Writers of the Month: November 2017

Poet of the Month, November 2017

Guido Castellani

Guido Castellani is a songwriter and poet based in Brooklyn, New York. His current project features a collection of songs focused on loneliness, longing, joy and sorrow, set to a backdrop of timid and gentle imagery. Originally from the rustbelt city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Guido has spent time living and writing in New York, Philadelphia, London, and Leeds. His songwriting draws inspiration from of artists such as Sufjan Stevens, Josh Tillman, Joanna Newsom and Kristian Matsson, as well as traditional American folk music.

Stories You’ve Told explores the feeling of holding onto whatever scattered memories one has of another person, whether good or bad. This song, from the project “Fair-Weather Friend”, contextualizes this abstract emotion into a fictionalized romantic relationship, taking some inspiration from past experiences but largely having been invented to explore the feelings of loss and longing.

 

Stories You’ve Told


Author of the Month, November 2017

Shannon Adams

 

I’ve been writing stories since I was able to write, but only have I been recently published in 1932 Quarterly. Most of my short stories are brainstormed in a wine filled haze and are never finished. Luckily for everyone, I thought of Red Ink when I was completely sober and bored out of mind in an English class. I was looking down the barrel of my ink pen and was wondering, “what if all of my words are already inside this pen?” After class, I sat outside and wrote Red Ink in one sitting.
Red Ink is the first in a series of short stories that questions sanity, mental health, and what makes us human. In addition for my love of English, I adore psychology and mental health. I hope Red Ink makes you realize that we are all fragile and life can change in the blink of an eye.

 

Red Ink

At a loss for words I pick up my pen from among the mess of papers and opened books covering my desk. I stare down the ink chamber looking for the words that were hiding, refusing to come out. I couldn’t find them. Go figure. They always evade me when I need them, but assault my mind when I don’t, like when I’m trying to sleep.

A bubble forms in my chest. Slowly it walks up my esophagus, taking its good sweet time.

I wait.

I know it’s coming.

When the bubble takes its final step into my mouth I welcome it like an old friend. The bubble bursts on my tongue. It’s bitter, the taste of my own hilarity. The vile laughter spills out and fills my room with its stench. It flows down the pen into the ink chamber and mixes with the words that will not form.

Punishing them one last time.

Reminding them that if they do not come out they will be trapped inside the damned pen forever. No one will care about them as I have cared for them over the years. Those stupid, comforting words.

I put the pen to paper one last time, allowing the ink one last chance to make words, one last chance to show themselves. My pen glides across the milk white page, but nothing sticks. Not a single fucking word shows itself. I pick up my pen to inspect it, maybe scare some words out of– I never clicked the top to allow the pen tip to come out.

Another small sob of bubbling laughter. Carefully I click the silver button and watch the tip emerge, silver and gleaming in the lamp light. I test the pen on the softest part of my wrist, pushing down enough to watch it draw a line of red ink. I unclick the pen and sit back in my chair my desire to form words forgotten.

I watch the red spread across my milk white flesh. There is a place between my skin and the ink that becomes pink. I can no longer see where my skin begins and the ink ends. Red and white, ink and skin, blood and light mix until I am drowning. Drowning like I always am, grasping for land, air, words.

Words!

I breathe again, returning back to my and my task at hand.

I promised myself I would finish it tonight.

I lift my pen to my face, eye level, and stare down into the chamber again only this time it looks different. I can’t seem to find the ink and the words that can’t be written. They have gone from me forever.

“I couldn’t find the right words, but I hope the ones I did find will be enough”, I whisper softly to myself.

I push the silver button again, but this time no pen tip emerges. Time slows down around me as I watch the bullet rocket down the chamber and cross the inches between the tip of the gun and my pale face. I know when it makes contact, but I cannot feel it. I silently thank all the bottles that litter my desk and around my feet for taking away my feeling. I don’t need it, not anymore. I really hope that bullet enjoys living in my brain.

God knows I sure didn’t.

It’s like a dream, hovering above myself, but I guess death is just kind of like that. I wouldn’t know, I’m new at this whole thing. As I begin to float away I think:

I really shouldn’t have used a red pen. Mom will never be able to read it now with the mess I made.