Technicolor World

Essay

THIS WEEKEND is the largest of the many “Dream Cruise” events taking place every summer in the Detroit area. A parade of many hundreds of colorful classic cars– most from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s– in this instance cruising up and down Woodward Avenue, long the main drag in town.

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A dream cruise is a celebration of summer and of car culture, engaged in by fans of the unique blend of technology and artistry which the automobile at its best represents. They’re a celebration of Detroit, and really, of America. 

But what they are also is a celebration of color and style. Technicolor-level style and color, which seem to have vanished from today’s monochrome world.

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Many movie directors today bleed much of the color out of their flicks. Gone are the glories of a vibrant assault of sensation, as experienced by moviegoers of a bygone era. The problem is that this same process has taken place in the world at large. Including in many aspects of today’s culture.

(Melodrama? What’s melodrama? Where any longer is an over-the-top expression of emotion and plot?)

We’ve become a cautious, timid society, everyone monitoring their words, thoughts, and emotions. Can’t have too many emotions, or you’ll be medicated. The watchword is safety. Play it safe! Which for the creative artist is death.

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A handful of snarky New York City film critics dismissed Quentin Tarantino’s new film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” as too retro. Artistically reactionary. A celebration of a bygone era never to come back. But is it? Isn’t it rather a celebration of the glories of style and ART?
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The past two summers we’ve featured what might be considered Technicolor fiction. Awash in color, and also romance. Young love. Upbeat expressions of the possibilities of life, which still exist if we step out of our cocoons of doom and grab for them.

Last year we ran “The Austin Strangler” by Nick Gallup.

This year, we featured Angelo Lorenzo‘s “Spoiler Alert.”

These are both fun, “pop” reads with a pop sensibility and outlook– painted as much as written on the page.

Read them, or reread them. They represent the basic foundation of what we and the pop-lit style are all about.
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(Painting: “Airplanes on the Metropolis” by Tullio Crali.)

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Short Summer Fiction

Pop Lit Fiction

IN THE MIDDLE of summer everyone seems to be traveling or escaping, from the heat of jobs or the stagnation of their lives. In  the middle of summer, we like to sometimes present short summer fiction perfect for reading about exotic locales where you might like to travel to, or at least imagine being there.

Today we have a well-written short story by talented writer Zachary H. Loewenstein, “Jerusalem,” which in concise words captures the bustle and heat of the well-traveled city– as if he were creating a painting instead of a story. We think you’ll enjoy it.

“It was just right about there.” The entirely bald and unlicensed tour guide pointed with his swollen index finger. His brain was cooking in the heat and he shouted. He clapped his hands and insisted, “Ok! Everybody! It’s time to move to the market! Everybody!”

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(Art: “House in the Garden 1908” by Pablo Picasso.)

Poetry: Farewell to Summer

Poetry

LABOR DAY in the United States is upon us! Traditionally, marking the end of summer. Of lazy days and magical nights during which anything can happen. To celebrate the soon-to-vanish season, we present “On Midsummer’s Night” by C.A. Shoultz— containing wisps of ghosts of night which themselves may disappear before we’ve fully experienced their call, their magic.

And then a child appeared to me–
Or not a child, for so he seemed
Much older than he looked to be.
He handed me a crimson mask.
For life and love,” he said, so free–
I shrugged, and put the red mask on,
And through the woods was further drawn.

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ALSO– Labor Day means the return of classes and students to colleges across the land. Will the reintroduction of one of America’s most renowned writers, Junot Diaz, to the public world as a professor at MIT go smoothly? We’ve covered the controversy all summer at our NPL News site. Here’s background on the issue.

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FINALLY, we introduce our Complaint Department. Have a problem with ourselves, our site, or our ideas? Let us know about it! Thanks.

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(Main painting by Ferdinand du Puigaudeau; second painting by John Simmons.)

Revamping Fiction

Pop Lit Fiction

WE’VE begun to rethink several aspects of this project. One of the items on our planning table is fiction– the style offered. We’re toying with prototypes– will eventually implement tighter requirements. That it be dynamic, punchy, readable, fast, and if possible, fun. The future story will need to slap the reader in the face and grab that person by the collar, in order to survive as an art form.

EVIDENCE shows that the finely-detailed, well-crafted literary story is as slow and obsolete as a Studebaker automobile.

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It reaches no one beyond a finely educated clique. A literary priesthood, stodgy and complacent, well-suited for preserving the literary art but not for taking it to new areas.

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OUR NEWEST offering, “Hats Off to Bob” by Bob Lorentson– a story about hats!– gives a basic template to build on. Likeable and readable, with a modest-but-amusing punchline. Lorentson isn’t Ernest Hemingway. (Who is?) But we think Hemingway would appreciate what Bob Lorentson does with this unpretentious tale. If not a Corvette, then a Mini Cooper.

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Confidence. As much as he hated to admit it, he knew that he lacked the confidence that all those other people had. Or appeared to have. All thanks to his wimpy name and bland, impotent face. Things he had absolutely no control over. It wasn’t fair. How could he go about getting more confident?

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OUR LATEST New Pop Lit News report is about dinosaur booksellers, specifically Barnes and Noble. Read it here.

WHAT’S the future of books and literature? We’re not sure, but we know they belong to everyone.
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(Art: “Her Paintings, Her Objects” by Sonia Delaunay.)

 

 

Poetry: Strange Creatures

Poetry

Poems about strange creatures? Summer is a time for the appearance of strange creatures– but are they creatures of our imaginations or the world? Shadows of night, of nature– or the otherworldly?

KEEPING an occasional fun aspect to this project, today we present three poems by Richard Stevenson, something of an eccentric but entertaining and subtly meaningful poet. (He’s a former professor, what do you expect?) Take a look.

Unrecorded species of orangutan,
survivor from the Pleistocene perhaps,
a small man-size hominid in any case.

But not prone to violence or aggression —
at least not so much as homo sapiens,

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ALSO, we have a ton of literary world investigations, revelations, and gossip at our NPL NEWS blog– with much more coming. Can’t-miss information for writers and readers alike.

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(Art: “St. George and the Dragon” by Paolo Uccello.)

New Poetry: “The Dancer”

Poetry

WHAT do you want to read in the summer? What would anyone want to read right now? No one is snowbound, locked in a cabin with harsh wind whistling. More like lazy sunshine, seagulls and daydreams.

This ISN’T the time for heavy texts of French postmodern meanderings. (Nothing against the French!) It’s a time for escape, romance, and mood.

We present a taste of that mood with “The Dancer,” a poem by C.A. Shoultz.

The shadows and the glow upon her fell
In fitful swells and motions as she moved
In regular and tidy leaps and bounds
And pirouettes and arabesques of grace.

We aim to be THE best literary site. The quickest route there is by presenting the best poets and story writers. We invite you to join along.

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(Art: “Woman Before the Rising Sun” by Caspar David Friedrich; “Streetlamp” by Giacomo Balla.)

New Fiction: “Homecoming”

Pop Lit Fiction

JUST when you’ve had enough of summer and its heat, we come along with great summer reading set in Buffalo, New York, during the winter holidays. Snow! Cold! Blizzards!

The story is “Homecoming” by Michael Howard. It’s about a young woman returning home from sunny California during the Christmas season, encountering all the familiar warm faces and smells, but also something darker, lying wait inside the comfortable house. . . .

Lucy had the sensation that the room was growing smaller. She could feel her pulse thumping in her temples as she forced another smile and told him that it was nice of him to say so, but that they really should go back downstairs now. Her words didn’t seem to penetrate–

at dusk childe hassam

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(Paintings: “Murnau Burggrabenstrasse” by Wassily Kandinsky; “At Dusk” by Childe Hassam.)

 

Tunnel Vision

Pop Fiction

What happens when you mix homeless veterans, a subway system, and a shady-but-not-all-bad lawyer?

Our new tale, “Tunnel Vision.” Summer reading from Steve Slavin. American reality with a heart.

I ain’t no Robin Hood. Yeah, I do take from the rich and give to the poor, but I’m really in this just for myself. And let me level with you: I make out OK. In fact, more than OK.

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(Photos c/o Marie Curie via Untapped Cities.)