Announcing the Winners of our Fantasy Flash Fiction Contest

Thank you to all who submitted to our Fall 2017 contest, and congratulations to our winners: 

First Place: “Gold” by Mal Sklar

Mal is a senior majoring in Studio Art and English and therefore enjoys reading, writing, and painting in oils. They primarily write sci-fi and fantasy, particularly in short story form, and they are currently working on a series of queer poems.

Second Place: “In the Red Kitchen” by Matt Wall

Matt enjoys reading the works of H.P. Lovecraft and Neil Gaiman, and writing short sci-fi, fantasy, and horror fiction. He was elbows deep in ink for NaNoWriMo 2017.

Third Place: “Wings” by Davina Tomlin

Davina is a very tall, ballroom-dancing, tea loving sophomore from Oakland, California. She likes writing about women who dance on the edge of normal.

Find the winning submissions below.

dragon eye

Gold

Mal Sklar

 

“Many years ago I was quite young, only two or four hundred by my count. In that time it was the fashion for young dragons to take a princess, the same way it was a fashion for your ladies to wear white to be wed.”

The knight was silent. His armor glittered blue-black as a beetle’s shell.

The dragon unfurled its wings, dislodging a heavy, slithering slide of gold. The chamber was the size of a cathedral, and yet the thing’s wings brushed the singed tapestries before they were so much as half-spread. It shook its shoulders, rattling webby leather, before settling down. It draped its tail across its front claws, gold reflecting dully against the scales of its belly.

It put its huge face rather close to the knight and he resisted the urge to take several steps back. He focused on its nearer eye, as focusing on both proved to be beyond him. It was great liquid thing, amber-colored, a rich gold lit warmly from within. Its breath stank of flowery incense and, smartingly, of sulfur. Continue reading

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The Lavenders

The Lavenders, written by former Clark Writes editor Emily Denny, is one of the shows being featured in this year’s New Play Festival, and the first-place winner of the 2016 Loring Holmes & Ruth Dodd Drama contest. Described by the playwright as “a drama that’s funny,” The Lavenders takes place in the 1950s and “explores the not-so-typical relationship between two people consigning themselves to a marriage in order to conceal their sexuality from their conservative friends, family, and neighbors” (CUPS Facebook page). Emily has also stated that “the play is not about the fact that they’re gay, it’s about the fact that they are two people in a relationship and there’s a problem in their relationship. That problem happens to stem from them being gay in the 50s, but the play isn’t about the problem, it’s about how they deal with it.” Read a scene from The Lavenders below, and be sure to check out its final performance, tonight at 7:30 in the Little Center!

lavenders.jpgThe Lavenders

Emily Denny

 

 He picks up his newspaper. She waits, something else on her mind.

GRACE
Did I ever tell you about Jimmy Peterson?

BEVERLY
Who?

GRACE
Guess not.

BEVERLY
What about him?

GRACE
He was…
(She stops short)
He was my…

BEVERLY
(On the edge of his seat)
Oh come on, now you have to tell me.

GRACE
He was my…

She waits. Building the anticipation.

BEVERLY
Spit it out for Christ’s sake the suspense alone will kill me. Continue reading

The R Word

The following speech was recited by F. Sebastian Baker at our last Creative Writing Forum. Written in honor of National Coming Out Day, “The R Word” describes Sebastian’s process of coming to terms with his asexuality, and expresses frustration for being “silenced for [his] own safety, forced to tiptoe around the truth with euphemisms.” Read it below.

ace flagThe R Word

F. Sebastian Baker

 

I’m warning you, this speech is about the term “retarded.” If that word offends you, please stay and listen, but if it legitimately triggers you, you can leave or do whatever you need to take care of yourself. And to cut off any complaints of censorship: no one told me to make that disclaimer. I chose to out of respect.

When I was younger, but not much younger, only a few years really, I used to think of myself as retarded. That’s right, the dreaded R word, from the Latin retardare, meaning slowed, delayed or held back, usually referring to mental development, although it can cover other things too, like fire when we talk about flame-retardant materials. But in my case, I mean it mentally.

I’m sure some of you are offended that I’d even say that word, because you consider it a slur. Don’t worry, I know better than to call people “retard.” That would be cruel, like telling them they don’t deserve respect, people only pretend to like them, and no matter how hard they try they’re destined to let everyone down. I’d never say that to someone else. But nobody stops me from saying it to myself, so I figure that for me, I can use whatever slurs I want. Obviously not all of them are appropriate, I’d never call myself the N word because, well, I’m a white guy. But I have the right to refer to myself by whatever terms apply. Continue reading

Meet the Editors: Mehr Gunawardena

Mehr is a senior English major whose love for language and awe for its impact is constantly growing. She enjoys dabbling in poetry and other forms of creative writing, as well as making various natural “potions” and drinking a lot of tea. Her poem “Home” juxtaposes the natural beauty of Sri Lanka with the destructive tendencies of humankind, and the narrator’s identity is rooted in both. Read it below.

sri lanka 2Home

Mehr Gunawardena

 

I come from a land
Of aquatic air and
Crystalized soil,
Rained upon by a
Lush glow of trees.

Where the sun whispers
Harsh secrets of gold
Onto our shoulders
And the moon caresses
Us to sleep.

I come from a land
That composed my
Skin and sand
Out of serendipity,
Lingering to be lost. Continue reading

Meet the Editors: Alyssa Pelletier

Alyssa is a junior Studio Arts and Art History double major with a minor in Creative Writing. She is currently working on three novels, and has recently started writing poetry as well. When her face isn’t squished in a book, she enjoys playing Quidditch, collecting gemstones, and studying ancient civilizations. “June” showcases Alyssa’s talent for poetic sound devices like alliteration and assonance, making it a great piece to be read out loud. Read it below.

juneJune

Alyssa Pelletier

 

My sweetest June is ending.
Her last few embers emanate a slow, lazy light.
Her honey sunshine burns softly, burns lowly, burns out.
And I try desperately to embrace her dimming, passing nights.
Replenished again, again, and once more by the morning rises,
She is embarrassed, rebirthed, and gone already.
And finally, she closes her shy eyes, her lashes locked tight,
And I am struck helpless as I watch this humble June die.
Her helpless and fleeting form, her impending voyage away,
Until this time next year again, until she is reborn,
Her sleepy face remains, only whispers left of it now.
My dearest June, on the cusp of goodbye,
My darling summertime,
Please don’t die.

 

Image: https://pixabay.com/p-1251081/?no_redirect

Meet the Editors: Armely Pichardo

Armely Pichardo is a junior English major who likes reading books, ignoring text messages, and long walks in the hood. “Raizes,” a poem inspired by Armely’s experiences as a woman of color at Clark University and other PWIs, challenges racial, ethnic, and cultural misconceptions through powerful lines such as, “And if you ever find out where I am from, / I hope you do not assume I have an hourglass figure / or scars on my back.” Read “Raizes” below.

roots.jpgRaizes

Armely Pichardo

 
I will not apologize for the fact that the color of my skin
cannot tell you where I am from.

I wish that you would or could look past my caramel skin,
honey-colored eyes, and my black curly hair.

And if you ever find out where I am from,
I hope you do not assume I have an hourglass figure
or scars on my back.

I will not apologize for my ability to roll my Rs,
for my accent, or for my Spanglish.

Because every time a Spanish word seeps into a sentence,
I feel at home. Continue reading

We’re Back!

Welcome Back!

On behalf of the Clark University English Department, the Clark Writes Board of Editors would like to wish you all a successful Fall 2017 semester! We’re excited to announce that we’ll resume activity this week, so get ready for some contests, forums, and more writing from our talented Clark community. We’d love to see what you have to offer, so send us your work!

Upcoming Events

Catch us in Red Square tomorrow from 2-3:00 p.m. to learn more about Clark Writes and be featured in this year’s What are you writing? collage!

The dates of this semester’s creative forums will be announced here and on our Facebook page shortly! Email clarkwritesblog@gmail.com or contact one of the editors to sign up to read!

Meet the Board of Editors

 

Jess1.pngJess Hoops, Editor-in-Chief

I’m a senior English and Philosophy double major who drinks a lot of black coffee and wears a lot of black clothing. I work at Clark’s Writing Center and as a reader/editorial consultant for The Robbins Office, Inc. I enjoy Greek mythology,  hot sauce, and reading horror novels at night.

 

 

mehr1

Mehr Gunawardena, Editor

I am a senior and I major in English. I am from Sri Lanka, and as time is fleeting, my love for the language and awe for its impact simply grows. I enjoy dabbling in poetry and other forms of creative writing; besides that, I make various natural “potions” and I drink a lot of tea. Continue reading

2016

Clark Writes editor Laura Barker was the winner of this year’s Loring Holmes & Ruth Dodd Drama Contest. Her play explores a multi-racial family before and after the infamous 2016 election. Laura was inspired by how race, sexuality, and gender played into the political environment we live in today. Read 2016 below.

e2e8a56de28aff1463c4a6f7064e8d69

2016

Laura Barker

 

Characters:
KEVIN: The father. A easy-going man who tries to see the good in everything.
ISABELLA: His Hispanic wife. She’s too busy being pregnant with baby number three to care about the election.
FELIX: Kevin’s son. He’s flamboyantly gay and hell-bent on being a YouTube celebrity.
VALERIE: Kevin’s daughter. An outspoken liberal.
OLIVER: Felix’s boyfriend. Sweet, socially awkward.
CRAIG and FREDDIE: Patrons of Kevin’s bar.
REPORTER: A reporter covering the events.

Setting:
A Indiana suburb in the year leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election.

 

ACT I, Scene 1

(Afternoon, the living room of a typical 21st century suburban house. ISABELLA is plays a game on her iPad, a hand on her stomach. FELIX applies purple lipstick and checks his reflection in his phone, taking the occasional selfie. VALERIE does homework. FELIX sighs.)

FELIX
I’m bored.

ISABELLA
You know what your abuela would have to say about that.

FELIX
Yes, yes, “You’re not bored, you’re just boring.” Well, what does she know? Bingo is the most exciting thing in her world. I want to do something. Let’s go out to eat tonight. There’s an incredible little Thai place that just opened up and everyone’s been raving about their dragon berry nom yen. Or we could go for a sunset walk on the beach.

VALERIE
Or you could do your homework.

FELIX
I wasn’t asking you.

VALERIE
You only want to do that stuff so you can post it on Instagram.

FELIX
So what? There’s nothing wrong with a little glamour. Not everyone wants to live their life in sweatpants. Continue reading

Opus

Christian Farren is a senior English major and Department representative who has “always had a fantasy/supernatural bent” but has been experimenting with darker themes after reading an H.P. Lovecraft anthology last Christmas. The following poem focuses on stories that Christian “started and abandoned” when he was younger, brought back to life by his new inspiration. Read “Opus” below.

Opus

Christian Farren

 

Harpy’s hair
Mermaid’s tear
All things tender dear.

Titan’s fire
Golem’s stone
Forged in dragon bone.

Witch’s wiles
A succubus’s smile
Honeyed venom, demon’s guile.

Pagan paramour, born of dying dreams!
Condemned to the cold,
Decrepit demimonde.
But I am no stranger here.

Know you are loved. Treasured.

Through the twilight, I will keep you safe.