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.)
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.
(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.)
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!
ON CORONAS AND CONTAGIOUS MUSIC
Today is St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s an unusual St. Paddy’s Day because of the fear the hysteria the caution protection prevention over a bug, so the parades are fewer, the parties calmer, celebration muted. This year. Unless there’s a final wild-and-masque’d Edgar Poe blowout someplace.
APPROPRIATE then that we have as our new feature a short story, “Townies” by Philip Charter, about six friends traveling to Majorca to party. And party they do.
But what awaits them?
A contagion, yes, but a contagion of a different sort. Not a virus, but having something to do with music and sex.
READ IT! drink it inhale it as you quarantine yourself against the onslaughts of panic and madness.
Within one minute of Gavin fading in the music, the dance floor was covered. It was as if the beat was ripping girls out of their seats, me included. The boys of course followed.
(Painting: “Party” by Emil Nolde.)
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.
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.
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.
AS WE WAIT to introduce to the world in one month the innovation we call the 3–D Short Story, we have a couple fictional works to present first. (As well as several new poems.) The two fictional works are different from the norm– in keeping with our 2019 mission to present new experiences to New Pop Lit readers.
The first of the two stories, by talented story writer Sophie Kearing, is “This Is.” We hope you enjoy it.
Every time she thinks about me, the skeletal digits of an invisible hand squeeze all the comfort from me like juice from a lemon. The hand keeps me firmly planted in the darkness, unable to reach any of the good feelings.
ALSO, we have a new post at our NPL News blog about the aforementioned 3–D Story– and whether critics of all varieties will be ready for it. Is literary change upon us? Maybe!
(Public domain art c/o stockfreeimages.com.)
TODAY we feature tough new fiction looking at the punk rock scene in New York City during a period when the monster metropolis itself was uber-tough– “Raga Punk Rock” by E.H. Davis.
The author describes the story as “a portrait of a recognizable character from the 70’s punk rock scene in New York City. My intention was to explore the Zeitgeist of angst that drove the youth of that period to a slow slide into alienation and suicide.”
Suffice it to say it’s an excellent story, with a New York vibe– we both loved it, including the ending. You’ll want to read it.
Shivering in a thin, parachute-silk jacket, collar up, red beret atop his curly mane, twenty-five-year-old Angelo streaked south on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, swerving around the puddles in his high lace-up boots, eyes downcast, alert for anything of value on the abandoned streets.
SPEAKING OF FICTION, work in the labs at New Pop Lit Headquarters continues on the quixotic project we’re calling the 3–D short story. For information on what that’s about, see this post at our New Pop Lit News blog, or this one.
(Art: “The Knife Grinder” by Kazimir Malevich; “New York” by George Bellows.)
WE EXPECT New Pop Lit to eventually be a worldwide phenomenon, so we’re not averse to spotlighting writers from around the world. We’ve published or presented writers from UK, Germany, Poland, Canada, Malta, Italy, Belarus, Spain, Israel, Switzerland– and we’ve had readers on every continent, with the possible exception of Antarctica.
Today we present new fiction, “The Major,” by renowned Russian author Vladimir Kozlov, translated by Andrea Gregovich. Worth reading for its realism but also to see what’s happening in other literary scenes.
“Well, I have evidence not only that you’ve seen it before, but that you were directly involved in its creation. Do you know what this is called?
“A comic book, I guess.”
“It’s called ‘spreading deliberately false fabrications to defame the Soviet state and social order.’ Article seventy-two of the Criminal Code for the BSSR. I can also pull up Article 58-10: ‘Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.’”
BUT, at the same time we also present a New Pop Lit review of Mr. Kozlov’s entire new short story collection, 1987 and Other Stories, of which “The Major” is part.
ONLY at New Pop Lit. Always at the literary forefront.
(Painting: “Blue Crest” by Wassily Kandinsky.)
In the first weeks of 2019 we’ll be on a relaxed schedule as we work behind the scenes to improve this project– as well as focusing on our own writing a bit as we experiment with new ways of crafting the short story. Looking for an elusive breakthrough. Knowing unless we find it, fiction will be stuck in a rut, and all literary sites like ours along with it.
Art NEEDS to change. Our literature NEEDS to be different– at least show variety away from the same-old same-old.
The short story first. Then, poetry. Then, the novel. Then: the world?
THE NEW POP LIT PROJECT IS FAR FROM OVER.
REVAMPING THE SHORT STORY ART
WHY do we illustrate this post with the famous painting of Gertrude Stein by Pablo Picasso?
BECAUSE with her innovative writing style, Gertrude Stein kicked off one of those period attempts to reinvent writing. This effort had its greatest effect via Stein protege Ernest Hemingway, whose collection of short fiction, In Our Time, at the time revolutionized the short story art.
There is always a push-pull where the short story is concerned. Creators and innovators like Hemingway (or Gordon Lish and his minimalist friends Raymond Carver and Susan Minot in the 1980’s and 90’s) attempt to breathe new life into the form– only to see their efforts counteracted by the stodgy mindset represented by prestigious Iowa-style writing programs and The New Yorker magazine– which some would say are the same thing.
WE at New Pop Lit would like to kick off a round of short fiction innovation. Toward that end we are doing two things:
1.) Beginning what we call The Short Story Process— a creative procedure through which we hope to arrive at the promised land of a reinvented art.
2.) Spotlighting new writers whose work in subject or style colors outside the lines of the artistically acceptable, the bourgeois, the already done. Toward that end we present a new story, “Ain’t Worth a Dollar,” by Atticus Davis, who writes under the name Savage Ckhild, a handle that may say it all.
She’s sitting in the car with her hair tied up, I forget how beautiful she is, I always think I’m going to be immune to her, to them—so she smiles this unblemished smile, that lasts one second before it collapses into this miserable, needy, fearful smile. I feel guilty for being here.
THE SUBJECT of editorial independence has come up within the literary world much of late– especially with the recent ouster of Ian Buruma at New York Review of Books.
TO STAY topical we present a new short story from that always entertaining observer of American business, manners, and culture, Alan Swyer. His new tale, “The Sage,” looks at creative smarts and editorial independence within the film industry– a business Alan Swyer knows much about.
CAN Swyer’s lead character, a movie maker named Tarlowe, rescue a troubled film project involving a difficult celebrity wise man– and maintain his integrity while doing so? An inside look at a tumultuous world.
The non-stop travel, coupled with interviews that ranged from eye-opening to scintillating, proved to be a dizzying experience. But even as he reported in periodically, informing his benefactor about what had been said, and by whom, a question kept gnawing at Tarlowe. How would the man who billed himself as The Sage, but who came off in person like a somewhat epicene song-and-dance man, fit in among such luminaries?
(Art: “Burning the Darkness” by Nicholas Roerich.)