Tag Archives: fiction

Schmerdloff’s Proposal

by Adam Mac

In the current Journal of Statistical Probability in Law Enforcement, Viktor Schmerdloff proposes the original theory that there are two types of people: those who fold their toilet paper and those who scrunch it up.

Anticipating skeptics, Schmerdloff explains why the FBI should be interested in profiling folders and scrunchers. Folders, he maintains, are inherently dangerous since they are fastidious in their planning and methodical in execution. When combined with other threat indicators, folding can provide reliable predictive data, which more often than not results in successful intervention and apprehension of suspects.

On the other hand, scrunchers, though percentage-wise less of a threat, can be worrisome insofar as their recklessness and aversion to normative behavior makes them unpredictable and virtually impossible to combat. The very absence of orderliness frustrates traditional law enforcement professionals and warrants new and controversial techniques like chaos profiling.

A unified approach targeting both folders and scrunchers is recommended, since they are, in effect, two heads of the same monster.

Regarding the operational issue of collecting data, the agency can work closely with manufacturers to install and retrofit millions of door locks in public restrooms with tiny hidden cameras. These cameras will generate continuous and multi-synchronous CCTV feeds for the agency’s super computer in northern Nevada to analyze and prioritize.

We think Schmerdloff’s proposal is a good first step but would add that profiling should further segregate those who don’t flush from those who do and among those who do flush it should separate out those who flush with their hands from those who flush with their feet. Since both folders and scrunchers are suspect, additional data are required to distinguish between actual, probable, and possible threats.

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The Garden Gnomes Introduce New Imprints

The garden gnomes have been hard at work. We are proud to announce two new imprints to our growing collection of offerings.

Fire Up The Gaslight

First up, Gaslight.

gaslight and mythicals imprintGaslight isn’t so much an imprint as it is a new category of the Flim-Flam Bush. We’re looking for hard core nonfiction. But not just any old nonfiction. We’re looking for a specific kind of news nonfiction that you can’t find anywhere else.

News analysts, this is the opportunity for you.

If you fancy yourself a budding Rachel Maddow or Bill O’Reilly for the news of the weird, then you’ll love Gaslight. We’re looking for serious or funny commentary on the latest weird news. It can be obscure, absurd, odd, bizarre, or just downright off the wall. We want you to comment on it.

Gaslight is more than just a chance for you to rant. We’re not asking you to agree or disagree. We’re asking you to let your mind wander. How does that homemade cat castration in the heart of Smalltown U.S.A. make you feel? What do you think about when you read about the man who mows his lawn dressed as Jessica Rabbit and shares it on YouTube?

Feel free to go off on a tangent. Just make sure there is a clear connection.

Mythicals: Pray To Your Own Gods

hand of God touching Adam'sThe garden gnomes have been working on our first novella imprint for weeks. We’re finally ready to announce Mythicals, our imprint for the creation of new myths and re-telling of old ones.

If you have a thing for myths, then this will be for you. We want 20,000-40,000 word manuscripts that create new gods and demons or rework familiar stories from the past and present. Feel free to imagine and re-imagine the stories that have shaped our lives. Or, if you have the gumption, take a gander at shaping the future with the creation of new stories to behold.

Myths are powerful events of the heart. Share yours through Mythicals.

Free: Garden of Eden Anthology

Garden of Eden anthologyIf you’ve been teetering on the verge of buying a copy of the Garden of Eden Anthology, now is your chance to get it for free. Story Cartel is offering three $10 gift certificates for reviewers. I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d download the book and review it on Amazon and/or Story Cartel for me. Do it fast because this offer won’t last long.

Final Week For Sulfurings

On a final note, we’re entering the final week for receiving Sulfurings submissions. We’d love to get a few more short stories. Get ’em in, people. Get ’em in.

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What Is A Narrative Poem?

By Allen Taylor

Chief Garden Gnome

Narrative poetry has fallen out of fashion. At one time, narrative poems were quite common. In fact, throughout much of history, poetry was used to tell a story much in the same way that fiction does today. Early literature was primarily written in verse or poetic form while still maintaining the elements of narrative.

So what constitutes a narrative poem as opposed to lyrical?

With lyrical poetry, the essence is wrapped up in the way the words fall together. The mode of expression is more important than the depiction of story. In fact, lyrical poetry may or may not tell a story at all. If it does, the mode of expression is at least equal in importance to the narrative if not more so.

By contrast, narrative poetry first and foremost tells a compelling story. Like good fiction – be it flash fiction, a short story, novelette or novella, or a full-fledged novel – it has to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Central to its form is conflict, or tension.

That’s not to say that narrative poetry can’t contain lyrical elements. It most certainly can. A narrative poem can include any mode of expression common to any type of poetry. It can include elements of the avant-garde, surrealism, concrete poetry, rhyme and meter, typographical elements, various forms of alliteration, metaphor, irony, or any one of the other thousands of poetic elements in the poet’s bag of tricks. However, all of those elements must bow in service to the narrative itself and propel the action forward from rising action to the climax, the denouement, and the final line.

Narrative poems can be long or short as long as they tell a story. Very long narratives may rise to the status of epic as in the case of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, or they may simply be long narrative poems. On the other extreme, the could be as short as a Twitter poem.

They may or may not include characters, a plot, description and setting, or other elements of fiction. Or they may simply be constructed as dramatic monologues.

Narrative poetry is a flexible form. It has every bit of the same versatility as lyrical poetry with one primary ingredient that can’t and won’t be found in the latter – the story that begins, holds the reader’s attention through a narrative arc, and has a definite end that gives the reader a sense of satisfaction for having spent her time with the author. With all this going for it one must ask, why don’t poets write narrative poems any more?

The garden gnomes would like to invite you to submit a narrative poem to our next anthology, “Sulfurings.” Get more specific guidelines on all our Biblical Legends needs.

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Imprints: Take Our Poll

As Garden Gnome Publications prepares to unleash its inaugural anthology in the Biblical Legends Anthology Series, aptly titled Garden of Eden, we invite you to take the following poll and let us know which of these imprint ideas you think has the greatest potential. Which ones do you think would offer the most entertainment and/or educational value?

Which imprints would you like to see published by Garden Gnome Publications?

View Results

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The Dentist And The Bonding Agent

By Judy Conibear Kohnen

dentist“The only reason I am here is because it is a small filling. If it were a big one, I’d procrastinate until it turned into a massive root canal.”

The dental assistant frowns. “Really?”

“Yup. That’s a perfectly normal thought process when you are afraid of going to the dentist.”

“You are too funny,” Registered Dental Assistant says. Her thin eyelashes etch upwards with perfect mascara – or maybe they’re falsies, glued on.

She’s one of those graduates from the school of Classic Dental Clones. Her scrubs are plain and her hair is twisted into a perky bun, not a hair out of place. Her pearly smile is plastered on a cheerleader’s face, and she is an insipid conversationalist. She flutters between the trays and files with the efficient, whispering hands of someone trained to sterilize.

She turns to write an important note in my chart, something like “Patient Seems Tense. Use Extra Novocain.”

The dentist bounds in. I detect sizable, tanned biceps under his navy scrubs; he could pass for a construction worker. He’s an attractive dentist – until he puts on spectacles with plastic black rims and an extra set of goggle lenses for magnification. He looks like he has enormous clown eyes attached by springs, transforming him into a nerd, and one that is eager to use his super vision.

“Is it a buckle?” he asks the assistant.

An electric hum vibrates my chair as it is lowered to a downward plank incline. Blood shifts away from my feet and squeezes into my temples. I can hear the pulse of my heart pounding with a strangled, constricted beat. The noise momentarily stills my random thoughts about yoga positions, porn in dental offices, sedative drugs, and a disturbing vision of a swash-buckling dentist wearing a pirate hat.

“How are you?” Dentist asks, sounding surprised, as if he just noticed that I am human.

“Fine. This is exactly where I want to be at eight in the morning.” It is an awkward joke, and I can tell he doesn’t know how to respond.

He shrugs. “It is a small filling. You will be out of here soon.”

“There was a time when a visit to the dentist was always a cleaning.” I complain. “Now I hear words like crown, ditching, pockets, and fractures.”

He nods. “It is all part of the natural wear and tear.”

Getting old, I think to myself.

The Dental Assistant places her blue, latex finger in my mouth and uses a cotton swab to rub a topical numbing agent over the roots of my teeth, teeth that are held in place by my receding gum line. The dentist is merrily scooting around on his wheeled stool. When he returns, he holds up a fine, three-inch stainless steel needle, just like in the horror movies. He squirts liquid into the air and aims the needle at my mouth that is frozen in a cavernous howl.

“This won’t hurt at all,” I imagine him saying.

I close my eyes and wait for peals of sardonic laughter, but all I hear is the popping and tweaking crunch of cartilage as the needle delves deep into my gum tissue. I don’t feel pain because the dentist tugs indelicately at my lip, twisting and flapping it up and down to distract me.

He needn’t bother. I have my own relaxation technique. I concentrate on clenching the sphincter muscles of my butt-hole until my entire body is rigid and immutable. The dentist swivels the needle in different directions before pulling it out. Prickles of anesthetic skip along my lip as the skin toughens and thickens and coldness spreads inside the bone of my chin.

“Are you okay?” The dentist pauses, seemingly concerned. It is rhetorical. He doesn’t acknowledge my weak finger wave.

“I’m going to roughen you up at bit.” He winks at me through his double bottle glasses.

“Go for it,” I answer, flirting as he stretches my lower lip wide with a little metal spatula. My attempt at an impish grin becomes distorted, like a Cheshire-cat smile. Rivulets of moisture pool in the corners of my throat because the lining of my cheeks release copious amounts of saliva. The dentist rattles around in the wetness there, spinning his cold mirror. Then he moves forward and peers intently up my nostril.

It is that time of the year. My dentist is a construction worker and I am like an old wall in need of repairs because of a troublesome hole that needs patching in a hard to reach spot.

Fixer.

Adhesive.

Apply heat.

Polish.

They could use nicer words. It would make it a better experience.

When I open my eyes again I see Daniel Craig bursting into the room. There is a haze of dust around him, but he is unperturbed. His long fingers fiddle with his cuff links as he shrugs and straightens his shirtsleeve. His eyes are a blaze of blue and, suddenly, he is looking directly at me.

“The Dental Goddess everyone is after, I presume?” He has a wry smile on his face.

He leans over, caressing my hair. He is pleased to find me. I am the Bond girl he has been sent to rescue.

“What have they done to you?” He looks dismissively at the Dental Assistant. Compared to me, she is an innocuous trollop.

“Rejuvenating elixir!” he barks at her.

He snatches a syringe and tears the plastic top off with his teeth. He deftly administers the toxin to my brow. With his other hand, he unties the ropes around my cold, stiffening hands.

Wrinkles fade; my nose becomes thinner, and my chin, more prepossessing.

The dentist stands up, alarmed. “What the hell? You again. I thought I got rid of you once already.” He reaches for his Glock, tucked in the waistband of his scrubs. He points the gun at Bond. “Back off. She is mine.”

But Bond is not in the mood for conversation. He kicks the Dentist in the ribs and, as the Dentist tips forward, Bond double sucker punches him in the jaw. The Doctor is thrown into the corner of the room, out cold. His magnifying glasses are askew and he sits sprawled upright like a broken doll.

Someone is pressing a strong, ripped torso into me. I feel the heat.

“You are the only Bonding Agent I will ever need,” James murmurs in my ear. He pulls me free from the torture chair. “Let’s get out of this place, shall we?”

I run after him effortlessly in my stilettos. Outside, the sun is momentarily blinding, casting our shadows, lean and long, across the parking lot.

There is shouting. It is the office personnel, closing in on us, clipboards in hand. I cannot hear what they are saying because getaway music is blaring in my ears, lots of percussion and brass.

“There!” James points to a convertible. It is small and red and polished. It is this year’s model; only the best for someone like James. He opens the door and I slide onto the smooth leather. James hops into the driver’s seat beside me.

“You will never go to a place like that again!” James assures me, revving the engine. I could not be more relieved. We speed away from suburbia heading into a world of safety and martinis – and steaming hot showers.

Judy Kohnen is from neither here nor there but those places in between. She is a cross-cultural writer whose works are unified by themes of identity, loss, and belonging. She adds spice to her suburban life by spending hours in front of her computer, typing stories, much to the dismay of her starving family. On occasion, she’ll take a break to haunt her cemetery of poems and unfinished manuscripts, located in Claremont, California, under her bed.

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Fear

By Tim Wilkinson

the fire and the light - fearIt’s the light that they fear most, that and the fire. I can hear them even now, circling, waiting, crouching in the darkness beyond the light, scratching and sniffing as they do, eager and hungry, hunting… for me. But I’ll not sleep tonight. No, I’ll not give them the chance. I have a good stack of wood, a blazing fire – and I feed it well.

We had no weapons, you see, I and the … others, only the fire. It was I that tore the limbs from the trees, ground the points on the rocks and used the fire to sharpen and hone their tips. For it was I and only I that knew they were out there; only I who heard them and believed.

You see, we lost everything in the river that third day out, the four of us. Don, well, we never saw him again, not after watching him get sucked into the swirling hole when the boat capsized. Jack and Carl, they made it to the shore okay. I, they found floating, unconscious and bleeding, my head slammed against the rocks. They thought me dead, and I well could have been, falling in and out of delirium and coma, my skull fractured, my brain swelling and bloody. Yet, as you can see, I recovered.

Two weeks we sat here, waiting, hoping someone would come along and find us, starving and cold. Yet no one came. No one missed us. No one knew. That’s when I began to hear them, each night drawing nearer and closer to the fire, testing, probing; each night growing ever more bold and fearless. Of course, they could see that we were helpless, and they only had to wait as each day we grew weaker, thinner, easier prey.

No, Jack and Carl, they did not believe, they did not fear, and what did it get them? I tried to warn them, get them to understand and to huddle by the fire, to stay together and safe. Yet they would not listen, they would not see nor believe.

Well, I am alone now. The others? Well, they’re all gone. I told them that they were out there, just beyond the light, lusting and hungry. But they would not listen, they would not fear.

Fear can be a good thing, when one is being stalked. It can sharpen one’s senses, clear one’s mind and focus one’s attention. That’s what it has done for me. That’s why I could hear them creeping in the clutter and the leaves, see them dancing in the shadows at the edge of the light. That’s why I’ve survived.

Jack and Carl, they had no fear. They didn’t fear the darkness or the sounds in the woods. They didn’t understand or accept. They are all dead now, those without fear, those who failed to believe.

The night is yet young and there are many hours before the sun once again kisses my face and allows me the blessing of peaceful sleep. For now I must watch, feed my fire, and listen. And I do. I listen as I clean the blood from the tips of my spears, letting the fire cleanse and sharpen their points, points dulled by harsh collision with tissue, muscle, and bone.

Carl was the last. He died last night. He walked off in the morning leaving me all alone, alone to work, to get ready for the night. He went searching for food. How foolish. What good is food to a dead man? I tried to tell him, yet he would not listen.

While he was gone, I set my trap, digging a pit at the edge of the trees in the shadows and darkness where the light does not reach. I lined its bottom with sharpened spikes, spikes I hardened in the fire. Then I covered it with limbs and branches and hid the lot with sand and leaves. Then I waited, waited for the darkness and for them to return.

I can see, even from here, that my efforts were not in vain. My trap worked well. The branches and leaves are gone, fallen into the pit with … with one of them. They thought they could fool and trick me, but I got them instead. Yes, I got them, and I rest a bit easier today knowing that if only one, one of them is gone, pierced and gutted by my ad-hoc bungee stakes at the bottom of the pit.

Carl screamed for hours, begging for my help, expecting me to leave the safety of the fire and the light. Then the silence took him. He cursed me, called me a coward and a … killer. But you must understand, there was nothing I could do. I could not leave the fire. How could I? What was I to do? They were waiting, waiting for me to go to his aid, hoping to have us both. But I fooled them. I know their tricks. I am not so easily deceived. No, I stayed put, and by the time the sun returned, I heard nothing more from Carl.

Too bad for them all, I say. Yet, I did warn them, didn’t I? I cannot be blamed for their deaths. I did what I could, what I had to do. I tried. I tried my best but they would not listen, none of them would listen.

Carl called me an animal. Crazy, he said, when he found me eating, saw what I had. But I had to eat, didn’t I? What else could I do? How far could I travel in one day before the dark once again found me, defenseless and vulnerable? That’s what they want me to do. Besides, it’s dark in the forest, full of shadow and shade, and there are so many places to hide out there, to pounce from within the gloomy dim blackness. No, I could not leave this place, the fire and the safety of the light to venture into the dark of the forest. That would be stupid. That would be crazy.

Yes, I am afraid, afraid of what the night may bring. Yet, fear … well, as I said, fear is what keeps me alive. Fear is what saved me. I had to eat, didn’t I?

I reset the trap before sunset came. I had to remove Carl’s body and put it with Jack’s beside the fire. They do things like that, you know, to get me to give in, to give up. But I know better. I know they took their own from the pit and put Carl’s corpse in its place. I’m not stupid. I’m no imbecile.

Nor, I can’t be blamed for Jack’s death. How was I to know he was not one of them, scurrying about in the darkness? Sure, I killed him, drove a spike through his belly. What was I to do? Someone had to make a stand. He should not have left the safety of the light, and the fire. I explained that to Carl. They do things like that; make themselves look like someone else, trick and deceive. Everyone knows that.

Well, none of that matters now. They are gone and I am alive.

It will be dark again soon and they are still out there, watching and hoping. I can hear them scratching in the litter at the base of the trees, circling the fire. You see, it’s the light that they fear most, that and the fire.

Well, thanks to Carl and Jack, I have plenty of food now, and I still have lots of wood to feed the fire. No, I am not going anywhere.
The meat on the spit is almost ready. It smells delicious. Don’t worry. I am sure Carl wouldn’t mind. After all, isn’t that why he left, to find us some food?

Father of two girls, Tim Wilkinson has been writing since the age of twelve.

After spending thirty years working in the telecommunications industry, traveling and writing in between the often conflicting commitments of family, work, home and life in general, he now focuses more time and effort on his most enduring dream – writing.

Recently accepted for publication in ‘The Path’, ‘The Speculative Edge’, Fictitious Magazine,’ ‘The Global Twitter Community Poetry Project’, ‘Ancient Paths’, and ‘Static Movement’, he continues to write and seek new avenues for publication and distribution.

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Deadline Extension For The Garden Of Eden Anthology

Deadlines are necessary evils. On the one hand, they serve as closure for a project that, without a definite end in sight, could go on forever. On the other hand, they provide writers with the necessary motivation to get writing and to complete that project they’ve put on the back burner.

Recent events have encouraged me to re-consider the established deadline for the Garden of Eden anthology. That deadline was going to be tonight at midnight EST.

I put a lot of thought into that deadline. I gave writers four months to prepare for it, but because Garden Gnome Publications is still in its infancy, it’s unreasonable to expect that word has spread to all corners of the globe. The gnomes are humble enough to know that we haven’t even penetrated the first corner yet. But we’re hopeful.

Nevertheless, one writer pointed out that today’s deadline is right at the end of NaNoWriMo, so many writers are focused on kicking out their 50,000 word tomes. Believe me, we understand.

On another note, the gnomes have received some great entries, however, we feel like we could use a few more. Therefore, we’re extending the deadline to midnight EST on Tuesday, December 3, 2013. We hope this will give writers a chance to complete their NaNoWriMo novels and get us a few more submissions to offer readers of the first anthology.

What Kind Of Submissions We’re Looking For

I thought it might be beneficial to discuss what we’re actually hoping to achieve with this anthology. While we’ve received some excellent submissions so far, we have noticed that there is a bit of a disconnect between our hopes and some of the submissions we have received. Therefore, an elaboration is offered to help clear this misunderstanding up.

First, there is a reason we’ve dubbed our anthology series Biblical Legends Speculative Fiction Anthology Series. The idea is to use the Bible as a starting point for the imagination.

We are not necessarily interested in stories that lift up the Bible as the true Word of God, a necessary and inspired holy book, or the Truth. That said, we have no interest in dismissing stories that do so if those stories are good.

The “Biblical” in the name of the anthology series is simply a reference to a body of literature contained within the Bible. Our intent is to focus on stories and legends within the Bible that have an element of absurdity to them when viewed from an early 21st century perspective. Their truth or falsity is not our concern. What we want are stories that use the legendary tales themselves as a jumping off point.

We thought the Garden of Eden would be the perfect starting point – for a number of reasons.

  1. It is the first story, or legend, in the Bible where humans are the focal point.
  2. As legend, it is the genesis of the Bible’s overall story arc – at least where humanity is concerned.
  3. Thirdly, we just thought it would be fun.

The reason we’re calling the story anthologies “speculative fiction” is not as obvious as we initially thought. Speculative fiction is not an easy-to-define genre. It can include any number of fantastical elements that might include:

  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Weird elements
  • Supernatural elements
  • Utopian or dystopian story lines
  • Apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic tales
  • Superhero or superhuman characters
  • Alternate histories
  • And other miscellaneous oddities

Trust me, we’re interested in all of the above. Your only limitation as a writer is your imagination. We encourage you to go hog wild. We have imposed only one limitation – please, no Biblical characters.

Why No Biblical Characters?

Look at any submission guidelines and you’ll discover that there is always a reason behind them. Writers do not have to agree with those reasons. But if you want to get published, then it’s in your best interests to take note of those guidelines and follow them.

The garden gnomes decided to stipulate one restriction – no Biblical characters – for one simple reason: We want to encourage the speculative aspect of “speculative fiction.” It’s too easy to fall back on those old paradigms that have captured the human imagination for millennia.

There have been countless variants of the Adam and Eve story. While many of those are speculative, we believe they are overdone. It’s time for something new. We’re not interested in new takes on old paradigms. We want new paradigms. We want to take the stories that people are familiar with in new directions – myth and reality be damned. That is the essence of speculative fiction, in our view. “Make it new” is not just for poets and disciples of Ezra Pound.

From time to time, we may allow the inclusion of Biblical characters into a particular anthology. When so, it will be noted. Otherwise, we ask that writers do their best to honor this restriction.

The Garden of Eden’s Greatest Needs

We’d love to get more flash fiction and short stories. You can never have too many submissions to choose from. At least, we’re not so overwhelmed – yet – that we would change our minds on that point. But those are not our greatest needs.

In order for our vision to be most perfectly fulfilled, we’d like to see more narrative poems and essays submitted.

Narrative Poems

Narrative poems are hard to write. Believe me, we know this. But we want narrative poems, as opposed to lyrical poems, for one simple reason. They render more easily to the digital format.

Another reason we insist on narrative poems is because the anthologies are intended to be stories. Stories by definition are narratives. And we want longer narratives because our intent is to publish only one poem per anthology. We want it to be a good one.

In this day, there are few poets writing narrative poems. Most poetry is “free verse,” which is really prose with line breaks. So why not write prose?

While prose does not necessarily lend itself to narrative form, per se, we believe the two go hand in hand quite nicely. Therefore, we’re looking for long narrative poems in the range of 50 to 500 lines. But understand a few things about narrative poetry, specifically what it is and what it isn’t.

  • Narrative poetry does not necessarily exclude lyrical qualities. As an example, I’d like to point your attention to a narrative poem titled “On The Road Home” by yours truly. It was published in the November 2012 issue of Ygdrasil as the Post Scriptum. We encourage you to read this poem and take note of its many lyrical qualities, including many formal poetic elements, while remaining true to the narrative form.
  • Secondly, narrative poetry can be surreal or avant-garde. Here’s another narrative poem that includes many formal and free verse elements with some concrete poetry and avant-garde qualities, as well. Warning: It’s a long one. But notice how the poem moves through it’s narrative using visual elements, backward lines, indents, and odd elements that take the reader by surprise. I hesitate to use this as an example because many of the visual elements found on the web page could not be accomplished in an e-book, so this is not really what we’re looking for. It is an example, however, of how creative you can get with narrative poetry. For that, I’d say it’s well worth a read.
  • First and foremost, narrative poetry tells a story. That’s what we want: A story told through poetic elements on the digital page. Get creative, but please stay within our guidelines. No Biblical characters and no lyrical verses.

The two biggest mistakes we’ve seen so far with poems submitted for The Garden of Eden anthology are 1) the use of Adam, Eve, and the serpent and 2) poems being too short and lyrical in nature. These poems are automatically discarded and not considered. We really want your speculative narratives.

Essays

Essays pose a different challenge. We’ve had a couple of submissions for essays but nothing that has me excited – yet. I’m still looking for that one perfect essay.

We’re not necessarily looking for expository or academic writing. We use the term “essay” loosely. What we really want is creative nonfiction that says something interesting about the theme. Hear how Lee Gutkind defines the genre of creative nonfiction:

In some ways, creative nonfiction is like jazz—it’s a rich mix of flavors, ideas, and techniques, some of which are newly invented and others as old as writing itself. Creative nonfiction can be an essay, a journal article, a research paper, a memoir, or a poem; it can be personal or not, or it can be all of these.

What we’re looking for are thoughts, expressions, and personal writings that explore the theme in new ways or that give us a new take on the theme. If we received an “essay” about the Garden of Eden for our anthology which we believed was worthy of publishing, our hope would be that it would give us something to mull over and cause us to think differently about our lives. We don’t know what that means precisely, but we know what it doesn’t mean.

We want something creative, something imaginative, something outside the bounds of tradition. We want it well-written and thought-provoking. We want it to incorporate all elements of genre writing without falling neatly into any genre. If that makes any sense.

Can we tell you what we want? No. But we’ll know it when we see it. It’s up to you to help us realize it when it presents itself.

Our Final Invitation

Having said all of that (we apologize for the length), we’d like to send out one final invite to writers, poets, and creative essayists to send us your best work. Give us your take on the Garden of Eden theme, and please follow our general submission guidelines. We’re looking forward to seeing what forbidden fruit you have to offer.

As always, feel free to ask your questions in the comments.

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The Elephant in the Room

By Brenda Anderson

elephant in the waiting roomIn the waiting room elderly folk stared at the wallpaper. The elephant did a pirouette.

Keira slipped her hand into her fiance´’s.

“Let’s get married, go on a honeymoon, sing, dance … enjoy life,” Mark said.

The elephant did a somersault, landed on its hind legs and bowed. Keira squeezed Mark’s hand.

“I love you,” said Mark with an unsteady voice. “I love you so much.”

The elephant covered its eyes.

The receptionist escorted Keira and Mark into the specialist’s room. The elephant followed.

“Well, doctor?” said Keira.

The specialist shook his head.

With tears in its eyes, the elephant withdrew to the waiting room. Elderly patients looked away.

Brenda Anderson’s fiction has appeared in Andromeda Spaceways, A cappella Zoo, Punchnel’s and Penumbra. She lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband and two children.

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