This issue features work by (Link)
- Sue Donimb
- Donal Mahoney
- My Nguyen
- Mitchell Waldman
This issue features work by (Link)
Charm is a woman’s strongest arm;
My charwoman is full of charm;
I chose her, not for strength of arm
But for her strange, elusive charm.
And how tears heighten woman’s powers!
My typist weeps for hours and hours:
I took her for her weeping powers,
They so delight my business hours.
A woman lives by intuition.
Though my accountant shuns addition
She has the rarest intuition.
(And I myself can do addition.)
Timidity in girls is nice.
My cook is so afraid of mice.
Now you’ll admit it’s very nice
To feel your cook’s afraid of mice.
Alice Duer Miller (1874 – 1942) was a graduate of Barnard College (studied mathematics and astronomy), a suffragist, an American poet, and a novelist. She is best known for her books ARE WOMEN PEOPLE? and THE WHITE CLIFFS.
Einstein’s Beach House, the short story collection of Jacob M. Appel is populated by teachers, doctors, rabbis, people who used to be teachers, people who pretend to be doctors, people who pretend that their house once belonged to Einstein, a pair of teen girls breaking into a sexual predator’s house, a couple dealing with a depressed pet hedgehog, PEOPLE who seem real despite their unbelievable lives. Unbelievable in a good way. If you who take their coffee black with a hint of sugar, you will find this book to fit your tastes. Not to say that’s the only way you can enjoy the stories. Throughout the collection the illness recurs, having some effect on characters in some way. Mental illnesses and physical illnesses permeate, and by extension a fixation on mortality.
It’s easy to imagine that each story takes place in the same universe. It’s a universe of literary folks, and people who want more for themselves and loved ones. In the first story of the collection, “Hue and Color,” the main character’s father opines, “I fear I’ve taught you girls too much grammar and not enough forgiveness.” “The Rod of Asclepius,” one of the darker stories, a Manhattan doctor recounts accompanying her father on his nefarious hospital visits. Visits the latter deemed as being a way of changing the world and being for the narrator’s dead mother.
Stories like “The Rod of Asclepius,” the eponymous story, and “Limerence,” work as retrospectives. They are first person narrations that relay the distance the narrator has from the events recounted, and reflect on them, while giving tidbits of information of where they are now in life, as they tell the story.
Not only can Appel construct a fascinating concept, but he can carry it out, making sure that every aspect of the story is on par with the appeal of the plot, such as it is with “Paracosmos.” A beautiful title; science fiction like, and it’s about a worry wart mother receiving a visit from her daughter’s imaginary friend. It has it’s predictability, but the occurrences of anything predictable are minimal, and sometimes, as with “Paracosmos,” there is a point where the reader can see where things are going, but they can continue to read to see if this is actually going to be where the story leads. You wonder if this is for real, and you end up surprised.
Key features of the writing are the moments of profundity, so eloquent they jar you from the quirkiness or the darkness with this speck of fantasy. A prime example comes from “Einstein’s Beach House.”
My sister looked up at me and asked, “Is this what nuclear winter is like.”
Often times Appel portrays his males as dreamers and his women as voices of reason. In addition, the females are more often than not are emotionally burdened, but he shows the flaws of both sexes in a way that we as a society have been normal for the norms, not to say it appears sexist. He seems to pay as much attention to female psyches as he does to male, and this balance of gender diversity is something that can be appreciated. There aren’t any definable archetypes. No manic pixie dream girls. No Humbert Humberts. Pretty much every child in the collection is precocious, but Appel manages to make them a pleasant aspect to the stories they are featured in.
The effectiveness of this line directly comes from the place where it occurs, during a domestic dispute between the narrator of the story’s mother and father. It comes from a child, and it’s in a nice indented line before the next break in the page.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. See for yourself!
“I don’t understand…” Cristal stammered.
“You don’t understand this?” Dr. Roots asked as he pointed to the diagram on the board–a sort of ascending staircase of obstacles.
“This is what we’re suggesting. What do you see?” Doug asked, soothing his fiancée with a hand caress.
Cristal looked at the seven faces in the workshop. “You guys don’t understand my work!”
“Now don’t get defensive, we just want to understand your vision,” Dr. Roots put his hands up to calm her-–like she was about to explode.
Jameson rolled his eyes. “Don’t be that person…”
Alison snorted. “Like that woman that wore all that turquoise?”
“Cat poetry was banned the second she walked in the room.” Dr. Roots put his hand to his face.
“It’s not poetry! It’s a love story between minotaurs and centaurs…they are majestic beings!” Cristal burst a little too passionately.
“Granted, we just think the story could be simpler and the names not so complicated…”
“I used traditional Greek names…”
“Yes, yes. But it interrupts the flow,” Jameson noted. “Perhaps names that aren’t five syllables?”
Nods all around. “The plot is pulled directly from myths-–I don’t want to patronize my audience by spoon-feeding them.”
Dr. Roots nodded too. “We’re not asking you to. Have you considered stretching it out a bit? Making it a novella or
novel for example?”
Cristal beamed suddenly. “You think it could be a novel?”
“Totally!” Jameson said. “I dig it!”
More nods. “I guess I could play around with description and things like that.”
Dr. Roots let out a sigh and made a motion that meant ‘pass her your corrections’. “See we are looking to help you!”
“How often do you guys meet?”
“Weekly for a month, once a quarter,” Alison said. “It really helps; I feel I’ve come a long way.”
Dr. Roots nodded now. “Having a fresh pair of eyes is a fantastic and under-utilized tool.”
Cristal leafed through colorfully corrected pages-–some with a lot of notes, some with few. It was more than she initially
expected. “Yes, I understand now.”
Romana Guillotte has an MFA in Writing for Dramatic Media from the UNLV, where she also received a BA in Film Studies and a BA in English. Though more importantly is a terribly average cellist and is a ginger that loves dragons. She’s had short fiction appear in “Foliate Oak Literary Magazine”, “Slink Chunk Press”, and “The J.J. Outré Review”
As you should all be well aware of by now, the first full issue of BLL comes out a week after tomorrow!
Remember that submissions are open until next Tuesday. Send us your prose, art, and poetry!
It’s been decided, since there will be a full issue coming out the week of the 14th, there will not be a Baby Lawn Weekly that week. This is a two-many operation, we’re just trying to make things the tiniest bit easier on ourselves. Sorry.
Anyway, there will still be a BLW for the 7th. Send us short fiction and poetry!
Have a good week, everybody!
A dull uncertain brain,
But gifted yet to know
That God has cherubim who go
Singing an immortal strain,
Immortal here below.
I know the mighty bards,
I listen when they sing,
And now I know
The secret store
Which these explore
When they with torch of genius pierce
The tenfold clouds that cover
The riches of the universe
From God’s adoring lover.
And if to me it is not given
To fetch one ingot thence
Of the unfading gold of Heaven
His merchants may dispense,
Yet well I know the royal mine,
And know the sparkle of its ore,
Know Heaven’s truth from lies that shine–
Explored they teach us to explore.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) was a Massachusettes-born preacher, poet, philosopher, and lecturer. While studying at Harvard, he developed an interest in Eastern culture, but that interest waned when he went on to become minister. Emerson is remembered as being the figurehead of New England Transcendentalism.
Use the spice mix in the packet–but not all of it, only half. Or a teaspoon more than a half if you’re feeling funky. Fry it with a sliced onion and two crushed cloves of garlic, sauté for a minute, then add the not all that mushy bell pepper bought on the black market not all that long ago. Keep cooking it all until it was aromatic and just about to burn, and then add the noodles. Stir it all around, serve on a chipped ceramic plate, and then, if you dare, add a drop from the bottle of soy sauce kept in your father’s safe.
And there he had it. The perfect plate of stir-fried noodles. Forget that they were noodles from a packet–that was all anyone could afford these days–and besides, packet noodles were what they’d eaten whenever the show came on. They were all that they ever ate when the show came on.
Mark was the one who usually prepared the vegetables and spices. Fabian had the noodles, because that was all he could be trusted to do, according to Mark. Mitt’s job was to fiddle with the bunny ear antennae on top of the TV until coherent shapes appeared out of the static, and then yell for his brothers when the show finally began.
The signal conked out, half the time. And the other half, street urchins would stand on their shoulders to peer over the compound wall and through the metal grate installed on the window, to try to get a look at the TV. At these points, Mark or Fabian, usually Mark, would have to let off a curse or a shotgun shell to get them to scurry off into the night again.
But times were different now. Now it was Mitt with the gun, and it wasn’t a shotgun, it was a Kalashnikov. Such precautions had become necessary as the years had gone by and the neighborhood had gone bad. But so be it. This was his home, his childhood home, and he was going to stay up until midnight to watch his show with his brothers, and if the scum didn’t like that, then he’d kill them all.
And so he entered the living room with his rifle on his back and his meal in his hands. It was almost exactly how he’d remembered it on the last night he and his brothers had watched the show together. The TV was larger and flatter and the signal was stronger, but the stained knotty wooden bookshelves, the sparkling marble floor, the sofa, all of these had been maintained well over the years, and so they had lasted.
And Mitt had maintained himself well over the years, too. His hair was still thick and dark and sleek and his frame was still strong and narrow. And his brothers were still in shape too, from what he could tell. Mark ran marathons when he was between vacations and wives, and every one of his mansions had a weight room and a pool. As for Fabian, there wasn’t much to do in prison other than to get strong and to test your strength on other strong people.
Mitt forced himself to smile. And then he sampled a forkful of noodles. They were spicy and aromatic and chewy, but that alkaline aftertaste, that just wasn’t right.
Mitt put the plate down. Wiped his mouth with a napkin. Of course the noodles weren’t the same. The company that made the noodles he remembered, it had gone under years ago.
He looked outside and saw the muzzle flare of not too distant small arms fire. He looked back inside and saw a room that was too clean, too pristine, like a museum that no one ever bothered to visit. And he was its curator.
The show was starting, but without anyone to watch it with, and without even the noodles he’d grown up eating, it was an under-produced animation, a half hour block that needed to be filled up with something other than infomercials.
And so Mitt turned off the TV. And so he sat there in his clean room with his cooling noodles, all alone but for memories which seemed more and more like dreams with each passing day.
Jay Roberts is a writer and dark satirist originally from the New York metropolitan area who got his start on a few websites here and there when he was a teenager. When he started to realize that writing is something that he really enjoys, he started to take it a little more seriously, and the result was Mercy, his first published piece ever. He has other novels and short stories planned, so look out for those soon.
These days, Jay is gainfully employed in aerospace/defense and spends his non-writing free time on Reddit, Youtube, 4chan, et cetera.
I found a Thing on the floor today.
It’s silver, metal, round,
with a hole in the side
where it screws
It likes to roll around
the creases of my hand.
Maybe it’s vital to the bed frame
and I’ll be jostled awake
during a dream where I win
the lottery and revisit Europe
but can’t because my head has rammed
the headboard since this Thing decided
to unscrew itself. I’ll yell and scream
and it will stare up at me
like a puppy that’s been bad.
Its surface will glimmer
as if to say, I didn’t mean
to make you mad. I just wanted
I’ll feel sorry, apologize,
tell it it can stay, that I
know how it feels
to be far away from home,
lost and alone.
Kat Bodrie holds an MA in literature from UNC Wilmington. Her prose and poetry have been published or are forthcoming in Pilcrow & Dagger, Slim Volume, and Coraddi, in which she won first and third place in poetry. A freelance writer and editor, her articles have appeared in Winston-Salem Monthly, Forsyth Woman, and Forsyth Family. Visit her website, katbodrie.com.