Tag Archives: literature

Flash: Tattoo For Conrad

“Flash: Tattoo For Conrad” is a single block printed on navigational training charts. The image is a variation on a design I’ve drawn and toyed with over the years. Here it’s conceived as a piece of flash, or tattoo art that hangs on studio walls to advertise the artist’s skill and inspiration for the customer.

Flash has come to be considered an artform of its own over the years. Here, I’m commemorating one of my favorite authors, Joseph Conrad, and the transformative value of literature.

To purchase, contact me via instagram DM @joshbarlas or email joshbarlas@gmail.com

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Emrys – “Aluxes”

Read the story here.

I was submitting to Emrys for years when they accepted my story, “Aluxes,” to appear in Volume 33. Unfortunately, the publication is currently on indefinite hiatus. They had thrived for nearly 40 years before shuttering.

In the words of Wikipedia, “Alux is the name given to a type of sprite or spirit in the mythological tradition of certain Maya peoples from the Yucatán Peninsula and Guatemala. Tradition holds that aluxo’ob are invisible but able to assume physical form for purposes of communicating with and frightening humans as well as to congregate. They are generally associated with natural features such as forests, caves, stones, and fields but can also be enticed to move somewhere through offerings.” That said, this story has nothing to do with aluxo’ob, aluxes, or any other mythological figure. It’s about two friends who elicit local help to locate a cave in a rural region of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Emerys Mission Statement:

Founded in 1983, Emrys (a Welsh word meaning “Child of Light”) has sponsored music competitions, concerts, art exhibitions, conferences, creative writing awards, poetry workshops, and lectures. The Emrys Journal, our group’s signature literary publication, has appeared annually since 1984. Emrys Press, launched in 1995, primarily publishes poets of outstanding merit. Our Reading Room has brought writers and audiences together since 1990. Our Writing Room has provided professional instruction for writers at all stages of their craft since 2006 and begun in 2011, our Open Mic, which has provided a venue for writers of all skill levels to present their work to an enthusiastic and supportive audience.

Based in Upstate South Carolina, the Emrys Foundation was awarded the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts in 2004 in recognition of outstanding contributions to the arts in South Carolina.

➢ Emrys nurtures creativity among emerging and established writers.
➢ Emrys seeks to expand the impact of the literary arts.
➢ Emrys collaborates across a broad variety of art forms to give voice to the written word.

We invite you to join our award-winning organization.

Emerys History:

On the night of April 2, 1981, a special musical performance took place at Furman University. Everyone involved had ties to Greenville: the librettist, Keller Cushing Freeman, the musical composer, Sally Wyche Coenen, and the singers. The event was the premiere performance of an original song cycle called The Death of Arthur: a Requiem for Six Voices. The singers represented important characters in the life of the legendary king of the Round Table.

The Death of Arthur was the first public appearance of Emrys, but it had its real beginning when two friends dreamed, planned, and worked to make some ambitious ideas come to fruition. Who better to tell about this than one of the co-founders, Keller Cushing Freeman:

“It wasn’t quite the first act of Puccini’s La Boheme, where a cluster of young artists and poets shared their dreams and a bottle of vin ordinaire in a Paris garret. But it was close. Our setting was a basement apartment on Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C.  Serving up the cabernet was Dan Coenen, a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Blackmun. Tossing the salad was Dan’s wife, Sally Wyche Coenen, a native of Greenville, S.C., currently taking photography courses and continuing her study of piano with Spencer Fellows. Sally also harbored ambitions as a composer, although 1980 was not a year when the world clamored for the music of emerging young composers—male or female. To date Sally had not had even the nibble of a commission.

“I was the fortunate dinner guest that icy winter evening, warmed by more than 20 years of friendship with Sally and the Wyche family. Like Sally, I, too, had a closet stuffed with dreams. Although teaching philosophy was my day job, I wrote poetry on the sly. Recently I’d completed a series of poems based on the legends of King Arthur. The material seemed made for music, so I labeled the poems lyrics and set off to find a composer to collaborate on a song cycle. Sally was my first choice.

“That evening over melting bowls of ice cream we reflected on the obstacles confronting writers, composers, and artists who were in sore need of a place to present their work, an audience to receive the work, and a patron to subsidize the projects. Without realizing it, we had begun to articulate the mission statement for the organization that was to become The Emrys Foundation—to promote excellence in the arts, especially literary, artistic, and musical works of women and minorities.

“Nearly a year later we felt ready to present our first collaboration, a song cycle for piano (later scored for chamber orchestra), narrator and six voices.

“To choose a name for our new partnership we turned to Welsh lore that had inspired our first collaboration. Learning that King Arthur’s sorcerer, Merlin, was actually named Emrys, we agreed that this rather mysterious word had a special ring to it. When we discovered that Emrys was translated Child of Light, we felt certain that this was a name of good omen.”

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Sein und Werden – “Centrifugal Momentum and the Points to which We’re Affixed”

Read the story here.

“Centrifugal Momentum and the Points to which We’re Affixed” was published in  Sein und Werden’s “Mappa Mundi” issue. Their editor, Rachel Kendall, publishes consistently interesting and intelligent work, and I’m thrilled to have her stamp of approval.

“Centrifugal Momentum and the Points to which We’re Affixed” is a story primarily about a woman who’s driven to live her life according to a set of personal guidelines that differ from societal proscriptions, and who thereby refuses the material trappings that bind most of us. It’s also kind of a love story? Or there’s a kind of love in it. And there’s a man.


‘Sein und Werden’ is a quarterly online (and occasional print) journal of arts and letters. The title comes from the Expressionist concept of Sein und Werden – ‘being and becoming’, the notion that we are born as nothing and only through experience do we become who we are (an idea shared with Sartre in his work ‘Being and Nothingness’). Using certain techniques of cinematography to create lengthened shadows, twisted stairways and a distorted mise-en-scène, the Expressionists were able to depict a nightmare world that would later influence a number of other cinematic developments, such as film noir, aswell as leading artistic movements. One such group who owed much of their technique to Expressionism were the Surrealists, who played with these concepts to create bizarre images of the subconscious, making use of dreams and automatic writing. The goal of ‘Sein und Werden’ is to present works that evoke the spirit of the Expressionist, Existentialist and Surrealist movements within a modern context, which I like to call ‘Werdenism’.

The aims of Sein und Werden are to:

– Publish a quarterly collection of multidisciplinary work that incorporates elements of Expressionism, Existentialism and Surrealism, both online and in print.

– Accept submissions that broaden and emphasize the ideas behind Werdenism. As it stands there are a core group of artists whose work I feel embodies the concept of “Werdenism”. However, we are always looking for new blood and we are always open to submissions of new work as long as it exhibits the Werdenist gestalt. All work accepted shall remain copyright of the author/artist.

– Provide a theme for each issue (suggestions for future themes are encouraged). Submissions will not be restricted by the theme, although themed pieces will take preference and any other material may be held for use in a future issue, with the artist’s permission.

Original concept, layout and design by Rachel Kendall

All content is the respective authors and published here with their consent.

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Santa Clara Review – “My House of Cards”

Read the story here.

“My House of Cards.”  It is about terrible roommates – including the narrator – and it was published in the Spring 2012 issue of  The Santa Clara Review . an accomplishment that I’m proud of.  Having spent most of my life in Northern California, and having lived for a couple of years in San Jose, Santa Clara Review felt like a home coming.  The publication is professional looking, their layout is great, the featured artwork is beautiful, and I’m published beside a number of talented authors and poets.

For the online version of the magazine, click here.

For the free eReader download, click here.

For the free iPad edition, click here.

You can also order yourself a physical copy of this magazine – just get in touch with the editors.  Back issues are $7.50.  Ask for Spring 2012.

Santa Clara Review
500 El Camino Real, Box 3212
Santa Clara, CA 95053

(408) 554 – 4484


Santa Clara Review:

Santa Clara Review is a student-edited literary magazine which publishes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, visual art, and music. The magazine is published biannually in February and May, drawing on submissions from Santa Clara University students, faculty, and staff, as well as from writers around the nation and globe. The Review is entirely student run by undergraduate students who are actively enrolled. The Review promotes the literary arts in several spheres: the student and alumni writing community within Santa Clara University, the academic literary community, and the national community of writers outside of SCU.

The Review is committed to the development of student literary talent, both in editorial and creative writing skills. The Review provides Santa Clara students an opportunity to gain knowledge in the practice of contemporary writing and criticism, and creates a forum for faculty, students, and alumni to express their creative energy.

History and Vision:

Founded in 1869, Santa Clara Review–formerly known as The Owl and The Redwood–is one of the oldest literary publications in the Western U.S. Throughout its duration the publication has represented Santa Clara University’s commitment to the humanities, a tenant of Jesuit education. Because the Review shares in Santa Clara University’s commitment to the humanities, the Review will accept only the highest quality material for publication, material which echoes Santa Clara University’s dedication to the pursuit of truth, honesty, and social responsibility within the literary arts.

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Perceptions – “Nineteenth and Valencia”

“Nineteenth and Valencia” is a rumination in a hip café about becoming an utter loser.  It’s a funny piece, I adore it, and you should read it.  More importantly, the magazine, “Perceptions,” is worthy of purchase regardless of my presence.  Not only was my story featured alongside the work of some genuinely talented authors and artists, the book itself is an art piece – hands down the most beautiful periodical that I’ve been printed in.  Issues are $15 a copy. The story was published in the 2012 issue. Query Jonathan Morrow at jonathan.morrow@mhcc.edu for more information.

Mt. Hood Community College

Humanities Division c\o Megan Jones

26000 SE Stark St, Gresham, OR 97080.

Ask for the 2011-2012 issue.

Perceptions: A Magazine of the Arts has appeared annually since 1969. The magazine is produced by students who register for WR247, The Literary Publication, a three term class.

In the fall, students solicit submissions from the campus community and the outside community. After submissions are received, students read and choose which works would best reflect their chosen vision of the magazine. Working with a student from the graphic design program and the printing technology program, the design, paper and over-all look of the magazine is decided. The students continue to work as a team for the next two terms. During the winter term students work with the printing technology class who take the graphic designer’s plans and implement them. The contributors are contacted and invited to read their works at a reception that the students plan for early spring term. Awards are given for the best poem, best prose and best artwork, and the students choose these award winning works.

Although the staff is small, Perceptions reaches other programs on campus, involving other students not inclined to literature and the arts, to be exposed and participate in literary publication. The graphic design student is given first hand experience in working as part of a team to produce a design for the magazine. Printing technology has always used Perceptions as a project as part of the second year of the program.

Perceptions - Collage copy - resized

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Spilling Ink Review – “The Last Dignified Transaction”

Spilling Ink Review is defunct, but read the story here.

“The Last Dignified Transaction” is about the rewards inherent in being a university teaching assistant, and then going on to work as a waiter… and then having to serve your former students.

This publication originated in Glasgow. Spilling Ink Review was a quarterly e-journal: “They’re a troupe of professional writers and readers that shares a passion for the written word as well as compassion for new and established writers looking for an innovative platform. Their aim is to create an environment where the unexpected can thrive, where the serious and the humorous can sit comfortably side-by-side, and where we can celebrate both the process and the product of creative writing.”

Spilling Ink Review is now defunct.  

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Black Market Review – “The Staging Ground”

Black Market Review is Defunct, but read the story here.

Black Market Review - Collage copyBlack Market Review - Collage copy

“The Staging Ground” was published in Black Market Review, which was published out of Edge Hill University. the story is about bad neighbors (perhaps including the solipsistic narrator) and a feud that place in or around the laundry room.

The Black Market Review was edited exclusively by Creative Writing undergraduate and postgraduate students at Edge Hill University.  Thank you for the opportunity BMR.

Black Market Review operated out of Edge Hill University. 

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Milk Sugar – “Vengeance is a Speechless Clown”

Milk Sugar is defunct, but read the short story here.

Milk Sugar - Banner2

The piece is titled “Vengeance is a Speechless Clown,” and the publication is Milk Sugar. “Vengeance Is a Speechless Clown” is an epic saga about revenge, artistry, and the things that drive us in life. It’s about an aggrieved clown.  Chasity Thomas and the lovely folks at Milk Sugar saw fit to include it in their February/ March issue alongside some truly talented authors.

Milk Sugar Logo

Unfortunately Milk Sugar is now defunct.  In the words of their editor, Chastity Thomas:

“Milk Sugar will officially end with Issue 22 in December. It has been a blast editing this journal and putting out into the world the work of some truly talented people. I’ve enjoyed everything I read, even the work that was a bit out there and those that were not chosen to appear. The journal started off shaky as I learned the process of rejecting people (which is really hard by the way), figuring out how to choose what works would best go together and simple stuff like how many writers to feature in each issue. I’m glad that people seemed to enjoy what were doing here. We even reached over 250 followers on Facebook, no small feat! These last two issues continue to showcase some great work. So please, buckle down and read an entry or two.

– Chasity Thomas, Editor in chief”

Milk Sugar Banner - Words

About Milk Sugar:

Milk Sugar is a literary journal that was formed with the creative writer in mind. We want to provide a forum where writers feel free to express their creative ide in an environment that actually promotes creativity and not the status quo.  Milk Sugar is not meant to be your typical literary journal, hence the name. There are no delusions of grandeur here, just good, solid and creative writing. We want the erotic, the fantastical, the existential, the dirt the grime and most of all the ultimate beauty that is a well written piece. Allow us the privilege of finding out who you are through your work.

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