Fiction: Death, Dying, Grief

Pop Lit Fiction

READERS enjoy stories which deliver an emotional punch. This is not all that stories can do, but it’s one of the things stories can do.

It might take the writer 500 pages in a novel to deliver the impact. Or it might take a shorter time period– which is what the short story is about. Condensed emotion. Concentrated impact.

Our current story, “Racquetball” by Don Waitt, condenses many things into a small narrative space. Families, history, loss. Less can be more. Take a look.

“And I saw my Mom getting sucked into a black hole of despair. It was like looking into an old brick well filled with cold, dark swirling water being sucked into the bowels of the earth, and my Mom was in the middle of that water. And I knew that if I did not reach down and grab her hand and pull her up, she would be lost forever.”

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Be sure to check out New Pop Lit‘s Open Mic feature. Dan Nielsen is our current performer– with more spoken word to come, including from Brian Eckert and Philadelphia poetry legend Frank D. Walsh!

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(Painting: “Kosovo Maiden” by Uros Predic.)

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Conflict in Fiction

Pop Lit Fiction

THE FICTIONAL NARRATIVE is strengthened immensely by the presence of conflict. It doesn’t have to be all-out war– well covered over the years in works like War and Peace. It can mean merely the hint of approaching conflict. The sense of tension between characters– a troubling undercurrent saying, “All is not right here,” and, “This could if not carefully managed get quickly out of hand.”

The art of the fiction writer comes in creating and managing that tension. We see it in our current feature story, “Park Rangers,” by Joshua Caleb Wilson. A short tale about parents and a playground in which, like a modernist painting, one can see different things, depending on how you view it. On what you bring to it. A reminder that in the world, potential conflicts are endless and can be encountered anyplace.

Oh, are you child psychologist?Matt asked.

No, I just thought…”

But you dont really know do you?Matt interrupted.

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(Art: “Battle of Legano” by Amos Cassoli.)