Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia

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“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” 
-E.L. Doctorow

A VidLit starts with a well-told tale. If you are reading this, you are likely a writer of fiction, creative non-fiction or a poet who is looking for a new outlet. Maybe you haven’t been published before, or not for a while, but you have something to say and a creative way to say it. We want to help. We want to give you a platform and help you with the sometimes icky task of promoting yourself. Our mission is to make fiction and creative non-fiction indispensable. It’s our belief that stories help our lives to make sense.

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MY GRAMA WAS KEITH RICHARDS

Lynn and Grama II

By Lynn Snowden Picket

 

My paternal grandmother was Keith Richards, if you take away the looks, the talent, and the British accent. Like Keith, my grama was unkillable. Until she finally died at the age of 95, I was wondering, with a growing sense of horror, whether she would ever die. I was starting to contemplate whether I could, without attracting undue attention, walk through the corridors of her nursing home with a wooden stake and a mallet. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

My grandmother married my grandfather when she was sixteen, and had my father when she was nearly seventeen. Oh, how nice, you might be thinking, but you would be wrong. All children are guilt-tripped into visiting more often, but when my grama badgered my dad into promising to see her once a week, it meant a seventy-eight-year-old man was obliged to be on the road for three hours each way, crossing over the Pocono mountains in the dead of winter, to dutifully visit his ninety-four-year-old mother, who would only berate him for not visiting more often. But I’m still getting ahead of myself.

Here’s what you really need to know about my grama: Despite the continuing, and long-suffering presence of my grandfather, my father, the elder of two sons, was the love of her life.

Routine

MANTRA

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By Jennie Baird

“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”

My brother and I were waiting outside for our mother.

That morning she’d dropped us off at this suburban hotel, a nondescript, low-slung building among many similar buildings, set back in a parking lot off a local highway not too far from our home. All of the buildings and parking lots along this stretch of road were the same to me – the fabric store, the paint store, each of them had big plate glass windows and painted signs. Our mother often took us from this place to that place running errands. Into the car, out of the car, stand here, wait there. Occasionally, she let us wait in the car. But today was different. We weren’t running errands and we weren’t staying with her.

“This day is very important,” our mother told us. “Pay attention to everything. Do whatever they tell you. And behave.”

The three of us walked through the lobby. I clung to our mother’s side as she stood at a long table talking to a man and writing something down on an index card. Then she said goodbye and told us that she’d meet us on the curb outside when it was over. Josh was in charge and I was to stay with him at all times. I would never think to do otherwise.

A young woman who was wearing a white robe and had long wavy golden hair ushered us into a large room. She must have spoken, but her voice was quiet, almost as if she could speak without making a sound.

There were lots of grown-ups inside the large room, most of them also wearing white robes. Some of them accompanied children, while others talked amongst themselves. The room was full of children, ordinary children just like us. At five, I may have been the youngest. There must have been chairs and a podium at the front, too. We stopped just inside the doors and found a place on the floor. Nearby, two girls played Miss Mary Mack and Oh Little Playmate. They clapped palms and backs of hands. They held hands and pulled each other to and fro, whispering the lyrics of the songs. I loved the words: “Oh little playmate, come out and play with me, climb up my apple tree, slide down my rainbow, into my cellar door and we’ll be friends friends friends friends forever more more more more.” I didn’t know what a cellar door was, but I wanted one, just so I could slide down a rainbow into it.

Josh took up with a group of older children sitting on the other side of him. They were talking about I don’t know what and of course he joined right in. That was part of being older. I wasn’t included, but I stayed close, making sure I always had my brother in my line of sight. I would be older one day, too.

Soon, there was an announcement over a loudspeaker asking for quiet and then other voices came on as well, but Josh and his new friends kept on chattering, though more quietly than before. They weren’t the only ones, either. The low buzz of children whispering and shifting and wriggling continued. I can’t remember if I wasn’t interested in the voices on the loudspeaker. Maybe I just couldn’t make sense of what they were saying. I kept my eyes on my brother. It was a crowded room. If I lost track of him, I would be lost. And without him, I would never find my way back to our mother.

After a while, we were told to go with a particular group of children to a smaller room. The woman with the golden waves led us there. The sun shone into the lobby and cast a spray of light around her hair and I thought to myself, “This is what angels must look like, only with wings.”

WITNESS

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By IACONE

up on
the 39th
a figure
in the
dark looks
out at the
city
the quivering city
never sleeping
wondering what
the new day
will ink
on the page

thinking
a man
must be alive
in this
world
100 years
to be
a decent
witness

OUR BUBBIES, OUR SELVES

(Remember, if you’re an artist, animator, illustrator, filmmaker, sound designer and want to collaborate with us, please, click on the “artist” button from the post page.)

Let’s face it, we’ve all been in therapy over our mothers and we’ve all come to the same conclusion: they did the best they could. And while that seems to satisfy some, the rest of us continue our investigation as to WHY that was only the best that they could do by looking at THEIR mothers — our GRANDMOTHERS.
And so we present:

 

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BIRDIE

by Barbara Davilman

 

Remember, if you’re an artist, animator, illustrator, filmmaker, sound designer and want to collaborate with us, please, click on the “artist” button from the post page.

Play

UNBOXING

By Liz Dubelman

 

Rose watched as her sixteen-year-old daughter, Delilah, walked to the car parked in the driveway. Delilah was all legs. When did that happen? She was wearing miniscule snug jean shorts, a loose t-shirt and a long drapey cardigan. Rose had noticed several fashion trends. Tight on top and loose on the bottom or tight on the bottom and loose on top. Rose preferred loose and loose but she had to admit it made her look old and careless.

Delilah threw a thoughtless, “Bye” over her shoulder as she was leaving. She was happy to be going out. The plan was to hit up the thrift store because they were cheap and she loved making up stories about the previous owners. Delilah didn’t really care where she was going as long as she was going. A driver’s license meant possibilities to Delilah.

All of Delilah’s friends were getting their driver’s licenses. They were that age and it was one of the few rites of passage left. Rose was both happy not to have to cart Delilah around and terrified that a mercurial teenager had control of a 2000-pound machine. But that small measure of freedom made Delilah sort of nicer to her mother.

It was Rose’s plan that while Delilah was out and not emotionally confusing her mother with her silent demands to be close and distant at the same time, she would clean the house – clear out the clutter. Rose opened a bottle of chardonnay. It was a cleaner’s best friend, a little life hack. Rose had read that the best way to clean a house was to pick a room and start clockwise. She picked the half bathroom because it was the smallest room in the house. Her logic dictated she start with the medicine cabinet.

Rose balanced her water glass full of wine on the counter top of the sink area and, with a fine billow, shook a white trash bag open. She looked in the mirror for a moment, took a gulp of wine and opened the medicine cabinet. She tossed the stretched out

ORBIT

 

By Cathy Colman

     The night sky. Like a living body
awake. Dead starlight
reaches us, eventually, unlike our beloved
dead. The stars
fall and you’re supposed to catch them.
The jigsaw puzzle
of constellations
disjointed without our mind’s fix and flex.

     And as these galaxies
expand away
from us faster than the speed of light, we are
lost here, in
the crabgrass, in the gutted
buildings of old business, the jolt
of wars and countries
stippled back and forth
with the nocturne-fire of weapons.

What I used to mean by hurt
is no longer what I mean.

          I have seen so many disappear.
Beneath weightless loam, oleander,
the cries of rooks. The priest
has locked the door to the church. He leaves
with newsprint on his hands.

      A world where nothing is clear.
For once I believe in nothing.
All the saliences lie quiet.
There must be a sanctuary I know nothing
about. In Nepal or underwater
in the Great Barrier Reef. Meanwhile,

     the stars’ slow, divine decay, away from their mothers,
too, away from their sleepless blood,
the damage done so far back
all language becomes new

     stars with their tangled manes, their tilted chairs, their quivering bows–
I stand in the driveway at 2 am
looking up to find true north.
It’s my kind of prayer.