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


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



This vivid piece was presented at our most recent forum by Owen Connell, a senior here at Clark. To experience an intriguing story with an interesting take on an everyday perspective, read on.


Owen Connell


The Walker

There seemed to be nothing, just a fuzzy red glow and a sensation that was not quite cold yet also not quite hot. Hands felt wet and heavy and blindly fumbled through the air, desperately clawing for some sort of distinguishable item or landmark in the inky void. After an unknowable amount of time, a hand touched something cold and metallic. Feet cautiously walked forward and quickly found themselves falling forward and hitting the ground hard. It was a staircase, formed from short yet long steps. Hands pulled back up on the railing as the feet solely began to descend, the only thing that seemed physically possible in the black.

Continue reading

Meet the Editors: Emily Buza

Emily Buza is a sophomore double-majoring in English and Theater. When she is not writing or acting, she’s busy co-hosting a podcast about teenage superheroes and storytelling. Her poem “Outspoken Little Ladies” is inspired by her favorite childhood stories of strong-willed, free-spirited girls. Read “Outspoken Little Ladies” below.


Outspoken Little Ladies

Emily Buza


You were raised on stories
of little lion-hearted girls
with big eyes
and bigger dreams
and hair tied back by ribbon
so they could see everything better.

Little girls who never stopped asking why,
who never stopped reaching.
They ran down hotel hallways
trailing sparks.
They fell off rooftops  
because they were too stubborn not to fly. Continue reading

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.

Did I ever tell you about Jimmy Peterson?


Guess not.

What about him?

He was…
(She stops short)
He was my…

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

He was my…

She waits. Building the anticipation.

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


This second installment of Kate McNicholas’s travel journal series is a story inspired by a famous piece called An Italian in America by Beppe Severgnini. In “Errori,” Kate navigates Italian cultural conventions and learns from her (often humorous) mistakes. Read below for more!


Kate McNicholas


They are wearing shorts! I watched in absolute horror as young, Italian girls passed by in waves and rows, their bare legs taunting me and calling out my ignorance. I had been misinformed, as had my wallet. Before leaving the United States for my four month visitation to Italy, I dove into cultural research. How does an Italian act in certain situations? Do they tip their waitresses? How much, on a scale of Beyonce to Trump, do they hate Americans? What does an Italian wear? I asked the holy god of Google, who can do no wrong. Google, and its many voices, informed me that Italians never wear shorts.

The key to fitting in was covering your American, gun-owning kneecaps. Eureka! I hit the mall and filled bag after bag, under the impression that all the clothes I wore on a normal basis would be equal to kindling for a public trash fire in Italy. Five hundred dollars later, I packed my suitcase. So now here I am, in the middle of a Perugian street, on a balmy day in August watching bare legs like they are an ocean wave about to drown me. I guess it is time to do some more shopping. 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

Terracotta Warrior

This poem was performed by junior Harris Eidelman at our most recent Creative Writing Forum. Through it, he explores the connection between his own personal history and the clothing he wears. With both heartfelt nostalgia and an eye toward the future, this poem beautifully illustrates the passage of time through t-shirts, jeans, and the memories they carry. Read “Terracotta Warrior” below.

Terracotta Warrior

Harris Eidelman


I have a duffel bag full of clothes
Different shirts have different meanings
Their origins are spread far and wide
From Israel to the US of A

My shirt today is from a recent purchase
And in it I feel secure and strong
I used to not like long sleeves
Now they paint me like a Terracotta Warrior 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.


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.




Today’s post was submitted to us by Anna Schaeffer, a senior studying Environmental Science and English. She states, “In my writing, I am interested in exploring themes of cultural isolation, violence, and prejudice as a manner of understanding crime, specifically in America. I was inspired after reading “Where is the Voice Coming From?” by Eudora Welty in July of last year in light of the shooting of Philando Castile. I think that in this time of chaos and brutality, writing is an ever-important tool for navigating what’s happening in the world around us, and I hope that I can share my own insights with the rest of the Clark community.” Read “Hotelier” below.


Anna Schaeffer


Hermon didn’t know what time it was. He rarely did, because instead of numbers
on a clock, Hermon operated by the mechanisms of task and motion. He woke up, walked eight steps down the hall and two to the left, to the refrigerator. Herman drank Mountain Dew by the liter and would swig down enough of it to shake off the residual fog of sleep each morning. From the kitchen, Hermon took eighteen steps to the closet, reached for the iron and spray starch, and set to work at his most important task – smoothing out every perceptible wrinkle from his green polo shirt and worn-out khakis. It didn’t matter how you measured the time because it was the same every single morning, and Hermon Cote was never late.

July settled over Lisbon Falls hotter and heavier than the town had ever seen. The air itself seemed to sweat, taking on a soupy, cloying weight as soon as the sun rose. For weeks, talk of the heat wave had dominated conversations on the radio, on TV, and between the locals themselves. But on a Wednesday morning in the middle of July, a piece of news splattered across the morning paper jolted the town from its heatstroke and sent aftershocks of unease reverberating through it for months to come. Around two-thirty a.m., while the rest of the town was fast asleep, Miller’s Variety Store, a twenty-four-hour hub for late night purchases of cigarettes and beer, had been robbed, and Jason Miller himself had been shot three times. It was one of the first violent crimes that Lisbon Falls had seen in decades, and the only witness had been Jason’s drooping basset hound, Frank. Continue reading