Looking at the wren hopping surprisingly close to her shoe, the girl had the same thought she often had when thinking about birds:
My goal in life is to have the confidence of a Manhattan pigeon.
Except that this was not Manhattan, and this was not a pigeon. Alex (that was the girl’s name) remembered reading London travel articles the week before and finding an article about above-ground train stations using trained hawks to ward off pigeons.
FICTION BY DENISE CAMPBELL IMAGES BY KAMI RICE and JC JOHNSON
“Wake up, Indigo! Time to start this journey you come here for.”
Aunt Mercie’s singsong call rushed in with the sound of the rooster crowing. We woke to a washed-out, downcast morning. But by the time Salome and I loaded the crocus sacks of groceries into the back of the pickup, the sun had put in an appearance. She’d landed in Kingston two nights before and had to make the trip with me to visit my sisters—Samira in Bog Walk and Claudine in Lional Town. Salome and I had grown up on the same street in Norbrook, in the hills of Kingston, and gone to high school together before attending universities in different parts of the world. Even so, we were bonded friends for life in the way Catholic high school compatriots often are.
This short fictional work was originally written for a course on ekphrasis. Ekphrasis is a Greek term for a literary description of a work of art. Whether in poetry, fiction, or criticism, vividly describing a particular painting or statue can serve as poignant subject matter for a writer or as a device to emphasize the writer’s own themes. In the following text, I utilize a historical, fictive voice to meditate on Yale Gallery’s Lion Relief from the Processional Way (562 B.C.). I imagine the relief from the perspective of someone who might have been present at the Babylonian Ishtar Gate, a wonder of the ancient world originally lined with fierce, gold lions.
One fall night last year, we created a project for ourselves. The American students were studying abroad in Paris, and I was a mentor in their program. Two artists and three writers, we assigned ourselves homework. We’d spend an evening all together at one of Ernest Hemingway’s famous haunts. The writers had to choose someone, or someones, from among the clientele as their inspiration for a short story. The artists’ drawings would be similarly inspired by someone who was there that night. We’d package the works together and discover what we’d jointly created
MIXED-MEDIA VIDEO BY “TILL WE HAVE FACES INTRODUCTORY TEXT BY HEATHER M. SURLS
Setara, a 17-year-old from Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, remembers falling asleep at her grandmother’s house as a girl. Grandma Gul, or Grandma Flower, would sit beside her with a cup of chai and rock-sugar candies and tell her stories. One of these was the story of Yalda, a traditional Afghan tale about a village girl who meets a feared “witch” on the longest night of the year.
Take up residence in France and you’ll find that everyday life is infused with history. If you’re a curious person, you can’t help but absorb facts it would take years of history classes and careful concentration to learn back in the United States. Here you see and touch history, observing how its effects are felt even long after its scenes’ original actors have departed.
A real life scene turned miniature through the magic of photography has inspired a tiny fictional tale that invites you to discover the other stories hiding in this image. Explore the world with us and let your imagination play along as you do.