Micro fiction: Agapanthus: a tale of micro-aggression by Rachel S. Reed

Agapanthus took pride in her reputation as a hearty nuisance. Not easily uprooted, she lay dormant for as many months as it took to give the unappreciative humans hope that she wouldn’t return this year. Then UP! she’d volley her initial shot of verdant stem, reminding them, perennially, who triumphed.

Blooming victory sans flamboyance, Agapanthus would arch her purple flowers to the sun for leisurely withering. Then again to ground for the next cycle of human swearing and sweating, waiting out their impotent posturing.

• • • • •

reed-rachelRachel S. Reed is a Pasadena-adjacent writer spinning whimsy during her down-time. She has a soft spot for sci-fi and quells her irrepressible penchant for nostalgia with frequent hops on the lindy circuit. You can check in with her on Twitter and relive the adventures of inanimate objects by subscribing to her newsletter.


Jonathan Blum’s fiction writing workshop

Jonathan Blum’s fiction writing workshop starts September 27 and runs for six weeks. Just 10 students!

In this class, your will workshop short stories or novel excerpts of up to 20 pages, with the goal of helping you identify and build on the strengths of your  work. Among the questions the group will consider:

• In what ways does this fiction engage and move us?
• Does the fiction have a recognizable structure that serves the writer’s artistic aims?
• Do the events that make up the plot connect to create meaning?
• Do we have a strong sense of who the characters are?
• Is setting used effectively?
• Does the language capture our imagination?
• What is the story really about?

For complete details, email instructor Jonathan Blum.

jonathan-blumBlum is the author of Last Word (Rescue Press), a novella, which has been featured on The Huffington Post and KCRW’s Bookworm as well as named one of the best books of 2013 by Iowa Public Radio. Blum is a graduate of UCLA and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His short stories have appeared in Green Mountains Review, Gulf Coast, New York Stories, Northwest Review, Playboy, and elsewhere. He has taught fiction writing at the University of Iowa, Drew University, and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. He is the recipient of a Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award and a grant from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation.


Join us on September 27


Step away from the keyboard, the tablet and the phone and take a walk with the Rose City Sisters team on Sunday, September 27.  We’re participating in the Wiggle Waggle Walk to support the Pasadena Humane Society.

Whether or not you have a pet, join team captains Paula Johnson (and Sidney) and Justin Ballard (and Pippa) at this fast, fun event. You can walk the three-mile route or do the short course.

Find out how to help by visiting our team page.



#79 Afterthought by Stephen R. Wolcott

When they saw the young, dark-haired man frantically waving his hands from what looked like a small makeshift raft, Mr. and Mrs. Beaumont showed amusement rather than alarm. “Oh, it’s one of those boat people, I think,” said Georgina Beaumont. “How exciting!” Douglas Beaumont concurred, peering intently from the aft deck of the Grand Excelsior ocean liner. Only a handful of passengers occupied this deck, and most of them were busy huddled around the bar. No one else had been staring out to sea. “Ah, yes, I presume the brave soul hopes to paddle to our shores,” he said. “Guess he didn’t get the memo. Poor guy needn’t go to so much trouble.”

In celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary, the Beaumonts had been one of the first to sign up for an exclusive, luxury cruise to Cuba. This, following the U.S. government’s renewed diplomatic ties with the country. What a thrill to embark on such a momentous voyage, they thought. A somewhat safe gamble for the Beaumonts, who came from an affluent Pasadena lineage, shielded from much of society’s ills, and generally accustomed to the finer things in life. Their knowledge of the island’s history was hazy at best. “I can’t wait to light up one those great cigars,” said Douglas. “I believe Gloria Estefan has roots there,” added Georgina. And they were familiar with those ‘boat people’, who risked their lives to escape Castro’s oppressive dictatorship and seek freedom in America.

The figure in the raft drifted off, and so did the Beaumont’s attention, due to raucous shouts at the bar. “A toast! A toast! To ending the embargo!” someone shouted. The tipsy travelers hoisted drinks in the air and roared with approval.

Strolling casually towards the front of the huge liner, they basked in the comfortable ease that a ship like this has offered wealthy passengers for decades. They enjoyed the thrill that comes from a majestic, commanding rush as steel hulls churn through ocean torrents. The misty sweep of salty raw sea air tickled their noses and tingled their flesh. All within safe perimeters. It seemed to match their stature somehow, as if the Beaumonts represented an elite sector of society who samples the real world at a comfortable distance, protected by unseen forces. They drew close to each other, momentarily vulnerable to unbridled and unaccustomed sensuality.

When they reached the large pool area, with his its towering slide, a commotion interrupted the Beaumont’s alluring trance.

“The last time I saw him? I’m not sure,” said a panic-stricken woman to a deck hand. A crowd hovered around her. “All he said was ‘I’m going to grab an inner tube and go wild,” she said. “He’s bit of a daredevil, you see.” The deck hand nodded nervously.

“But he’s not here and I’ve looked everywhere. I mean everywhere!”

“Can you describe him for us,” said the deck hand. “Uh, well, he’s about 5 foot 8 inches, 160 pounds, black hair.”

Georgina faltered a bit, forcing Douglas to grab her elbow. Images of a clock, with hands moving fast, like in an old black and white movie, raced through both their heads.

© Copyright 2015 Stephen R. Wolcott. All rights reserved.

wocottStephen R. Wolcott is an award-winning writer/producer with over 100 television, behind-the-scenes “making of’ and documentary projects to his credit. In addition, he’s interviewed a wide range of celebrities and notable figures, including William Shatner, Richard Gere, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Gary Sinise, Robert Wagner, JPL/NASA scientists, Whoopi Goldberg, and almost every cast member from the Star Trek films and television series. In print, his work as appeared in Emmy Magazine, Now Playing and The Pasadena Weekly. One of his latest ventures, “Film2Fact” explores fascinating truths in popular motion pictures—in other words, the ‘real’ in the ‘reel’. He also enjoys traveling cerebrally to his former Craftsman home in Pasadena’s Bungalow Heaven.