Illuminations-2015

Bloodsuckers

Prose
Aunt Lena is driving me home from yet another direct sales party hosted by her daughter.  In the ten years since we graduated college, my cousin, the Queen of Home-Based business, has sold purses, makeup, kitchen products, nutritional supplements, sex toys, and now, food products for a company called Classy Cuisine.   Just as I am about to ask Aunt Lena if anyone has ever considered pairing a Classy Cuisine party with a sex toy party, she starts telling me about the time she stopped my grandmother from killing my grandfather…

Read more!  “Bloodsuckers” is a short story published in Illuminations, Volume 16 | 2015, edited by Kimberly Fangman.

Illuminations (http://online.southeast.edu/Illuminations.nsf) is the award-winning artistic publication of Southeast Community College. In the Community College Humanities Association’s literary magazine competition,  Illuminations contributor Cameron Koll was awarded the Judges’ Merit Award in Fiction for his short story, “Baby Doll,” which appeared in Illuminations, Vol. 10!

A Late Frost

Prose
We thought we had made it. We had put out tremendous flight on a balmy day in early March, and since then, we’d been making multiple trips to the fields closest to the hive. Sure, the nectar flows were weak, but our reserves were growing. Yesterday, we finally started capping some cells. Until we begin capping, our food can disappear in a day or two. Traditionally, the capping of the cells heralds our Great Rite, The Flush of Spring Bloom, and by evening word had come down from the Queen that we would gather at midnight. We feasted throughout the night on high-sugar honey, sure of a prosperous season.
Needless to say, I didn’t want to go out this morning.  Better to stay in.  Better not to break the low-humming trance juddering from thousands of rapidly moving wings.  Sometime in the night, I’d had a revelation.  I understood, on a primal level, the great spiritual cycle I was born into.  I felt the sugar reserves transforming into raw power, fueling my wing muscles.  I wasn’t bee – I was glucose, pure energy.  The urgency of rubbing wing to wing, the thrumming infinity of all of us humming as one – we were the honey. I knew it then, that the sound and vibration was a kind of karmic passcode.  These were my credentials. They echoed through the combs of the hive and confirmed that I belong…

Read more!  “A Late Frost” is a short story published in Illuminations, Volume 15| 2014, edited by Kimberly Fangman.

Illuminations (http://online.southeast.edu/Illuminations.nsf) is the award-winning artistic publication of Southeast Community College. In the Community College Humanities Association’s literary magazine competition,  lluminations contributor Cameron Koll was awarded the Judges’ Merit Award in Fiction for his short story, “Baby Doll,” which appeared in Illuminations, Vol. 10!

What Lies Under the Heart

Prose
Illuminations Volume 13 2012

Illuminations Volume 13 2012

For the first three decades of my life, I had lived with an unidentified pain, an invisible wound that I wasn’t even aware of.  I felt the mask of my adoption shattering around me.  Memories flooded my mind, cracks in the veneer of my pretense.  I saw myself at age four, waking from a recurring nightmare in which I had been abducted or my parents killed in house fires and natural disasters; at age six, overhearing my parents discuss my teacher’s frustration at my constant crying; age nine, asking my mother if it was possible that I had a twin somewhere who had been adopted by another family; age twelve, filled with guilt after responding to a saleslady’s observation that I looked just like my mother with a curt, “No I don’t.  I’m adopted;” age fourteen, racking my brains trying to respond to an English assignment prompt that asked me to tell the story of my birth; age fifteen, paralyzed by the recessive/dominant gene trait worksheet my Biology teacher had assigned.  I was a tongue-roller with a widow’s peak and free ear lobes (dominant) and had light hair with reddish tints (recessive), but none of my physical combinations aligned with the family I grew up with like my classmates’ did.  

“What Lies Under the Heart” is a narrative essay published in Illuminations, Volume 13 | 2012, edited by Kimberly Fangman. Also published in this edition is the poem “Garlic.”

Illuminations (http://online.southeast.edu/Illuminations.nsf) is the award-winning artistic publication of Southeast Community College. In the Community College Humanities Association’s literary magazine competition, Illuminations contributor Cameron Koll was awarded the Judges’ Merit Award in Fiction for his short story, “Baby Doll,” which appeared in Illuminations, Vol. 10.

Caught

Prose
Illuminations Volume 12 2011

Illuminations Volume 12 2011

My heart is pounding. I know what I have to do. I have to free the mouse. I have to feed the mouse. Uta stares blankly at me. Can two seconds possibly be enough time for her to assess my situation? Are two seconds enough to comprehend the passionate fiasco of hundreds of uneaten cartons spanning the sticky rice seasons of five years? Can the sweet and glutinous liberation rising in my chest, a thick, fermented, bubbly sensation, possibly travel from my side of the table to hers in just two seconds?

 

“Caught” is a short story published in Illuminations, Volume 12 | 2011, edited by Kimberly Fangman.

Illuminations (http://online.southeast.edu/Illuminations.nsf) is the award-winning artistic publication of Southeast Community College. In the Community College Humanities Association’s literary magazine competition, Illuminations contributor Cameron Koll was awarded the Judges’ Merit Award in Fiction for his short story, “Baby Doll,” which appeared in Illuminations, Vol. 10!

Getting Back on The Horse

Prose

It is a hot, dusty Saturday in May, and I’m standing in front of an empty corral, cold beer in hand, the fleshy smoke from branding burning my eyes. My shoulders are sunburned, despite cumulative layers of sunscreen and dust. We’ve just “worked” – vaccinated, castrated, and branded, as needed – 300 head of cattle. We’ve sorted them back into cow-calf pairs and driven them to grassland pasture where they will fatten over the summer. Dozens of neighbors, friends, and family sit around the chute, celebrating a hard day’s work.

My mother’s cousin Jeff calls to me from across the yard. Not unexpectedly, his skilled horsemanship helped him gain favored status in my father’s eyes in the fifteen years since I left home.

“C’mon, let’s go for a quick ride. Cool these ol’ gals down,” he says as I limp toward him. I’ve only been sitting for ten minutes, and already I’m starting to stiffen up. He tries to hand me the reins of his old sorrel mare.

I lift my hands in defense, backing away. “Oh, no. Not me, Jeff. I don’t ride horses.”

“You grew up on a farm, and you don’t ride? What the hell is wrong with you?” he asks.

I raise my eyebrows. “You’ve never heard of my infamous horse grudge with dad?”

The author, her horse, and her father, circa 1978.

The author, her horse, and her father, circa 1978.

In her essay  “Getting Back on the Horse,” writer Kara Gall uses a twenty-year “horse grudge” with her father to examine the heart of her relationship with her father. She is not alone in this theme.  Writers Michele Scott and Kate St. Vincent Vogl also speak to their relationships with their fathers and how horses were at the very heart of those relationships.

Horses have captured women’s attention and intrigue for centuries.  For many women, these strong but gentle creatures held their hearts long before any boyfriend, husband or baby ever did. The memory of desperately asking your parents for a pony, and posting pictures of shiny horses to your bedroom wall, is one many women share. But why?

In Why We Ride: Women Writers on the Horses in their Lives (Seal Press / May 2010 / ISBN-10: 1580052665; ISBN-13: 978-1580052665/ $15.95), educator, literary agent, author, and editor, Verna Dreisbach attempts to answer that question. Dreisbach has compiled 27 personal essays from various women writers about their horses—or their dreams of owning a horse. With a foreword by best-selling novelist Jane Smiley, the book includes personal narratives from women who rode as children, those who spent their girlhood years dreaming of owning a pony, and women who have made a lifelong hobby or career out of riding. Each story openly reveals how horses have made a difference—and an impact—in their lives.

If you’ve ever dreamt of that first horse, contributor Dee Ambrose-Stahl will assure you you’re not alone. Jacqueline Winspear suggests we all need to return to basics, and it’s her horse that reminds her to keep things simple. Writers Michele Scott, Kara Gall, and Kate St. Vincent Vogl all speak to their relationships with their fathers and how horses were at the very heart of those relationships. Valerie Riggs, Janice Newton, and Samantha Ducloux Waltz discovered their horses held insight into their marital relationships. Why We Ride shares the enduring and personal experiences these women have had with horses, and is the perfect read for any woman who has ever held a special place in her heart for a horse.

For more information, please contact Jodee Krainik, Publicist, 510.809.3824, jodee.krainik@perseusbooks.com

It’s the Region, Not the Vegan

Prose
“I felt like I was having a bunch of one-night stands with my dinner plate. The intimacy with food that I was craving was not a California thing. It was a Nebraska thing. It had something to do with chicken poop on the bottom of my shoe, the smell of Rocky Mountain Oysters–flame-broiled bull testicles also known as “fries”–on my father’s tattered denim work jacket, and the sound of cows happily masticating in the corral beyond my bedroom window. Somewhere between Nebraska and California, I had lost my connection to the source of my food. And it was time to get it back.”

It’s the Region, Not the Vegan appeared in the anthology Women Who Eat: A New Generation on the Glory of Food, edited by Leslie Miller. Seal Press. 2003. ISBN 1-58005-092-1 This long-overdue rebuttal to the notion that all women are on a diet puts a fresh spin on the joy of cooking. Women both in and out of the culinary profession share their stories about the many ways food shapes and enhances their lives.

Women Who Eat

Women Who Eat

Book Description:

Move over, Betty Crocker. Women are reclaiming their pots and pans, but it’s a new era in the kitchen. Today’s generation of women is putting a fresh spin on the “joy of cooking”—and eating and entertaining. Women both in and out of the culinary profession share their stories about the many ways food shapes and enhances their lives. New York Times columnist Amanda Hesser praises the joys of simple food, and Food and Wine editor Kate Sekules discusses the importance of having a restaurant where you’re recognized. Theresa Lust, author of Pass the Polenta, vividly remembers a childhood making sauerkraut with her grandmother, and Michelle Tea describes her working-class Polish family’s meals as “tripe, kielbasa, shellfish and beer.” One woman owns up to her culinary ineptitude in an era when being a gourmet cook is all the rage, while another remembers preferring chicken nuggets from the cafeteria to mom’s homemade vegetable biryani. Women Who Eat not only presents an illuminating look at food today, but dishes out generous helpings of great prose that are sure to titillate the palate. Recipes are included.

Editorial Reviews:
-Library Journal, October 4, 2003
“These essays explore the intimate side of food that comforts,transports, and takes us home. Entertaining and well written.”–Library Journal