Month: November 2013

“If a writer were a free man…”

“If a writer were a free man and not a slave, if he could write what he chose, not what he must, if he could base his work upon his own feeling and not upon convention, there would be no plot, no comedy, no tragedy, no love interest or catastrophe in the accepted style, and perhaps not a single button sewn on as the Bond Street tailors would have it. Life is not a series of giglamps symmetrically arranged; but a luminous halo, a semitransparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end. Is it not the task of the novelist to convey this varying, this unknown and uncircumscribed spirit, whatever aberration of complexity it may display, with as little mixture of the alien and external as possible?”

– Virginia Woolf


“It is not the task of a writer to ‘tell all,’ or even to decide what to leave in, but to decide what to leave out. Whatever remains, that meager sum of this profane division, that’s the bastard chimera we call a ‘story.’ I am not building, but cutting away. And all stories, whether advertised as truth or admitted falsehoods, are fictions, cleft from the objective facts by the aforementioned action of cutting away. A pound of flesh. A pile of sawdust. Discarded chips of Carrara marble. And what’s left over.”

– Caitlín R. Kiernan  “Houses Under The Sea”

Fall Staff Bios are up!

Over the past few months, we have received messages from concerned readers letting us know that the staff bios were difficult to find, or that the links to them were broken, leading to pages or posts that no longer exist. So in the interest of making things easier on everyone, a link to the staff bios has been placed in the main menu for your convenience.

Without further ado, please give a warm welcome to the Fall 2013 Forum Literary Magazine staff!

Katerina Argyres
General Editor

Katerina Argyres is currently enrolled in CCSF and SF State. When she’s not studying, working, or entertaining her dog she likes to watch old movies set in San Francisco and cook. She is currently on a detective novel spree. It is inspiring her to write short mysteries and narrate her daily activities like she is in a noir film.

Kristine Nodalo
Managing Editor
Visual Arts Editor

Kristine Nodalo has been living in San Francisco for ten years, but has continually failed to find the cool places where the cool kids hang out. In her spare time, she likes to hole up in her room with a pizza all to herself while watching Downton Abbey. You’ll usually find her hungry and searching for more food, or with her nose in a book.

Tanya Prue
Drama Editor
Social Media Editor

Tanya Prue is an actor/writer from New Mexico with questionable sanity.  After taking several years off of school to get to know the real world and subsequently discovering it is hopelessly dull, she has returned to pursue majors in both Creative Writing and Theatre Arts.  She plans to use these degrees to finally wrangle all of the characters wandering around in her head.

Casey Baker
Fiction Editor

Casey Baker was born on a volcanic island among the sheltering branches of koa and constant threat of wild javelinas. Just as he began to form words for the tropical land around him, he was whisked into the sky in a flying metal tube and placed squarely in the center of manifest destiny and the broken dreams of aspiring starlets. He has spent much of his life trying to find volcanoes again, and through his writing he has discovered that the most magnificent ones come from within.

Amara Kellogg
Assistant Fiction Editor

Amara Kellogg is a CCSF student born and raised in SF, and an aficionado of all stories. She splits her time between finding stories she loves, writing her own, and volunteering at organizations that help struggling families.

Geordie Stock
Assistant Fiction Editor

Geordie is a part-time CCSF student that is working with Forum for the first time. He has previously attended UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis, taking coursework in film studies and music performance. He currently lives in the Presidio neighborhood of San Francisco with his three wives, Brooklyn, Anastasia, and Dakota.

Just kidding, he’s not married.

Darla Nagle
Non-Fiction Editor
Assistant Poetry Editor

Darla Nagle was born and raised in San Rafael, CA and has always had a passion for creative writing. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from San Francisco State University and is hoping to get into a master’s program in English or Creative Writing at a University in Northern California. Her ultimate goal is to teach Academic or creative writing in a community college. As well as taking classes at CCSF, Darla is currently working as a Composition Tutor in the Ocean Campus Writing Lab.

Tyler Anderson
Poetry Editor

Tyler Livingston Anderson is a Colorado born mountain boy/man  who currently lives in a box within the confines of downtown San Francisco. His anonymity rating amongst the rest of the world’s population is quite high. He still believes in supporting the United States Post Office by buying stamps and sending mix-tapes to his friends cross-country. On days when he is not cutting up dead animals for a living, he can be found crewing for sailboats or shredding guitar like a pair of lace panties on a wedding night. Tyler is extremely good at riding his bicycle and eating profuse amounts of cheeseburgers-and wishing, mostly, he could perform both of these charitable skills in a simultaneous manner.

James Daniel
Assistant Poetry Editor

Originally from New Jersey, James Daniel has been living in San Francisco for the past ten years.  James worked on the City College of San Francisco in 2010 and 2011 as a music tutor.  He has just completed writing his first novel, Holy Roller Disco, a coming-of-age story set in the decade of the Seventies.  

Osiris Walls
Assistant Poetry Editor

You’re a student by trade, but a gamer by nature. Amateur writer by day, anime lover by night. Often caught in thought at the most awful of times – You are the God of Death, you are Osiris Walls.

Christianne Kotoff
Assistant Visual Arts Editor

I’ve been a student at CCSF for a couple years now, I’ve studied mainly with in the performing arts. Since I was really young I have found ways to express myself through the creativity I have always known.  I write everyday, and those thoughts turn into poems, and a lot of the times songs. I really live everyday not just to live but to thread that day into the path of my ultimate creative expression;  if that be through song, a performance on stage or in front of the camera.  I don’t know the way exactly I just know that I will get there.

Pam Williams
Assistant Visual Arts Editor

Hi, I’m Pam and I’m an native San Franciscan. I like to knit, cook, restaurant hop, listen to Classic music and talk politics.

Thank you for reading, and have a lovely day.

The Writing Books On Which This Budding Author Depends

The Writing Books On Which This Budding Author Depends

It must be said that I have a pretty extensive library of books, and I’ve begun to add literary magazines to the shelves now, as well. A good part of this library includes books on writing, on editing, on reading like a writer, and those full of writing exercises that keep me from falling prey to the boredom-born monster who goes by the name of Writer’s Block.

At present, I most depend on three writing books…

Read More Here

What tools do you use to eliminate Writer’s Block, or any block that prevents you from creating art? 

The Ambivalent Protaganist

by Casey Baker

Recently, Huffington Post published an article (link: naming a few male protagonists from famous novels that no one would really wish to befriend if they existed in the real world. While the piece is an interesting, rather pro-feminist examination of generally brutish male characters, it leaves out an entire gender and examination therein.

Which led me to consider, of all of the characters I’ve met in the great Imagi-sphere that is the act of reading, which ones have I encountered who were both entirely compelling and also incredibly off-putting? Here are my top five.

1. Esther Greenwood, The Bell Jar – While Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel is a strong examination of the stilted social mores of women during a specific time in history and the effects of those mores that still holds great weight today, Esther is someone I would never want to simply ‘hang out’ with. This isn’t to say she is an uninteresting protagonist, rather the opposite – as the old adage goes, “Misery loves company” and Esther’s way of thinking is so relatable to anyone who has lived under the oppressive, patriarchal hetero-normative society that still informs our culture today. A day with Esther would involve venting together, crying to let it all go, and then feeling miserable for the rest of the day. The novel is enough catharsis.

2. Tyler, Shampoo Planet (Douglas Coupland) – Tyler is what Coupland labels a “Global Teen” and part of Generation Y, a generation that I unfortunately belong to simply by a matter of years. Tyler embodies everything I dislike about my generation, including a mindless adherence to consumerism that even reaches into a desire to be a corporate CEO simply because corporations control so much of the consumer media, a misplaced admiration in Reaganomics, flightiness in both life and love, and a copious amount of hair products to keep up a facade of stability and self-assuredness. By the end of the novel, Tyler finally realizes that his interests are transient and not based on anything real or sincere, but by then he has already ruined things for himself in many ways. I suppose a part of what I dislike about Tyler is that he does remind me of some elements of myself at a much younger, more naive age.

3. Clay (Bateman?), Less Than Zero (Bret Easton Ellis) – Clay is a spoiled, rich Southern California jerk. His friends are detestable, his life is by and large meaningless, and he is generally an amoral bit of driftwood, floating along a tide of drugs, sex and unhappiness. While Clay is fascinating because his life does well to satirize much of the LA culture and its excesses in a very dark series of parties and meaningless relationships, he is also someone who would casually sit across a dinner table with you, coked up and barely paying attention. A real sleezeball. It doesn’t help that his brother is possibly the one and only American Psycho, Patrick Bateman.

4.  Shannon McFarland/Daisy St. Patience/Bubba Joan/Whatever, the narrator of Invisible Monsters (Chuck Palahniuk) – After getting her face shot off, the narrator of Invisible Monsters meets the queen of train-wrecks, Brandy Alexander, and the two go on a pill-stealing, soap-operatic crime spree of epic proportions. While the narrator and her story are hilarious and continuously compelling throughout the several ridiculous plot turns of the story, she’s also incredibly psychotic and someone you wouldn’t even trust with your dying houseplant. Steer clear of this brand of crazy, despite how fabulous she seems.

5. Ms. Valerie Frizzle, The Magic Schoolbus – While the idea of shrinking into microscopic sizes and exploring the cells of the body or diving deep into the dark, black ocean with a bus submersible seem incredibly fun for any kid, the reality of the situation is that this woman is more than a little deranged, willing to put her students right into the jaws of danger just to teach them a lesson about plant chlorophyll or the inner workings of stomach acid. Ms. Frizzle is a dangerous woman with dangerous ideas.

What are your type five fiction frenemies?