on your copper head and Van Dyke beard. All so I could say this: That when the immigrant sculptor, Pompeo Coppini, was re-forging your sole into existence I bet you struggled and resisted your creator. When your fingers were being hammered into submission you clutched in desperation didn’t you at the white work floor lights before being carted away in a colored wheel barrel. At your dedication you protested the brown and black pebbles underneath your podium. They reminded you too much of the people screaming freedom amid reconstruction…

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September 21, 2019

“My Year in Art,” by Steve Sangapore

“My Year in Art,” by Steve Sangapore

After graduating from college in 2013 with a degree in art, I spent the next five years maintaining a sharp focus on honing my craft as a painter. Countless studio hours were matched with even more time pursuing opportunities, schmoozing with gallerists, and making my presence known within Boston’s, and the greater Northeast’s, vibrant art communities. While each year yielded great leaps in my technical dexterity and academic proficiency as a painter, the art was virtually devoid of the most important component that separates art from craft . . . and I just couldn’t see it. Or, perhaps I could see it—I just didn’t want to. The debates between, “what is good art” and “what is or can be art” have been raging on for years – particularly since the mid-19th century with the birth…

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September 17, 2019

“The Good Pimp,” A Short Story by James Hanna

“The Good Pimp,” A Short Story by James Hanna

While sitting in a Starbucks on Mission Street, I met a splendid pimp. The breakfast crowd had dispersed when he ambled into the restaurant, and he gave me a friendly nod before sitting down at the table beside me. He was a towering man with a heavy, black beard and menacing scar on his cheek, but his eyes were as kind as a minister’s and softer than poached eggs. “Good morning,” he said, his voice as smooth as butter. He was toting a leather briefcase, which he placed upon the floor, and he gazed at me like a spaniel hoping to gobble a tidbit. “Have you tried the strudel?” he asked me. “All my girls love the strudel. I assure you it’s the finest in all of San Francisco.” Having already sampled the nut bread,…

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August 24, 2019

“Castel Gandolfo,” by Susan Taylor Brand

“Castel Gandolfo,” by Susan Taylor Brand

     There are different kinds of parachutes in this world, different ways of escaping a life which resembles a crashing plane, and eight years ago my parachute was taking a quick trip to the Eternal and making that trip last forever. They say a wolf will chew its own leg off to get out of a trap, and I was like that then. But Rome is the perfect place for an American woman remaking herself.        Today my neighborhood is called Colle Albani, White Hills. It’s just by the Aurelian walls, and our mailing address is still Roma.       Only once has the veneer I pulled over my remade life slipped to the side to reveal the truth. The day I’m speaking of, I was walking home after dropping by the…

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