#ArtLitPhx: New Voices Student Reading Series

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Event Description:

Spilled Ink Club is hosting this semester’s installment of our New Voices student reading series on Friday, November 30th from 12:15pm–2:15pm in the Hacienda Room. We are looking for student (and faculty!) readers to come read their creative writing in front of a live audience.

Readers can submit up to two (2) pieces of creative writing that you’d like to read. If you’re submitting poems, please keep each poem to 3-4 minutes long. If you’re submitting short fiction, please keep it to 3 pages max.

If you are interested in reading at the event email your submissions to josiah.kilduff@phoenixcollege.edu by Wednesday November 21st.

Authors Talk: John Milas

Today we are pleased to feature author John Milas as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, John discusses his short story “Tide Roll Away,” and emphasizes the theme of the “humanity of people who wear uniforms.”

John states that “We live in a society in which we are taught to dehumanize the uniformed, regardless of our place on the political spectrum.” Whether it’s the uniformed police, members of the military, or even “the teenager behind the cash register at a fast-food franchise,” John emphasizes that we are taught to use uniforms as a way to “dehumanize and exploit” those who wear them, and to only see such individuals “as part of a larger group.”

John muses on the idea if we, as members of society, “ever interrogate the specific, detailed reasons that an individual may have for wearing [their] uniform.” Eventually, he finds that “we spend more time jumping to conclusions than we do exercising our ability…to empathize with individuals, or our imperative as artists to do so.” He concludes by quoting “fellow veteran writer” Ulf Pike, who says that “I can’t tell anybody else what they should be writing about in terms of war or the military…My responsibility is to myself, that I write from a genuine conviction…to find traction and friction and move forward.”

You can read John’s story, “Tide Roll Away,” in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

#ArtLitPhx: Writing Sci-fi & Cli-Fi with Malik Toms

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Event Description:

Unnatural Disasters: Writing Sci-Fi and Cli-Fi in a Changing World with Malik Toms

Dates: Mondays, December 3 – 10, 2018, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Lecture
Genre and Forms: Fiction, Science Fiction
Cost: $149 Regular, $135 ASU, $109 Student

To learn more and register, visit http://piper.asu.edu/classes/malik-toms/unnatural-disasters

About the Class
We sit on the edge of possibility. From Roddenberry’s sliding doors and tablet PCs to Atwood’s dystopian floods, our stories point the way to possible futures. This is a class about writing those futures. Participants will explore the basic elements of creating strong fiction and learn how to weave those elements into the extraordinary worlds we carve out of fringe science and the environmental issues shaping our tomorrows. Participants will engage with existing genre work ranging from Bacigalupi to Zelzany to learn the finer points of craft. Then participants will create new or revisit old works of fiction with an eye towards the future.

About the Instructor
Malik Toms was born and raised in Harlem, New York, and is a 20+ year veteran of the pen and keyboard. He did his undergraduate work in Sociology at Iowa State University, working as a drug rehabilitation counselor before returning to college to pursue a graduate degree in Creative Writing. He published his first short story at the age 18 after two years of “No thanks.” Since then he has worked as a freelance author, which is a bit like being a freelance mercenary minus all the bullets and moral ambiguity. His work has appeared in over thirty publications including multiple anthologies and a stand-alone novella. A graduate of Iowa State’s Creative Writing MFA program, Malik Toms polished his writing skills crafting cyberpunk and steampunk fantasies on the way to multiple Origin and Ennie award nominations including six Ennie wins. Malik also was part of the Shadowrun Returns video game team which won Diehard gameFan’s PC Game of the year in 2013. He is presently hard at work writing his first fantasy thriller. Malik currently lives in Arizona where he is regularly super-smashed by at least one of his three video game obsessed boys. When he isn’t writing, he’s teaching writing and sociology at community colleges throughout the Arizona desert, and maybe watching a lot of TV.

Guest Blog Post, Samantha Leigh Futhey: On Little, Strange Encounters and Being Uncomfortable

A wheel of Époisses with bread.

Photo courtesy of Murray’s Cheese

When I lived in Iowa, my boyfriend Wes and I would visit The Cheese Shop in Des Moines for our (well, really, my) cheese fix. The cheesemonger would give us menus, but we ignored them and scanned the blackboard above the cheese counter. Scrawled lists of charcuterie and pate covered the blackboard, but I looked for only one thing: the cheese board.  

“I need something soft, something funky,” Wes said during one of our visits, scooping up the last piece of Bloomsdale, a soft goat cheese from Missouri, from the wooden board. He cut into the rind, pine ash turned navy blue and fuzzed white, aromatic as dirty socks. With a grin, he chewed the rind and walked to the cheesemonger sorting cheeses in the glass display case.

After bringing me thin slices of camembert and washed rind cheeses from Ireland that tested my patience for funkiness, he handed me a soft, pale orange square, “She said this cheese was even funkier than the last.”

“Really?” I asked, the thin slice of cheese warming on my open palm.

“She said it was some French cheese, episee—”

“Époisses,” the cheesemonger said from behind the case, accenting the last beat of the word as if puffing a dandelion from her mouth: ay-pwhass.

I nodded; I knew Époisses, looked for it in the local groceries in Ames. I never saw this quintessential French cheese in small town stores. I was embarrassed I hadn’t tried it before now, after years of professing my love of cheese to everyone I knew. In Cheese: A Connoisseur’s Guide to the World’s Best, Époisses is the so-called “King of Cheeses” and “pungent” is a “gross understatement of the aroma of a ripe Époisses.” I smelled what the author meant—waves of spoiled milk wafted up from the delicate, innocent-looking cheese.

Wes plucked the cheese in his mouth, and grimaced.

Curious, I placed the thin slice of cheese on my tongue.

“Pungent” definitely was an understatement. A humid funk suffused my mouth, erupted up my nose. Instead of swallowing the cheese quickly and chugging beer to cover the stink, I let it rest, blend. Époisses softened my tongue, like velvet against skin. I tasted straw, old hay, butter. I smelled manure on the barnyard after a steady rain, cows pissing on wet concrete.

And holding that moment, the harsh silk of cheese in my mouth, the uncomfortable, strange encounter coalesced in my mind. Years later, I still remember when something as small as a paper-thin piece of cheese connected me to the world and language.

Because it is not the moments of ease, the moments of familiarity, that we remember and feel the urge to grab our pens and write. It is in the uncomfortable moments, the strange encounters, when an unexpected object or animal or person disrupts the haze of our days, that we write into and out of.

Right now, you may think, “Well, duh. Every good story has conflict.” But who wants every moment of their day as a series of jagged peaks to climb? Who wants to live in the frantic mess of conflict every waking moment, even those who relish it?

But who also wants the monotone drag of every day as the same pattern, driving the same roads, seeing the same people, sitting in the dark after work to watch the same TV shows you watched the night before?

Lately, my life is more routine, the same schedule of teaching and tutoring, which I know many writers who also teach or work multiple jobs feel the same sense of redundancy and financial anxiety (not an uncomfortable situation I want to promote here). Which is why I thought back to that moment in the tiny cheese shop in Des Moines, remember forcing myself to explore strangeness. Between the uncomfortable and comfortable, a balance formed, like curds bouncing and melding in a pot of golden whey. Or like straight lines of verse and the frenetic energy of vowels and consonants fizzling along the lines.

So, this is a reminder, for those who need it: be uncomfortable. Find an uncomfortable moment each day, and linger. The moment can be small, like sticking a piece of stinky cheese in your mouth. The moment also needs physicality: dogs barking, baby poop, sore feet after a hike on an ice-covered trail you were ridiculously underprepared for and resulted in a teary and snotty tantrum in front of strangers and your boyfriend…but that’s not an uncomfortable moment I’ll dive into just yet.

Most importantly, the moment needs a record, a written reminder to return to. Even years later, they’ll spring into lines, dialogue, character, story.

Of course, practice this without endangering your life too much. A twinge of embarrassment in front of strangers, however, is expected.

Authors Talk: Paula Izydorek

Today we are pleased to feature artist Paula Izydorek as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this short video, Paula discusses five paintings from her series titled (Self) Worth, as well as her overall artistic proclivities.

Paula declares that one thing she truly enjoys about (Self) Worth is that “the image itself repeats, but the composition changes based on the wood grain,” or the materials of production. While each painting is a self-portrait, they are not exclusively portraits of Paula alone; as she states, “I like to have the viewer put themselves in the place of the face that’s in the abstract composition, and to review your own self-worth.” That way, she emphasizes, viewers can identify with the story being expressed, and “connect with the image based on their own personal experience.”

As she concludes, Paula expresses her desire that each viewer will be able to “identify with the energy around the subject, rather than get lost in the subject as a portrait.” That way, she stresses, viewers will be able to use the work as a gauge to “evaluate…where you want to be with regards to your self worth.”

You can view five paintings from Paula’s (Self) Worth series in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.

#ArtLitPhx: Documentary Video Art Festival

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Date: November 29, 2018

Time: 7pm-8:30pm

Location: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), 7374 E 2nd St, Scottsdale, AZ, 85251

Event Description:

Free with RSVP

A showcase of experimental short videos highlighting social, cultural and personal topics. These artworks were produced by students in Documentary Video Art as part of the Intermedia program of the School of Art, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University.

Contributor Update, Matt Bell: Conjunctions: 71, A Cabinet of Curiosity

Conjunctions Issue 71 coverToday we are happy to share news about past contributor Matt Bell. Matt’s short story, “Fur, Bark, Feather, Leaf, Faun,” is upcoming in Conjunctions: 71, A Cabinet of Curiosity. About the issue, the description reads:  “Curiosity in all its guises is the wellspring of revelation. It is a prime mover behind our deeds, good or evil, simple or complicated. While the thirty-one writers gathered here individually explore many of the ways in which curiosity drives and defines us, together they propose that the realms of curiosity are, finally, inexhaustible.”

Conjunctions: 71, A Cabinet of Curiosity is available for preorder through the Bard College here. Shipping will begin by the end of November, 2018.

Our interview with Matt can be read in Issue 18 of Superstition Review.

Congratulations, Matt!