What Is Pop Fiction?

Pop Fiction

POP FICTION ASSAULT 2020

— commences today with a J. B. Stevens story about a diner and the man who owns it, and the women who work at it: “The Hostess Stand.”

The Crazy Chicken Café was nobody’s idea of fine dining. Stupid décor and non-offensive pop music were the themes, but Dan didn’t mind. The generic soul food buffet was a cash cow and he loved the smell of fried chicken.

WHAT IS pop fiction? It might be described as readable and real. Or, the story itself is the point, written not for stuffy professors in narrow towers so high they’re removed from the world, but for anybody. The idea that any stray unwary person could stumble upon it, begin reading and enjoy it. To provoke a smile, or frown, or an insight on the world we live in now. 

J.B. Stevens is one of several adept pop fiction writers we’ll be featuring through the rest of the summer into the fall, and maybe the rest of the year. We know you’ll enjoy their work. 

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(Art: “Table in a Cafe” by Pablo Picasso.)

Summer Love: Poetry by Holly Day

Poetry

ANOTHER TALENTED ZEENITH WRITER

Holly Day is one of the poets featured in ZEENITH (available here).

How talented a poet is she?

We now have three other poems of hers readily available to read at our site: “Summer Love and Other Poems.”

They show a wide variety of themes. Each of them give a piece of a picture of the crazy sad beautiful world we live in now, and so their overall effect, one might say, is three-dimensional. Worth reading, if you love summer, love life, love words:

I hear radio reports reporting, television shows broadcasting
school janitors with secret torture chambers
and I wonder how they can ask me

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(Art: “Composition V” by Wassily Kandinsky.)

Summer Fiction 2020

Pop Lit Fiction

FEATURING A ZEENITH WRITER

Today we break with a hammer one of our set-in-stone rules. (In the past we preferred not to reprint previous published work. In this case it’s for a good cause– to promote our new literary print zeen: ZEENITH.)

chrissi sepe photo

ONE of our featured writers in ZEENITH is Chrissi Sepe— who gave us for it an exotic excerpt from her upcoming novel, Taming Jaguars. (The mentioned jaguars are exotic creatures indeed.) To showcase Chrissi’s talent, we now present at this our online site centerpiece of our project an exotic Sepe short story, “We Love to Watch Zee Cockroaches,” which illustrates the same sharp powers of observation and wry humor exhibited in the excerpt.

(WHILE the story has not appeared online, it was included in an excellent collection of poetry and fiction, Howls from the Underground, produced by Tony and Nicole Nesca, the multi-talented duo at Screamin’ Skull Press. A collection we reviewed here.)

AS A BONUS, Sepe’s story is illustrated by vispo arts innovator Laura Kerr— who incidentally was herself featured in the Screamin’ Skull collection. An array of talented connections.

Laura Kerr Cover Art for Cockroaches Story(c/o Laura Kerr.)

THE BOTTOM LINE is we welcome informal collaborations if they involve the promotion of ART, literary, visual, and otherwise, which is what we’re about. Or that we’ll do what it takes to promote THIS project, and to announce the talented writers in ZEENITH! (Who we’ll have more to say about in days to come.)

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Read the story!

He and Karina sat together on their black leather couch across from the black leather couch Denny and I sat on. “We bore so easily,” Tomas continued. New York City is sometimes boring. That’s why we just booked a flight. We’ll be in Paris by this time tomorrow.”

Then see more photos of ZEENITH at our POP SHOP!
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Three Pandemic Poems

Poetry

INCLUDING “I’M NOT GOING TO MAKE YOU SICK”

THE ONLY good thing which can be said about a pandemic– there’ve been many over the centuries– is that it occasionally inspires or encourages due to lockdowns the creation of great art. Has any been created during this pandemic, this lockdown?

We have three very good poems by L.A. poet Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal, which capture the reality of life in America now. Worth reading.

I see Gary for the first
time since the pandemic.
He is still living
in the streets,
looking a little
less disheveled.
He tells me Luis,
can you help me
out with some money
to get a coffee,
some sugar, or
a cigar? I’m not
going to make you
sick, I promise.

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ALSO, don’t forget to purchase a copy of Extreme Zeen at our POP SHOP .
(Another high quality, hand-crafted print journal is in development as I type this.)

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(Art: “The Fifth Plague of Egypt” by Joseph M.W. Turner, and “The Triumph of Death” by Pieter Bruegel.)

Pop Mystery from Nick Gallup

Pop Fiction

WE LIVE IN TUMULTUOUS TIMES!

Our innocuous little literary project is NOT at the forefront of anything happening in society– except those happenings involving ART.

ART! postcard b&w-page-001 - Edited (1)

TIRED of nonstop news of rebellion and disease? Of the world seeming to collapse outside your quarantined doors? WE have the antidote– a pop short story from one of the best pop fiction story writers on the planet, Nick Gallup.

The story is “The Mysterious Case of the Sticky Drawer.” WHO stole $3,000 in cash from a teacher’s drawer? Follow the plot and find out.

Our local cops didn’t do much more than write parking tickets and bust kids for buying beer with fake ID’s, sthey made a federal case out of a $3,000 robbery. I was amazed the next day to see Miss McGee’s classroom cordoned off with police tape as they actually dusted her desk and handbag for fingerprints.

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ALSO, don’t forget to stop into our POP SHOP and buy a product. Support independent literature NOT propped up by billionaires or conglomerates. (We also don’t give out free fast-food nearly-inedible tacos.) We ARE a genuine alternative. Thanks!

Holiday Weekend: Pop Fiction

Pop Fiction

“THE MAN WITH TROTSKY’S GOATEE”

While we’ve begun publishing edgier and more experimental work in our new print journals (“zeens”), at heart we remain devoted to pop fiction. As proof, over the next month we’ll present at this site three– or maybe four– pop short stories. All user friendly. Which means, fun reads with some kind of punch, hook, or message to them.

First up is T.R. Healy‘s unusual tale, “The Man with Trotsky’s Goatee.”  

What could be more pop than using a Communist icon for entertainment purposes? Besides, it’s a gem of a little story. Take a look.

He knew Trotsky was a vile and heartless tyrant but, despite that, he thought his goatee looked distinguished and decided he wanted to grow one like the Russian revolutionary. When he did, however, he looked more like a derelict on the street and was disappointed but not enough to shave it off.

Trotsky_Annenkow_1922_cartoon

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AS LONG as you’re here, check out a more capitalist part of the New Pop Lit empire– our new online shop! Now available: Extreme Zeen. One of the more eye-catching literary creations seen this century. A first step toward the total reinvention of the printed literary publication.

ez cover on red - Edited

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(Art: Detail from “Man, Controller of the Universe” by Diego Rivera; Trotsky cartoon by Annenkow.)

hammer and sickle

Roots Writing

Pop Fiction

ZINES AND ZEENS

Roots music pioneer Little Richard, one of the founders of the rock n roll genre, passed away the other day at age 87. Are there roots writers?

Yes! One of them self-published a print zine for many years named fishspit. We’ve published several of his short stories the past few years, and are able to offer our readers another, “Mephistopheles and Lilith,” which is about a cantankerous (but lovable?) cat. We hope you enjoy it.

As you’ll see when you read the story, zine writing is unlike anything you’ll receive from a university writing program anywhere. The writing is uninhibited and honest. No rules or codes or self-censorship adhered to. In this way it’s as natural and real– as authentic– as American roots music– blues, gospel, r & b, country, folk– was so many years ago.

She was a good woman. She did the best she could with me . . . bailing me outta jail . . . cooking healthy meals . . . and listening to my drunken reveries. She was a good woman, as far as women go. But that cat! Now that was a cat!

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WHY are we presenting the writing of a zinester at this point in time?

As a nod to New Pop Lit‘s own roots– and the roots of our new print publication, Extreme Zeen, which is like an old-fashioned zine in that it’s print and DIY and contains zine elements, yet at the same time we’ve taken those elements to an entirely new level. Inventing something never quite seen before. At least, we think we have. To know for sure you’ll have to purchase a copy and judge for yourself!

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(Art: “Dance Hall Scene” by Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson.)

Defining the Future of Literature

Announcement

–of the story, the periodical, the book.

The way to do that is to transform the literary art and the presentation of that art. Which we’ve begun doing, including with our first released zeen, Extreme Zeen. Now available here to purchase. 

WHY is this publication an important step in the transformation process? 

Not everyone will “get” it, but the clues are in the publication itself– pointing the direction for us. And, we believe, for writing and for books themselves. Which in ten years won’t resemble what the mainstream publishes now.

ez cover on red - Edited

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(Art: “Woman with Birds” by Alexandra Ekster.)

A Story: Poetry or Prose?

Pop Lit Fiction

FUSING FORMS

AS our last feature in April we present writing from rising young literary star Aaron H. Aceves which opens with a poem in the narrator’s head– then tells the story behind the poem. The story involves a woman, but is also about the setting. A club, in downtown Los Angeles, and the people occupying it– and the feeling evoked, within the narrator and inside us. 

A story? A poem? A painting? Read “The Look” and judge for yourself.

I watched her watching them for a while. I could have watched her all night long.

Long, shiny hair. Flawless skin. Winged eyeliner. A boyfriend.

I have a thing for unavailable women.

marc chagall the soldier drinks

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(Art: “L’Equipe de Cardiff” by Robert Delaunay; “The Soldier Drinks” by Marc Chagall.)