December 14, 2020

Martha Engber – Two Poems of Vulnerability

Martha Engber – Two Poems of Vulnerability

The House      Once there was a house.  Once there was a choice.    The house was made of inside,  while the choice lived outside.    Before that, there were many other choices,  all outside, too, but  that could be gotten to    because the house had a  door that opened, allowing a going out  and a coming in, and had, and did.    But then came this choice, of surprise  and delight and innocence,  more than any other.    A choice made wholly of outside,  it could not come in, but rather must be  gone to and embraced.    Surprise. Delight. Innocence.  Yet a choice to which the responsible  door should not open.    The house suddenly so bounded, so  permanent, so…  shut.    The windows, with their crosshatched bars,  gazed out at…

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December 3, 2020

Rhode Island Author Expo – FREE Virtual Conference

Rhode Island Author Expo – FREE Virtual Conference

This Saturday, December 5th, The Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA) is holding their annual Author Expo virtually. Anyone can join: no Rhode Island ID needed! Each year, ARIA does an outstanding job bringing local writers, speakers and resources for writers (like us) together for a day of networking, teaching about the craft of writing and selling books from independent and small press authors. Even if you do not plan to attend, we encourage you to check out the local authors participating in the event, where you can find their books for sale. Please help support these hardworking writers! Jack and I have been attending this conference for many years now. We were introduced to it by FC member and contributor Mike Squatrito. At the conference last year, we met Michael Piekny, one of our…

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November 29, 2020

“Memories Like Scars,” Poetry by Topper Barnes

“Memories Like Scars,” Poetry by Topper Barnes

Memories like Scars    There is a 22-year-old somewhere   Buried beneath the layers of abuse  Curled up like a starving street cat  Its fur caked with grime, oil, and feces   Those star speckled marble eyes  Bulging from the frail skull   And the shy stomach purring   While the confident takes its milk  With a trowel she can be found  A bit of digging and smoothing over  With time  Her blistered lips that have been  Bitten by glass roses  Will heal  The gory craters dotting her face  Torn open during 4am battles  With invisible insects  Will recover  Her skeleton will grow a new coat  Night by night  Day by day  Meal by meal   A shape will appear where a spike  Once stood  And those tear tracks dipped  In mascara   Running down her cheeks  Simply vanished  With a…

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November 25, 2020

“Nothing Against Ms. Johnson, But . . .” by Patricia Callahan

“Nothing Against Ms. Johnson, But . . .” by Patricia Callahan

Nothing against Ms. Johnson, but when she read aloud to us, her head wobbled on her long neck. And she licked her thumb to turn pages. Nobody ever checked out a book she had read aloud during Library Hour.  The day she tried to read us The Mouse and the Motorcycle, her thumb had just smudged page one when Evan stood on a library stool and threw the recess kickball at her. It smacked her in the face. The chapter book dropped to the floor, its pages fanning out before us as Ms. Johnson let out a high “Oh!” of surprise. Then a smaller “Oh.” Of realization. She brought her knuckles to her nose. Nobody breathed. “Tissue,” she said through her hand, and brought her other hand to the blotch of pink swelling on her cheek. “Please.” The kickball, bumping across the carpet, tapped against the picture books lining a bottom shelf and dribbled to a stop. Then Evan wound up and toe-balled…

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November 24, 2020

November Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

November Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

We’d like to welcome back our new monthly feature by-writer and writing coach, and longtime FC friend Jason Brick. He brings us news from around the writing world. Here’s his November Edition of The Break from HOKAIC (Hands on Keyboard, Ass in Chair). Greetings all! As many of you know, I run a weekly newsletter of useful, fun, or amusing pieces of writing industry news called The Break From HOKAIC. As writers and lovers of writing yourselves, The Fictional Café thought you’d enjoy some highlights for your information and entertainment: Does Twitter pitching work? Four common pieces of writing advice that don’t go far enough A guide to influencer marketing for authors Alan Dean Foster and Disney are fussing over something important Some fabulous writing quotes you should know 8 Must-read self publishing blogs If you’d like more, delivered…

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Coming soon to The Fictional Café . . . Artist Alex Nodopaka's CAD art! Here's one of his images overlaid with a poem he wrote about why he creates. Stop by tomorrow at 6pm Eastern time for the whole collection.ow.ly/lU9n50DIZOs ... See MoreSee Less
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