Who Is the Bayside Blonde?

Pop Lit Fiction

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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.

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

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Read and follow NEW POP LIT. . . .

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ANOTHER blonde with a telephone:

Welcome 2020

Announcement

ANOTHER GOLDEN DECADE?

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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.

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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

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(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.)

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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

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from New Pop Lit!

 -Karl Wenclas and Kathleen M. Crane
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(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

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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

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(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.

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(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!
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(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.
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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?
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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.
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(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.

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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!

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

Novel Excerpt from Brian Eckert

Pop Lit Fiction

BEST NEW WRITERS DEPARTMENT

ONE of the premises of the New Pop Lit project is that a pool of overlooked talent exists in this world, this society. Overlooked for a variety of reasons– lack of connections, or correctness, or proper credentials. Or simply because of an unwillingness to conform to dictates of the institutional mob, whether those dictates be ideological or aesthetic.

OUR mission is to showcase such writers. One of the best of them without question is Brian Eckert. To come to that conclusion all one need do is read his writing– consistently of high quality. As with this excerpt from his short novel, Into the Vortex. A story about a journalist investigating the West who discovers a canyon seemingly beyond time and space.

In spite of my skepticism I began seeing signs of architecture on the rock. I made out an ornate window framed in metallic blue with a holographic patina. I also saw a hieroglyphic-like depiction of what appeared to be a flying saucer. But as I looked closer I saw only rock.

eye of horus

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(Main painting: watercolor copy by Nina Degaris Davies of an Egyptian wall painting )

The Masked Writer

Pop Fiction

KNOWING the literary game today is understanding that many of the best new writers circulating through the internet use pen names. A reaction to Cancel Culture? Possibly.

Judging by their work, we believe several of these little-known scribblers have the potential to become outstanding. To be part of the kind of real literary revival we seek. Time will tell if their potential becomes reality.

Our task as a literary project is to promote writing talent wherever we find it. For our new feature we present a short story, “The Prop Comic” by Bud E. Ice, which provides attributes of accomplished fiction: atmosphere, character, drama– and palpable tension. A story about a trip to a comedy club which becomes more a view of the defeated, the desperate, and, maybe, the insane. A quick glimpse at the underside of contemporary society. Read the tale and see. You won’t be disappointed.

Deep down this guy knew that the show was sorry and meaningless and full of a variety of wannabes, including himself. How could he be excited? The crowd wasn’t even excited. The fact that they were really trying to pull off a Vegas-like atmosphere, and were getting nowhere close, gave me second hand embarrassment. 

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ON OTHER FRONTS, check out our second “Pop Quiz” Q & A, this one with Angelo Lorenzo.

ALSO, see the latest performance at our Open Mic“I Comfort Crow Jane” by renowned poet Joel Allegretti, who’s written a Halloween story we’ll be featuring at New Pop Lit in a few weeks.

Three terrific story writers. A preview of many things which will be happening at this site.