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Easily inspired Fashion Fiction Issue Spring 2011/ issue 2 / volume 1

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Easily inspired Published by BridgeSpotters Publishing New York, NY 11225 © 2010 Lesley Williams All rights reserved Printed and bound in New York, NY 432 1 First Edition

this zine was printed on 50% post-consumer waste paper No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher, except in the context of reviews. Every reasonable attempt has been make to identify owners of copyright. Errors or omissions will be corrected in subsequent editions. The Creative Cookie zine/by Lesley Williams

Fashion Fiction Issue Spring 2011/ issue 2 / volume 1 Founder Lesley w. Creative Directors Lesley w. kamau w. Layout Lesley w. Assistant Laura Zorrilla Marketing Tiasia Williams, MMBrand Consulting Stylist Nina Bean Illustrations Lacee Swan (cover “I want my MTV”) Vana Mills (pg. 10) Publisher BridgeSpotters Publishing Printer Green Girl NYC

zine: www.Easilyinspired.net blog: www.thecreativecookie.net email us: creativecookie@me.com

Special thanks to the Fashion Fiction readers: Amy, Blane, Beth, Brett, Cleo, Zaneta, Jamashia, kamau, Selena --You guys are the best! Easily inspired is a triannual publication produced by Lesley Williams founder of The Creative Cookie. Each issue is based on content from The Creative Cookie blog. This zine is handmade and created on materials that are friendly to the environment.


ingredients 4...fashionably grown in Brooklyn 5 ...Ruby’s Secret Lesley W. 6 ...For the Love of Pants

Grace Lo Porto|1st Place

7 ...Maestro Claude Natalie Korman |2nd Place 8 ...DRESSTREES Kirsty Logan | 3rd Place 9...Bargain Rail Emer Davis 10...Trash Fashion Juliet Wilson 11 ...Cocco the Purse Genie: A Fashion Fable Deborah Atherton 12 ...The Girl Who Kept Her Nails in Her Pocket Natalie N. Aydin 13 ...Thai-Died David Schofiel 14 ...Shoes on a Train Ruud Jam 15 ...Social Professorial John Wiley Boone 16...Meet Yvonne the Receptionist Brett Sanders 18...Interview with Brett Sanders comedy writer/humorist 20...contributing authors 22...{fashion fix}


Easily inspired

fashionably grown in Brooklyn... Since the launch of this Zine, in September, it seems as if I’ve been going nonstop. Countless hours have been happily spent getting better at my creative loves--photography, sewing, and writing. In the middle of all this growth, we launched a new site, Easilyinspired.net, had fab party to introduce it, and shaped this second issue of Easily inspired focused on fashion fiction. What is fashion fiction you ask? It’s fashion focused flash fiction in 650 words or less. We put out a call for submissions and were pleased (and a little surprised) when we received submissions from all over the globe! With a few entrusted fashion forward friends the entries were narrowed down to the top 10 pieces, published on the pages that follow. Congratulations to Grace Lo Porto the winner of our first annual contest! We loved her piece about a wandering pair of pants. This issue will also introduce, Ruby Harrison, the main character in a series of short stories that I started developing earlier this year. Ruby is a quirky fiber artist who is making her dreams a reality, and of course, fashion always jumps into the plot! In addition to Ruby, you’ll get to check out my interview with, Brett Sanders, an artful comic writer and humorist. In our chat, Brett explains his thoughts about fashion and he brings us into Yvonne, the receptionists’, fashion reality. It’s human nature to pack schedules, and if you are like me it’s a struggle to find a time to just relax. I’d like to recommend this issue of Easily inspired an excuse to do nothing, until it’s time to write your own story at the end! Be easily inspired,

lesley4


fashion Fiction Ruby’s Secret by Lesley Williams The third week of April was unseasonably warm in Manhattan. Determined to be on time for her meeting, Ruby quickly showered, drank her last sips of coffee, and ran out the door in a nerdy yet stunning look. She wore a pink silk vintage blouse, a denim A-line skirt, and grey ankle boots. Her natural hair was pulled back into a bushy bun. She had completed every task on her morning to-do list except shave her underarms, and put on deodorant. By the time she realized her omissions, she had just been seated at one of the City’s trendy rooftop cafes, Paisley, with a perspective client from a showroom in Chelsea. Ruby immediately noticed Ian Malone’s white tone-on-tone alternating raised stripe dress shirt with French cuffs. Ruby commented on it early in the conversation, she really had a thing for the French. A Detroit native, Ruby moved to the Big Apple to pursue her dream of becoming a respected textile artist. After two years she could proudly boast that she was on her way. While looking at the menu and her OPI painted nails, she felt a light sheen of sweat collecting and unifying the back of her sleeveless blouse and the plastic chair that she sat in. The combination of the weather, earlier cups of joe, and the general anxiety of meeting with a new prospect, made her perspire more than usual. At this point there was nothing that she could do to solve her prickly issue except go with the flow while keeping her hands in her lap—it would be a shame to accidentally raise an arm exposing a hot hairy pit. When the perky male waiter returned, Ruby ordered blueberry lemonade with mint, cucumber gazpacho, and salad with mixed greens as her

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entree. She avoided anything that could make her any warmer. Her discomfort was on the low but with every minute that passed, the heat threatened to tell her secret. Be cool, cool down Ruby thought while discussing the details of what would hopefully be her next freelance gig. Ruby finished her second glass of lemonade and then pushed the empty salad plate to the left, she glanced down at her watch, 1:45pm, there were only 15 minutes remaining. Whew. After the check had been taken care of they exchanged pleasantries and prepared to part, Ian promised to follow up, by phone, with his decision by the end of the week. Ruby felt confident that this opportunity was in the bag. As she stood to shake Ian’s hand, the yellow plastic chair, she had been sitting in, decided that it wanted to come with her. She vigorously forced the separation of chair and silk tipping her soup bowl and splattering unfinished spoonfuls of green slime on Ian’s white shirt. Ruby dipped her napkin into a glass of iceless water from the table and she started blotting Ian to remove the stain. This caused it to morph. Ian tactfully refused Ruby’s help. “Thank you— you’ve done enough; you really know how to leave your mark, eh?” he said with a stingy smile. Not sure of what to do next, Ruby apologized again and thanked him for the meeting. As she darted to the elevator, she observed Ian requesting a glass of soda water, from the server, he needed to do “triage” on his shirt before his 2:30pm. On her subway ride Downtown, Ruby replayed the final three minutes of lunch with her prospective client. She closed her eyes and wished for a second chance to make a first impression.


Easily inspired

For the Love of Pants by Grace Lo Porto|1st Place I love opening up my closet and just looking. There’s the boots I bought in Greece—a little scuffed, but I think it just makes ‘em more sophisticated. Poofy things that George got me; he may have been a bozo, but he did have excellent taste. A sweater from Paris, that time I was broke and could afford either the sweater or a taxi; I bought it and walked the five miles. Thank God I got the gig. Sweats buried in the back so they don’t mess up the ambiance. A silk jacket, leather belts, sparkly stole, everything a woman needs. Except something’s missing. Pants. I’m missing my precious pants. They’ve been gone since I unpacked from my last acting gig. And I know I put them in the bag. But there was that time, in the taxi, when I blanked out for a bit...and there was that odd smell, almost like gas... What does one do when one is missing pants? I could call the police and file a missing person’s report: “Name: Verdona Pants Age: 3 years Last known location: Gershwin Theater.” I don’t think they’d appreciate it, however. And I simply can’t just report them as stolen; that would cheapen them, make them a thing. And they’re so much more than that. I decide I’ll put up wanted posters. So I hitch a ride with Jeremy (oh so cute, but not my type), and I put up signs in all the likeliest locations—a plea for my pants’ safe return, the promise of a reward, no questions asked. And at the bottom, I put a little line appealing to the pants themselves. When I get home, I’m not sure what to do. “Make yourself a nice cup of tea,” murmur my

boots. “Call Becky over for a nice chat,” says the sweater. The belts murmur agreement; never an original thought in their heads, those belts. But I simply can’t muster the energy to call Becky, so I decide to play a game of solitaire. I’m losing handily when there’s a knock at the door. I open it, hardly daring to hope—and there they are, my pants. But oh, they’re ripped and torn, and they heave a great big sigh as they collapse into my arms. “Verdona,” I say softly. “I’m so glad to have you back.” “It was terrible,” they sigh. “They stuck me in

the bottom of a suitcase; it took me ages to get away. They wanted me to help this girl make it big, accentuate all her curves, give her the right moves. But I missed you so much; nobody else moves like you. I could never walk with anyone else.” I smile. Whoever thought I’d inspire loyalty in pants? So I bring Verdona back in; the boots hop on over and give the pair a once-over, wincing at the rips and tears. I don’t mind them though; they can be mended. But oh, if I’d lost Verdona, I would have been desolate. Just desolate. “How about we celebrate at the club,” I say. I take off my sweats, pull Verdona on, slip on the sweater, step into the boots. “Ready when you are,” say my pants. “It’s good to be back.” I smile, put my shoulders back, flex my toes, and open the door to the big, wide world. “All right everybody,” I say, “let’s dance.”

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fashion Fiction

Maestro Claude Every

by Natalie Korman |2nd Place

day in the park, some guy who called

himself Maestro Claude McNair would play sad jazz songs on the trumpet as the sun set. He looked about seventy and I had a feeling he was homeless. I don’t know why, since he sometimes wore a lovely leather jacket and a newsboy cap. Other times he wore a suit with a vest and a fedora of some sort. When it was warm out, it was a white jacket with those big stripes and white pants. He was much too neat for any normal homeless guy. But each time I would pass and put a dollar in his case. He would nod, stop and ask me if I knew where the train uptown was. I would point and he would give me a puzzled look and say, “That can’t be right” and keep playing. The neighborhood at 2 AM was no place for a little twenty-one-year old girl who clocked in at 115 pounds. I could hear the junkies moaning down the street. But there was no way around it. I had stumbled drunkenly out of a loft party where there were too many people I didn’t like doing too many drugs. It was January and brutally cold. So I walked fast, trying to warm up, dead-set on getting to the subway. I had to go uptown. My parents lived on the Upper West Side. I’d go and explain to them in the morning. Living downtown wasn’t doing it for me. I saw someone coming toward me. I tensed, sobering up in the frigid air as adrenaline flooded my body. It was a man. I swallowed, my face burning against the cold. “Excuse me,” the man said, his voice deep. “Excuse me.” It was Maestro Claude. I could recognize his voice any time, even still slightly inebriated. “It’s you!” he said. “Could you show me where the train uptown is?” He was not the same Maestro Claude that I saw in the park at sunset. He was in a fancy suit, with tails and a waistcoat. He wore a top hat and a white scarf. He looked handsome, even in the dim light of

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the dirty street. “Yes,” I said, peering at his outfit. “I’m going there now.” “Do you mind if I accompany you?” “Not at all.” No one looked at us twice. A seventy-year-old black man in a top hat and tails with a disheveled white girl in a sequined mini-dress wasn’t apparently too much of a sight at that hour. He took off his hat and let me peer at it as we trundled along on the train. It was beautifully made, like the rest of his clothes always seemed to be. I didn’t dare ask where he was going in such an outfit, but he volunteered anyway. “You know, I’m going to a party tonight. Bessie Smith is gonna be there. I think I might land a job playing with her. She sure can warble, that girl.” “Huh?” “You know her, don’t you? She’s all over the radio.” I said nothing. “You know, they don’t allow colored folks at the Cotton Club—except to play, of course—but you could come see me.” I had an odd feeling suddenly, like I had known something all along. “Maestro? Claude?” “Yes, miss?” “What year is this?” He looked at me like I was crazy. “You must have had much too much to drink.” “Yes, I did. But, please, just tell me.” “1925, of course. You know, maybe I’ll see that poet, what’s his name? Claude McKay. He stole my name.” I handed back his top hat and tugged his scarf so that it feel evenly around his neck, brushed a candy wrapper from his impeccably tailored pants and smiled at him.


Easily inspired

DRESSTREES by Kirsty Logan | 3rd Place Every summer we decorate the orchard with dresses. On Friday we mix the dye in huge sheep-dip vats, as tall as me but wider. One blue, one purple, one pink, one red, one yellow. When leaves fall in we fish them out, their veins dripping colour. When insects fly in, we leave them be: once they’ve breathed in the chemicals, it’s too late. The dye smells sharp like fresh pepper, earthy like sprouting potatoes. Once I dipped in a finger, expecting it to taste like roasted vegetables. It was more like nail varnish; I didn’t try it again. On Saturday the vans arrive at the farm, spilling over with fabric. The drivers stack the boxes by our door, their talk and laughter making their cigarettes wiggle furiously. Their bellies hang over their belts, pushing out their t-shirts like balloons about to pop. They peer in the windows before roaring away. We pour out of the house and tear open the boxes. Piles of dresses, all the same beige-white like the underneath of a tabby cat. We sort them into piles: dresses to be reddened, pinked, purpled, yellowed, and blued. On Sunday we get up with the sun. We pile the dresses into the dye vats, swirling them around with broom handles. The dogs run infinity symbols between our legs, trailing leaves. The horse watches us intently, the colours reflected in her eyes. At midday we sit on the doorstep, eating chunks of bread and cheese dipped in soup. Our fingers dye the bread rainbow colours, so it looks like we’re eating iced cakes. On Sunday night the dresses hang in the trees, dripping multicoloured tears on the grass. My finger pads are dented from the beading, my knuckles ingrained with colour. The cat lurks in the doorstep; earlier she ventured out, then had to spend an hour licking her paws clean. The dogs sprint manically among the coloured drops, tongues lolling, tails swishing the hanging fabric. The sun slides behind the hill, lighting up the dresses in a blaze like fire. It sets, and the dresses fade to black.

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fashion Fiction

Bargain Rail by Emer Davis Melanie

held her breath and pulled in her

stomach as tightly as she could and tried to zip up the back of the dress. She tugged at the zip, inching it up her back in the small cubicle of the department store. The three mirrors in the cubicle revealed the parts of her body she didn’t want to see. Her boyfriend sat outside, holding onto the other bags. When she had held the dress up to him and said ‘what do you think,’ he looked nervously around the aisles. What was he suppose to say? The sooner they got out of here the better. Shopping wasn’t his thing. And especially ladies boutiques. He couldn’t see any other man in the shop. ‘You’d look great in anything’ he said. It wasn’t the answer she was looking for from him. She looked at the tag. Fifty percent off the original price. ‘But this would be perfect on me,’ she replied. Size ten, although it looked more like a size zero. She checked the railings again for a larger size but it was the only one left. All she could see was flesh. White flabby flesh as she looked back at herself in the mirror. A large V still remained as she struggled to pull the two sides of the dress together. From the front the black PVC hugged her hour glass figure. If only it looked just as good from all other angles. She stretched it as much as she could, wriggling her body in contorted moves and with one more heave she held onto the zip behind her

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shoulder. Her arm ached. With one more surge she grabbed onto the zip and fastened the dress quickly. Her body felt taut as she was restrained by the PVC. It pained her to exhale. Her clammy body began to sweat profusely as she smiled with satisfaction. She could see the stretched creases gathering at the sides around her hips. She looked closely at the stitching as it was beginning to come apart. She was unable to move her thighs. She tiptoed delicately in the cubicle. Strapped in the dress she was afraid to take it off. If she took it off now she would never get it back on. If only she hadn’t had that bottle of wine on Friday night or eaten that hot chicken baguette at lunchtime. She wouldn’t feel so bloated. It was a matter of millimetres she told herself. A jog a round the block should to the trick. The label was stuck to her flesh. She took out her nail clippers from her handbag and dragged the label over the neckline and clipped it off. She walked up to the cash desk in the dress and placed the tag on the counter. ‘I love it so much, I’m gonna wear it now,’ she said to the sales assistant. She turned to her boyfriend and posed for him, careful not to separate her legs and smiled, “well do I look good or what?” He looked up and down the aisle. “I told you, you’d look good in anything,” he said. The metal zip began to dig deep into her spine.


Easily inspired

Trash Fashion by Juliet Wilson There were two things that Ella hated with a passion: trash and fashion. Both showed a lack of imagination. No-one thought about whether they could reuse something they just threw it away. No-one thought about their clothes. They all just bought whatever they saw in the windows of the High Street stores. Wore it for one season and then threw it into the trash. Ella was a graphic designer, a frustrated artist. As she doodled ideas for yet another corporate client, she daydreamed about a more imaginative and useful future for herself. Perhaps trash and fashion could provide the key? So she started to collect fabric from the trash: unwanted clothes; torn clothes; old curtains; fabric samples; faded cushion covers and worn-out towels. Not just fabric either but jewelry; accessories, anything sparkly, even bits of plastic that caught her eye. Then she began to make clothes from the trash. Mixing and matching curtains and ribbons; chains and towels; beads and plastic scraps. Her friends loved her designs and told everyone about them. The local boutique put in a huge order. Ella needed to take on assistants. The local newspaper and radio caught on then the national media. There was demand for a show which in turn lead to stardom in the fashion world.

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Illustration: vana mills Š2010

Ella was elated! Until she looked around and saw that everyone was wearing her designs. For one season and then throwing them in the trash.


fashion Fiction

Coco the Purse Genie: A Fashionista Fable by Deborah Atherton Darra, a very young purse designer, younger even than Christian Siriano, lived in what her mother called a closet in Chinatown. Half-finished bags were piled around her single, lumpy mattress. Darra could never finish a purse. She always found room for one more tassel, one more bead, one more brass zipper. The Purse Genie Society caught wind of this problem and selected Coco, who had just been ousted from her lovely Chanel home when it was crunched irreparably under a taxi’s wheels, to go fix it. Every purse has its own genie, of course and as you might suspect, the genie of a Kate Spade bag is very different than the genie of a Coach bag. Coco was ready for something new and fun and Darra’s tiny bright beaded bags appealed to her sense of adventure. Every genie’s mission is to help their owner magically cram at least three bags worth of stuff into one. Because they couldn’t move in until the bags were done, the other genies had given up on Darra. So when potential customers found their way into her third-floor walk-up, and stuck their hands inside a bag to see how much they could fit in, they were always shocked at how little room there was. Who wants a purse you can’t fit anything into? After the fourth disappointed customer in a week left the studio, Darra plopped down on her mattress, rubbing her favorite unfinished bag between her fingers. Coco decided she must act. Now, it is an unspoken rule of the genie world that you do not reveal yourself to your mistress unless there is a life or death emergency—like rain on a suede purse. But Coco decided to seize the moment and reveal herself. She materialized on the mattress beside Darra, revealing her tiny, fashionably clad, size .0002 body. “I’m hallucinating,” said Darra. “Not hardly,” said Coco. “I am the future genie of your bag!” “My bag has a genie?”

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“All bags have genies - how do you think you are able to get a cellphone, a comb, an i-Pad, lipstick, and three free bank pens into six square inches?” “It’s not working on mine! Nothing will fit into them!” “If you finish one, I can fix all that, but I can’t move in until you finish!” “I can’t finish anything,” said Darra. “They just aren’t good enough.” “Let me work my magic,” said Coco. “I will throw a little disco dust into the air, say my name twice - CocoCoco– and it will be done!” Darra watched dubiously as Coco twitched her nose (genies are big on tradition) and threw a tiny hand of disco dust into the air. Her purse shimmered for a moment. Coco nodded in satisfaction and Darra picked it up. “I don’t believe it!” “You see!” said Coco, “It is done!” Just hearing the word “done” had a positive effect on Darra. She lifted her head, dusted off the purse, and placed it, all by itself, on her single, waiting shelf. “You’re right,” she said. “It is done!” “I’m moving in before you change your mind,” said Coco. She rolled her flying carpetbag over to the purse. But before she jumped in, she said, “Remember, whenever you aren’t sure whether a purse is done, just say my name twice - CocoCoco - and it will be magically finished!” “Thank you, thank you,” said Darra. “I will never, ever throw away this purse!” Of course, as Coco and you and I know, there wasn’t really any magic in the disco dust (aside from the magic of sugar) - Darra just needed a little boost of fashion self-esteem. From that day on, she always finished her purses by saying “CocoCoco.” She became very successful, and moved into a much bigger closet - because, after all, this may be a fairy tale, but she still had to pay rent in Manhattan!


Easily inspired

The Girl Who Kept Her Nails in Her Pocket by Natalie N. Aydin DeLorean couldn’t decide which pair of shoes she would wear to the interview for the receptionist position. After perusing her collection of outdated Jimmy Choose and last year’s Manolo Blahniks, DeLorean selected a simple but striking pair of Uggs. She also decided that some interesting leggings were in order. She finally grabbed a pair of black fishnet stockings with a flowery pattern, as well as a black bra and panties, before slamming her dresser drawer shut. After meticulously dressing in her undergarments, she put on a multi-colored micro-mini that was sure to set off fire engine sirens when she walked past construction sites. To top it all off, she wore a simple silk blue V-neck long-sleeved shirt with a ruffled ascot, which didn’t match her skirt. Now she looked positively daring. As she was making her way out the door to the interview, she began to peel off the fake French Tip nails she had bought for six bucks at Walgreens, and put them in her pocket. When she entered the office where everyone-like nervous wrecks--were waiting to be interviewed, she sat down and started out filling out a job application to the best of her ability. Anything on the form that she didn’t know the answer to, she just skipped. No use wasting anyone’s precious time, she thought. DeLorean started noticing the hateful stares of other women in the waiting area. I wonder what they’re looking at. Was it the Uggs that did it? Maybe they didn’t like her blouse. It started to get annoying, so she just asked one brunette who kept giving her nasty looks, “Hey, what’s your problem, anyway?” “This is an interview for a receptionist, not a strumpet.” “What’s a strumpet? Hey, that rhymes with ‘trumpet.’” “She’s saying you’re a hooker, dumb ass.” A girl with hair dyed black with one streak of blue sat next to the brunette. 12

“Anyway, what do you give a rat’s tuchus about her for? Just focus on yourself. And maybe you should reconsider getting a new pair of pants-those make your ass look fat.” DeLorean looked up, shocked and vindicated, to her new protector. Enter Lilith. Since that day forth in the office, Lilith and DeLorean became fast friends. Neither of them got the job, but that didn’t matter, because they had each other. Lilith was the first person to teach DeLorean about how to streak her hair purple, how to pick up guys, how to change a tire, and how to--well, be an independent woman. One Friday after work, Lilith and DeLorean hung out at Ollie’s on 114th & Broadway. “Hey man, I am tired of being single,” Lilith complained. “It’s okay, actually, being in a relationship is overrated. I know you’ll find someone.” Just then, the waiter came to take our order. Lilith was having a hard time giving her order right, she was so smitten by our waiter. “I’ll have a... have a... I’ll...” “She’ll have noodles.” “What kind?” “Thai noodles.” “Great, and for you?” “I’ll take your phone number, cuz my friend here is too shy to ask you for it.” Lilith turned beet red. “You douche!” she told me later outside as we were walking down Broadway. “Yeah, but if I hadn’t done it, you wouldn’t have a date next Saturday.” “True dat.” “Hey, wanna go get some ice cream?” “Sure. Who’s buyin’?” DeLorean smiled and said, “Come on, Homey, let’s go.”


fashion Fiction

Thai-Died by David Schofield Tall, bronze skin, chiseled features...refined demeanor but ruggedly handsome. He slipped into the back dining room of The Green Mango with a quiet confidence, almost like he owned the place. She glimpsed his eyes...his eyes... inwardly, she sighed. She always was a sucker for those eyes. Tawny brown with a hint of emerald, and when the light hit them just right they flashed like chrysolite. Deus he was hot! Like that guy in the viral deodorant videos, just not so full of himself. As he made his way back to the table her thoughts drifted back... She’d known him for about six months now. He was a new media marketing specialist covering the blogosphere for a dying fashionista magazine trying to reinvent itself. He’d come by the gallery then, she had some pieces on show. He introduced himself, apologized, and said he’d heard about Daddy’s death...and that he’d caught a tweet how I was an “up-and-coming jewelry artist with a flowing expression and an eye for gold and stones.” As well she should be!—Daddy held title to the largest Mexican gold mine in Michoacan and four gemstone mines in Guerrero. He was all the family she had alive. But that ended when the La Familia cartel handed him his head— literally. Now it was all hers. Not a great fortune, but she was very comfortable—and very alone in the world. As he slid into his seat, she blinked back to the here-and-now. His eyes flashed, catching the lights of the terrarium tank behind her and the iridescent green in his tie. Something with spots, no..., scales she realized. Somewhat thicker and narrower than a normal tie, but not unpleasant. Snakeskin, she thought to herself. Actually it looks like one of the snakes she’d seen in the tank. Ok, that’s different— but it works as a package. And so does he! Nice Package! Her mind drifted again... Just last week they were in the city, moving her stuff in and going through the things her Dad had left in his condo—the one over13

looking the Forever 21 on Times Square. Stacks of old notebooks, some maps, bags of clothes, even a moldering pile of paper-taped boxes that smelled of old earth and library basements. Turned out they held a small fortune in mine-cut gems. “I don’t think anyone even knows these exist,” she said. After a while, they’d gone out and walked the town, got some pizza and sat on the Public Library steps to eat it. It got late and the air chilled, so they went back to Daddy’s place—my place, she corrected herself. She trembled like a schoolgirl when she thought back about that night. But still, she just wasn’t sure of herself. No, not of herself... of him. He was cool, handsome, and oh! so snakeoil-slick. But hey, nobody’s perfect... Ouch! A sharp, quick pinch at her neck brought her back again... She realized he was talking to her quietly, and holding his hand out to her... holding his... tie? And the tie blinked. And moved. And it flicked out a thin, red tongue. ‘A... snake?’ she thought. And she said, “What the...” Or wanted to. Nothing came out. She worked her jaw, her tongue thick and tasting funny, like a dirty gym sock stuffed in her mouth. “It’s a Paradise Tree Snake—Chrysopelea Paradisi,” he said, his voice as smooth as Civet coffee. “A flat snake. Well, a flying snake. Or a gliding snake, they don’t really fly. And yes, it’s poisonous. A paralytic neurotoxin. Not much, but just enough.” “I’ll take these...” He said, reaching into my Gucci clutch for the keys to Dad’s condo. The gems! “...you won’t be needing them.” He slipped the snake over the lip of the tank as he stood. Bastard! But the Tie only stared... and blinked again. And then they both slithered away.


Easily inspired

Shoes on the Train by Ruud Jam He

was engrossed in playing the word game

on his Blackberry when the train stopped at the station. Suddenly, a flurry of people was coming in, jostling for the available spaces in the already crowded train. It was at that moment he noticed them. Taken aback by their color, design and uniqueness he could not help himself as his eyes roved over them, absorbing every detail. Caramel colored leather, with elegantly tied leather laces on the front threaded through four holes, complimented by a wood grained sole and heel, they cried out to him letting him know that while they were quaint, yet simple, they deserved to be noticed. They looked as though a sculptor had spent considerable time crafting them for her feet and his mind wandered to a studio where he envisioned the sculptor in his labor of love diligently creating this masterpiece for this singular purpose. His eyes moved from the shoes and found themselves gazing at some off white linen trousers, which although they were loose fitting, gently tugged at her curves. As if in a daze his eyes came upon the beige handbag, noting how they flattered the shoes on her feet. It was as though they were cousins and their sole purpose was to highlight each other. His eyes continued their upward quest where they came upon the dark caramel cotton blouse upon which lay a beige shawl half cardigan which was identical in color to the handbag. Perched on the scarf were some lemon jade barrel loose beads draped around her neck as though they had not a care in the world and as such, were only out for the occasion. As his eyes roved, a smile curled on his lips as in his mind’s eye he envisioned the shoes being deliberate in taking their time to decide the best thing to compliment them, before picking out what the lady was going to wear in order for her whole

outfit to pay homage to the labor of love on her feet. His mind wandered to his own outfit, brown shoes, black with a hint of brown jeans, dark grey shirt with a brown suede jacket and how their choice in dress on this specific day somehow seem to complement each other. He was not his normal self while he was getting dressed earlier as he was normally very calculating with how he adorned his body. However, on this occasion he’d simply flung some things on without thinking about it. He felt an emotion he could not identify as he wondered who she was, whether or not she had a significant other and if it would be pertinent to make her acquaintance. He thought about relinquishing his impending plans, following her as she did her business, and laying in wait for that precise moment to subtly make his move, injecting himself into her life. His mind played out previous scenarios as he sat there discreetly looking at the highlights in her hair He had a passion for life, was in his mid thirties, recently married, to a lovely lady who, like himself, was intellectually advanced and prided herself in enjoying life’s simple pleasures. He wondered to himself why he, a recently married man, would entertain these feeling when he was not displeased with how his life was progressing. He thought about his formative years when experience, truly bitter experience, yet often repeated, had taught him that with decent folk, especially city folk, who are often slow to move and irresolute, when gently persuaded to lower their barriers, enjoy every intimacy, which at first so delightfully diversifies a habitual life and appears a light and fascinating adventure, inevitably grows into a regular problem of extreme intricacy,

14


fashion Fiction

making the once hedonistic situation, unbearable. However, the thought of intimacy with this exquisite woman, relegated his previous experiences and they unwittingly slithered from his memory. Suddenly, everything seemed simple and amusing as he was followed her off the train.

Social Professorial by John Wiley Boone “It’s

not what you wear, it’s how you wear it,”

Corinne said over the phone. “I know,” I said as I put some tan corduroy pants back on the hanger, “but if I’m not comfortable with what I pick out, how can I feel comfortable in it?” Corinne laughed, “Look, you’re making it out to be a chicken/egg paradox when all you have to do is intuitively grab some pants, a shirt, a coat, and a scarf. Why? Because it’s cold outside, the law requires that you wear clothes, and you might as well look good doing it.” I thought about this and munched on my baguette, dropping crumbs on the sweater I was contemplating. Corinne had a point. Still, her “intuition” was far more precise than mine, so I brushed off the crumbs and continued debating. “Corinne, you’re a free spirit. You could wear banana leaves and people would ask where you got them.” “Umm, the Amazon, helloooo?” she played along. “My point is, some people think of fashion as simply what they wear, and others know that what they wear is fashion.” Corinne was quiet for a second, then responded, “Elaborate, please.” This was a difficult thing to explain. “In other words, people like me worry that what they wear might not be fashionable, but people like you only worry that what you’re wearing will become fashionable. I mean, I have to dress like other people, who are dressing like the few individuals who set trends months ago. You are the one who set the trends months ago, but not necessarily because you wanted to, does this make any sense?” Corinne mulled it over. “Sort of” she said. I stopped to think for a second and then simply

said, “I mimic fashion. You are fashion.” I could feel Corinne blush over the phone. “Thank you, but I just wear what I like.” “That’s the point,” I said, “If you wore what other people were used to, this district would never see your kind of colors and fabrics and patterns until University’s fancy-dress mixers let out, and that’s like a fashionista’s Halloween. God. I saw like fourteen flappers last year, and one threw up on my steps. It’s like they totally ignored Prohibition.” “Haha,” Corinne was enjoying this, but it was nearing 8:00. “Dude, we’re gonna miss happy hour. Just grab your khaki cords and a light blue button up, under that soft cream polo sweater that I know is laying on your bed right now. Throw on a tie underneath and you’re set. Diagonal stripes red” I lined up everything on my bed and stood back. “I’m going to look like a sexy History professor.” “Haha, yes, because that’s your look. You can branch off of that from now on.” We got off the phone and I left my townhouse, grabbing a navy peacoat on the way out. As I walked toward her building, I investigated people’s roles in life. Mine was professional, that’s why I came to this city. Other people are sedentary suburbanites. Some people are pensive academics. Others are relentlessly social. Corinne’s life was fashion. As one of the commissioners of fashion, she was able to place everyone into their respective groups. Mine, apparently, was “social professorial.” I liked that. Corinne brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Do what you love,” and she’s happy and successful being herself. As for me, it’s more like “Wear what you are,” and I finally feel great doing it •.


Easily inspired Meet Yvonne the Receptionist by Brett Sanders Most

women probably see a sequin dress and

automatically think special occasion like New Years Eve, The Oscars, or the annual Pimps-Up-HoesDown convention in Vegas. However for Yvonne the Receptionist, this is merely just a Wednesday. On my first day with the company; the moment I laid eyes on Yvonne-- baffled, I turned to a co-worker and remarked “Wow, that lady sure is dressed up. Is today some kind a special occasion?” To which he very casually replied, “Oh nothat’s Yvonne. She’s just ghetto.” I later learned that no truer words would ever be spoken. Already somewhat of a celebrity among my Brett and the City followers, what started off innocently as just a random post about one of her outrageous work outfits, somehow evolved into a full blown series. Before I knew it there were people from all over the world; from Afghanistan to Nutbush City Limits, sending me requests for Yvonne’s daily fashion updates. There from the depths of a little midtown copier company, Manhattan’s newest fashion icon was born. Next to Oprah, Yvonne is without a doubt the most intriguing woman I know. A 48-year-old grandmother of two, Yvonne absolutely never leaves the house without her pocketknife, baby hair grease, and literally starts every conversation with the phrase, “Last night at the club” Yvonne was originally hired on as the office bill collector and from what I hear did an amazing job. That is until all of her bill collectors eventually found out where she worked. Turns out, Yvonne owed everybody money from Con Ed on to the little Mexican number man on the corner. She even had her deacon call about some bounced checks she put in the collection plate at church. The bottom line is, if Yvonne can bounce a check to the Lord, then basically what she cares about paying Metro PCS ‘ain’t about nothing’. At one point Yvonne had so

many bill collectors calling that the company actually considered changing our number. She’d be busy collecting on line one, with her bill collectors calling in on line two. They eventually solved the issue by just making Yvonne the receptionist with the notion that it’s kind of hard to tell people she’s not in when she’s the one answering the phone. But the cursing we’d all hear every morning walking through that lobby. Yvonne really confused the hell out of me my first month there. She had so many different hairstyles that every day I’d ask “Hey, who’s the new Black girl starting?” It was sort of like she was in the witness protection program. She’d come in the morning looking like Janet Jackson, and leave looking like Freddy. Just like the army, Yvonne goes through more weaves before noon than most beauticians do all day. Yvonne credits her mother as her main fashion muse when it comes to her flare for hair. According to Yvonne, “That’s the baddest bitch I know!” Now we’ve all heard of the phrase “driving gloves” before. Well according to Yvonne, her mother “Helvetica” actually has what she calls a “driving wig”. Basically, it’s a spare wig she keeps in her glove box that’s only used for driving. Every single day after work she slips off her work wig, and then quickly switches to her driving wig just before pulling out of the Dairy Queen parking lot. And judging by the pictures she sure must drive pretty damn fast too. Because I’ve never in my life seen a wig held on by a black leather chin strap. Yvonne hails from a long line of wig wearers. She told me as far back as she can remember, the women in her family have been legendary for two things: fighting and wigs. I can’t help but imagine an old ancient tribe of African women a thousand years back, prancing through the Serengeti flinging their long blond hair over their shoulders. While meanwhile across the river sits a pride of skinned


fashion Fiction

head and extremely pissed off lions. Can you imagine being a lion back then, just strolling through the jungle minding your own business, when all of a sudden out jumps a pack of spear yielding, ghetto ass African bitches out for hair? Those poor jungle cats probably didn’t have a chance. Don’t be surprised if one day watching The Animal Planet we learn that lions actually adapted their ferocious hunting style from an even wilder pack of bald headed tribeswomen.

Yvonne’s Fashion & Hair Dairy:

day 1

day 2

17

day 2.5


Interview with Brett Sanders || brettandthecity.com

LW: When did you realize you were super funny? BS: I probably realized I was funny looking much

photo: kamau ware ©2010

sooner than I did when I was funny. LOL. I guess looking back, I’ve always been extremely silly even as a kid. Since I didn’t play many sports, making people laugh was my only physical activity. I remember one day being on the basketball court across the street from my house with friends, and seeing all of them literally roll on the ground laughing from a story I was telling them. All of them were physically on the ground. I guess that was the exact moment that I knew that I could make folks laugh.

LW: How did you start writing comedy? BS: Believe it or not, it was actually Facebook.

I would always write little funny things on Facebook. I had so many people that would tell me that they go to my page everyday just to get a good laugh before they start the day, that I figured I need to maybe do this more. And so one day I just went home and started Brett and the City. I’ve always wanted my own sitcom, but never had the means, so I call B&TC my poorman’s sitcom. I’ve got everything but the cameras. LOL. I was pretty fortunate because it sort of took off from the very first episode. Before I knew it I had celebrities like Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Vanessa Williams as regular readers. But probably the most surreal moment is when I have writers that I really admire send me messages saying that they’re fans.

you wake up in the middle of stress and chaos, I think it’s much easier to fall prey to it. I try to wake up to peace. And or a good joint. LOL.

LW: You are always well dressed--do you see a connection between comedy and fashion? Comics are probably some of the worst dressed people in the world. LMAO!!! There’s absolutely no connection at all. I’ve just always been an eclectic guy. But more than anything I think I’ve always appreciated simplicity.

BS: Are you kidding?

LW: What can we expect to see from you next? BS: I’m working on my first book which I’m really

LW: What do you see when you first wake up in excited about. It’s called “Diary of a Short Black the morning? Does it affect how your day goes or Man” and it’s a collection of about 30 of the most does it matter? popular stories from Brett and the City. BS: I don’t think I’m allowed to put that in print... and you better believe it does. LOL. Actually LW: Last question, what’s your favorite candy? that’s a really great question. I guess it would Why? have to be my room which I really love! I’ve been BS: I’ve never been a candy kind of guy even fortunate enough to have a really amazing loft in as a kid... However, I love Reese’s Peanut Butter Brooklyn and it most certainly affects my day. I Cups!! I’m addicted •. think your outer environment is so important. If 18


Thank You Easily inspired event sponsors!

The Wagon is a fashion boutique located in a diverse neighborhood in the heart of the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. Our location 1214 Union Street between Nostrand & Rogers Avenue, is a short distance from the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden among other cultural and historical sites. When you enter the doors of The Wagon your entering a new world were vintage, chic, and classic apparel are combined to give the word FASHION a new meaning.


Easily inspired

Contributing authors Deborah Atherton is a librettist and fiction writer, with a lifelong passion for fantasy,science fiction, opera, and jazz. A graduate of Yale University, her work for music theater and opera has been presented by Lincoln Center Serious Fun, Opera Theater of St. Louis, CAP21, the Woman Becoming Festival of the Culture Project, Parabola Arts, the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater at Symphony Space, and National Public Radio. Her short stories have appeared in a number of literary magazines, including The Distillery, Paper Streets, Reflections: A Literary Journal, Westview, Empire, and others.

Natalie N. Aydin has been a an independently-contracted professional writer for two years, working with various companies. Currently she is a ghostwriter for Arbor Books, Inc., in New York City. Natalie is the lead writer on pre-departure student travel guides to Mexico and Spain, to be published by AbroadKEY Publishers in April 2011. She resides in Chicago, enjoys kick-boxing, and is an avid chocoholic who loves to talk; if you visit her professional Twitter page at twitter.com/aunaturelnyc, you will see why. John Wiley Boone I’m a 26 year old post-grad interning in Washington DC. I’m doing research at the Woodrow Wilson Center and I write for an online newspaper. I like hiking, running, writing, reading, cooking, sports, music, live playing guitar, good food, good beer, and good people. The story does not come from personal experience, but it does reflect personal revelation.

Emer Davis is from Ireland and writes in her spare time. She published her first book of poetry ‘Kill Your Television’ this year. She has several poems published in various journals and anthologies including Boyne Berries and Revival. Her story ‘With it Comes Darkness and Peace’ was published in ‘A pint and a Haircut’ - a collection of true Irish stories for Haiti. She runs the monthly Poetry in Motion sessions in Drogheda, Ireland for local writers.

Ruud Jam is a Linguist and English as a Foreign Language teacher by training, who simply loves to write in varying genres. In addition to writing he enjoys the arts, but when he is not visiting the theatre, museums or galleries, he can often be found, roaming the concrete jungle, people watching and listening for errors in linguistic performance. Ruud is an avid reader, and an active volunteer with prison ministries and disaffected youth programs. 20


fashion Fiction

Contributing authors (continued) Natalie Korman is a writer and student living in New York City who is inspired by everything from Thomas Cole to Stewie Griffin to Marchesa. She likes good sandwiches, classic rock, hip-hop music (good and bad) and terrible movies. Her poetry has been featured in online literary magazines like the Wanderlust Review and A Handful of Stones. Kirsty Logan lives in Glasgow with her girlfriend, in a flat full of guitars, chandeliers, and half-full notebooks. Kirsty mostly writes about books and sex, both fictionally and non-fictionally. Get in touch at kirstylogan.com Grace M. Lo Porto works as a tutor sometimes, writes sometimes, and spends a lot of time trying to figure out what to do with her life. She has also invented some things, but hasn’t made any money off of them yet. In addition to writing odd fiction, she also writes poetry. She has a large family, as well as a cat. David Schofield is an independent consultant, Computer Security Trainer, Systems Engineering specialist and technical writer from Pittsburgh, PA. A husband of one and a father to three, he also loves a challenge. This is his first piece of public fiction. Find him online at http://computersecurityabroad.com

Brett Sanders lives in New York City. With the exception of the time he spent in a Mexican prison for male prostitution, he’s pretty much just an average guy. Brett blogs at: Brettandthecity.com Lesley Williams lives in Brooklyn, NY with her fiance, stepson, and cat Nina Bean. She blogs at thecreativecookie.net.

Juliet Wilson is a poet, reviewer and adult education tutor based in Edinburgh, Scotland. She loves browsing second hand shops to find interesting clothes! She blogs at Crafty Green Poet (http:// craftygreenpoet.blogspot.com) and edits the online poetry journal Bolts of Silk (http://boltsofsilk.blogspot.com).

21


fashion fix write your own fashion fiction! title:

**share your story, of 650 words or less, with us: creativecookie@me.com

Easily inspired: Fashion Issue, spring 2011  

Free downloadable version of Easily inspired zine for Spring 2011. The Fashion Fiction issue of Easily inspired features the voices of 12 ta...

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