On Mallory Square in Key West, Florida, tourists slurp sugary rum drinks through curvy straws and snap photographs of the sunset. Circus performers walk on stilts, swallow swords, and juggle flames. Among the chaos, a man cradles a guitar like a newborn in his shaky hands, and belts out the lyrics to "The Star Spangled Banner." Men with gold watches pitch him the occasional dollar, but no one spares a second to notice the crossed rifles painted on his pale skin, the Purple Heart pinned to the collar of his white shirt, or the scar beneath his right eye from the bullet that buzzed him as he slithered snail-like through the lush vegetation and mountains of Afghanistan. And no one notices the track marks radiating up his too-skinny arms or the roar of his unfed belly.
By Michael Comoroto
by Kathryn Brining
In 2013, President Barack Obama championed initiatives encouraging women to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), fields where many feel women are underrepresented. Publishing and media is another arena where men seem to outnumber women, so it should come as no surprise that sexism seems to reign where these two interests meet: science fiction.
Both science and science fiction have long been considered masculine, male-dominated pursuits and the reluctance for some to embrace women working in technical fields may be closely linked to their exclusion when writing about the sciences. Though some might argue this is simply a case of genre, not gender, inequality, all too often, the aspiring female science fiction writer feels stranded in a hostile alien world.
by Leslie Martinelli
A few years ago, I read that Encyclopedia Britannica no longer would be printing encyclopedias. Add that to the list of things from my childhood that no longer exist. Don't get me wrong - I'm not anti-progress. Where would we be without air conditioning, microwave ovens, and cell phones? And some of those extinct items deserved to go, like cars without seat belts and manual typewriters. But every now and then technology interferes where it doesn't belong, and I just have to say: Stop! Enough!
Encyclopedias are a case in point. Those printed volumes held many fond memories for me. The first set to enter my family’s house came by way of a door-to-door salesman. That set caused some conflict between my parents. My father had warned my mother time and again not to let salesmen in the front door, let alone buy from any of them. They were, he said, like seagulls - once you fed one of them, you couldn't get rid of the flock. Our house was testament to that caveat; we owned a top-of-the-line vacuum and enough brushes and cleaning products to supply the whole neighborhood. My mother stood by her latest purchase, though. As she saw it, that set of encyclopedias was an investment in my and my brothers’ educational futures.
by Michael Nusspickel
Multi-modal art has been gaining popularity among artists for the past decade, and it would be hard to argue that video games aren’t a means of creating a multi-modal experience for an audience. Within the genre of video games exists a niche sub-genre that logically should be the answer to many writer’s problems with choosing a medium, but it has barely been noticed (if at all) outside of the gaming community: the visual novel.
Visual novels are novels that use visual and audio cues alongside text to communicate their content. A mix between graphic novels, video games, and pure prose, the visual novel allows a writer to have a product with visual art as an integral part of the storytelling but without sacrificing one’s prose for it. Text is delivered through speech boxes, backgrounds and characters are drawn, and sound and music add to the experience. Visual novels offer everything a graphic novel does, but with the ability to ignore a graphic novel’s layout limitations on word count. They originated in Japan but have been around for well over a decade at this point, so the question becomes: how come they haven’t caught on with Western writers?
by Carly Szabo
Have you ever read a piece of poetry and wondered about its form? Have you ever felt that you’ve understood the structure of a poem and then, midway through, had that understanding turned on its head? Chances are, the poem you’re reading is a slam poem translated to the page. The result is oftentimes catastrophic, leading readers to dismiss the poetry as a jumbled mess of attempts at the usage of poetic devices. What readers don’t know is that when listened to in its intended state, slam poetry can elicit as much of an emotional response as traditional poetry. Rather than printing these poems, they should appear strictly in their original form: the spoken word.
Making its official appearance in 1985, slam poetry took off with the help of Marc Smith, a Chicago poet and construction worker. Approaching Dave Jemilo, event coordinator for the Get Me High Lounge (a local jazz club, now the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge), Smith proposed his idea to host the first poetry slam event during the slow Sunday night shift at the club. On July 25, 1985, the first Uptown Poetry Slam was held and performance poets from around the nation soon clamored to become a part of the Sunday night slams.
(Photos courtesy of Flickr and Wikipedia.)
by Kevin Coopersmith
It’s a hard truth to realize, but that doesn’t make it any less real – America is reading, they’re just not reading anything of substance. As a matter of fact, the average American spends most of their day reading – 11 hours a day on average with digital media alone, according to a Nielsen study conducted last year. That’s 11 hours of channel surfing, Facebook walls, Twitter feeds, refreshed Reddit pages, and underwhelming Buzzfeed articles.
by Steve Royek
The professional football career of Richie Incognito is probably over and he faces a life of being known as the white player who harassed black teammate Jonathan Martin with threatening and racist texts and voice messages.
Could he, however, soon be trading in his orange and turquoise Miami Dolphins’ uniform for an orange prison jumpsuit?
If Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. had his way, he just might.
Of all the names swirling around this sad, salacious scandal of language-based threats and violent rhetoric, one of the most interesting might be that of the former U.S. Supreme Court justice. Holmes authored the landmark 1919 “Schenck v. United States” opinion that set legal guidelines
for violent speech with the often-quoted “shouting fire in a theatre” analogy. “Schenck” was the first high court ruling to carve out an exception to the once-absolute Freedom of Speech protection in the Bill of Rights.
Over the years, those exceptions have been crystalized into a three-part test of protected violent speech: Is there intent to commit a violent act, is that action imminent, and is there a strong likelihood the act will be carried out? All three of these tests appear to have been met in the Incognito affair, which opens up the player to criminal charges of terroristic threats.
by Christi Fox
Among many tools available to fiction writers while working on a project is a writer’s workshop. Workshops are available in many different genres, including poetry workshop, fiction workshop and creative non-fiction workshop, just to name a few. As a graduate student, pursuing my MA in Writing, I’ve taken a number of workshops and in my own experience they’ve been useful to some degree but there were times when they’ve led to nothing but frustration due to battles among workshop peers as to what should or shouldn’t be in the piece I was currently working on. This led me to ask the question, are workshops helpful or harmful?
The writer’s workshop is a community of writers willing to share their work with others in order to provide and receive useful feedback on their current pieces. However, when we say “useful feedback,” how much is truly useful? What can the writer really use from the feedback given? Two sources that touch upon this topic are the online resource, 12 Writing, and William H. Coles from Editor Opinions Blog, a Companion to Story in Literary Fiction. Both of these sources discuss how to learn from a workshop and avoid an unnecessary sense of failure. Some workshops never instruct a writer on what they are doing right, leaving the writer to delete even the best parts of their work. I’ve experienced this first hand in one of the very first classes that I had in my master's program: the poetry workshop. Since I was a child, writing poetry has always given me a sense of security and pride, until my first workshop, when my pieces were completely ripped apart by some while praised by others. Those who ripped apart my pieces never once gave a bit of good feedback, which caused me to feel like, no matter what I did, those people would not be happy and I tore myself apart in continuing to try.
thoughts on writing, art, & new media by glassworks editorial staFF