Working in the 21st Century

Pop Lit Fiction

A PART of the “pop” designation we’ve adopted is the word populist– which at its most basic level revolves in some way around the world of work. Few things in life are more intense than being thrust into the chaos of a new job– especially those of a low-wage variety. Particularly in the “do more with less” ethos of the 21st century. Hyper-efficiency in the work world be it high tech or fast food puts most of the onus on employees at the bottom of the hierarchy.

AS WE SEE in our latest feature story, “Hamburger Hill” by Irish writer John Higgins.

The manager came out of the office, finally, and strolled towards the grill. Her black shoes slapped off the lino and heralded her approach. She was a portly woman, and carried herself like a government minister, with her hairy arms crossed at the small of her back. To accompany the sound of her steps, she also tapped her knuckles against her palm. She smiled. Most of her teeth were hidden up in her gums, ashamed of their twisted form.

>>>><<<<>>>>

Poetry in Nature

Poetry

NEW POETRY 2020

POETS traditionally have written about their relationship with nature– undoubtedly because it’s when we’re in nature, communing with the actual world, that the music of poetry comes naturally into our heads. The oldest art? The art most attuned to the rhythms of the world and the universe. Or the mind of the universe.

Our first poetry feature of the new decade spotlights that relationship: “Into the Depths of the Trees”  by C.A. Shoultz. We hope you like it.

I wandered further, past the noise of cars,

Until great silence came around my ears,

And I could feel the hairs raise on my neck. . .

NataliaGoncharovaTheForest

********

(Featured art: “The Park at Carrieres-Saint-Denis” by Georges Braque; “The Forest” by Natalia Goncharova.)

Who Is the Bayside Blonde?

Pop Lit Fiction

WHO_ 2 (1)-page-001 - Edited

WE’RE EXCITED to present our first feature of the new decade– a subtly hilarious tale by GD Dess, “The Bayside Blonde,” about a blonde and a telephone. A telephone and a blonde. A dangerous combination! Presented as a puzzle of personality. An investigation.

I’ve never been married, but I came this close. Charlie. He was my man. He was the one. He was a bit like my father. Gallant. Sophisticated. He said he had waited all his life for me. He wanted to marry me. Have kids with me. We got engaged. Then he woke up with a back ache one morning, and three weeks later he was dead. I was devastated. I buried him. He’s with the lord now. We’re only here as a guest, G. When our time is up, it’s up. It’s not my fault.

THE BLONDE!-page-001 - Edited

*******

(ART: “Girl Before a Mirror” by Pablo Picasso.)

*******

Read and follow NEW POP LIT. . . .

*******

ANOTHER blonde with a telephone:

Welcome 2020

Announcement

ANOTHER GOLDEN DECADE?

HAPPY 2020!-page-001 - Edited

THE LAST iteration of the Twenties became famous for its writers– who defined the times. The literary art reigned as the most important cultural happening.

The name of the era was popularized by American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald as “The Jazz Age.” He and his talented and flamboyant wife Zelda embodied the era.

scott and zelda

The decade also saw the formidable debut of another literary star from the American Midwest, that unassuming individual Ernest Hemingway– who was to become the most renowned American author of all.

hem and friends

THE QUESTION is whether our decade, the 2020s, will see a revival of the art– so that literary fiction becomes once again glamorous and popular.

At New Pop Lit we’ll be doing everything we can to ensure this takes place.

Where_there's_smoke_there's_fire_by_Russell_Patterson

*******

(Art: “Cubist Composition” by Nadezhda Udaltsova; “Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire” by Russell Patterson.)

Tale of the Christmas Bear

flash fiction

(REPRISE OF A NEW POP LIT CHRISTMAS STORY.)

jamestissotthejourneyofthemagi

THREE MEN were having trouble lugging their packages across the desert from afar, and came across a depressed bear. Depressed because there wasn’t much to do for a bear in the desert. A bear in a desert? Anyway, the bear was feeling purposeless and alone, and didn’t know if he could “bear it” much longer.

“Why oh why oh why oh why?” he asked, in bear talk.

The three men saw the bear lying in the sand, moaning, with his paws over his head. The three looked at one another.

 “After all, it is Christmas,” one of them said, with a perplexed look in his eyes.

“Yes, it is,” one of the other three said.

 “Yes!” said the third. “It truly is. It really really is.”

 He took his smartphone from his robes and looked at it. Yep, there it was. December 24th. Christmas Eve. Year 0000.

“It’s decided then,” the three said simultaneously, and wondered that the three of them, each from a separate faraway land, had said the same thing.

So together in one voice they asked the despondent animal if he’d like to try “bearing” something useful– their heavy packages of gold, frankincense, and myrrh– to a destination in Bethlehem. The packages were in fact quite heavy and overburdening the camels. Encountering the bear was a fortunate occurrence. Almost miraculous. The bear gladly agreed, as the three men seemed particularly wise to him. He’d seen men before, who were not wise. Not wise at all. But these men were.

The little caravan continued on to Bethlehem until they found shepherds and animals congregated outside a tiny stable behind an inn. The three wise men strode in, bearing their gifts, while the bear quietly crept in behind them and took a place in the straw beside the other animals, who were first alarmed because, after all, he was a bear. But then they looked at the baby and weren’t alarmed at all.

 From that day forward the bear was always forever more a happy bear.

 THE END

fraangelicaoadorationofthemagi

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from New Pop Lit!

 -Karl Wenclas and Kathleen M. Crane
* * * * * * *

(Paintings: “The Journey of the Magi” by James Tissot; “Adoration of the Magi” by Fra Angelico.)

Rage and Pace

Pop Lit Fiction

NEW SHORT FICTION

RAGE-page-001 - Edited (1)

WE ARE HERE at the end of another year bombarded with holiday cheer most of it forced many of us stressed to the max– so we thought we’d present new fiction which reflects a little of the reality of life today. The story is “Hangnail” by Alex Olson. Noteworthy about the story is how well Olson accomplishes what should be one of the objectives of new-style fiction: creating momentum and pace. Pace fueled by anger? So be it! Makes for a compelling, onrushing read.

You’re in a zone, a slim area between suicidal and manic, a hangnail sliver of delicious madness where you feel you can take on the world and kill yourself at the same time, all with a grin on your face. You thrive in this zone, this is your home–

Franz_Marc_the wolves 1913

*******

(Art: “Anger” by Hans-Siebert von Heister; “The Wolves” by Franz Marc.)

Love in Naples

Pop Lit Fiction

AT A TIME of year when many of us are facing winter’s fury or at least cold gray skies trudging through bleak landscapes and simultaneously being bombarded with the cultural family social pressures bad music of the Christmas holidays, what could be more escapist than love in Naples? 

Our new feature story aims toward exactly that, “The Date” by Robert Steward.

We hope you enjoy it!

I looked at her, at the way her mouth went, and the curve of her cheekbones, at her bluey-green eyes, the flecks of amber round her pupils, and at the way her hair fell over her eyes.

She caught me looking at her, and I felt something in the air between us, something pure, intense; it made me shiver inside.

*******

(Art: “Eruption of Vesuvius” by Alessandro Sanquirico.)

 

Pushcart Art

Announcement

OUR 2019 PUSHCART PRIZE NOMINATIONS

AS WE ARE at present strictly a bootstrap, “pushcart” enterprise (with plans to dramatically change that standing), we appreciate the intent behind the annual Pushcart Press Pushcart Prize collections. Being able to nominate a few of the quality writers who publish work with us is one of the great blessings we receive from running this literary project.

WE BELIEVE our site is particularly in synch with the Pushcart spirit– not solely because of our small size, but also because we’re endeavoring to create a new model for both short fiction and poetry. A model not only different from standard “Big Five” publishing, but from the kind of work featured in more established literary magazines and included in such anthologies.

ANYWAY, here are our 2019 nominations. We invite you to click on the links to the work, and read or reread the nominated pieces.

Thanks!
*******

(Art: Graffiti in Ann Arbor, Michigan.)

Reading for Colder Weather

Pop Lit Fiction

Colder weather is upon us! Sooner than anyone expected. Which means it’s a good time for reading. At New Pop Lit we have several options for the discriminating reader.

FIRST is our new feature story, “Pretty Women Never Sit Next to Me on Airplanes”  by Jason Feingold, a much-published short story writer making his first appearance with us. As its title indicates, it’s a quick tale about traveling. As so many of you will be traveling somewhere in the coming weeks, with the holidays nearly upon us, we believe you’ll find the story timely.

Age fourteen was my last good year. I’d peaked, and I never realized it until about fifteen minutes ago, because fifteen minutes ago is when I realized I’ll never have a renaissance.
****

WE ALSO offer a review of a controversial new book by Dana Schwartz, The White Man’s Guide to White Male Writers of the Western Canon. Does the book live up to the controversy?
****

FINALLY, we have at our NPL News blog (which presents the latest literary news, uncensored) an editorial about this past week’s layoffs at Bustle magazine. The editorial is bold. Don’t be thrown by it. As an upstart literary project with large ambitions, confidence in our project is the first requirement.

Read away.
*******

(Art by Heinrich Campendonk.)

Ghosts and Nightmares

Pop Lit Fiction

HALLOWEEN 2019

WITH Halloween upon us– leaves changing color, weather becoming chilly– do our dreams change? Do they fill with dreads and shadows, specters from other worlds? Are they frighteningly real– more real than reality itself?

For this Halloween we have a story which explores these notions, about a boy, and his parents, and a house. . . .

The story by Joel Allegretti is “The Obb.”

Mommy?

It flapped its arms like a crows wings. Alex screamed, and it was gone. He heard footsteps pounding through the hall. His mother flipped the wall switch. The sudden light shocked his eyes.

****

NOTE: We also have recorded poetry from Joel Allegretti at our ongoing Open Mic feature, with another Allegretti audio poem soon to follow. 

Good stuff!

head of a skeleton with a burning cigarette van gogh

*******

(Art: “Skeleton Stopping the Masks” by James Ensor; “Head of a Skeleton” by Vincent van Gogh.)