Spring 2012 Forum staff bios.
Michael Thomson, General Editor Spring 2012, Fiction Editor Fall 2011, Assistant Fiction Editor Spring 2011
Can’t help but feel that writing my own bio feels like I am writing a personal ad, so let’s talk about reading. There are many writers I like to read. But if you were to ask me to name just one, it’d be John Fante. He was Uncle Chuck’s idol; enough said.
When it comes to writing, I’d say I like to draw from than my own mental playground. Sometimes I do draw upon my own life experiences; Fante did it masterfully. Writing to me is an art, a craft, one in which I know I have much to learn. No, writing stories is not practical, it’s a dream, one I decided was worth abandoning my formal education in Biology to simply run down. Still, GO BEARS!!!
But seriously, aside from enjoying writing, I also enjoy long walks on he beach, petting puppies, and a nice bottle of red by a roaring fire. Who doesn’t? But here are a few things not many people know about me. When I’m in Rome, I do as the penguins do. If I could change one thing about myself, I would want to have an extra set of arms. I Just think I could get so much more done that way. Yes, I do have a mirror in the shower. People think it’s for shaving, and it is, but really it’s or making shampoo horns and angry monster faces at myself in he morning. Last, but certainly not least, I think crying is blackmail. I cry when people try to blackmail me.
Chanelle Loftness Fiction Editor Spring 2012, Assistant Fiction Editor Fall 2011
Truc Nguyen Fiction Editor Spring 2012, Assistant Fiction Editor, Club Secretary Fall 2011
Apparently, Jeffrey Eugenides knows me better than I do:
“And yet sometimes she worried about what those musty old books were doing to her. Some people majored in English to prepare for law school. Others became journalists. The smartest guy in the honors program, Adam Vogel, a child of academics, was planning on getting a Ph.D. and becoming an academic himself. That left a large contingent of people majoring in English by default. Because they weren’t left-brained enough for science, because history was too dry, philosophy too difficult, geology too petroleum-oriented, and math too mathematical–because they weren’t musical, artistic, financially motivated, or really all that smart, these people were pursuing degrees doing something no different from what they’d done in the first grade: reading stories. English was what people who didn’t know what to major in majored in.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot 2011
Kat Cabral Managing Editor Spring 2012, Fiction Reader, Club Rep Fall 2011
Kaylo X. Poetry Editor Spring 2012, Poetry Reader Fall 2011
Monty Heying Poetry Reader
The compelling need to write didn’t arrive for me until thirty years after Freshman Composition. I began writing to make sense of a fractured childhood and became fascinated by the orphan archetype. I was drawn to the freedom and sweep of fiction. I want to write memorable stories that raise awareness of child abuse and honor the struggles of unwanted children—stories that would also acknowledge people who make their parentless journey into adulthood more bearable. These are my heroes.
I have an unpublished collection of short stories based on my nine years in a Texas orphanage during the 1950s and ‘60s. A novel is in progress concerning similar material.
I was diagnosed with PTSD from the extreme mistreatment at the children’s home, but instead of anger, what evolved were profound feelings of compassion. I’ve raised a family and had a long career in corporate finance. Before majoring in business, I majored in biology. I see the world through the eyes of a biologist and have a strong passion for social justice—a perspective that influences my writing.
Ellie MacBride, General Editor Fall 2011, Managing Editor, Club President Spring 2011
Ellie was born three years ago when an adventurous nineteen year-old named Laura decided she had had enough of the cows in Sacramento, packed up a U-Haul, and conquered the Bay Bridge with her old, yet lively cat, unfortunately named Fluffy. The pair moved into a cold garage in the Mission with a pack rat and his pit bull, Fooey, and set up a temporary home together.
Laura wanted terribly to make a new life for herself, but eventually decided against feigning an accent, and settled on pretending her name was Ellie. She felt empowered that she could decide whom she was. After serving tables for three years, she realized that she wasn’t going to become a famous filmmaker anytime soon if she didn’t do what she had been teasing her successful friends for doing, and go back to school.
She currently lives in an upgrade from the garage and takes film, music, and English classes at City College. She volunteers at a Non Profit theater in SoMa and likes to make short films of all the interesting homeless people she meets in the city and drink whiskey—sometimes simultaneously. She hopes to one day write, shoot, edit and provide music for films—until then, she tries to figure out how to tune her cello and watches Short Circuit for the THIRD TIME on Netflix.
Kyanne Rose, Managing Editor Fall 2011, Spring 2011
Kyanne Rose is a somewhat socially awkward girl from a town whose name has more syllables than are things to do in it.
After exiling herself in Santa Barbara for a year after high school, she decided to live the dream of all suburbanites and moved to the city. When she had settled in, grown accustomed to dangerously steep hills, and realized that living in San Francisco is pointless unless you’re going out and doing something, she decided to pick up the writing habit she had quit for standardized testing again and biked to the far corners of The City to find inspiration. Strangely, her favorite topic is suburbia. Incensed by this renewed passion, Kyanne joined Forum to read and edit and find more inspiration.
When she finds the time, Kyanne likes to read obituaries, call her dad to talk about his job, and plan vacations that never seem to happen. She’s currently planning a trip to Seattle.
Brian Thomas Ogden, Visual Arts Editor Fall 2011
Brian abandoned his home in the wild mountainous region of Jefferson for an urban lifestyle five years ago. He attends classes at City College in the hope of someday understanding the intricacies of modern society. While he has not yet mastered the eloquence required for the written word he often mimics his surroundings in crude drawings and paintings. He is honored by the opportunity to contribute the visual sensibilities of a wild animal to Forum Literary Magazine. His art is accessible on the world wide web at blackwhiteandcredallover.blogspot.com
Alison Ruth Barry Poetry Editor Fall 2011
Sara Wigglesworth, Assistant Poetry Editor Fall 2011
Sara Wigglesworth has only ever lived in so-called redneck states on the East Coast before she moved to California 2.5 years ago. She used to be a waitress back in the day, but now she wants to focus on a career in editing. Some of her favorite things include: making personal connections with strangers on the bus, staying up late, wishing on stars on shitty days, listening to power ballads really loudly, and getting the chance to go to an all-night eatery at 4 in the morning. Reading is her favorite and someday she will probably win a singing contest at a karaoke bar.
Monica Arzel Medina, Club Treasurer, Fiction Reader Fall 2011
Monica, originally from Delano California is the middle girl of 5. Her favorite author is Leslie Ludy, her favorite book is Wild at Heart by John Eldridge. She despises asparagus, bright colors and bad Mexican food. Her favorite quote is from Steve Prefontaine: “Giving anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
Kwame Opoku-Duku III, General Editor Spring 2011
Kwame is an East Coast transplant from Dudley, Massachusetts, the eldest son of a Ghanaian deacon father and a social worker mother.
After being profoundly influenced by the works of Mishima and finding what he called “the perfect ideal of mind and body,” he dedicated himself to writing full time. While writing for Blank Canvas, an art magazine based out of Worcester, Massachusetts, he began to work on his first novel, Here Comes the Airplane at the age of 23. Upon finishing his third draft, he realized he had outgrown his work and hopped on a plane to San Francisco, where he now lives and writes short stories and plays.
In his spare time, Kwame is an avid footballer, soul bass man, news-editor, cello novice, darkroom photographer, budding francophile, warrior and lover of Brazilian music and the beach.
Katie Dalla, Poetry Editor Spring 2011, Visual Arts Editor Spring 2010, Cupcake-Making Teddy Bear
Katie Dalla is a lover—of light, of words, of people, and of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. She has been writing creatively since she was eight, thanks to Harriet the Spy, and a very encouraging 3rd grade teacher. She is inspired by the mundane as well as socio-political systems and how they affect the individual. Dr. Seuss and Gloria Anzaldúa are among some of her heroes.
Katie is currently a Spanish major at CCSF, and is about to transfer to SFSU in Fall 2012 to pursue creative writing. Her experiences at CCSF and the diverse students she has met have profoundly instilled more wisdom than any institution curriculum could. She has actively worked with poets and writers on campus and organized readings, publishing workshops, and other literary events as the President of the Poetry for the People Club since Fall 2010.
She looks forward to seeing Forum grow as a literary magazine, and is grateful she could be a part of it.
Ayo Khensu-Ra, Blog Editor Spring 2011 and Spring 2010, Assistant Poetry Editor Spring 2011, Directionless Loser
Ayo was born in the East Bay but grew up in Hilo, Hawaii. He moved back to the Bay Area after high school for reasons he can’t quite remember. He has loved reading and writing for about as long as he can remember so Forum was a natural fit. While long interested in writing fiction, he has recently come to love reading and writing poetry. Ellipses are probably his favorite punctuation, he is fond of parenthetical asides, Muni’s historic streetcars, motorsport (though not NASCAR), architecture, history and the Oakland A’s.
In addition to Forum, Ayo’s work appeared in the 2011 issue of Bird and Beckett’s Amerarcana.
Sarah Woods, Poetry Reader Spring 2011
Sarah grew up in the South Bay in Cupertino, but tried her whole life to run away; there was always something pulling her not only from her home but from the area she had to reside in until she turned eighteen. Finally at the age of twenty one, Sarah found the feeling of home in San Francisco, and have never considered another place to live. Her major is Nursing, although she has wavered between several, including creative writing. It’s still in the market of her mind, but for now this is her last hoorah at City College as far as non-science and math courses. Sarah took this class because she specifically love poetry, as well as fiction and non- fiction stories. She has been writing ever since she could form words and it has been an outlet for her throughout her life. Being able to now share and possibly publish some of her work is a thrill. Art decorates Sarah’s life in its many forms personally, but this magazine does such a fabulous job of inspiring and bringing out the artist not only in herself, but in so many others. New to the process of publishing, Sarah finds the experience very exciting. Professor Isles convinced her last semester to join the class, and it is by far her favorite experience at CCSF.
Sarah’s favorite author is the unpublished writer and her best friend, Dominic Malinverno. If she could hace a delicious dining experience with anybody, it would be Gandhi. She would eat an enormous double cheeseburger with fries although her guest would most likely disagree with her selection.
Coreen Abbott, Assistant Visual Arts Editor Spring 2011
Coreen has never passed a dance lesson. Once sufficiently informed, Coreen left her home in Chargin Falls, Ohio to indulger her wandering and curious mind. Now it’s time for her to write some things down for Forum and the class, faculty, and students are an ideal training ground.
Visit her website at www.coreenabbott.com
Zuleika Mohamed, Fiction Reader, Club Secretary Spring 2011
I was born in the capital of the world — also known as New York City. Living in the ghetto of Washington Heights, my parents decided to send me to the Dominican Republic at age ten where I experienced my first cultural shock: going from public school to Catholic school. Discouraged by the experience, I became an agnostic.
I returned to NYC at age 18 and after two years of college, I joined the Army. One of my most educating experience was working at Checkpoint Charlie on November 11, 1989, on the fall of the Berlin Wall. Through my “family” in the Army I heard about San Francisco and what a great gay paradise it was. When my time was up to PCS — no kids, not the cell phone company, but the military acronym for Permanent Change Of Station — I requested the Presidio. However, it was closing at the time, so I was transferred to the closest station, Fort Ord.
After completing my service, I moved to San Francisco and attended SFSU where I majored in Hotel Management. I have recently decided to take part in Forum for the experience of working on a magazine and for the workshops. I love reading as much as writing and have many favorite authors. It’s hard for me to pin-point a specific author, but just to mention a few Gabriel García Marquéz, Mario Vargas Llosa, Ernest Hemingway, John Knowles, Isabel Allende, V.C. Andrews, and Ann Rice. My favorite quote is from Anais Nin: “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.”
Jessica Mejia, Forum poetry reader, Assistant Blog Editor Spring 2011
- “So subtly is the fume of life designed, to clarify the pulse and cloud the mind…”
Hot and bothered in the San Fernando Valley, Jessica decided to flee suburbia in search of a new home where she could ride her bike without ridicule and nurse her love of cold weather. The swelling music scene in San Francisco was the last perk to convince her that she would be living here for quite some time.
Jessica joined Forum as an aspiring editor hoping to gain valuable knowledge and experience in the field. It is also a great way for her to get involved in the school’s literary community.
If she could have dinner with anyone, Jessica would have Indian food with Salvador Dali. Check out her music blog at Gala to my Dali.
Joseph Ramelo, Forum poetry reader, Blog Editor Spring 2011
Joe would love to say that he was dramatically conceived moments before the 1991 eruption of the Mount Pinatubo volcano, but the only true part of that statement is that he is a native-born Filipino. Actually born in 1982 — which certifies him as an old timer in certain circles — his parents stayed in the Philippines for only three more years before raising him in the United States. He joined the staff of Forum magazine quite by chance. After stumbling upon a flyer for the ENGL 14, the class that producesForum, one thing led to another, and the next thing he knew, he became that pain in the ass who constantly sends out mass e-mails to the class mailing list. They call this being the Assistant Blog Editor.
Joe’s favorite writers include Jhumpa Lahiri, Isabel Allende, Wally Lamb, and Peter Cameron. Sometimes he likes to throw in a little Joan Didion, if only to give the illusion of being razor sharp. Since he was 12 years old, he has been a fan of Chelsea Clinton. Chelsea is Joe’s perfect dinner partner. If they ever met, he would like for them to go grab hamburgers because Joe suspects that there’s an everywoman lurking behind that dynastic visage.
Joe lives in San Francisco, where he studied Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. When not contemplating the destiny of mankind (this was an actual question on a personality test that he once took), he writes about baseball. His postings can be found on http://sarka.tumblr.com. Go Giants!