The Mirage in the Rain

By Megan Robb

I know I was on my way home—home in this case being my college apartment—but I don’t remember where I was leaving. It doesn’t matter. In my memory, the entire landscape is blurred and grayed by sheets of rain. I mean sheets, curtains, heavy yet fluid drapes that made the whole world unrecognizable. To this day, I can’t pinpoint a highway, intersection, or landmark that would give me a clue as to where I was.

There existed only one building as far as I’m concerned, and that’s where I pulled over and decided to wait in the parking lot for the storm to subside. Sitting in a parked car is rarely any fun, though, so I ran inside what looked like some kind of dusty mini-mart. It was dusty all right. It was dim and had ratty gray carpeting. There was the usual rest stop merchandise and some faded greeting cards, but it wasn’t so much a mini-mart as it was an amazing treasure trove of foreign candy. There were all kinds of colorful packages with smiling rabbits and bears and words I didn’t understand.

There were giant chocolate boxes, presumably from India, with lovingly illustrated portraits on them. There were those German chocolate eggs that were recalled in the U.S. because the small toy inside each one was declared a choking hazard. There was even a candy called Weirds. Seriously. It was a U.N. summit of all things sweet. The store itself was run by people whom I’m guessing were from somewhere in Eastern Europe.

They spoke to each other in some tongue that wasn’t quite German and wasn’t quite Russian. It was all very overwhelming, but I wanted to stay there forever. Eventually, though, I did have to tear myself away from that wondrous place. The storm had calmed enough for me to be able to see outside my windshield, so I quietly made my exit.

When I returned to the familiar safety of the apartment, I told my roommate all about this mysterious shop that sheltered me from the worst rainstorm I’d ever had the misfortune to drive though. Yet no amount of Google Maps searches could tell me where the Magical Former Eastern Bloc Candy Store was or what it was actually called. For a long time I was convinced that this place had a kind of Brigadoon setup where it only existed for one day every 100 years. The more I think about it, though, the less sure I am that the store existed at all.

It’s a shame I didn’t buy anything from there. At least there would be some ephemeral proof. It’s unsettling to think it was all in my mind. I was living off campus, though, so it couldn’t have been one of the bizarre dreams I’d get from the equally bizarre illnesses that came with dorm life. I have no idea. The more I try to remember, the fuzzier the details get. Maybe it was a reverse of the famed desert mirages: a dry place in an ocean of rain.

Contributing writer Megan Robb is a writer, consultant and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles can be found at divot.com, wordhusterink.com, and cracked.com, as well as her personal website, megan-robb-writer.webs.com

The Interview: Peggy Payne

Peggy Payne in surfing gear alongside a very brave pooch.

Anyone who has visited the South has heard of Peggy Payne.  Whether the time is spent catching up with family in Greensboro or aunts in Okracoke, her novels are bound to show up in dinner conversation–if not on the coffee table.  Her novel Revelation remains  one of the most provocative to come out the South since To Kill a Mockingbird, and since then she’s written a series of novels dealing with faith, including Sister India, a sort of religious Decameron sit in the aftermath of an Indian riot.

Ms. Payne  sat down with correspondent John Winn and talked about books, writing, and her own unique take on Southern literature

JW: You’re a successful writer living and working in Raleigh. Do you worry about being pegged as a “Southern” writer?

PP:I don’t worry about it at all; I don’t mind either way. In fact, I’d like to see the term Southern writing cover a broader range of settings than it currently does. Stories by Southerners about the urban South don’t seem to be treated as Southern stories in the national press.

JW: What is the most embarrassing workshop experience you’ve ever had?

Well, I gave a talk at a writers conference in Grand Rapids that didn’t go over well at all. And in New Orleans I spilled a whole glass of orange juice on the suit of a fellow panelist just as were to begin. I’ve frequently read pages in my writers’ group that needed a lot of work. Usually that’s not embarrassing. Once, though, I was scheduled to read and there was going to be a guest sitting in. I didn’t finish the material I’d meant to read. Wanting to keep the commitment to read, I grabbed something else. The visitor didn’t appear. I read something that turned out to be pretty bad and the others freely said so. On that occasion, I felt they should appreciate my showing up with pages in hand.

JW: A lot of your writing wrestles with Christianity and religion in general. What is it about the subject that is attractive from a literary point of view?

PP:It’s simply what I’m drawn to write about. The writing is a way to explore the metaphysical.

JW: In addition to being a novelist you’re also an active outdoorswoman. Have you ever derived literary inspiration from surfing, hiking or other activities?

PP: I find that physical activity immediately following time spent writing is good for stirring up ideas. The unconscious seems to keep working, and in a looser, more relaxed and imaginative way. This activity need not be a vigorous sport: going for a walk or taking a shower also work.

JW: Final Q: Louisa May Alcott or Henry James–who is the better writer? I much prefer

PP: James. I got hooked on him in high school because of the entrancing language and subtle psychology.

The Sirens’ Song

By Megan Robb

In an old, old story, told and retold

Sirens, a flock of pretty bird-women

Beckoned boats with mating calls: “O Sailor

Come with us and learn the sea’s deep secrets.”

The unheard verse being “We’ll take you down.”

And they kept ships crashing and men drowning

Until Odysseus escaped their trap

With bigger fish to fry waiting back home

“Tie me up! Tie me down!” he told his men

“I’ll struggle but don’t let me leave the mast”

How the Sirens’ feathers ruffled that day.

And now we need our seatbelt straps

Only our necks straining to see what

Gruesome wrecks are being advertised

By alluring lights and violent songs

From mechanical sirens in the night.

Contributing writer Megan Robb is a writer, consultant and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles can be found at divot.com, wordhusterink.com, and cracked.com, as well as her personal website, megan-robb-writer.webs.com.

Prose Fridays: Alone at the End of the World

By John Winn

Creaky boards. This pier will be the death of me someday. But what can I say? I’m a creature of habit.  There’s nothing like sitting down here and gazing at choppy waters while the Sun struggles to peak through an overcast sky. Poetic if you ask me.

The wind’s chilly today. I can feel it on my cheeks. Must be at least fifty. I can only imagine what the temp must be in the water. Wonder if anyone’s taken a skinny dip to find out. I’d volunteer myself, if I weren’t so afraid of catching hypothermia, self-preservation and all.

Thank God for my coat.

Some of my best material was stormed up as I watched the lake churn. Novel after precious novels filled with star-crossed lovers, McMansions and lofty ideals of romance. The New York Times once called me the female Fitzgerald.  I’d correct them, but I am too apathetic to care.

The truth is, I am too jaded about love.  I’ve had too many lovers–cold women, emotionally unavailable men.   I feel like it’s a four-letter word dreamed up by suits in Madison Avenue and clerics who only want us to go forth and multiply.  About the only people who seem to care  care are the outcasts with false hope in their eyes.  The local girls mob me in their bikinis and laud me for bringing romance back bite by delicious bite.

I only wish they’d visit me twenty years from now–they’ll know the true meaning of love then.

As for me, my wrinkles are setting in.  My bones creak.  I think of the nights I used to spend naked in some stranger’s arms, pursuing nothing but wanton lust and desire only for the dream for dissipate after they left the next morning.  Now I’m a middle aged crone with nothing to show for it but a lucrative mirage of half-remembered dreams and fantasies on an iPad.  Why I get paid is beyond me.

Maybe that’s the real reason  I like this pier.  The waters have nothing to hide or conceal.  Just long, rippling raves of simplicity. No regrets to think about,  no what ifs to ponder.  Only an endless cycle of death and rebirth as the water deposits the remains of the ashes to fertilize the living shore.

One day the boards will give way and the water will claim me. But I’m not afraid of the plunge. It might be the best career move I ever make.

Social Media Coordinator (and managing editor) John Winn is Hennen’s Twitterer in Chief.  In addition to writing for Hennen’s, His work has been featured in A Twist of Noir, Lightning Flash, Racket Magazine, and plenty of other online magazines.  He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina    

Curiouser and Curiouser

By Megan Robb

Pinned over my desk at work is a page from an Alice in Wonderland coloring book that my friend colored in and sent to me. It’s not some relic from my childhood; the date written on it is 9/08. Most of my personal mementoes are at my parents’ house, so when it came time for my desk to look like it belonged to me, the Alice picture is one of the things I put up. My friend’s given me many Alice in Wonderland-themed gifts over the years, but I never really identified with the heroine until recently. Throughout my life, I’ve often unintentionally found myself in very odd situations.

This was usually because I have a very poor sense of direction, even with a GPS. Eventually, though, the mantra “It will give me something to write about” became etched into my mind. Even now I sometimes seek strange environments just for the sake of my writing. The ability to adapt is something I’m still cultivating. Like Alice, I just have to accept my circumstances and go from there.

On 9/08, the time I received the Alice picture, I’d been living in Brooklyn for three months after moving from Poughkeepsie, New York. On 9/09, I had just moved from the Bronx back to Poughkeepsie. By 9/10, I was living in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’m still in Raleigh, but I haven’t completely shaken off the feeling of being a stranger. I still don’t really know my surroundings well enough to be able to call them home. It’s not that I’m looking to come out of the rabbit hole. It’s just that I’m not sure which end I’m on anymore.

I’m closing with a quote that not from the book of Alice in Wonderland, but the 1951 Disney version, the one my picture came from

“When I get home I shall write a book about this place…if I ever do get home.”

Contributing writer Megan Robb is a writer, consultant and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles can be found at divot.com, wordhusterink.com, and cracked.com, as well as her personal website, megan-robb-writer.webs.com.

Photo Essay: Memento

EDEN, N.C–Some people do crosswords, others do Suduko puzzles, and then there’s wheelbarrows.

Correspondent John Winn obtained this photo in the backyard of a local Draper resident.  The retiree–who only gave his first name, Jack–showed off this tan one-wheeler outside his makeshift workshop.  The self-named conveyance is elegant in it’s simplicity, yet it is a helpful reminder of sanity in a world lacking it.  The 83 year-old, whose wife suffers from Alzheimer’s, is reminded of his wife’s illness in a thousand small ways each day. This humble reminder of his identity is self-affirming as he watches her disappear before him.

For the record, the median age in the town is 39 years.  Over 20%–nearly a quarter of the population–are 65 and older.  An unspecified amount of residents suffer from some form of dementia.

The Interview: Teresa Nash

Teresa's mysterious eyes gaze outward in a quasi-anonymous photo.

  In cyberspace, she is wickedwahine_69, a poetess extraordinaire, with in your-face, no holds barred stanzas and prose grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go. There is no mistaking the power of Teresa Nash’s words. Vulnerable yet fierce, feminine yet strong, in the space of a few years her ambiguous, emotive works have catapulted her from the ranks of Hennen’s anonymous cognoscenti to one of the top writers in its pantheon. Though she is anonymous no more, like her namesake, she is ferocious in her determination to succeed–but as Hennen’s John Winn found out in a telephone interview, she has a softer side as well (and a soft spot for Thundercats as well…sort of).

 JW: What is it like to live in the Mile High City?

TN: I was born and raised here, so I’m kind of used to it.

JW: I mean, is it cold?  Is it windy?

TN: It’s beautiful here in Colorado. We can have all seasons in one day.  I like the big blizzards and stuff we get in the wintertime.  Spring time is great, and summer is usually hot.  Fall is gorgeous here.

JW: Where did the moniker wickedwahine_69 come from?

TN: Wickedwahine means “badass chick” or “mean woman”.  It’s Hawaiian. Intuitively it means badass chick.

JW: You’re a nurse at a large hospital in Denver.  Do you find yourself incorporating aspects of that into your writing?

TN: Certainly! Definitely my work is something I write about so I get it all out and don’t carry stuff over from the week before.

JW: Are there any subjects that make you uncomfortable to write about? Like “hey, this is too much for me!”

TN: No.  I think whatever is in my heart is on paper.  If it’s uncomfortable to read, that’s one thing.  But to write about?  No.

JW: Do you feel the anonymity of your online presence strengthens or weakens your work?

TN: I am not sure.  Anonymity mattered to me when I first wrote on Hennen’s but not anymore since I’ve gotten to know people.  But I’m not hiding behind my words–I’m using mine to connect with people I guess.

JW: In addition to free style poetry you also dabble in haiku.  How is that different from you usual fare?

TN: I’m sorry, I did not hear that.

JW: You do write poetry and prose. You’ve been dabbling in haikus–like the Hawaiian haikus and some of the other stuff.  How is that different from the stuff you usually write?

TN: I guess I’m growing as I write a bit more.  I see what other people write and it inspires me to last.

JW: You’ve recently collaborated with Alberto Alazamora on spoken word tracks.  What was that like, and is there any chance we’ll see more like that in the future?

TN: Yeah, definitely.  I had fun working with Alberto and some of the other writers on the site.  Alberto’s probably one of the easiest people to work with because he comes up with ideas and emails them to me so that’s great.  If anyone wants to collaborate with me I’m more than happy to do so.

JW: Anyone chance you’ll branch out and do a blog or a website soon?

TN: Yeah, probably.  Right now we’re getting ready to move back to Hawaii.  So as soon as we get back there and get settled we’re probably going to do that.

JW: Final question [paper ruffles]: Who is your favorite superhero and why?

TN: Cheetara.

JW:  Any of the Thundercats?

TN: Just Cheetara. She was the bomb when I was a kid and we still watch her on the old school channels.

JW: You have a daughter right?

TN: Just one.

JW: Does she watch the cartoons as well?

TN: Yes, she does.

JW: Has the Cheetara cult expanded?

TN: Yeah, she’s watched [Thundercats] enough times to drive my husband crazy. When we got the DVDs from the library he finally put his foot down.

JW: No more Cheetara.

TN: [Laughs].  Not when he’s watching TV.

JW: I guess he watches hockey, baseball…

TN: He likes his Hawaii paddler shows so…

JW: Thank you for the interview.

TN: Thank you guys for having Hennen’s.  It’s an awesome place to vent and try to touch people.

 

The Pop Star, The Friend, and Me

Every one knows where they where two years ago when the news broke that Michael Joseph Jackson, The King of Pop, died suddenly following a massive drug overdose at his home in Holmby Hills, California.  Some remember watching the drama unfold through cable and the Internet; word trickled to others through friends and friend’s friends, calling to tell them their childhood icon was gone.  By the time the world made its way around the world, over a billion people would witness his funeral live on television, making it the most publicized in history–more then JFK’s, MLK’s, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain combined. The controversy remains a point of contention for many–but the impact psychically and economically is immeasurable in ways those closest to him are struggling to quantify even today.

I’ve never met the pop star personally.  In fact, I am not much of a fan at all.  But in a strange and surrealistic way, our lives are connected by a single thread–my friend Jason Davidson.  We haven’t spoken much since we parted ways in 1998, but for the five years we knew  each other, Jackson remained the glue that kept our friendship together–through good times and bad.  Our relationship wasn’t always perfect, and both of us had our faults, but the impact of his loss still weighs on me to this day.

To understand why our relationship is so important, let’s rewind eighteen years.  It’s 1993.  Grunge is still in its ascendancy. Women (and not a few girls, I suspect) swoon to the crooning sounds of New Kids on the Block. TGIF is the most popular block on American television. School shootings are practically unheard of, and terrorism exists only as a plot point in a dozen Steven Segal movies.

For two grade school boys from Nowhere, U.S.A, it’s a good time to be alive.

It’s been two years since Jason  has befriended me. Having hit it off by chance following a particularly cruel day (for me, anyway) at Burton Grove elementary school, our love of video games, television and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is sustaining us through some of the most torturous physical and emotional abuse we will ever experience in our lives.  My torture is nowhere near coming to an end, but for the time being our mutual escapism–and hatred of the school administration–is keeping us us together.

Jason is a chipmunk of a kid, with a face that would make Alvin proud.  By that I mean, he actually looked like a chipmunk at the time.  With auburn hair and a childlike disposition, he is something of an idealist.  Jason also has cystic fibrosis, a potentially fatal disease that drowns its victims in their own fluids.  I didn’t understand that then, but then again i was a ten-year old.  A snarky, cynical ten year old at that.

But as two peas in a pod go, Jason and I couldn’t be more different. As the son of a musician who played with the Platters, Sam and Dave, and Chubby Checker, I have a much more critical ear for pop music. Jason, on the other hand, could care less.  To put it in perspective, I’m more like Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, he’s more like the main character on Life with Bobby.  He reads comic books, I read Mark Twain.

And here is where The King of Pop comes in.

One Saturday, Jason and I are hanging around at his house. I’d just spent the night before at his house.  I’m tired and probably anxious to get home.  As we get our fill of cereal and God knows what, out of nowhere Michael Jackson suddenly appears on the TV, his eyes pleading as he reads a statement denying he’d ever touched the 13 year-old boy who claimed he’d been molested at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Even though I barely kept up with pop culture outside of The Real World at that point, the news of the scandal is hard to miss.  Hard Copy and Inside Edition cover it nightly.  The facts of the case are well known to anybody with a remote and cable TV.

But not Jason.

Almost immediately after the broadcast was over, Jason turns to me and says ‘You know he’s innocent.’

I barely keep myself from chuckling.

‘You really believe that?’ I retort.

A group shapshot of me, taken in happier times. I am the next to last kid on the second row--Jason Davidson is not pictured.

I knew how Jason felt about Jackson  Jason had been the one to screen Moonwalker in front of me during a previous sleepover–the very first time I’d seen Joe Pesci in a film, ever.  Regardless of my feelings of him as a person, there is no denying Jackson’s artistry, his ability to create a world that is both fantastic and believable.  It was  his calling card ever since Thriller–and though we did not know it yet, he’d have more tricks under his sleeve for many years to come.  But Jason didn’t see it through a critical lens as I did–he was a fan.

Being the smart ass that I am, I tell him about the payoffs, the accusations how Jackson slipped some money under the table to the accuser’s family to settle out of court. Even for a ten year-old without any background in the law, it reeks. But my friend would have none of it. Boil it down to another one of our differences–namely, that an adult can do something bad.

‘I refuse to believe that!’ Jason yells.

Words are said, voices are raised, and before we knew it we are not just arguing, we’re shouting.  In the heat of the moment, adrenaline coursing through our veins, we’re too focused on ourselves to think much of anything else. We want nothing less than to emasculate each other like two wrestlers in the ring, aching to tear each other apart.

Out of nowhere, I feel something strike my head violently.  I crumple over and cradle my skull, aching and bruised, wondering what could possibly do so much damage.  Tears stream from my face as I spy Jason twirling a pair of big, fat nunchaku as he towers over me. I glance at the array of throwing stars and martial arts paraphenalia in his room, suddenly remember what I got myself into.

“The fuck?!” I scream. “Why’d you do that?”

To my surprise, tears were streaming down his face too.  This’ll hurt me a lot more than it’ll hurt you, his eyes seem to say. We cry for several minutes, more upset about the way our conversation ended than the way it began.  Yet I still feel violated by the attack.  I call my mom to pick me up and leave, feeling angry and vowing not to go there again.

A week later we’re hanging out at my house, messing around as though the incident never even happened.  Over the next several years we continue to see more of each other, he taking me across the Virginia border to ride go-karts and explore the woods outside his parent’s new home, while I treat him to a day of jumping off my rickety bunk bed, mere inches from the ceiling fan (at this time, I’m harboring a dream of joining the 182nd Airborne).

But it’s not to last. Eventually we go our separate ways, he into his world of computer games and toys while I go about attending workshops, writing scripts…among other things.  Becoming a published writer is a passion I would pursue intermittently throughout the rest of my life. I moved to Macon Georgia in the summer of 1995. During the nine years I lived there I experienced crushes and heartbreak, even had a romantic fling or two with girls I’d met in class..  Not once would I speak to Jason, even over the telephone.

Summer, 1998. We reconnect on a whim at my dad’s house in Stoneville, North Carolina. Jason’s older than I remember, the baby fat around his face having melted to reveal a handsome young man with auburn brown hair and piercing blue eyes. A young woman is draped around his arm. She stands at six feet, with fiery hair and long legs that would make any teenager go wild. He tells me she’s a gymnast from Philadelphia, a casual hookup that’s suddenly gotten serious.

I should be glad for him, I really should. But I’ve just broken up with a girlfriend of my own.  Consumed with my own grief and self-pity, I rage at him. How dare he have a girlfriend when I have none! Without thinking much of the consequences, I tell him as much, using some choice words that don’t bear repeating. He blushes with embarrassment and leaves. I never see him again.

Which isn’t to say I don’t hear about him, in a manner of speaking.

A few years after we part, I receive word through a mutual acquaintance about allegations of child molestation have surfaced against his step-father. My understanding is several children have been coaxed to point the finger at him, a hard-working blue collar family man who slaves to put food on the table for his wife and kids.  The stepfather has no previous criminal record or history of sex offenses. Whether Jason was forced to testify as well I will never know, but I imagine the ordeal is rough for all concerned. The charges against his step-father are later dropped, and the family goes off the grid.

But Jason’s story never ends there. Because of his illness, time is not on his side. He could be alive and well, he could be on life support in intensive care. He could be buried on the family plot in Virginia. For all I know he could have kids of his own. A million possibilities, and the final chapter may well be unwritten.

I was a jerk for letting our relationship end the way it did.  Perhaps it was time for us to move on.  But a friendship like ours is–was–rare.  Even dynasties never last forever, but over a period of a few months years in the early 1990s,  we were more than just friends, we were brothers.  All because of the Prince of Pop.

Thank you, Gloved One. Thank you.

Prose Fridays: Conflagration

By John Winn

Flames lick the walls as Anya makes a hasty escape down the stairs of the abandoned department store. She can feel the heat searing her back, pushing her onward with increasing urgency. Not that she needs any reminder to get out. Struggling to breathe as she stumbles down the stairs, her lungs fill with smoke as the room climbs to hot house temperatures.

She remembers waking up to her junkie boyfriend cooking dope on the Bunsen burner in the corner, dime bags lying on the makeshift dinner table. It’s the best they could do after being evicted from their apartment in the dark one Saturday night.  She started out slinging her boyfriend’s product to yuppies on the other side of the tracks, selling death to sorority girls and ravers alike.  The powder was odorless and tasteless, but she knew better.  In any case it wasn’t her problem if they died or OD’d–as long as she got paid.

Why Anya put up with it she’d never know.  But she liked the high.  The days seemed to fly when she snorted the stuff, and when her boo was in a bad mood or a fit she could escape into her own little world.  He was the cooker, and who wouldn’t want free junk?  But the constant moving, the opprobrium, the looking over her shoulder in case the cops came took their toll sometimes.

Stepping over discarded needles, Anya watched the yuppies and college students below as she stared out the third story window, lighting a cigarette to distract herself from the hunger. She listened to her boyfriend’s footfalls as he excused himself to go to the bathroom. Maybe if she was lucky they’d head to the pancake place for flapjacks and coffee.

She always liked strawberry banana. Only later would she recall flicking the cigarette, setting off a chain reaction that led to her running for dear life…

There’s a loud boom as Anya snaps back into the present, landing on the second floor. The floor shakes under her feet as she struggles to keep her head. The acrid smoke tastes like metal on her tongue. Her head pounds as she rushes toward the front door. Within a few minutes the fire engines would be rushing to this corner of Sixth and Main. A part of her wants to run back and rescue her lover, but all she knows is she needs to get the hell out of there.

Glancing over her shoulder one last time, she whispers a prayer for her boyfriend before walking out the door. Sirens blare as she heads in the opposite direction, her eyes searching madly for the nearest pay phone. Choking back tears, she dials her parent’s house and prays she doesn’t get an answering machine. But what could she say?

An hour later her dad picks her up at the Methodist church downtown. Neither venture to talk as the SUV hurtles down the highway towards her parent’s house in the suburbs. Already the conflagration is receding in her mind as pop songs blare over the radio. She collapses on the couch, the sound of her lover’s screams haunting her dreams. When the paper arrived the next day, she caught a glimpse of the inferno on the front page–flames leaped from the window.

The official cause of death is accidental, but she knows the truth.  She excuses herself from the dining room table, running as she covers her mouth.

–30–

Interview: Carla Summers

Carla Summers in her natural habitat.

Sensual. Saucy. Provocative.  “Carla Summers” is all of these. It’s not her real name, of course, but the Raleigh-based author’s flair for spicy, erotica-laden prose and poetry precedes her regardless.  Little is known about her, but within the last year she’s burned up laptop screens everywhere with works like “We Have Only Words” (NSFW) and “Let Me Be Restored” (NSFW). But as Hennen’s John Winn finds out, there’s more to Carla than meets the eye.

[Caution–story contains external links which may have sexually suggestive content.  The Week in Review is not responsible if readers are disturbed or offended–Eds.]

JW: You’ve only written one poem so far, but it’s a very sensual one.  How did you happen upon the idea for “We Have Only Words”?

CS: My motivation always comes from life experiences.  Unfortunately for me, carnal passions are my biggest motivations.

JW: Do you typically write saucy prose?

CS: Yes.

JW: How do you juggle writing with your other duties?  Is there a set “routine” that you follow?

CS: No set routine, when I am involved in a deep thought process, I reach for a way to describe it.

JW: Who are your major influences, literary wise?

CS:  I am not well read therefore I have no favorites, except one writer on your website.  He is Alberto Arza.  I like to follow his writings.

JW: Final question: Do you have anything else up your sleeve?

CS: I have things I have written but have not posted due to the saucy nature of them.  I don’t want to be thought of as just a shallow sensual woman.  I have tried to write about other subjects–I do want to grow in the literary field–but my passions lie completely in the subjects of romance and love/sex between men and women.

My request for you is to give me an assignment.  That sets my mind to work for the mark.  I would like to see you challenge everyone to write about the same subject and post their work so that we may see the different styles and interpretations of each individuals thought processes.