Category Archives: Forum Magazine

You’re Invited: Forum Magazine’s Fall 2013 Release Party

lCome join us for the release of Forum Magazine’s Fall 2013 edition!

Café la Bohème will be hosting our Fall 2013 release party, which will feature an open mic, music, and a raffle.

Come join us to purchase your Fall 2013 edition of Forum, share your work on the open mic, listen to the latest talent in the CCSF community, and enjoy all of the delicious food and drink the brilliant Café la Bohème has to offer.

Sunday, February 9th

3318 24th Street, San Francisco

5-8 pm

Hope to see you there!

Accepting Submissions for Spring 2014

Forum is now accepting submissions for the Spring 2014 edition!

Submit your fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, photography, art and comics to submissions@forumccsf.org by February 18th for your chance to be published!

Please visit our submissions page for more info on submission guidelines.

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We’re looking forward to another great issue thanks to your talented work.  Please spread the word!

Our Fall 2013 issue is out!

Our Fall 2013 issue is out!

It’s finally time for everyone else to see the magazine in print! Come celebrate our new issue with us on Sunday, February 9th at Cafe La Boheme (3318 24th Street, San Francisco) from 5pm to 8pm. Here are the top five reasons why you should come to this event:

1. We want to meet you, fellow Forum readers!
2. Meet some of the wonderful contributors whose talents make up this issue.
3. Delicious food.
4. Raffles!
5. Lastly, inspire or be inspired during our Open Mic.

We hope to see you there!

The Ambivalent Protaganist

by Casey Baker

Recently, Huffington Post published an article (link:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/claire-fallon/great-male-protagonists-w_b_4044741.html) 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?

An Interview with Angie Chau

Interviewed by Katerina Argyres

Angie Chau’s daring 2010 short story collection, Quiet As They Come, has been adopted for classroom curriculum at universities and high schools across the country–including at our own City College of San Francisco.

Finalist for both the Commonwealth Club Book of the Year and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Book of the Year awards, Quiet As They Come explores the lives of Vietnamese immigrants as they struggle to adjust to life in San Francisco. Three families share a house brimming with secrets, dreams, and desires. Some thrive while others are destroyed by the false promise of the “American Dream”.

Chau, winner of the 2009 UC Davis Maurice Prize in Fiction, has been published in many distinguished literary magazines. Her work has earned her a Hedgebrook Residency, an Anderson Center Residency and a Macondo Foundation fellowship.

Chau was born in Vietnam and traveled throughout the world before settling in California. She earned a BA in Southeast Asian Culture and Political Economy from UC Berkeley and a Master’s degree in English with emphasis in Creative Writing from UC Davis.

How old were you when you left Vietnam? Where did your family move to?

I was three years old when we left and four by the time we arrived in San Francisco.

In many immigrant stories, most people are caught in between two cultures and trying to find harmony with both. What was your experience of leaving home and moving to another country? Or if you don’t remember, what was it like for your parents or the rest of your family?

Your question is beautifully put and it’s an eternal question. How does one find happiness, balance, harmony, and live life gracefully? I think it’s a question that every individual struggles with regardless of country or creed. Maybe this question comes to the forefront in immigrant stories because the differences in cultural norms and tastes can be so striking when a person is uprooted from one country and put into another. It sets up tensions that are accessible for good storytelling if done right. In practical terms though I whole heartedly confess to picking and choosing what I like best from each culture, whether Vietnamese or Western, and selectively integrating what I like.

Continue reading An Interview with Angie Chau

“Fire” by Sarah Hoenicke

Fire

by Sarah Hoenicke

We line up and we know what they think of us. We know they see us as freaks; we know they do not see us. It took a long time for me to see that life is more than what you see, and I think some folk do not, they do not ever see that. They go on, to them we are our shirts, pants, legs, arms–each of us a bone, all of one corpse, we go to the fire. But what makes me, that is more than the me you see. It is the thought, the choice, the laugh; it is the thing that I do with my eyes when I smile or frown, the ways my skin folds–these make me. Mom, she’s in front of me. She has short hair, too short. It looks bad and makes her feel like a small thing when she is a big thing, at least to me. She has bad clothes too, clothes that the camps didn’t want. They take all from us, but don’t want what she has. It is too poor for the poor; the work dust on it will be food for the fires. My dad, his son, they are sent to a camp far from us, over the fence, the cold fence. We do not hear from them, but I hear that the men, they have it worse than us. They are told: work, work, work, work, then die. We are just told: die. One girl, she has a baby. They pass the babies through the hole in the fence. Those that are not like us, some of them take the ones that are small enough to fit through. I think of what will happen to them, those small babes born in the midst of this death place, those ones that get set free. And I think I should have had such luck, to be one of them, and not me. They break us up now, and make us form two rows. They scream. We scream. I can’t reach her hand. She can’t get to me. They have clubs and guns. I don’t know why they take us apart just to push us back together. Maybe for fear. There we were as one, one more time, all our big Jew bones in one room. That’s what they say: your big Jew bones, you brown girl–but I’m not brown. The room is closed. There is no light. They line us up. No one fights. There are dead with us, and small ones too small to do much but cry. We are one, and that’s how they burn us.

Sarah Hoenicke’s Fire will be published in our Spring 2013 issue.

Copyright © Sarah Hoenicke

“Ilium” by Ayo Khensu-Ra

Ilium

by Ayo Khensu-Ra   for Jenna

When the fires went up on the last day,
the embers flew into the sky, crackled
like the stars that were no longer there.

Words went into the flames
lives, records, whole stories
consumed in the heat of change —

they fueled our endings, threw
up the hot air that stirred our sails;
they were funerary offers to a dead world.

When did it start? When they left us?
Now we leave each other
and I stand alone with strangers

on the last beach, sand on the edge of some hell.
We will leave in the black ships lost out
in the darkness, riding at anchor.

I hold the jar against my body,
the glass warming almost as if
it has already been touched

by the flames
the paper charring inside
gasping out its last light before falling to ash.
I unscrew the lid, put the jar down,

tie the packet of papers to the smooth stone
I hold in my pocket.
In firelight

I glance again at the words,
the black ink, all the things
I can remember, all of me,

all of us. I toss it toward the fire
and soon it is gone and
all the world is doomed.

I turn and walk in the sand,
not sure I want to sleep,
not sure I want to wake.

The sky is black.

Ayo Khensu-Ra’s Ilium will be published in our Spring 2013 issue.

Copyright © Ayo Khensu-Ra

“Incomplete Sentences” by C. S. Hull

Incomplete Sentences

by C. S. Hull

When my grandmother
was asked why she can’t complete
a sentence
before going onto
the next – continuously
confusing her listener –
she considered for a moment
before responding:
that she thought too fast –
she thought too fast
and by the time the words were
free, had flown from
her mouth and lingered
long enough to be heard,
that she was bored by them.
Her dialogue was
in effect old news,
and she was ready for the next
morsel of information
as it was ripening in
her mind. The pathway,
the expressway from thought
which moved at the speed of light,
bottlenecked
in its conversion to sound.
Consequently her listeners
could never enjoy the velocity
of her internal brainstorm
and were never privy
to a fully realized
sentence.

C. S. Hall’s Incomplete Sentences will be published in our Spring 2013 issue.

Copyright © C. S. Hull

Open Mic & Readings at Cafe La Boheme This Sunday (4/14)


Following in the spirit of Forum‘s recent publication party—which, if you missed, was a great success and a lot of fun—we are hosting a second open mic and reading this semester, this time at the ever-excellent Cafe La Boheme. Located next door to the 24th Street BART station, Cafe La Boheme is not only easy to get to but also serves as a dependable locale for finding good food, drink and conversation—and, in the case of this upcoming Sunday, a chance to hear the latest literary works of the CCSF community as well. So whether you have some new or old work you would like to read, you’d like to hear some great stories and poetry, or you’re simply looking for something to do Sunday night, come on out and enjoy the festivities!

When: Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 5:30 PM
Where: Cafe La Boheme (3318 24th Street)

“Holding Up the Circle” by Jordy Lynch

Here is a preview of Jordy Lynch’s Holding Up the Circle, which will be published in our Spring 2013 issue. Jordy read the piece at the release party for Forum‘s Fall 2012 issue, video from which can be viewed below.

Holding Up the Circle

by Jordy Lynch

I looked up.

Clouds spread out across the sky, covering any blue the atmosphere usually reflected, resulting in a range of dark and light grey.  The mottled sky peaked through treetops and around rooftops.

I was walking to the lake, the usual sounds of gunfire absent today. The gun range across the lake was only open on Wednesdays and Sundays. I think it was a Tuesday. I always wondered why the lake in the city would have a gun range attached to it, but the lake absorbed any missed rounds. Plus the water acted as an excellent surface for the gunshot reports to travel on, and I enjoyed the periodic noise of the firing range.

Continue reading “Holding Up the Circle” by Jordy Lynch