Invisible You

Imagine you can turn invisible.

You aren’t really sure what to do with your new power. You live in Logan and there isn’t that much vigilante justice to carry out. You think you could snoop on that one person who you’ve meant to check up on, but then you realize that they just posted the answer to your question on Facebook. You try sneaking up on people in the dark. It’s pretty funny, but you feel bad when a nice old lady drops all her groceries and runs. You’re left, invisibly, in a pile of French bread and bruised apples and ice.

Then you remember. It’s Helicon West this Thursday, and you know that Brock Dethier (click here for the flyer —> helicon_detheir) is reading. And you’ve wanted to hear him read for a while. Now’s your chance! You can sneak into the Logan Library Bridger Room (255 North Main Street) at 7pm. Nobody will ever know, and you’ll get in for free! You feel the raw lovely power of your invisibility, and get your coat (which turns invisible when you touch it, fortunately).

Then you remember that Helicon West is always free, but you decide to go anyways. And, hey, there will be snacks and coffee and nice people to talk to if you aren’t invisible. It also occurs to you that you can turn invisible after signing up for open mic and scare everybody by reading invisibly (for seven minutes or less) your own creative work. Of course, the scientists would probably come get you if you did that.

So you decide to just go to Helicon West in the normal, visible fashion. You have a great time. And afterwards you discover the real purpose of your invisibility: Bigfoot impersonations.

See you at Helicon! Unless you come invisibly. Then I won’t see you, I guess.

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

A Lamb Amongst the Lions

 

Hey, Internet!

I hope you enjoy this fortnight’s shockingly glitchy video. I can’t believe how many of you Helicon West people have learned to flash-step teleport. I’m sure this will aid you in survival situations. Mountain lions are notoriously bad at catching things that can shift through space.

Oh well. At least the audio works. If you’re prone to seizures, I recommend you find a nice picture to look at while you listen to our readers at the All Open Mic Helicon West.

 

This time we’re going to do two writers. First, Sarah Anderson. She wrote a piece called “Dear ISIS.”And I’m trying to figure out who the real audience of the poem is because I’m not sure it’s really ISIS. I think it’s…a rallying speech. You know that part of a story where the hero’s all victimized and defeated and they’ve got no other resources to call on and it’s the absolute darkest hour? And they look around at the ashes of the city and their friend bleeding out, and they realize they’ve got all this power so they stand up, carefully, because their leg is broken. And they start talking. Then the Big Bad laughs. The hero keeps talking, a little angrier, and remembers about their willpower and anger and love and suddenly the villain’s in for it because the hero doesn’t want to lose.

Well, the speech the hero makes isn’t for the villain’s sake; it’s for the hero. They just need to remember their power and goodness before they can act. My favorite line, probably the pinnacle of the poem, is: “When we speak we yell and when we stay quiet there is a thundering silence.”

ISIS is complicated, and the whole world is still uncertain how to broach it. So I hope that whenever we figure out what to do, we can be heroes. Kind, good, strong.

And here’s the second author, Millie Tullis.

Millie wrote two poems, and I’m going to talk about her first. It’s called “While Watching a Documentary on Female Serial Killers.” Obviously, it’s pretty dark, but it’s also got the electric loveliness of a bioluminescent beach because we’re just nestled into the serial killer’s perspective like a donut into coffee. It starts at 45:00.

Here, have some (hauntingly) cool quotes from the poem: You turn on the lights and she glows. Make her sputter like a sparkler. Turn the woman into battery, into light, electricity to read after dark.

So you hear these things and you think, “Gosh, that’s beautiful. Better not tell anyone I think this poem about torture and death is beautiful or they’ll think I’m a psychopath.” Allow me to ease your mind.

People are full of light. When a star supernovaed billions of years ago, it formed rings of energy and matter that became the Sun and the planets and the meteor belts and every living thing on Earth. We’re made of stardust and light. People are full of energy, potential energy. We’re all catalysts of ideas, and our minds and our bodies burn with molecules like fire and pictures like lightning. So when the serial killer murders, trying to expose a person’s spark, it’s horrible, and beautiful. Like an inferno that chars out weakness. And if you pay attention to this poem, you can see the fire of womanhood, humanity, and desire, through the most unlikely eyes.

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

 

 

Plague Doctors and Other Such Things

Hello, Internet! Welcome back to Helicon West. We’ll be starting off this season with the scariest cure for the scariest disease in human history. Don’t believe me? Look at this wicked awesome flyer.

AllOpenMic 14Jan2016

If you didn’t click that link, you missed the flyer. Go back to the text in green and click it.

By scariest disease, I mean the Black Plague. It was so deadly it actually made a visible divot on the total human population. Millions of people died. But the worst part about the plague was the cure: the doctors looked like gas mask ravens of death, due to some belief that breathing a bunch of herbs they stuffed in the beak would protect them from breathing the plague. In all actuality, this horrifying costume did actually protect the doctors, but only because it left no skin available for fleas to bite.

Now, you may be wondering what all this has to do with Helicon West. I will tell you. It’s because Plague doctors had hats. Hats rhymes with cats. Cats were revered in Egypt. Egypt had pyramids. Pyramids are shaped like mountains. One mountain found in Greece is called Mount Helicon. And what is our poetry group called? Helicon West.

THE POINT IS:

That we’ve got Helicon West on Thursday at 7pm. Logan Library 255 North Main Street. Uncensored. Free coffee from Cafe Ibis. Free snacks from Star. Open to the public. You know how it goes. And this time, we really need you to come because we’ve got all-open mic. You know those lovely rambling things you wrote over Christmas Break? We need them (as long as they ramble seven minutes or less). Come share your lovely art and be a doctor of souls.

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

“Book” sounds like “Freedom” in Spanish

Because books are freedom!!!!

So it turns out that the magic secret to inserting videos on WordPress’s new blog-writing-platform is that I have to copy-paste the link into the post… I’m a smart person, aren’t I.

Here, have some videos.

This is a bit of Jill Bower’s upcoming book (Fall 2016) called Immortal Writers. Learn the fate of three people trapped by a sadistic water dragon, with only some insufficient magic powers and their wits to save them. The overall story conflict is that some writers manage to attain immortality by being just-that-good, and they get to live forever. BUT the antagonists of their stories come to life, and they have to defeat them.

Which is cool. Unless you happen to have a really powerful antagonist to defeat, like Cthulhu. Poor H.P. Lovecraft. Apparently, he’s also in the story–so when Immortal Writers comes out, I’m going to read it just to find out how a little horror writer defeated the unknowable abomination of a god. So, now I have to wait a whole year to read Immortal Writers to find out if the topic of Lovecraft vs Cthulhu gets resolved…and if not, I might have to take up fan-fiction.

You know a trait of a fun story? It makes other people want to create in return. Fan-fiction is probably the ultimate expression of love, and that’s why I think making a movie of a book is actually fan-fiction. If I ever do a master’s, that is totally going to be my thesis.

But anyhow.

And here’s Bethany Zohner’s novel clip. Hers is already published, so no frustrating waiting or anything. It’s called The Perfect Fool.

It’s about a court jester going about his business–you know, spying, falling in love, entertaining people, telling them off in such manner that they feel flattered. In the scene Bethany reads, we’ve got a wise fool showing up some egotistical counselors (egotistical might be a mild term) by coming up with a wicked clever idea despite a lack of formal education. Go underdogs! And in the scene after, we’ve got a tiny and cute little fiasco with a girl in a field, and a bit of verbal combat between some people who seem to have ulterior motives.

Anything can happen, Internet…anything. You never know if accidentally revealing your secret identity to a toddler in a field will ruin you, or if that guy who won’t stop bantering with you is out for your downfall. UNLESS YOU READ THE BOOK.

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

A Motivational Story!

The whole city of Logan clumped like lichens at the edges of the mountains, Christmas lights and warehouses and the college and Main Street. The whole smoggy sky froze above it. Dry, dirty snow that wouldn’t pack into snowballs stuck on the edges of parking lots.

It was Thursday night. You’d had a long time of it–Thanksgiving was only a week ago, but you wanted another holiday already. You kept slipping on ice; your nose ran. Your coat and boots made you feel like you’d been alive for a billion years. Heavy. Fortunately for you, this Thursday was Helicon West. You knew a place where you could hang out with clever and lovely people who wanted to share their art. You knew there would be free coffee and cookies. You knew that if you went outside and arrived at the Logan Library Bridger Room at 7 pm, you could shore up your weary soul a little longer.

Two friendly-sounding writers (Here, have a flyer link: Zohner & Bowers Dec2015) would be the guest speakers, and you couldn’t wait to hear about their novels and works in progress and the stories they would tell. You were also excited to hear from your writing community, who would read at Open Mic for seven minutes or less from their own creative work. You decided that you had a poem you wanted to share, and that you would read as well.

OR DID YOU?

Will you go to Helicon West and have your stone-cold heart warmed up and ennobled? Will you bravely face the wild tracts of ice and snow in order to join your community? The end is up to you, Internet.

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

Leaves Don’t Fall; They’re Ejected

After a brief war with WordPress, I’m starting to think I can’t put videos on this blog, and I’m very mad. Instead of having that lovely movie just waiting here to play, you’re going to have to follow this link, which will take you to YouTube. Then, you too can sit around like an old geezer grumbling about the workings of the internet.

Once you’re there, note that Conrad Lucas’s poetry begins at 11:00, and then get ready for some classy stuff. It’s just quintessentially poetic: fanciful extended metaphors, lingering questions, and evocative stories. I bet the transcendentalists would love it.

The first poem is “The Landscape of You,” and I’m drawn in by the first line: “You look tired, girl.” Maybe it’s because I’m a girl and sometimes I feel tired. But this gently sympathetic line is a great start.

The rest of the poem, I feel I am both the speaker and the addressee. I’m an impenetrable unknowable landscape (I’m so cool!) and a wandering, inquisitive creature looking for shelter (so lonely!). Poems that address a “you” from an “I” perspective have this wonderful flexibility for the reader, and Conrad has done a fantastic job giving me enjoyable personas to sink into. It’s great to find little bits of yourself across literature. Or–it’s great to find little bits of the person you want to be.

As usual, there are a wonder-load of great lines in this piece, but my favorite is probably “I spent my time trying to read those/ pages,/ those hieroglyphs,/ penned in a foreign/ and dead tongue.”

The next poem Conrad reads in the video (the one that won’t load onto WordPress) is called “Endless Squall.” How sibilant, appropriate, and promising.

It starts with life and things and similes and stuff: the price of gasoline, the way wind bends the trees, rhinos and airplane pilots. The middle of the poem is more of the same. These things make a huge backdrop for the last lines: a red herring of massive proportions. It wraps up with a few thoughts about fleeting memorabilia people leave when we die. All that previously mentioned stuff becomes the dirt over a body, endlessly covering death after death with an implacable, impatient vitality. Life is much larger than death. The wind and the going-places and the preparations-for-winter are larger.

Conrad’s final Helicon poem is “Skinny.” It’s a life-story, poem-biography, tale of a person who didn’t fit into the world and made up for it with some fancy similes such as “I was still pink/ like an underripe/ tomato” or “I grew up tall and thin/ and frustrated/ like a weed.”

These similes sound clever and urban, don’t they? Like they came from The Catcher in the Rye, and all.

Then the narrator postulates on his own death (probably still skinny). Then the reader laughs, and a few hours later the reader starts to wonder if there’s anything about themselves that they will have to endure forever. How do people learn to accept fingernails that break or tiny eyes, or something worse, like selfishness? What if it’s impossible to change…or what if it’s possible, but you haven’t worked out your own character yet?

And that is how to have an existential crisis in 2.3 seconds flat. I’m starting to believe that art’s function is to produce existential crises.

If you are interested, you may find more of Conrad’s poems at this link. Other titles include Immortal!; The Talent, the soul, the skill; and Snarl. Be enticed, internet!

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

Rob Carney Tomorrow!

Hello, Internet. It feels like it’s been a while since Helicon West.

That’s because the events are on second and fourth Thursdays of a month, so–surprise! We didn’t have one last week. Very sad and all. And discombobulating for those of us who didn’t notice the pattern.

That’s me. I was really confused last week.

But that’s okay, and tomorrow, we DO have Helicon West. Here, have a fancy flyer to pique your interest.

Rob Carney Nov2015

If you are too lazy to look at the flyer, or you want to hear some carney puns, read on. The featured reader at the November 12th Helicon West will be Rob Carney (see now, I’m really funny). He’s a renowned Utah author and UVU professor with youth appeal and WEB PRESENCE. Just like this blog! Except for with, you know, more of it. Using my internet search skills, I’ve determined that Rob writes poetry and likes the American West. We’ll meet in the Logan Library (255 North Main) Bridger Room at 7 pm.

Using my internet search weaknesses, I’ve also discovered an international realtor and this guy who does his own mix tapes, also by the name of Rob Carney.

Anyways. Come to Helicon West. Listen to Rob. Drink free coffee. Eat free cookies. Read your own work up to seven minutes long at Open Mic, the part of the show where you come out and say your fancy poem or what-have-you. We’re uncensored so you can say anything you like, any thought you want to share with people, as long as you can do it before the passage of four hundred twenty seconds.

And now I owe you some puns.

I can’t believe I got fired from the calendar factory. All I did was take a day off.

Going vegetarian is a missed steak. A steak pun is a rare medium well done.

…..Why did no one like the last two puns? Because they were too Carney.

And why did everyone like the previous pun? Because it was just the right amount of Carney.

I’m sorry.

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger