Pop Quiz: Angelo Lorenzo

A NEW POP LIT Q & A WITH AN EXCITING WRITER

Angelo Lorenzo

TODAY’S QUIZ IS WITH ONE OF THE BEST YOUNG SHORT STORY WRITERS ON THE PLANET– ANGELO LORENZO

1.)  Who’s your favorite short story writer living or dead?

AL:  I have to admit that before I got engaged with short stories, I’ve spent my early years as an avid reader by getting immersed in novels. When it comes to fiction, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King, and George R.R. Martin would definitely come to mind. While Lewis and Tolkien made it to my reading lists when I was in elementary and high school, King and Martin helped me with style and voice when I got serious with writing in college.

But for short stories, I must say Edgar Allan Poe would be one in the list. Horror and dark tales have their ways of engaging the reader. Poe, regardless of his personal life, innovated literature by shortening the narrative form and hooking the reader with terrifying imagery. “The Masque of the Red Death” is one of my favorites.

In the local literary scene, I have been following the works of Nick Joaquin, Dean Francis Alfar, and Elena Paulma. Joaquin has been one of the most recognized Filipino writers because of the socio-political issues he depicted in his short stories. While he may have passed on, universities still study his works. Alfar, on the other hand, has written short stories which can be categorized under the genres that I love – magical realism and fantasy. Paulma underscores women empowerment with her characters. She keeps classical themes of family and love in contemporary setting.

2.)  Why did you become a writer?

AL:  When I was 11, my mother took me and my sister to watch the film adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I was amazed by the story, as well as its allegory. I remember obsessing over the series since then. I read the books, got introduced to fantasy, and then started reading other books. I think it was at that time when I started dreaming of becoming a writer someday. I wanted to explore further the kind of worlds that Lewis, Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, Christopher Paolini, and J.K. Rowling created.

It wasn’t until I was 18 that I started getting serious about writing. I wrote a couple of drafts, self-published them online, and also practiced translating my idea into words. I took advantage of the knowledge I gained while in college to hone this skill, especially when it comes to writing with structure. I majored in Development Journalism, and the program made me familiar with the discipline.

Currently, I am taking my Master’s Degree in Literature. Reading and writing will always be a part of me, and I think that’s a good thing. Nothing compares to the feeling of fulfillment once a writer completes a manuscript or makes worlds out of words. After all, I believe everyone is creative. The medium which we prefer to showcase our creativity makes the difference. I think it was Elizabeth Gilbert who introduced me to this idea after reading her book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.

Also, I write because I feel good doing it, and I feel accomplished every time I finish what I’m writing.

3.)  Can writers be pop stars?

AL:  Taylor Swift, I believe, is a great writer. Her songs made her a sensational pop star in this generation. The same goes with Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Karen Carpenter, Patti Smith, and the many names in the constellation of music.

But when it comes to art in the written format (or literature in general), I think writers can definitely be pop stars. However, the work matters before the name. Genuine artists focus on the craft before anything else. Fame, reputation, recognition and wealth may be side effects, but these should not be the end-result or the main objective. Art is not about hoarding attention or money. These may come or these may not. But what every writer should keep in mind is that their craft is their outlet to deliver their message. These messages may inspire, disturb, reflect, frighten, encourage, motivate, etc. And whether these would spark attention or generate income, that’s for the odds to decide. The value of the craft – and in the case of writers, writing – should always come first. 
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NOW READ ANGELO’S STORY, “SPOILER ALERT.”

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Pop Quiz: Rachel Haywire

A QUICK NEW POP LIT Q & A WITH AN EXCITING WRITER

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TODAY’S QUIZ IS WITH TRANSHUMANIST PARTY CANDIDATE– AND WRITER– RACHEL HAYWIRE

1.)  Have you done anything in your life bolder than running for President?

“Too many things. Running for President is my attempt to learn how to be normal. When I was a teenager I hitchhiked across the country. I stayed in a bunch of hacker squats and played live shows in between going to conferences and festivals. Meanwhile I was running a record label, organizing street kids, and dining the elite. Seriously, running for President is a boring game.”

2.)  Is the new generation too shocked by out-of-the-box ideas?

“Yes. They think out-of-the-box means wearing a quirky t-shirt with their cat on it, or attending a poly gamer meetup. Yet the minute they meet someone who is actually out-of-the-box, they run away screaming and claim toxic vibes or micro aggression. They are careful and boring, yet then again they are far more stable than me and my friends were growing up.”

3.)  As a futurist, do you see a future for literature?

“I do, yet it will be nothing like the literature that we know today. Instead, it will be immersive and break down previous genre expectations. There will be an eclectic return to tradition mixed with a postmodern pop sensibility. It will have a vitalist current that will shake readers out of their comfort zones. Underground subgenres will mutate into new forms that will eventually penetrate the mainstream.”
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NOW READ RACHEL HAYWIRE’S STORY, “THE KINGDOM.”

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This Hasn’t Been A Very Magical Journey So Far by Homeless

Reviewed by New Pop Lit

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“I move through the world like it’s some sort of mirage. I move through the poetry the same way someone moves through a ghost they don’t see but is still there. And it really is there, the poetry. Poetry is everywhere because life is everywhere. But how can you write about life when you’ve completely fallen out of love with life? You move through the world, or your perception of the world, like some kind of lethargic tumbleweed.”
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Everything in the established literary world is geared toward standard status quo opinion. Everything among the literary cognoscenti is geared toward their peers, the herd of acceptable thought. NOT toward those writing outside the margins of approval or disapproval of the Big Five-financed literary establishment. Which are the only margins that matter. If you’re announcing your love of the marginalized at swanky dinners in Manhattan, at hyper-expensive chi-chi restaurants on Wall Street– Big Five-published marginalized– then how marginalized are they?

One writer who’s not on Wall Street but is marginalized and has named himself Homeless has written a novel published by an indy outfit named Expat Press.

The novel: THIS HASN’T BEEN A VERY MAGICAL JOURNEY SO FAR

I suspect Homeless is one of those homeless or near-homeless people you see throughout the island of Manhattan– that hyper-expensive island hyper-blind to its own authentic artists and writers– one of the characters handing out flyers to tourists in Times Square trying to survive to keep their art alive in that insular island dreams and disasters. . . .

His novel “Journey” has the vibe of homelessness, though it reads like a surrealistic dream, one of those dreams we all have which seem starkly real yet also mad and last forever, for days, then you wake up and you’ve been asleep for two hours. An experiment in reality and time.

The plot? There’s not much of a plot. Only a tale that begins in a hospital when the lead character meets a talking cat–

Hank Williams knows cats don’t speak. He knows they only purr or meow or sometimes screech and howl depending on their mood. But something about this unnatural act of the cat greeting him seems very natural, like it’s supposed to be happening, this unusual verbal exchange between human and feline.

–and they go on a long highway which might be a real highway or could be a highway of the mind. A mix of reality and unreality.

Isabel stops cupping her breasts and looks up around the ceiling, her face expressing intense levels of anxiety.

“I feel like an angel is locked onto my head with a sniper rifle. Like an angel’s lying on a cloud somewhere above me, staring down his scope at my head with his finger resting lightly on the trigger, ready to blow my brains out the back of my head and all over the wall.”

The narrative has the poignancy of a dream.

Expat Press is publishing more than a score of striking new writers. Fascinating, confident, intelligently imaginative writers. I see announcements about them everyplace. Their work isn’t pop and it’s not literary– it’s something underground that you’ll have to read for yourself to decide if it’s your thing. They might be, like Homeless, from the streets, or they might be instead the refuse of the academy. Or something in between. Are they the future– a possible path or magical journey showing the literary future?

That’s not for us but for you the reader to decide. They’re here and aren’t going away.
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Purchase his book here. Do it.

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(Photo of Homeless.)

 

Let It Bleed by Nicole Nesca

UNDERGROUND RIFFS PART TWO
A Review by New Pop Lit

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“–throwing my arms around the world, Buddha, Christ and anyone else who has an ideology a purpose and a yarn and a barn to sell twisting into shapes and people and things wandering and wondering into the shadows of the new day–“

THIS is the second publication we’re reviewing from Screamin’ Skull Press. There’s more reality, more humanity, in the two modest volumes than in scores of books of conglomerate-produced “literary” works.

“I think of all the books I want to read and that I want to write. I think of all the original music in my head and the paintings I have yet to create.”

This comes at the end of one of Nicole Nesca‘s prose poems. It’s the credo of the writer. Of any artist.

LET IT BLEED is a writer bleeding emotion, history, and imagination onto the page. Nicole does this in chapter after chapter, a many-hued mix of poetry, prose and stories bleeding into one another, sublimated to her intelligence and her voice. It’s appropriate for Nesca to mention paintings– these are word paintings. When you read them you see the emotion– the artistic blood– dripping from the sentences, as if she opened a vein and out flowed creativity.

“I raze myself every couple of weeks to allow the pain, the happiness and the beauty of life to melt into a pot to ponder to create to sell to be as the gentle reminder that one day I too will be old and unable to do things that foolish people do my eyes sting–“

Paintings set to rhythm, combining all things words are able to be:
-Be visual. These works are visual.
-Be musical. The words flow rhythmically into the ear like a cool jazz cadence.
-Be real. They’re real. Hyperreal.

Do we have a favorite from this collection? Yes! “Absinthe,” and “Johnny,” and “What would Hemingway say?” and “Nephew,” and “Should we all ‘let it be’?” and “Red, White and Very Blue,” and. . . .

Reading this slim volume is like late night listening to a just-released album of new jazz or new rock, discovering that writing can still come alive, be direct, be relevant, be today.
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Check out their site here. An exciting lit happening.

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(Photo of Nicole Nesca.)

 

 

 

Whores Are Always Melancholy by Jess Mize

A Review by New Pop Lit

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“She looked forward to the day of her funeral
As if it were her wedding,
And she was Grace Kelly.
But really she was the bride of death”

WHORES ARE ALWAYS MELANCHOLY is a chapbook of poetry/prose which is both rhythmic and visual. Jess Mize has incandescent talent, of a kind which comes by once a generation. This is not an exaggeration. Think Fitzgerald or Plath. Words and lines jump off the page with emotion and meaning.

Anais Nin once wrote:

“–the writer dares to dig into hidden worlds, dares perilous explorations in which he might lose, first of all, his contact with human life and possibly his sanity. But he is looking for treasures of another kind.”

This is what Jess Mize does in her writing.

“Gilded sculptures and horrible romantic novels of the 19th century echo from the shallow depths of my past imagination.”

“She loved the bright vermillion flushings of the fresh blood.”

Her words connect our inner selves to the world.

“The love you crave cannot be purchased. To satisfy your desires you need an annotated trucker’s atlas and a serious deficiency of remorse.”

The question is what to do with the overflowing talent. Limiting it to poetry is too easy. She writes her explosions of emotion as if they come easy. But among the rush of words there is pain and despair, so it can’t be easy.

Her fiction, unfeatured here, bursts with a deluge of words. The chapbook gives a strong taste of it. Good writing– no, great writing– but can the flow be directed? Channeled? Should it be?

The chapbook may be all that’s needed. Receive it in short blasts full of compacted energy.

Whores Are Always Melancholy is Hurricane Harvey put onto the page. If you survive the encounter, it’s a thrilling experience.

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Whores Are Always Melancholy is available at Finishing Line Press.

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(Photo of Jess Mize.)