Litterae Issue II

Page 1

Litterae - Issue II v2

Edited by Mandy Moore

Litterae - 1

Pg. 4 Phantasm Carnival By Owen Rodriguez

Pg. 6 Black Gold ‘89 By Justice Whitaker

Pg. 14 In Spite of Himself By Judy Weaver

Pg. 20 Conditional By Elizabeth O’Connell-Thompson

Pg. 21 Donny H. By Jason Bertucci

Pg. 25 The Square By Jason Bertucci

Pg. 28 Cheetah Mom By Mandy Moore

Cover art by qthomasbower

Litterae - 2

Index By Page

Hello readers! Raw beauty, what does it mean to you? To me raw beauty is what this country was when the first settlers arrived. Raw beauty is the unpolished diamond, the wonderfully flawed rough draft. Raw beauty is the soul of an artist. So in celebration of the raw beauty of the United States this issue is left in its most raw state. No editing has been done to the pieces you are about to read. Artists were not informed of this to prevent anyone from polishing their work. It is my belief that each piece still shines beautifully because each is true to the artist’s original idea and it is in that original idea that the most beauty is found. So read on and please feel free to send me feedback. Thanks and as always enjoy!

Mandy Moore Editor Litterae Magazine

P.S. This is the second version of this issue due to Mr. Wellington choosing to remove his poetry from our magazine.

Disclaimer: Views within Litterae are not necessarily those of Litterae staff or its affiliates.

Phantasm Carnival By Owen Rodriguez

The ride’s move in every direction and sorts them out in a generic collection.

Note: Mr. Rodriguez’s piece was due to be published last month but was

And their overly maudlin parents watch their young grow up in a

absentmindedly overlooked when

manifested life of decoy, then send

compiling Issue I. We cannot apologize

them off one by one too deploy.

enough for this oversight and hope you all enjoy his work.

The festivities start to chant louder and look more amusing:

The lights exploded with crimson

Once the children find out what

colors that sparked the sky,

they are losing.

As peculiar children of all ages

And in their heads they can still

gathered from worldwide.

hear the bittersweet sound of their

The tents reached higher than the


heavens its self.

Calling out to them from the

And clowns with painted on faces

carnival, they once loved so much.

held balloons like animated

But its now only memory of a common


tasteless touch.

Music played in tune, dancing and singing, in all the months of June.

The kids grow old into adults and teens, some turn into kings and

Kid’s teeth rotting from the candy they eat, while laughing with marvelous joys. Their mind decomposing, rough but sleek, from the games they play and the life long prizes they’ll keep.

Litterae - 4

queens, while others just grow old, never knowing what the carnival really means. The residue from the party streamers seem to now look and fade like distant dreamers.

The carnival tents, that was once fun has all its strings coming undone, Revealing the thin lie that lies beneath them all.

They leave the carnival empty handed and their mind left stranded. Remembering all the things they done holding on to the cheap prizes they have won. And now all that remains in the month of June are lifeless kids and exit sign that reads

“See you soon�.

Litterae - 5

Black Gold ‘89 By Justice Whitaker Excerpt from GrayScale: A Memoir in Black and White.

He donned his 14kt gold-plated hoop earring for the first time. His black denim jacket and caramel complexion stood out against the pithy, underdeveloped bodies of his 4th grade peers. It was the 80's. He looked tough as leather; yet, from the surface to the core he was as soft as the child-sized earlobe that the hoop had been pushed through. By Justice Whitaker

Where the gold had actually come from I will never know, and he had never considered. Undoubtedly the hoop was sold as one unit of thousands to the Long’s Drugstore and Pharmacy that offered the piercing services of a gum snapping and

Litterae - 6

artificially caring high school

way through the tales of U.S.

student for $14.99. The gold

history, the unit had switched

plating was surely done in China

over to the new nation and

by sweatshop workers who had

eventually would lead to a

never considered such body

grazing mention of the slave

adornments beyond ancient myths

trade as the teachers prepped

of dynasties and valor: terms of

students for civil war

which their lives seemed

simulations and boring

permanently deprived. Where the

documentaries on laser discs

factory got its raw material is

with fanatical re-enactors.

unknown, but to conclude that it

The topic of slavery, Africans,

came from the same continent as

and really anything to do with

the boy’s enslaved ancestors

historical or contemporary black

would be no stretch of the

culture fell heavily upon the

imagination. This is the

boy, and he was expected to add

circular irony of infinite

insight and perspective in the

connections that made his

classroom. Once he was pulled

elementary experience both

aside by student teacher and

quaint and massively traumatic

warned about his failure to

in the same breath. There he

participate in an activity where

stood, December 5th, the day

students were asked to write

after his birthday—lookin’

from the perspective of a slave.

tough. "This is something that should Earlier that week as the 4th

be important to you, it’s YOUR

grade curriculum had wound its

history. You're a great student, Litterae - 7

but if you continue this type of

place named Niger, who's capital

behavior, it’s going to damage

was Niamey, and then down into

your participation points," she

Dakar which was a place his


parents had gone together before they had kids, and which also

The whole time period in history

reminded him of the cologne his

began to be uncomfortable, and

older brother wore, Dakar Noir.

everyday after science he would

Noir, he knew, meant black.

begin to feel his ears get hot as if too many eyes were fixed

The class finally caught up to

upon him, challenging his sheer

him when the teacher told them

existence in the classroom. He

all to turn to page 988, a high

would distract himself by

number which he quickly

flipping to the back of the

recognized as the map pages.

history book, Into the West,

Flipping there, he saw a map of

with the overly lit studio shot

Africa with an inset of the

of a 19th century covered wagon

globe, both tagged with the

on its front, and sifting

graffiti of transatlantic slave

through the maps of the world.

trade routes that crisscrossed

He was unfamiliar to the concept

and wove deeper and darker in

of "backpacking," but he

some places like lashing scars

fantasized about taking boats

on the backs of the slaves that

down the Nile to Cairo and

had travelled them: his father’s

catching a caravan of camels or

forefathers. The mumbles and

land rovers across the Sahara to

laughter over the names of the

Timbuktu, which was next to a

African nations that had been

Litterae - 8

formally recognized only in the

angry when people say it...?”

last 20 to 30 years began to

The boy, thoroughly lacking a

irritate him, the irritation was

response, turned and walked off

exacerbated by the one other

the playground unconsciously

half breed student in the class

duped by ignorance.

who, although they were friends, was sitting in his chair

That night the boy, seated at

repeating "nigger, nigger,

dinner with his bi-racial

nigger" as if to aggravate the

family, brought up the question

boy further. When the boy

that his parents must have been

attempted to quiet him, the

anticipating since they had

friend pointed to the nation

birthed their two sons as kings

labeled "Niger" and said, "It’s

in paradox, or at least a

just a country in Africa...."

version thereof.

After class the boy and his

“Why is there a country in

mulatto friend, who had started

Africa named Nigger?” This set

to refer to the two of them as

off a series of actions around

zebras for their half-back half-

the house, his father reached

white blood mixture, were

towards the bookshelf, out came

walking out the classroom when

dictionaries and an atlas to

the friend, who was raised to be

correct the linguistic and

either impervious to, or unaware

geographic errors, while his

of, race, questioned: “If

mother stood aimlessly

there's a country named

unprepared for the racial

"Nigger," why do you get so

dialogue with her black son, Litterae - 9

although she had brought the

of them, Raymond Horatio, a fat

eldest up to age 16 already.

Jewish boy who's family had

That elder brother brought

undoubtedly suffered its share

emotion and pragmatism with one

of marginalization, called the

pointed statement: “If anyone

boy’s name. As he turned around,

calls you a nigger, punch him in

Raymond asked "Were your parents

the face!” This inadvertently

slaves?" A muted and broken

jolted mom into the

"Shutup!" spurted from the boy’s

conversation. "I don't want you

lips as the arrow nearly hit his

getting into any fights.... Did

heart. Raymond laughed.

someone call you that at

"Whatever, nigger..." The


laughter continued. The boy reached the end of the walkway

The next day the science lesson

and took one step onto the

caused an involuntary anxiety to

grass. About face; stand at

grip the boy, anticipating the

attention. As Raymond closed the

forthcoming history lesson, and

four-step gap, still laughing

another hour of looking at

with his friends at his display

pictures of slaves on ships and

of bigotry, the boy balled his

auction blocks brought about the


type of nausea that comes not from stomach sickness, but from

With adrenaline pumping through

fatigue. When the class broke

his veins, the boy’s body began

for afternoon recess the boy and

taking blood from his brain,

his ‘Zebra’ friend walked in

causing everything in his vision

front of a few other boys. One

to seem as if highlighted by a

Litterae - 10

backlight. Subsequently, there

Landing upon the Jewish boy and

was a trail of shiny glittery

rolling down the grassy hill

soul power that followed behind

with him, the boy asserted

his fist as it bolted through

himself on top and began to

the air and planted contact on

pummel the Jewish boy whose

the fragile cheekbone of the

great grandparents may have even

Horatio boy like a comet with

been ancestors of the boy’s

enough power to extinguish the

mother. The caramel knuckles

dinosaurs. Glass jaw Raymond was

were white- tipped like snow

spun around, and stumbled

cones at the movie theater, and

backwards down the sloped knoll.

with each crushing blow they

The boy pounced like a panther;

reddened and eventually began

clad in his black denim jacket,

shredding the pale flesh of his

today with jeans to match, he

opponent. Left, right, in a

looked like an affiliate of Huey

military cadence inherited from

Newton and Eldridge Cleaver, and

his grandfather’s time at

fought just as viciously for a

Tuskegee, transmitted from his

similar egalitarian definition

fathers time in ‘Nam, now the

of humanity. Although the

left blows hitting low, cracking

Panthers before him had created

Raymond’s winter chapped lips

a calculated movement, he acted

and striking Raymond’s throat,

upon the same visceral impulse

the right hitting high and now

that each of them, and every

forming a bulb over Raymond’s

other black man in this nation,

left eye that would later seal

has felt at one point or another


in their lives. Litterae - 11

The boy’s supersonic comet soul

rage the child foreshadowed the

power had blocked out the

signing of peace treaties

screams and yells of the now-

between both the Crips & the

formed crowd, the whistle

Bloods and Palestine & Israel.

blowing from the teacher

His world was simultaneously

trotting across the yard, the

spinning at a heightened speed

muffled moans from Raymond and

as well as standing perfectly

the war cries and victory

still. Then it faded to black.

screams the boy had channeled from tribal forefathers and his

At some point in the five days

native bloodlines. This is for

of freedom he was awarded from

Geronimo, and this is for

the suffocating institution of

Soujourner; this is for Nat

education, he noticed the golden

Turner, and this one’s for MLK

hoop was missing from his ear.

and Malcolm, this one’s for

It had not been pulled out, but

Hector Pieterson and one for

rather in his unfamiliarity with

Emmett Till—the spirits each

its design he had never secured

took a shot as if the

the clasp properly, and in the

meaningless revenge would cool

tumble it must have fallen out.

the centuries of anger that

He chose not to replace the hoop

burns in the souls of black

with the solid black onyx stud

folks. The blows freed the caged

that had been used to pierce his

bird, and Mumia, who had been

ear. There was something in him

locked up since the year the boy

that felt as if he had grown far

was born: free - if not for more

beyond any manhood or toughness

than a split second…. Amidst his

that would come from that

Litterae - 12

jewelry. He no longer felt the need to wear his blackness or the stolen gold, on his sleeve; somehow, he had internalized his struggle, and with it, a piece of his identity. Today, the ear is still scarred from where the hole closed before it had finally healed, but the wounds left unknowingly by the schoolyard boys have long since been shifted into positive selfhealing energy, the pain has evolved into a dedicated selfexpression in support of the movement towards an active educated populace, in hopes that future generations will not have to tussle in the school-yard to define their blackness.

Litterae - 13

In Spite of Himself By Judy Weaver

to the monastery, where second sons often ended up. There was no way he wanted to go there,

"Oh come on, Ian!" Leander

even if Friar David was nice and

shouted over the din of the

all. He wanted to be a knight,

hammers hitting the anvils. He

wear armor like his father and

and his older brother Ian were

if lucky, have his own war horse

near the stables at the Duke's

that went charging into battle.

castle. Fostering children out to others was a common practice

"We need to get up to the

among the nobility of that era,

fields," Ian reminded him and

and it was Le's turn to join his

began walking away. He was the

brother Ian at the castle. For

first born of the Cross

the summer at least, the Cross

brothers, and he knew already

brothers would be together until

the responsibilities that lay

Ian left for Hogwarts at the end

before him. One day he'd take

of August.

his father's place as Earl, and he wanted to make sure he was

Le didn't want to be here, he

ready. He thought Le was a

wanted to be home where his

slacker - he should have been

parents were. Why he had to come

fostered out two years ago and

here he didn't understand.

come here at age six like he

Couldn't his father teach him

had. Didn't Le understand the

just as well how to be a knight

honor it was to be fostered to

of the realm? Though it was a

the Duke of Sussex? The Duke

sight better than being sent off

didn't accept too many children,

Litterae - 14

especially of lower nobility and

With one last exasperated sigh,

never two from the same family.

Ian stormed off and left his

Their being wizards like the

little brother to his own

Duke's own family was the

devices. Maybe Le would learn

reason, but it was still an

what responsibility was when Sir


Danvers showed up and dragged him off by the ear to the

Le was already making him late

lesson. Or worse yet, get sent

for training, and that never

home to their parents'

boded well. The knight that was

humiliation. That thought almost

teaching the lessons didn't

had him stopping in his tracks

suffer fools gladly, and

and turning to grab Leander's

besides, Ian wanted to learn.

ear on his own volition. But Ian

His wooden practice sword was

wasn't his brother's keeper,

firmly tucked in its scabbard and there were shields there to

and what would Le do when he was

use. Today's lesson was on how

on his own here? Best to learn

to block, and it had sounded

the hard lesson of obedience

exciting to the eleven year old.

now, and he stomped off.

Soon he would be at Hogwarts and his magical training would

With his brother gone, Leander

start, but he was going to be a

looked around with a lack of

lord of his own castle one day.

interest. Stables were stables

He needed to learn how to defend

to him, and shoeing horses no


different here than it was at home. Everything he needed to Litterae - 15

learn to be a knight he could

Ian ventured forth.

learn from his father, and his jaw set mutinously as he entered

A shuffle in the hay near him

the stables and climbed up a

had Leander shrinking as far

pile of bales to hide. Maybe if

down as he could in his hiding

he did his worst, he'd be sent

spot. If it was that evil

home. That thought comforted him

knight, he wanted no part of the

slightly, even though he knew

man. His face was covered in one

his father wouldn't like it.

long scar that twisted his face into an evil looking smirk that

Le dug into the straw and built

never changed. It was scary to

himself a comfortable seat to

his eight year old self... what

sit in and watch from. The serfs

had the man done to get that?

were a busy lot, and he followed each one as they bustled about

"Boy?" A lilting voice called

in their chores. Their castle

out to him and Leander sighed.

didn't have serfs, but freemen.

He hadn't hid as well as he

He couldn't understand what made

thought and sat up straighter

the Duke so special anyhow. So

and groaned. He'd seen her at a

he had a higher title, it didn't

distance when his father had

make him any better than his own

dropped him off, and he

father. Well.... in the eyes of

recognized the Duke's only child

the court it did. He hated that

and daughter from that. She'd

place also, even though he was

snitch and tell, and his father

still young enough to left in

would be humiliated. "Why are

his parents' room while they and

you hiding here?" she asked in

Litterae - 16

disbelief. He could tell by the

to keep them busy? He snorted

look in her eyes she hadn't

and rolled his eyes before

expected him here, but what was

rubbing the dirt even further

she doing there also?

into his pores.

"Tis none of your concern,"

"Leander Cross," Le answered

Leander retorted and shifted in

finally, the manners his mother

his place, digging deeper into

had so patiently taught him all

the hay. Girls were ickle with

but forgotten at the moment. He

their pretty dresses and airs

knew he was being rude, and if

that always made them better

the Duke found out - which he

than they were. As a duke's

suspected he would if the girl

daughter, she was probably full

snitched - he'd be mucking the

of ickles anyhow.

stables he was now hiding in instead of learning how to be a

"Your face is all dirty," she

knight. Or worse sent home and

told him with a laugh and

then sent of to the monastery.

clambered through the hay until

Whoever thought up those itchy,

she was next to him and plopped

brown robes has to be crazy

down in a flurry of skirts. "I'm


Gillian, who are you?" she asked him and tucked her skirts around

"Ian's brother?" Gillian asked

her. Le couldn't believe it -

him with a note of surprise in

was the girl crazy? They didn't

her voice. Leander nodded his

belong in the stables - didn't

head and wondered why that

they have girl things to learn

mattered. Or did it mean Ian Litterae - 17

liked hanging out with girls? "I thought - I mean - Ian said that

Their commotion drew a crowd,

there was practice today," Her

and Leander tried to stand but

eyes rounded in confusion, and

kept slipping and covering them

looked to where a far off set of

both in return with more of the

trees were. Where Ian and the

smelly muck. He knew, just knew

other were near and he was

he was in trouble when a voice

supposed to be and he shuffled

behind them said their names.

in the hay more. It itched

Sitting there, finally stilled

through his clothes and his hose

by the duke's voice, Le turned

and he brushed at his legs with

his head and stared into the

his hands.

eyes of the very angry man.

That was Le's mistake as the

Oh yes, Leander knew that he was

straw shifted with his movements

going to become very acquainted

and slowly the pile they were

with the stables now. If he ever

sitting on slid down the sides

learned to be a knight, it would

and dumped them to the muck

be to spite the Duke.

below with the girl screaming all the way down. They landed with a plop into something that made Le gag and Gillian scream again. This time his name and the words 'I hate you' as he felt her hands slap at his face in frustration. Litterae - 18

By Justice Whitaker

Conditional Elizabeth O’Connell-Thompson

When I see someone with whom I trusted my body, once or often, it remembers him. The patterns he bit into my chest redden again, bruises blossom on my back, and all of me hums with the touch of his hands— a fist knotted in my hair, a palm heavy on my thigh —resting in mine while we slept. As we share drinks or make room for one another between tourists and businessmen on the sidewalk, I wonder if his scalp stings where my lips left hushed noises, blood wells where my fingernails caught, or his hands remember where I am soft. And, if they’d forgotten, If they’d like to learn again

Litterae - 20

Donny H. by Jason Bertucci

racism in general, As far as the racism, let's just say he didn't like my black

He owned a door factory the name of the business was 'A Door Factory'. While not being a very inventive moniker I have to admit, it made sense. That's what he did - he was a wood worker, a door maker, a son, brother, father, grandfather and a husband If you got to know him well enough you would also call him an alcoholic and a harry misogynist.

friends. Where the liquor was concerned he had a penchant for the good old Cuervo Gold just the Gold - this was before they put out all that fancy shit they have now. One would also assume correctly that he had tried his fare share of Acapulco Gold.. and most likely at the same time as the Cuervo. I doubt he'd ever been to Mexico though - he just wouldn't fit in.

He had the type of forearms that used to work in construction a mustache that wouldn't conform to the times and he would sometimes smoke flavored tobacco out of pipes, he treasured his large collection of tobacco pipes.

His strange life happenings took place in a very small area an hour and a half outside of Los Angeles, the kind of place millionaires would send their kids to go to school so they didn't have to rough it in

While the transformation of lumber

the big city.

was his thing he was also fond of tequila and

He was a real red blooded American alright.

Litterae - 21

There was an old Woody parked in

that he would drink his tequila and

the garage that never moved,

try to think of a different

a couple of vintage Playboy pinball


machines that nobody touched and without asking you knew that he

So I lived in the sweaty loft,

was into The Beach Boys and Dick

right upstairs of this hot, humid



I almost forgot to mention his

there was a tiny corner for a small

shiny red Corvette that he would

bed, enough room for a couch, small

drive on the weekends.

table and a television.

Among other 'cool guy stuff' there

The bathroom was tiled like a 50's

was a pool and a pigeon coop in the

diner and when you walked in the



I could never figure out why the

the billiards table was obviously

pigeon coop was cool?

the main feature.

but for some sick reason he loved

We all know heat rises and air

those damned pigeons.

conditioning was non existent there were only three windows

You'd have to be blind to miss the

making it quite hot almost all the

huge barn/workshop towards the rear


of the lot. The barn was his hideout and

I had to park somewhere in the

workplace, his excuse to get away

crowded driveway or on the street

from it all

and walk around the side of his

He must have had 2 of any tool or

sawhorses, clamps and other devices

mechanical piece of equipment that

just to to get to my room, which

you could name.

was up a deformed staircase.

I imagined while he was puttering

I got very good at avoiding him and

around, making random saw noises

shooting 9 ball as well.

Litterae - 22

This grew to be a lively event and


began to become a little game of

Things got weirder when his


daughter and I broke up,

we would both pretend to

we were off and on again for a

acknowledge each other


and throw out a fake smile every now and then.

Now this house was located directly

I don't think he liked my lifestyle

behind a high school,

and I couldn't understand his.

in fact the only one in maybe 20 miles or so. so eventually some of the girls

Maybe now I should mention that I

would start walking from school up

was dating his daughter

to my scorching loft.

this made things much more

I was out of school and had a full

complicated as one could imagine.

time job at an upscale hotel.

She had her own room in the main

The tips were substantial and I was


doing well for myself.

and I was sweating my ass off up in

So now imagine, other, younger

that old loft.

girls 'making the walk'

So either I would sneak down into

past the open barn of wood madness

her room at night

and up the rickety stairs.

or she would have to 'make the

This did not go over well at all

walk' past the barn

with anyone.

while Donny was knee deep in

He told the wife, she told the

tequila and sawdust.

daughter - it was a nightmare.

I don't think he liked the

I would have the girls on the phone

situation but his wife suggested it

trying to get them to wait,


wait until he would stop his

seemed like she was wearing the

drinking and construction and close

Litterae - 23

the barn door. When the barn door was closed the side entrance was free game. One day I timed it wrong or they just wouldn't wait, I can't remember two gorgeous girls, both younger than his daughter came walking past the barn, through the side entrance and up the stairs. It wouldn't have been so bad if their skirts were a lot longer and in hindsight their tops could have been a little looser too. I'm sure his bloodshot eyes were popping out of his head I almost wish I could have heard some of the things he was muttering underneath his pungent breath.

This was the last straw - I was to move out rapidly. I found solace in a nearby apartment and never looked back although his daughter would still come by every once in a while. Oh the strange days with Donny H.

Litterae - 24

The Square by Jason Bertucci

popular, coastal southern California town right in the middle of lower State Street but tucked away just enough.

The slackers looked at each other Just enough so nobody could stare in disbelief for too long tourists and locals when the smoke was all gone and the alike would walk by, appalled and wine bottle, frightened like their pretty little tipped over - dropped out it's last city had been invaded,taken over or leak. infested by pirates and marauders. The air was getting dry and people We knew just enough to be dangerous started getting itchy, things sinister and menacing were the street folk were feeling always practical. twisted and hungry riddles mumbled by geniuses and The city officials would come burnouts ruled the nights. around daily trying to weed out the weak and They would all gather at the square deficient, to reveal the day's goods if someone had a chance to see them and perfect their schemes to coming overrun the government. he or she would signal the enemies Some days it was a happy place, approach. with shiny smiles all around The old, former military man in the others - merely a cold hard place wheelchair would hide the goods to lay your head, 'The Blessed' as he was called and you'd be lucky to have a would carry a bible at all times. blanket. He had a long flowing beard and always wore his dirty white robe It was right off the main drag of a 'Who would frisk a Christian

Litterae - 25

veteran in a wheelchair?'

The beach was a careful fifteen

they actually tried a couple times

minute walk away

- but on the right days.

where there would be drum circles

getting harassed was just a routine

on the weekends

a standard part of the day after a

naked children, devil sticks and


people spinning fire.

like brushing your teeth or taking

The improvisational dancing looked

a shower

more like twirling to me

But neither of these were a very

so picture lots of people twirling

common practice.


the ocean and restaurant bathrooms

It was akin to the Hell's Angels

were the shower

but without the motorcycles

and I never saw a toothbrush in

and the bikers might have been

anyone's hands.

better dancers, who knows? Anyway, no one cared and no one

Us loungers all pitched in to


support the collective good. It was like communism in a 75 by 75

A code of ethics was unspoken yet

foot concrete alleyway


the hard benches made it a

there were times to step on toes

tolerable place for loitering

and times to take a step back.

but it was far from comfortable.

'Tree' and 'Zob' could only

I image in Laos or any other

panhandle for so long

communist country

their songs and antics grew

they use a comparable blend of the



so everybody took turns trying to

and I'll bet their version isn't

hustle up some capital -

soft either.

whichever way they could, specialties varied greatly.

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There were of course good days and

since then

bad days.

but history tends to repeat itself.

on the good days drugs of choice could be purchased so you could say all the booze, heroin, speed marijuana and psychedelics were basically free. Just as free as the women.

I can only compare it to something like the Ringling Bros. outfit It was a carnival of sorts and everyone was along for the ride none of the dirty hippies were in any hurry to 'go home'. Some had never met their parents or been to a dentist others were probably sons or daughters of dentists and lawyers Although, if they kept living in this manner they would definitely need both at some point. When I think about the things I thought I used to know I gaze around with a pervading smile and a prominent glow. I'd like to think I've 'grown up'

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Cheetah Mom By Mandy Moore

rub them from my eyes. Staining my favorite dress, more spots. These remind me of my son’s first

I don’t have stripes. Who has the time for stripes. I have spots, messy Cheetah spots. Spots I have time for. Spots are everywhere in my life. I am a Cheetah mom full of spots. My daughter’s shirt has spots on it. We were too busy to use a bib and she spit her mashed carrots all over it. My little green hooptie has spots on it from bird poop, dried dirty raindrops and my son’s fingerprints where he had to put his hand on the car while I put his sister into her

experience with food when he decided his peas should go back out instead of down. Who can afford a new dress in three years? Spots and I have become close friends. I don’t have time for the flesh and blood type. Stripes are the enemy. Marring the beauty of my marriage license, spots. Spots from the teardrops that fell caused by the stripes of the creased paper and signature lines on my divorce decree. These stripes I have time for. These stripes I have to have time for.

seat. Constantly I am surrounded by spots. Stripes have no place in my life. Stripes are too neat, too precise. Stripes take too much time. Spots are more my speed. There are spots in my yard where patches of grass have yellowed and withered because no one had time to take care of it. Spots cloud my vision daily when I’m too tired to

I saw plenty of stripes on the day that I signed those papers; the day that those first spots showed up on my marriage license. Stripes lined her pinstripe pantsuit. Stripes made his bifocals glaring obvious. Stripes creased the judge’s full black robe. Everywhere I looked there were stripes. I don't have time for stripes.

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I am a Cheetah mom. Other

moment and less time worrying about

mothers can be tiger moms. Other

the future. Spots and stripes will

mothers can have their stripes but

eventually mingle. Stripes will

I will keep my spots. Spots are

become less fearsome. For now, at

mine to keep forever.

least, my spots are here to stay.

Spots dapple the newspaper that has set out in the Sunday

Once, however, I too was a Tiger mom. Once I had time for stripes.

morning rain a little too long; because who has time for fetching the newspaper when there are spotted kids to keep. Spots stain the dining room table after I share a home cooked meal with my children. Spots even open, magically and unexpectedly, in lines when I am wrangling two rambunctious kids. I embrace spots now. My spots are my battle wounds. With time they will heal but they will never completely disappear. My spots are my link to the real world. Each spot is a new memory, a different mishap, a little more time spent in the

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Writing Tips – Volume II Tips on Writing Well

Index Cards and 15 Steps Method July is the second month in the year for a world-wide program designed specifically for individuals to write a 50k word novel in a month. Three of these events are held throughout the year with the most popular still being in November. Sounds crazy right? Well it is completely achievable. Every year I use a method of outlining derived from something called the 13 step method. It is a very simple way of ensuring that you will have the number of words or pages that you want by the end of your story, instead of scrambling to eliminate or fabricate words. Now, in order to outline using this method you first need to have fifteen index cards on hand. On each index card you should put a chapter title. After each title you will write a one line chapter synopsis. These are your chapters. On the back of each card you will write 15 events that need to occur within the chapter. These are your scenes. Next, take your word count and divide it by the number of chapters (15), this is the number of words you need for each chapter. Once complete divide the chapter number by 15 once more and you have the number of words you need for each scene.

Good luck, have fun and as always keep writing!

If you want to appear in our next issue check out the Submissions tab at!

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