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FORMSTORY MAGAZINE I S S U E 01 ISSN 2687-8259 Published July 2019 Visit us online at:

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H E L L O @ F O R M S T O R Y. C O M Copyright 2019 All rights reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, without prior written permission. Created by Coleen Heaver in Brooklyn, NY. Printed by Lightning Press. Cover photo by Elisa Guarneros






• 9




S A M C A R T E R • 11








I meet a girl at a bar. She says that she’d like to show me around her apartment, and after another drink, I come to believe that this is a splendid idea. We take a cab, rush up the stairs, and collapse onto her living room couch.

Across from where we are seated is a massive black cabinet, and to its left and right are two shelves mounted against the wall. Upon each of these rest three strange artifacts.

“What are those?” I ask, pointing.

She pulls her lips from my neck to see what I’m referring to. “They’re masks. They were my therapist’s idea.” Her lips then resume their delicate work.

“What do you mean?” I ask. “What are they for?” I stand and go examine a wooden one with a red X for a mouth and two small holes for eyes. I take it off the shelf and turn it over in my hands.

“Memories can be such heavy things,” she says with a sigh, wrapping her arms around me from behind. “Good ones, bad ones… I got tired of carrying mine around in my head all day, so I had a few of them carved out, and infused into masks.”

This information gives me pause. I turn to face her.


“Whoa, man, totally trippy,” I say, half-closing my eyes and folding my hand into a peace sign.

“Shut up, I’m serious!” she says, grabbing the wooden mask from me. “Take this one—this is my entire semester studying in Chile.” She puts it on, tying it in the back with some string. “Memory is most closely tied to our sense of smell, and this mask is made from the driftwood from Chilean beaches. When I wear it, I can still smell the saltwater and the sunscreen. I can hear the waves crashing on the shore. It’s all so real, like it’s happening here and now…”

She closes her eyes, lost in her own private world. Then she reopens them, and removes the mask. “It’s just hard to see through,” she says with a giggle.

At the far end of a shelf, I notice an especially odd one. “Oh man, that’s a really good model. How’d they make it look so realistic? I swear it’s just like a golden retriever.”

She gives another little giggle. “It’s not a model,” she says.

This time I pause for real.

“That’s the head of a golden retriever?”

“Oh, don’t look so concerned,” she says. “I grew up with this dog. She was my best friend, and when she passed away, I just couldn’t bear it. So I had my memories of her cut out, and placed here, in her scalp. That way I don’t have to think about her unless I really



want to.” She removes the mask from its stand and begins putting it on.

“Maybe we should grab another drink,” I say, glancing toward the kitchen.

“No, it’s fine,” she says, her voice now muffled from behind a snout. “Ah yes, now I remember… She was such a good dog. Always licked my face to wake me up for school in the morning. Always wagged her tail so hard it hurt my shins. Never quite learned how to shake...”

I force myself to look at her. From behind the mask, I see reddened eyes staring back at me. A tear leaks out and runs down a furry cheek.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay,” I say, embracing her and suspecting the mood may now be officially dead. “I’m sure you gave her a good life. Did she at least die peacefully?”

Holding her body close, I feel a twitch shudder through her. I release her and back away.

“I like to think so,” she says, sounding far away somehow. “When it was all over, she looked so serene. People don’t believe me because of what happened, but I swear it was almost like she was smiling. Like this.” She reaches up and pulls back the corners of the lips.

“You know, it’s getting kinda late,” I say. “Maybe I should head back…”


“No, no, I’m sorry,” she says, removing the mask and putting it back on the shelf. As soon as it leaves her hands, all trace of her melancholy vanishes. “Let’s not talk about it anymore. Let’s just… you know, hang out.” She takes me by the hand and leads me down the hall and into the bedroom.


I wake up to a familiar tension in my bladder. That last drink is coming back to haunt me.

I check the time: 3:43 am. She’s still asleep beside me. I creep out of bed and walk down the hall toward the bathroom.

On my way back, I stop at the row of masks. The dog mask is gone—she must have hidden it somewhere, away from where I might see it. All the better.

To get the image out of my head, I open up the big black cabinet between the two shelves of masks, hoping to find a TV.

Instead, I find a diving helmet. It’s one of the old-timey ones, hulking and metallic with a single glass window in the middle for vision. I realize that it must be one of her memory masks, maybe from a diving trip her family took when she was young.

I glance toward the hall, but as far as I can tell, she’s still sleeping. I reach forward and touch the helmet—it’s cold, but with a thin film of moisture on the outside. I pull my hand away and rub the



greasy residue between my fingers. Then I take both hands and hoist the thing off its perch and up onto my shoulders.

This is no easy task; it’s heavy, and getting my head inside is a tight squeeze. But with a few grunts and a final push, I’m in.

The view from in here is blurry and strange—the glass in front of my eyes has that same layer of moisture on it. Looking around the living room, I feel like a deep sea diver exploring the ocean floor, a space normally forbidden to mammals like me.

Soon my nose fills with the smell of the helmet, a powerful stench of copper and brass and human sweat. It’s unpleasant to say the least—I try to remove the helmet, but it sits too heavily on my shoulders.

Before long the metallic smell gets so bad that I can taste it, and I begin to gag. When I spit, I realize that the taste isn’t of brass but of iron—my saliva is flecked with blood.

Then I see a trickle of fluid running down the inside of the glass, and I realize the helmet is filling with water.

I hear a voice, my mother’s voice—she’s telling me to take a deep breath. To take a deep breath and break the window. To break the window and get out. I crouch down and try to push the helmet off of me, but it’s stuck.

My mother (Is that her? Is that my mother’s voice?) is shouting over the sound of rushing water, telling me to go, to get out and


swim as hard as I can. She says she’s pinned down by the airbag, and I shouldn’t worry about her.

Water continues to stream into the helmet, faster now, rising steadily and reaching my bottom lip. I try calling for help, but the echoes only clang around the helmet. I run to the kitchen to find something that will break the glass.

Now the sounds are clouding my thoughts, distorting my vision. I see my hands gripping a steering wheel. Where am I? Why didn’t my airbag activate? Dumb luck, I guess.

My mouth fills with blood and water.

But no, it’s not a steering wheel. I blink and shake my head. It’s a dinner plate. I smash its edge against the helmet’s window. I try a mug, a knife, a bigger knife. Not a crack. I run back toward the row of masks, taking a deep breath. The water rises past my nose.

My mother is crying now. No, she’s whimpering. No… It’s a dog, in the back seat. It’s the sound of a dog that knows there is no escape, that it’s about to drown, that it will be neither quick nor painless.

The water is at my forehead. I ram the glass against the cabinet, against a corner of the coffee table. Nothing.

Then a scream. A scream from the depths of evolution, a final, bestial cry for life in the face of extinction. I shut my eyes against it as the water reaches the top of the helmet.



Abruptly, the screaming stops. I open my eyes and see, through the water, the head of a golden retriever. Its face is slack, eyes blank and staring.

Then its lips pull back into something resembling a smile.















“Hope she isn’t lost,” I whisper to myself. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a date and I can’t lie I’m excited! Let’s see now… Beautiful view of a sunset? Check. Smooth live music that’s not too loud? Check. A delicious selection of appetizers? Check! I’ve gotta admit, not many would call me “fly”, probably because I still use the word to mean cool, but I think this is gonna be a fly date. At least, I hope Karen thinks so. The minute I saw her I was struck. She has delicate brown eyes, a gorgeous tan and don’t get me started on her beak! Oh man! When Petey told me about



tinder, I didn’t trust it. I’m so

“Whatever,” he squawked, “But the

used to mating in a traditional

last chick you were with nearly

fashion, you might call me an

plucked all your feathers out!

old-fashioned cockatoo. You almost died in the winter! You I was laying back on a branch one

need to feel good about yourself,

day, just pounding back some

Chris! Just check out tinder won’t

seeds and Petey came to visit me.

ya? I’m sure you’ll meet a lovely

I looked a mess and he was NOT

bird. And maybe... she’ll get your

happy about it.

feathers up!”

“You gotta get your beak back in the game, man!” Petey said.

He nudged me a couple of times after that before I spread out and made him back off. I sighed.

“I prefer to mate my own way. You wouldn’t understand,” I told him. Stuffing a few more seeds

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll give it a chance for a week and that’s it!”

down my gullet. And now here I am. Perched on a “You wouldn’t understand.

branch waiting for this beautiful

BWAAAAK,” he parroted back.

blue bird, Karen the Hyacinth Macaw. God I hope she shares her

I hate it when he does that. “You know that gets less clever the more you do it,” I said.

food with me. And just when I had the thought she soars into view. Wow.


“I guess you’re happy to see me,” she chuckles as she lands.

rainforest really scares me. That’s why I’m out there protesting as much as I can.”

“Huh, wha? I-uh- Yes! But how do “Yeah, I remember you were saying


how important activism is to you. “Your crest feathers,” she says as she gestures to my head. “Oh my! I’m so embarrassed!” I fumble to pat them down. “No, no it’s fine. I like knowing where I stand with birds.” “Well, I do like to keep things up front.” “Good,” she says, “After all, it’s hard enough for a Macaw out here. I don’t want to add bad communication to that.” “Right. You’re endangered you said?” “We’re vulnerable, yes,” she sighs, “We just lost Cousin Jake the other day. Losing more and more of the



Totally understand,” I say as I nod my head repeatedly. “So you’re out protesting too then? How come I haven’t seen you before?” she asks. “Oh! Well, I-uh. Don’t really protest. But m-my 2nd uncle George was captured. And he’s kind of become a pet these days. And it’s kind of terrifying to know that. I mean, he gets all the seeds he wants and he sends us postcards and it seems like he’s kinda doing better than he was here after all Grandma kept yelling at him about when he was gonna be somebird-” She starts cawing and I think to myself, Ah crap. She’s never gonna mate with a bird like me.

Right then the waiter shows up with our appetizers. Seeds for me and palm fruits for her. I quiet down and start pecking at the seeds. “You’re cute when you get flustered, you know that?” I pick up my head and stare in disbelief. Did she really say that? “Yes I did.” She chuckles again. “Oh, wow. I said that out loud.” “You haven’t been on many dates have you?” I shake my head no. She smiles and pushes a palm fruit over to me. “Here, why don’t we share?” My crest feathers rise to full mast. “I’d love to!” The End.








what’s going on in that head It seems th meant I’ll be your compass guiding yo died when you said who is her? Prech birds in flight We’d be drinking and s remember me at all I’ll try to win yo again Verse 2 The nurse said that you Some days you like to talk and sometim Prechorus & chorus We are like magne memories and win back your heart Ag baby Please don’t go Come back Ple back baby Please don’t go Come bac Repeat Second Prechorus & chorus W So I’ll make new memories and win 34



Verse 1 I’ve been trying to figure out hat you don’t remember what February ou to who you once were But I nearly horus & chorus We were carefree like singing past midnight Since you don’t ou back and let you fall Again, again, u like to draw so I joined your art class mes you call me ass How rude Second ets impossible to part So I’ll make new gain, again, again Bridge Come back ease don’t let the sickness grow Come ck Please don’t let the sickness grow We are like magnets impossible to part back your heart Again, again, again DONNA DAIROCAS • 35









I remember our Saturday night sleepovers. This was where I got to know you before you were my Lola, We talked as we prepared for bed about your dreams, aspirations and life in the Philippines. You tried to give me your jewelry, anxiously wanting me to have a part of you. I accepted. You told me about Lolo, your lives, and your love for one another. I would listen in awe. Listening to your words. Imagining and stringing together your phrases. Imagining a home that is yours and mine as well. I grew, you grew, time passed.




The week before I moved to New York City. I said goodbye to you. I don’t know why it held so heavy on my heart. I was being released from a one sided narrative. A truth that I told myself years ago. But still it was heavy. Your arms reminding me why I felt that way in the first place But your ease of letting go, reminding me why I knew this was a necessary change.

M A R IE L I Z P E ND A N G • 41





Be. here. now.

feet planted.

stay present,

ring though my ears

The words of a good friend of mine

my often rushed need for the future.


my romantic nostalgia of the past

I am often battling

I love now, the present moment.


those finding myself years.

those wonder years

I miss...

The last time I was out in Wilmington It was the Halloween before I left for NYC. I gave up. I surrendered. I shut the door, A five year friendship, Ups and downs of living in the grey Texts that were never answered But redeemed after a full afternoon hanging out. It was messy and complicated for me, Degrees less so for you. I didn’t deserve that, but I knew it had to end this way. A fade out, something I slowed down with time. You never loved me, and even though I tricked myself into believing I did, I don’t think I ever loved you.




on a cold winter session day.

you picked me up off the ice

blistering hope of those days.

remember the

my heart will always

all those fridays

but you showed up

even when you barely picked me

my kilig heart picking you,

college youth

our awkward

the newness of it all, embracing

being together

I remember those friday afternoons





He loves he loves She missed crushes.

She missed the days of her youth

gorgeous celebrity child men. Each half

when she would spend hours

lidded stare and too tight Abercrombie

meticulously cutting out pictures of

shirt promised her something that felt

Justin Timberlake from Seventeen

distinctly scandalous and too mature.

magazine and Teen People. She missed

It made her parents laugh when they

the reverence of each slice, the fear

thought she couldn’t hear them, but

that if she made a single mistake

she didn’t care. If she closed her eyes

and separated a lock of his platinum

tight enough she could imagine each

blonde curls from his beautiful head it

and every one of these celebrity gods

would somehow break the shrine she

scooping up her face and raising her

was making to him.

lips to meet theirs. In the rain. The rain is what always made it extra special.

Deliberately she would paste and tape and tack the glossy faces of these

She missed the days when the back of a boy’s head was enough to make her fall in love. In fifth grade the



, me me Not shaggy mess of dirty blonde hair

that was the back of Dustin Peterson

started to fill the hole in her heart once

of this boy’s personality, using them

dedicated to synchronized boy bands.

to flesh out the perfect boyfriend

From September 3rd to May 8th, she

she was creating in her head. By the

only knew three facts about Dustin

time he asked her for anything more


than the date, her imagination had completely transformed this boy. It

Fact 1: He could skateboard.

wasn’t that Dustin Peterson was bad at math. No, it was that his sensitive

Fact 2: He had a little sister in the same

artist soul couldn’t stand the cold

grade as her youngest brother.

brutality of the subject’s black-and-

Fact 3: He was atrocious in math. That was all she needed. She would spend hours clinging to those flecks

white nature. Whereas other boys in her math class were too busy doodling S-signs and comics about Mrs. Daniels’ facial hair, he was writing poems and plays, probably. He was a skater, but he only did it as a way to reconnect


with his long lost brother who was captured by the mob or some dreadful misunderstanding his parents were too poor to correct. And he was always a perfect gentleman to his sister. Once he used all of his birthday money to

a dog, worked at the Bank of America,

buy her a stuffed giraffe.

spent most of his free time lifting even though the most important thing in his

The day she saw him trip his sister

life was Netflix, and was looking for a

on her way to lunch was the day she

“chill girl looking for a chill time.”

realized the Dustin Peterson she loved may have been fabricated. That crush

She had no idea what that last part

dissolved soon after, leaving her to

meant, but she could figure out

curse her imagination.

the rest. A couple of reverse image searches showed that Kevin M. was

That wasn’t a problem anymore. Two

actually Kevin McClain. And even

decades after she coated the blue

though the third picture in his Tinder

walls of her girlhood with photos of

profile and his many LinkedIn posts

Nick Carter, Leonardo DiCaprio, and

about thought leaders made it seem

Jonathan Taylor Thomas, she now

like he was on the executive track

stood in front of La Grotta Bella feeling

at the Bank of America, he wasn’t.

confident that she knew absolutely

He was probably stuck somewhere

everything about her most recent first

in middle management, likely in the

date. His name was Kevin M.,

marketing department. He’d make

and according to Tinder he had

his day-to-day life sound like it was a race to put out corporate fires when actually it likely consisted of approving emails for someone else to approve. The last three shows he tweeted about were The Office, Friends, and then

h 50


The Office, beloved shows he kept claiming he was such a “nerd” for liking. Even the sweet pug grinning in two of his pictures was misleading. A quick look through Kevin M.’s Instagram had proven that Otis actually belonged to his roommate

enough of its own. Instantly she also


knew that any cocktail she ordered would take roughly five minutes to

That same Instagram scroll hinted

make and would come with a slew

that he had at least two exes he tried

of drinking accessories — umbrellas,

to crop out of #ThrowbackThursday

fancy ice, random pieces of bacon if

posts and a weakness for overly

the drink was spicy and expensive

expensive boozy brunches. She

enough. All of the wine would be

couldn’t fault him for that last part.

decent. All of the beer would be craft.

She had also been to five of the seven mid-morning Charlotte staples.

When she finally laid her eyes on Kevin M., he was exactly what she predicted.

She even knew what to expect from

Just enough mousse to give his hair

this new wine bar he told her was his

an effortless, just woken up sweep.

favorite. Yelp had already informed

Perfectly straight teeth that spoke

her that it was a casual hipster hot

well of the regal older couple donned

spot good for first dates, though she

in flowing Florida cottons on his

could have saved herself the search.

Facebook page. A nice blue button up

The bar’s carefully exposed brick

shirt that seemed almost so perfect

and rustic rafters screamed that well

as to be devoid of personality. Slacks. A bit too much cologne so that when she leaned in for their first date hug she was briefly reminded of her brother’s bedroom.

K AY L A COBB • 51

quietly kept the fact that she voted for Obama — twice — to herself. Kevin M. on her: “You look better than your profile pictures. You should really Their conversation was equally

change those.” She wanted to say that


she thought it was immature of him to cover his friends’ photos with emojis.

Kevin M. on dating: “I used to think

Instead she laughed as if anything he

online dating was, like, just for losers,

said or could say was funny.

but sometimes you can find some cool people. Some real weirdos too.

An hour and a half, one craft IPA, and

Please don’t let me down on this one,

one tequila sunrise later he kissed

sweetheart.” She vowed she wasn’t a

her on the cheek and asked her if

weirdo while thinking of how strange

she wanted to get a nightcap at his

it was that he seemed to exclusively

place. She declined. There was a work

be friends with stick thin girls with

emergency that hadn’t existed before

straight, clavicle-length brown hair.

she entered La Grotta Bella and she simply had to be ready to attend to it

Kevin M. on work: “I work to live, not

first thing tomorrow. Besides, it was

live to work. You know what I mean?”

getting late. And this was just a first

She did know that. Well. That quote


framed against a photo of a beach was currently the banner image for his

He pressed her, just like she suspected

Twitter account.

he would, but gave up after begging twice. She suspected that too. In her

Kevin M. on politics: “Everyone is so mad all the time. THEY need to just calm down. THEY are the ones causing this mess.” He never once said who “they” were and he didn’t need to. She



smile. Her heart skipped. Her knees weakened. She inexplicably felt the experience gym-loving marketing hunks were rarely interested in the long game or anything lasting more than that night. His Uber, a black Toyota Camry, arrived five minutes before hers. He kissed her again and made vague plans to try this again sometime. They both knew that would never happen. As he drove away, she felt close to nothing. A passing tipsiness from a drink that was too strong, a burst of relief, a

urge to grab a pair of scissors and the latest issue of People. She surveyed the dangerous looking woman for a moment, before removing her arm from her sleeve and cancelling her Uber. She walked back to the bar, shoving her phone back in her bag, momentarily forgetting about her once vital, fake work plans and her long history of dating romantic disappointments. Maybe she didn’t have to miss her crushes after all.

sudden tiredness, but romantically nothing. The bleary, whimsical, misplaced excitement that used to characterize her youth felt miles away. But as she shrugged on her coat, the flurry of exhilaration came rushing back. Bright green eyes met hers. Perfectly manicured slim hands expertly traced the delicate rim of a martini glass. Smooth electric lips called to her, turning up into a














HIT CLI PS A collection of small works inspired by one of the worst products to come out of the 1990s.





An Open Obituary for My Tamagotchi Chesterfield County — Peter Brink “Brinkley” Timberlake Jr., age 4.3 months, passed away this Wednesday, September 7th, 1997 during the 4th-period lunch shift at Manchester Middle School in Midlothian following a recent decrease in battery life. He leaves his owner of 2 months, Kyle Bevins, who acquired him following a series of lunchroom Gusher trades and no immediate family. Born and raised in Chesterfield, originally the property of one Julie Anderson, he exchanged hands twice but always remained firmly rooted to the community in the sense that he was consistently hooked to a JanSport Backpack. In his early years, “Brink” as his friends would refer to him, was noted for his stable level of happiness, healthy appetite, and regular defecation schedule. From his humble egg beginnings, he displayed the merits that many sought from digital pets, such as existing, occasionally beeping, and again—existing. Brink had many passions including eating, sleeping with miniature z’s over his head, and occasionally defecating. His passing came as a great shock to the community when a recent trip to Cedar Point meant he went unfed for the better portion of the holiday weekend. He will be remembered by those whom he was closest to and a funeral service will be held September 9th in the Circuit City parking lot, with private burial to follow.   In lieu of flowers, please send Dunkaroos.


A Day that Shapes Up, In Sum. I stare out the window blankly, like a screen that’s just turned on Slowly growing more bent out of shape Because the straights seem all gone. Folks peer over my shoulder, saying, “you’ll get a W—soon this will turn around.” But the opposite is true, I need an L if I want this tower to topple to the ground. So, I build a blockade around me, slow at first but growing quick in pace Another block seems to drop As I struggle in time to find it a place. For a moment, and a minute, I tempt it close to the line Misfortune again rains down But I lie to myself, “This will all be fine…” And suddenly, Fate’s hand deals good fortune as seconds build I look ahead at what’s to come To realize the pieces I need for the gaps to be filled. From the panic comes a calmness, a rhythm as joy replaces fears The pieces fall into place And in an instant, poof, another line clears. And in many ways, So went my Tetris days.




A bad poem. This is a bad poem, It’s got uneven rhymes, oddly spaced time, And a cadence that can’t be kept.


It’s got verses and curses, fuckin’ metaphors that float between the lines like boats lost at sea. Or even worse comparative statements that are mislabeled, as similes or similarities or good Samaritans. Fred Rogers. Man, this a bad poem—with a fourth wall break that addresses you, the reader, like we’ve spoken before. You know what I mean? There are typos and Miss steaks, run ons and awkward line breaks. It’s got homonyms and homophones and homo sapiens and homosexuals. Like Oscar Wilde telling a Cro-Magnon how down he’s been feeling lately, while being tarred and feathered. Vivid imagery that’s lazily interjected between the stanzas, and poorly attributed quotes telling you to: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” – John Stamos This is a bad poem, a terrible literary mistake whose mere existence, might bring the world to a fiery end due to its overuse of hyperbole. Just a bad poem and there’s no telling how it might e...















SAM CARTER “Oh that warm, dewy feeling of nostalgia! When I think back to the people, places and memories that make me nostalgic, the details tend to be fuzzy, but the the feeling and the essence remains. It’s a meshing of emotions that comes together to form an abstract concept that is familiar and comforting yet distant and somehow out of reach.” Sam Carter is an art director in advertising. In her free time, she loves to try new restaurants around Brooklyn, travel and get brunch with friends.

JEREMY PRICE “As I examined Sam’s wonderful photo series, I noticed that the filters made it difficult to see exactly what was happening in the shots. This got me thinking about nostalgia as a manner of seeing, and what might filter or blur our realworld vision—like a mask, for example. I was also thinking about nostalgic reflection as a process of diving deep into the mind, reaching a place as wondrous as it is fearful.”

JOHN FREEDBERG “The previous piece was intense and I thought the best direction for me to take things is the idea of trying to salvage a romantic/sexual experience despite a dampened mood. It reminded me of futile attempts to keep a conversation going, but with a silly tone.” John is an accountant who is into creating music and comedy. @ M O N A A N D S T E V E on Twitter and Instagram.

Jeremy Price is a journalist and editor who has written for VICE, OZY, and more. He is also a Brooklyn kickball player, an air guitar enthusiast, and a certified instructor of tricking, an underground sport that combines martial arts, gymnastics, and breakdancing. Find him on Twitter @ J E R E M Y P R I C E 9 3 .


CHILLGUINS “The last piece was about a first date in which the guy is trying to salvage the mood despite his date being so negative about everything. I thought about how and why he would even go on a date with someone so negative, and figured it could have just been a bad Tinder match. I created the possible profile of the date in which she has all the elements of the instant swipe right, despite being very basic and having some obvious red flags.” Chillguins are chill penguins that are each inspired by real cultures, lifestyles, and people ... except in penguin form. Why? Because who doesn’t like penguins? @ C H I L L G U I N S



BRANDON BOGLE “This piece is what I imagine to be a date between some birds. I thought about how birds mate in general and what that would kind of look like with tinder added into the mix, so it’s a bit of a play on that and how we date nowadays.” Brandon works for a production company, setting up live events, but in his most fulfilling life he acts and writes (plays mostly!). Right now he’s trying to help develop a theater company so check out @ B L A C K C O N F E R E N C E T O U R on Instagram and search Black Conference Touring Company on Facebook for more info about that!

MARGARET TRAN “A whimsical look at bird romance inspired me from the previous piece. It got me reminiscing about the past where it’s easy to remember only positive memories and long to go back. However, I’ve learned to not dwell in the past too long when there’s so much to look forward to in the future.” Margaret Tran is a singer-songwriter cellist who sings and plays cello at the same time. Much of her music is inspired by her advocacy work with groups like Bread for the World and Action Corps. You can listen to her music at or on Instagram @MARGARETMAKESMUSIC.

DONNA DAIROCAS “Listening to and reading No More Remains, I kept thinking of the idea of memory. Though it seemed like the person wanted to break free from their past in the piece. I thought of writing about someone who wants to hold on to the memories. So I wrote a song along the lines of dementia and memory loss. It is about a woman whose husband barely remembers her. This is both hurtful and traumatic for her but she surpasses it by trying to make her husband fall for her again.” Donna is currently working as the Executive Assistant to the Social and Community Development Dept. at Catholic Charities. She is going to Columbia University for her Masters in Nonprofits Management. In her free time, she likes to song write for the band Mona and Steve @ M O N A A N D S T E V E (Twitter and Instagram) and make ice cream.


CHARLOTTE AHLIN “Losing the memory of a treasured relationship must be an immeasurably painful experience. However, in my own life, I am much more likely to find myself actively avoiding all reminders of a not-so-treasured relationship instead. This comic is for all those moments when memories go from nostalgic to demonic.” Charlotte Ahlin is an award-winning writer, actor, playwright, artist, and lifelong New Yorker. She is a co-host of the Shakespeare podcast What You Will and the associate artistic director of Fat Knight Theatre Company. Her plays have been produced at multiple venues both in and out of NYC, and her comics can be found crumpled up in multiple wastepaper baskets throughout the tristate area. C H A R L O T T E A H L I N . C O M



MARIELIZ PENDANG “I wrote several poems about different nostalgic instances of my life. Lost loves, memories I never want to forget, and my grandmother who I hold dear to my heart. I hope my words give you comfort and also inspire you. Marieliz is a current law student and writing poetry in-between her pages of reading. She believes that self care is critical to good spiritual and mental health as well as being able to advocate for those that need it the most. She loves her faith, social justice and is always searching for the perfect meal. She is often found laughing, singing (usually in harmony), or scribbling away in her journal. You can follow more of her poetry at @ M L I Z W R I T E S .

AMANDA KOU “The poems seemed like a recall of a breakup that happened at a younger time in life. In my own past I’ll reflect on things said or my mindset during those times and realize I was being too dramatic. I wanted to bring a lighthearted take on breakups." Amanda is an Inventor that helps companies come up with new products, brands and services. She is a big time yogi and has recently been diving into the world of meditation and spirituality. Like any good millennial she loves to travel.

K AYL A COBB “There are few things I love thinking about more than ‘90s celebrities, not because Brittany and Justin are perfect (even though they are). But because for me this era represents a time of romantic innocence. I remember being convinced I was in love with Aaron Carter when at the same time the thought of even kissing a guy felt gross. This short story is a sort of callback to that simpler time told through the modern hell that is online dating.” Kayla watches too much television professionally. As her day job she’s a reporter and TV critic for the New York Post’s Decider, an entertainment site that covers streaming. In her free time she also writes fiction and watches too many true crime documentaries. You can follow her on Twitter @K AY L COBB.




“What stood out to me in this short story is how we’ve changed since our teenage years during the 90s. The writer brings up a good point that we’re all trying to curate our personalities to a point of predictability in today’s digital and social media infested age. The idea is scary because I see and hear it everyday. The artwork I’ve created centers on the 3 people the writer romanticizes - Justin, Kevin, and the Green-Eyed Woman. It also plays in the worlds of sweet teenage innocence and modern day digital horror. 90s Nostalgia is the best! For me, this includes comic books, arcade games, ridiculous patterns, and ill fitting clothes that somehow worked. Nostalgia encourages you to remember the good that has happened and the things that made you smile.”

"It’s so easy to get lost in the nostalgia of the 90s/ early 2000s. It is a trope that many filmmakers, writers, and comedians fall into. They make a reference to something we all fondly remember without any real regard to adding any substance to the plot or piece. That’s pretty much what I did here. I also drew from the 90’s inspired vibe to think back on how wildly dramatic I thought my life was back then. A bad haircut in middle school seemed like the end of days but now, as I watch a drunk girl with one high-heel on, cry into a half-eaten Au Bon Pain panini on the M train…I realize it wasn’t that bad."

Richard currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is really into plants. W W W . L O R D F I E R C E . C O M



Jay Miutz is vehemently against water. Did you know that each year over 350 people die in water related incidents? The lobbyists in Washington want you to think water is a right, but in reality, it is a threat capable of mass destruction, instability, and toxicity. It’s time for America to wake up and realize that water is just lame soda. Sign the petition at and follow Jay @ H U N A N D E L I G H T _ TA K E O U T _ O F F I C I A L .

SAMY RUBY “What inspired my was the Tamagotchi piece and the theme as a whole. Nostalgia is dreamy and subjective. Our feelings and opinions color our experience at the moment and again on how we recall it, so we seldom remember things as they actually are. That said, these images are about the way we choose to look at things and about make believe.” Samy Ruby is a NYC based freelancer and creative focusing primarily on photography. When she's not working or shooting, Samy is traveling, spending time with friends, getting outside, and being active as much as she can! @ S A M Y R U B Y

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THANKS FOR READING! And a massive thank you to all the contributors, supporters, and friends for coming on this experimental journey with me <3

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Profile for Formstory

Formstory | Issue 01 — Nostalgia  

Formstory started as an experiment in inspiration. Each contribution was inspired from the piece before it, creating a unique, evolving narr...

Formstory | Issue 01 — Nostalgia  

Formstory started as an experiment in inspiration. Each contribution was inspired from the piece before it, creating a unique, evolving narr...

Profile for formstory