Nonfiction

“A Thoreau Thing,” by June Forte

Jan 10th, 2018 | By

My brother Jim called to tell me he was about to bid on a 50-acre island in the middle of the Illinois River.

“We want to scale down,” he said. “Do the Thoreau thing. You know—Walden Pond.”



“Screenplays I Wrote When I Was a Teen,” by Lee Blevins

Jan 3rd, 2018 | By

I wrote seven feature length screenplays between the ages of twelve and seventeen. That’s one per year plus an extra one junior year when I got too stoned by myself for the first time. None of these screenplays were ever produced because I both was underage and undertalented (that’s untalented with an extra der). I list them here so my sister’s future children shall be able to see how much cooler their uncle could have been than them.



“Logic, the Universe, and Pigs,” by Ali Kashkouli

Dec 27th, 2017 | By

As a child one rarely questions religious beliefs. Your parents tell you what to believe and that’s that. My father was never the religious type, but would occasionally be found to utter a short prayer whenever convenient for him. My mother, however, adhered fairly strictly to the Islamic tradition and made the effort to pray as much as possible. Namaz, she called it. The incongruity between my father’s more lax perspective and my mother’s incessant incantations really made me wonder. Did God want to be constantly bothered with the insignificant events of our daily lives or was He more into the gestalt? What if God really was a micromanager? Would someone like my dad end up getting the cold shoulder because of his inconsistent appeals?



“The Big Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree,” by Alexander Cavaluzzo

Nov 22nd, 2017 | By

While most congregants in the United States spend their Sunday mornings in a church, you’re more likely to find twentysomethings in New York City attending Our Lady of Bottomless Mimosas on the Lord’s day. The service typically entails an offering of eggs rothko, adoration of cute waiters, and readings from the New York Times’s Vows section. This recurring ritual, more commonly known as “brunch”, provides solace and nourishment, with just a touch more alcohol than the standard Catholic mass. During one such service, though, the rites that unfolded offered me a very rude revelation.



“When You Wish Upon A Star,” by Adam Michael Nicks

Nov 8th, 2017 | By

If I were a copyright lawyer for Disney, I’d do my best to preserve the purity and wholesomeness of their intellectual properties. I’d bust head shops for Rastafarian Mickey Mouse pipes, with their dreadlocks and painted bloodshot eyes. I’ll tell them: that privilege is for authorized retailers only.



“Litany of a Middle-Aged Mom,” by Tina Mortimer

Nov 1st, 2017 | By

So I know it’s been a while. I don’t really have an excuse. But I’m back. Hey. Maybe it was turning 40 that did it. Or that cold that knocked me out for two weeks. (The same one the kids got that slowed them down for about two minutes.) I used to be able to bounce back from that shit overnight. But I’ve come to the painful realization that I’m not young anymore. So like any good, albeit lapsed, Catholic facing her inevitable mortality (God, I’m such a cliché!), I’ve started going to church again. You already know that, though, don’t you?



“Food Containers of My Exes,” by Tim Covell

Sep 20th, 2017 | By

I knew it wouldn’t last when Charlie picked out the plastic container for the half dozen cookies she insisted I take home. The box and the lid were different brands. They didn’t quite fit, and she was too impatient and uncaring to find the correct halves in her messy cupboard. She forced the lid, telling me it didn’t matter. We clearly had different priorities. When I called to thank her for the cookies, which she had made from scratch and which were very good, I told her we weren’t going to work out. She didn’t want her container back. I was tempted to throw it out, but decided the two halves might be useful someday, and added them to my collection.



“Can We Please Bring Back the Casual Workplace Death Threat?” by Mike Fowler

Jul 19th, 2017 | By

As one who has been showing up at the office for over 20 years, I recall the days when I would arrive at 8 a.m. on Monday, and in response to my coworker’s sleepy, “Hey, Mike, ready for another week in the salt mines?”



“Nincompoop,” by Roger Sharp

Jul 12th, 2017 | By

The English language is replete with swear words, so I was not surprised when a friend’s four year old asked me, ‘Where does nincompoop fit into the lexicon of obscene words when ordered by shock value?’ What kid wouldn’t want to know that? At the bottom of the rung is nincompoop. Nincompoop is a nincompoopish word, not an obscenity at all, but anything with poop in it is game for a four year old. (For instance, poop deck would get laughs.) In fact, just saying poop is more offensive, i.e., better than nincompoop. You turd, even better, and You shit is at least at the twelve year old level. Adding nincom makes poop fairytale material.



“It’s All Greek to Me!” by Jennifer Schaupp

Jun 21st, 2017 | By

How people romantically pair up eludes me. I’d have a better chance of learning Greek from a teacher who only spoke Greek before understanding the rules and non-rules of the dating scene. I once told a gentleman pursuing me that I was in between phones. I don’t know exactly what that means, but it sounded plausible, especially in the early otts when people were exploring the possibilities of cell phones. I just didn’t know how to let him down honestly, even though I believe in the definition of honesty and how it can positively impact your life.