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 Private Frida

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by Harriet Reisen

        The other day I saw the exhibit of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s garden at the Bronx Botanical Garden. It was a perfect day spent in glorious weather with a new friend. She called it a “play date.” I’d call it a good day to go on a pilgrimage, the kind Chaucer wrote of in The Canterbury Tales centuries ago.
         I’d been making pilgrimages to shrines of Frida Kahlo for a very long time, more than twenty-five years, from the day when from far across a slushy winter street a Frida Kahlo self-portrait on an Art in America magazine cover bewitched me. I crossed a network of intersections to get to the Out-Of-Town newsstand in Harvard Square to buy the magazine, although it was expensive, and I had never read it before. The subject of the cover story was an exhibit of Frida Kahlo’s work, at the Gray Gallery in New York. Like a magician’s stooge carrying out a post-hypnotic suggestion, I got on a Boston southbound train to see it.

WEATHER

Weather - Now a VidLit!

By Cathy Colman

“There is no snow pack. Only one year of water left.”—Governor of California, Jerry Brown

Sometimes the earth tells and retells her story.
Throws figurines, makes the doors stutter,
weathered wood flies apart like toothpicks.
We are not listening. We live on behalf of strangers.
We live on the surface. It’s the only place.
I can see grooves
from the water’s former sluice, from the riot where
the meadow confessed its obsession for red. Somewhere,

Deconstructing The Beatles

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By Dan Dubelman

Watch the VidLit here: Deconstructing The Beatles

Intro:

Oh yeah, all right, Are you gonna be in my dreams tonight?

Was it Just a Dream?

I was born in New York City at 6:06pm on January 25th, 1965. John Lennon always said 9s had meaning for him and 6 seems to be my number. My ex-girlfriend said that I have undiagnosed dyslexia, and while I’m not sure if she’s right, 6’s and 9s seem related to me, and it always seems like it’s 6:06 or 6:09 or even 9:09. If six were nine, I don’t mind.

My parents figured I would die. Their first son died, but not before they had two or three years to love and bond with him. Out of fear, they didn’t let too many people touch me. It was okay to look, but don’t touch. If people were going to look at me I had to be entertaining. I had early reinforcement that being able to express myself in a manner in which others were amused brought joy and laughter. I craved this feeling the way a normal person feels when they wake up after a long sleep and the smell of fresh blueberry-banana buckwheat pancakes permeates the air. I know you don’t think buckwheat would be tasty, but you haven’t had mine. Just a small amount of really good maple syrup – the expensive shit you have to buy at the hipster store – really complements the flavor.

Roses and the Snow

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By Laura Cella

It was my twentieth wedding anniversary a few Thursdays ago and my husband Jamie and I went out to dinner. I went with two of his sisters to a restaurant in Manhattan and he joined his cousin and her husband at their house in Santa Monica. He flies home every Friday night and, like a 36-hour clock precisely wound, returns to Los Angeles on Sunday evening.

Sometimes I wonder if the ceramic bride and groom on our wedding cake were accidentally placed facing in opposite directions. While living in the same place at the same time has sometimes proved difficult, our marriage only became a cross-country relay event three years ago, when he became the President and CEO of The Culver Studios, known throughout the movie-going world as the big, white house seen in the introductory frame of every David O. Selznick film.

While living simultaneous lives on opposite coasts can be Hell, it also comes with unexpected moments of incomparable sweetness that I don’t think would be there if we were together all the time. Sometimes these moments are simultaneous. Sometimes they involve snow.

The Philosopher King

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By Rachel Artenian

Watch the VidLit: The Philosopher King

Punim the cat was alone and inscrutable
Searching and yearning for a home that was suitable
He was tiny and brave; his requirements few:
Humans that tended him and Minions that mew.

Espying two cats in a window one day
Who were eating caviar and engaging in play
And teasing poor Punim by wiggling their rears
Punim thought: I could bring those kitties to tears!

Splaying himself on the porch of the house
With Pitiful cries and folded small as a mouse
Out came the owners: oohing and cooing
Punim thought: I won’t have to do any wooing.

And now Punim has grown to a most regal beast
With two mewing Minions that lead him to feast
With Humans that cater to his every whim
And all who enter must kowtow to him.

Eulogy

Now a Vidlit!

By Barry Herzog

Watch the VidLit: Eulogy

I am in the room where my father died.

The room is in the basement of a hospital. It could be the boiler room of an ocean liner. Naked water pipes swirl across walls of unadorned gray concrete. Fluorescent lights glare down from the ceiling. The door is thick, brown, and clicks shut when it closes.

My father lies face up in bed. He sports a mustache. The bed has rails but they are down. He grimaces and sighs. His eyelids flutter. He mumbles nonsense, frowns and smiles. He wears blue pajamas my mother brought from home when it became clear that he would not wake up and deserved to wear pajamas consistent with mortality.

My mother keeps his glasses in her purse. She has his wedding band in there, his watch, his college graduation ring, and a partial bridge taken out before the surgery.

I sit on a metal chair along a wall. I watch my father’s death from there, see his facial tics, hear his garbled words, his random sentences.

The Perfect Mug

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By Wendy Murray

Watch the VidLit: The Perfect Mug

Sunday

I drive an old car. It wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t that I went out looking for an old car as opposed to a new one that purrs with the power of a lawnmower.

I drive an old car because I had an old dog and a Volvo station wagon was the perfect shape for her to stretch out and look at the passing traffic.

The part of me that is British drinks tea every morning. Made in a tea pot, with loose leaf tea, with boiling water from my blue kettle. Whatever time I get up, the first thing I do is trot downstairs and fill the blue kettle with water and put it on the gas flame. The second trot downstairs is to warm the pot and drop in a spoonful of smokey tea, pop on the hand knitted tea cosy and go upstairs to finish with the shoes and the hairbrush and the toothpaste, before coming down to pour the properly steeped tea into a mug and head out into the world.

And this is where I come back to my old Volvo. In 1995, when my Volvo came rolling off the production line in Sweden, people had breakfast in their houses. No one bought water in bottles or double skim lattes in cardboard cups. In my Volvo there is the flimsiest of cup holders, which slides out from the armrest and would be hard pressed to hold an ice cream cone vertically.

MY GRAMA WAS KEITH RICHARDS

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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.