Category: Special Features 2021

Some Questions for Elaine Medina

Editorial intern Kevin Herrera had a few questions for author Elaine Marie Medina

Is “Buzzing Bees” based on something in your personal life; and, if not, what is “Buzzing Bees” based on — what was the inspiration for writing it?

“Buzzing Bees” in some form is based on a relationship from my youth where I allowed myself to be ruled by my heart, consequences be damned. It was a way to let go of a bad situation that still haunted me. Writing has always been a way for me to sort of exorcise emotional demons and this semester I really let it speak into my writing.

How long did it take you to write “Buzzing Bees” and what was the process like? Was it difficult or easy for you?

I first worked on “Buzzing Bees” last semester. It took me about a week 2 weeks to write it and this semester through the wonderful guidance of the Lit & professors I’ve been better able to get the true essence of what I was trying to express and I hope you guys enjoyed it!

Did COVID impact this piece of work and if so, how did COVID impact this piece of work? Did it make you change, in some way, how you wrote this piece or why you wrote this piece?

Honestly, if it wasn’t for COVID I don’t think “Buzzing Bees” would have ever existed. Due to being out of work and staying home and away from loved ones, I decided to enroll back in school to further my career: but mostly to chase my passion, which has and will always be writing.

Read Elaine’s flash fiction piece “Buzzing Bees”

Image credit: “Pollen Heart,” Danny Perez Photography. Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. 

This Story Has a Ghost In It

by Earthnova 

Veronica was in a spacious office. The well-polished furniture and loosely packed bookcase resembled a minimalist but not modern aesthetic, and the large windows had a view of the gridlocked traffic below that stretched for miles. 

“So, Ms. Veronica, why did you apply to work for me?” He laid down the resume he had pretended to read and leaned back slightly in his leather chair. Veronica concentrated to ignore her hunger pangs and drowsiness and smiled brightly.

I am an avid reader so when I saw the ad to work for the best writer of our age, I knew I had to jump at the chance,” she said. As she maintained direct eye contact, the same way she practiced while on the previous dozen interviews that week, she could see his blue irises had green straight diagonal lines in them that intersected with his pupils.

Well, I’m flattered to say the least,” he said. “To tell you the truth I owe all of my success to my story consultants.” He sat upright. “And one of the perks is that you can spend most of your time reading anything I have in the lobby that you will be working from. So I hope you’ll make use of that.” She stared at him with a neutral expression, expecting to hear a downside. “In short, other than setting appointments and maintaining my calendar the only ‘work’ you will be doing here is making sure I am not interrupted, under any circumstance, when I am speaking with my story consultants,” he said sternly and gestured to the empty chair next to Veronica.

Take Reggie here for example. Just because he is a ghost and therefore cannot be seen, everyone assumes they can barge in here and demand my attention whenever my office looks empty. This can stop the groove we were in, wasting the whole day.”

…What?” she said, with her smile cracking. Veronica began to think quickly, replaying in her mind the previous minute of noises coming from the author’s mouth and she pondered how she could have misheard what was said so badly. 

“Oh, I should explain. See, all of my story consultants are ghosts of people who died before finishing that great book they were working on. I write it for them, and then with all of their earthly business done, they can get to the afterlife.” 

Veronica started to grip the arm rests of her chair. “What?” she said with a small panic in her voice. She realized she did not mishear, he actually believed that he saw ghosts. Dread and disappointment overtook Veronica in equal measure. 

“That’s how I became the preeminent ghost writer you see before you,” he said with a rakish grin. She frowned. 

“That’s not what the phrase ‘ghost writer’ means. In fact, I’m pretty sure that is the reverse of what it means.” 

“Oh, tomato potato,” he said dismissively. He looked over to the empty chair. “Really? I think I’ve heard it my way before,” he said as if he was talking to someone.

Veronica looked back-and-forth between the empty chair and the author. “And you can see these ghosts, how?” she asked. 

“Inherited. People like me who were born with angelsight,” he said while gesturing to his eyes. “Have the ability to see the unseen. Some of us see through walls, some see cancer, I see ghosts.” 

“If it’s from your eyes, how can you hear them?” she asked with increasing incredulity. 

“I don’t … know.” He said after a pause without confidence. His head perked up and he glanced at the empty chair. “Yeah, that is possible,” he said to nobody.

Do you expect me to believe that you built your career by stealing stories from ghosts?” she asked while staring him down. He became irate. 

“OK, so first of all, I don’t steal anything. In exchange for writing their stories down, and taking credit, their torment of clinging onto the mortal coil ends. That is completely fair. Secondly, I don’t expect you to believe anything. I expect you to tell appointments: ‘Sorry, a story consultant just stopped by so your meeting has been pushed back. He will be with you shortly, please wait here,’ while I conduct my business with people like Reggie here.” He said while nodding his head to the chair that still looked empty.

Veronica realized she had wasted her time again. Although she had not decided if he was a charlatan or a loon, she was sure that working here would have no future. This was just like that pyramid scheme she spent 6 hours interviewing for the day before last.

 “Oh, uh… Look at the time!” she said, looking at her bare wrist. She forgot she had to pawn the watch she usually wears on it to pay for her resume printing. “I have somewhere else I have to be.” She proceeded to stand up while the author lunged forward with a hand outstretched.

 “Wait! I give unlimited vacation days, payroll is run weekly, and the health plan has a zero dollar copay,” he said quickly. She cocked her head.

 “What’d you say?” 

“Unlimited vacation days.” 

“No, after that.” 

“Zero dollar copay.” 

“No, between the two.” 

“… Payroll is run weekly?”

One week later…

“Sorry, a story consultant just stopped by so your meeting has been pushed back,” Veronica said casually between bites of her overpriced sandwich. “He will be with you shortly, please wait here.” 

The man standing before her sighed and turned to sit on the plush bench on the other side of the lobby. But he immediately spun back around to face Veronica: “It is absolutely vital that I speak with him now. Otherwise his contract with the studio will eliminate residuals entirely.” 

“That does sound important, but so is your client hearing from his consultants,” she said, and then added “Unless you can pass through walls too, you’ll have to wait until he’s ready.” 

“What do you mean ‘pass through walls too’?”


Listen to an interview with editorial intern Jin Martin and author Earthnova

Earthnova is a File Clerk from Ridgewood Queens. They are currently enrolled at LaGuardia pursuing a degree in Liberal Arts: Social Science and Humanities. Their likes include Anime, Card Games, and Stand-up Comedy. Their dislikes include Social Media and Flash Photography.

Image credit: Sit Over There, Thomas Hawk. Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0.

Some Questions for Madelyn Romero-Melgar

We had some questions for author Madelyn Romero-Melgar

What inspired you to write “Into This World”?

When we were asked to write a “home” piece, it was really hard because I moved a lot and I never felt that “home” feeling, even until this day it still feels like something is missing. I was inspired to personify my old homes by Colson Whitehead’s “City Limits” where he talks about being a New Yorker and what stories your old apartments would tell. I liked the idea of my old addresses being sort of an old babysitter that looked after me and taught me things. I was also heavily inspired to open up by Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez’s “Witness Mami Roar.” I cried deep belly tears reading her essay and related with it so much.

What was your writing process like for this piece?

I did not intend for my essay to end the way it did. I actually left my mom looking like the bad guy at first, but the more I revised it and started finding the double meaning to “welcomed into this world.” I realized that she never felt at home either and she struggled to be accepted in this “world” that we were more easily accepted in because we were born here. This piece helped me open my eyes about a lot of things as I wrote it.

How has COVID impacted your creative work?

Because of the pandemic, I had time to go back to school and take a writing course. I think the quarantine helped me slow down and reflect on a few things. I forgot that I loved reading and writing. What has happened during the pandemic is tragic and it still feels very hard but I would say writing again is the silver lining to it for me.

Read Madelyn’s nonfiction flash “Into This World.”

Image credit: “Apartments,” Stu Rapley. Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.


by Stella Gleitsman

I thought a towel in my room was a man today
I thought a clothing rack was a man when I went out shopping
I thought there was a man behind the shower curtain this morning.
I keep on being a delusional woman
I keep on seeing shit that’s not there
Is this what being a girl is?

Having a vision that is untrustworthy, a mind playing all these tricks on you.
Making these accusations,
yelling at nothing, screaming at clouds,
At all the birds who pierce through them.
I tell everyone how small that boy made me feel
How he violated my spiritual space, harassed my body.
They burst out laughing, tell me, everything’s fine, no one’s out to get you, relax.
But I can’t relax, see, I am afraid of everything, even shadow puppets.
I see a man everywhere
I see a death everywhere
And aren’t they just about the same thing?
You see the man and then the woman’s body turns up a day later, bloated, mangled, frozen, ripped to shreds.
At times I think what I’m seeing are ghosts, stuck here, going through the motions of violence until it ends differently.
The ghosts are ten feet tall and breathing down my neck, eyeing my every move.
I am frozen and shaky and stupid before them.
I’ve noticed I’m always waiting for male violence to end differently,
to end in softness,
in tears, in love poems.

But the truth is that man was waiting for me to get out of the shower
The clothing rack man had been stalking me in my closet for weeks
The towel followed me home from the corner store– blocked my path, asked me to come back to his place
When I said nothing — when I said I needed to get home
He covered me in his starchy terry cloth
He wrung me out dry
I don’t bathe for years,
I reek of sweat
My hair in knots
Oh, I’m so tired of soap
Oh, I’m so hungry for dirt.


Listen to Stella Gleitsman read her poem “Towel.”


Stella Gleitsman grew up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and is a Writing and Literature major in her freshman year at LaGuardia. She has been writing poetry ever since she was 13 years old, often about mental health, feminism, Jewish identity, and spirituality. She views poetry as a place of healing, catharsis– a safe place to speak freely–and hopes that her poetry can connect with others and touch their lives in some way. You can find her on Instagram @stell__uh, and as well as her poetry account, at the handle @stellaisapoet.

Image credit: “Towel,” Kevin Steinhardt. Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.


October Silhouette

by Amir Bouanane

she bought two bottles of raindrops—
matched the evening with a light.

drowning rituals, exhales for past
-time; in every game—an outcome.

the memory vendor omits
this part—

it doesn’t undo the feeling of
ghost company. death too can

be a bargain, like the words
“if suddenly,” followed by

pause. then who is it that comes to
collect the bottles; why is it, now, when

i press my ear to the world, i am starved
to the sound of everyone living without



Listen to Amir read “October Silhouette”

Amir Bouanane is a New York City based, Moroccan-American poet, writer, artist and life observer who finds comfort in the gentle magic of words—through which he aspires to translate the soul imbued in scenes of life to give others a measure of catharsis or amenity.

Image credit: “Bottle,” Bruce Osborn. Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Some Questions for Louis Febres

Editorial Intern Brenda Lema had some questions for Louis Febres.

What inspired you to write “Something Lost”?

Languages have always fascinated me: their origins, evolution, and especially the idea of a language and culture being supplanted due to conquest.  That to me is one of the most tragic things that can occur to a culture.

What was your writing process like for this piece?

I wanted to write a micro-story for a class assignment and thought it would be a good challenge to write one about the demise of a language/culture. In keeping it compact, and establishing a kind of rhythm it turned into a prose poem. I’m not sure I had a process aside from trying to keep it as short as possible and trying to tell the story from the point of view of the people whose culture is being lost, but telling it in a direct, objective manner without any sentimentality.  Sort of like a news report.

How has COVID impacted your creative work?

Working from home since March of last year and not having to commute due to COVID has certainly freed up a little more of my time for creative endeavors, though not as much as I would have liked (or would have imagined).  The general shock of the pandemic earlier on and the dread and fear that followed, plus the political climate last year with the election, certainly killed my desire to do anything but watch the news with my free time.  But I guess we’re now approaching the end of this long dark tunnel and there’s some light coming through, so I hope to be more creative/productive in the months to come 🙂

Read Louis Febres’s prose poem “Something Lost.”

Some Questions for Alicia Evans

Editorial Intern Brenda Lema had three questions for Alicia Evans.

What inspired you to write “Whatever Will Be,  Will Be”?

The inspiration for “Whatever Will Be, Will Be” came from my own life experience. I have made some mistakes along the way but they were all stepping stones to the person I am today. Watching the Hitchcock classic with my mom really happened. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I understood that we don’t know what the future holds for us. We don’t have a crystal ball to tell us what is in our future. The words of the song “Que Sera Sera” hold so much meaning to me: “The future’s not ours to see.”

Another inspiration for this story was taking Fictional Writing with Dr. Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez. She showed us how you can take an incident and turn it into a story.

What was your writing process like for this piece?

My writing process, I don’t know if it is the conventional way, but for this story, I had the title first.Then I knew I wanted it to be about a wedding day. So I just wrote what came to me. Then of course I read what I wrote and was like, nope that doesn’t fit. It was a lot of writing and rewriting before I felt it just might be okay. I also listened to the song “Que Sera Sera” over and over while I was writing.

How has COVID impacted your creative work?

At the beginning of COVID, I was stuck. I could not think let alone be creative. That started changing when my professors started having us include something about the pandemic in some of the assignments. I had to change the way I was looking at this pandemic. Once I did that, it helped me see a story in everything: from the discarded mask tossed on the sidewalk, to the woman that walks past my house every morning at 7:15.


Read Alicia’s flash fiction piece “Whatever Will Be, Will Be.”

Image credit: “Doris Day: Qué Será Será, 1956,” Wolf G. Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. 


by Brianna Jo Hobson

Apron string, tied and undone like an umbilical cord
Stitching needle loops through hypodermic buttonhole

I cinch every waist that dears to breathe,
Every pupil that tears to cry or prickle

Corset skin beset like silken organdy—unraveled, cut, slip knotted,
Kept, like, a woman, I suppose

The presser foot stands on the bulge of my neck,
But I survive, I survive. Every time through the skirt of pleated breath.

Prosthetic scissors are phallic, like Freudian appliqué.
I do what I can, to hide my dysmorphia, like crinoline under a dressing gown form

I slit, I snip, I rip, I sigh, but I can’t thread material to twill free-will
or save my midwife life,

With birthing pangs ruffled and sharpened to needlepoint,
My bleeding heart materializes as wire hanger anger sewn

Mannequin arms, and legs, attached by a string of crewel,
I, lay figure, abortifacient of expectations, am shot, sutured and brutally reused.

Only bodkin eye holes left to pierce and peep tom through

I stab and seam, bind and weave, emotions, only to have them locked away and closeted,

Rope of my rapist’s mother’s homespun tapestry, hangs there, in embroidery, “We always weep what we sew.”

A pincushion of unblinking gender sits in chest; caught mid-swallow,
between lips, amidst deep throat,

Undressed and depressed, crocheted in Kitchener stitch, I am a gentle whore,
Abhorred as a replica bore, forever, an Eve dummy

To be knit upon, hit and, ignored.

Listen to Brianna Jo Hobson read “Prosthetic” below.

Brianna Jo Hobson is a poet, essayist, and short fiction writer from the Bronx. Her work skews more towards horror as she is heavily inspired by folklore, surrealism, dark fairytales, and the gothic subculture. She was one of the recipients of The Award for Outstanding Achievement in Creative Writing in 2020 and is a part of LaGuardia’s graduating class of 2021. She aspires to have a career in book publishing and will be attending Baruch College in Fall 2021, pursuing her Bachelor’s in English. You can find her blog here and find her on Instagram @m0thluv.

Some Questions for Ethan Velez

The editorial team had some questions for Ethan Velez.

What inspired you to write “I Can Carry It All”?

The story came together through some stages. I was having a hard time sleeping one night until I felt this warm, calm breeze that helped me out a lot. Slept like a baby. It turns out that the breeze was hot air from a nearby church burning down. I explained the situation to my sibling, Ash, who said it was good material for a flash fiction piece. It was definitely gradual. The title comes from a Ted Lucas song.

What was your writing process like for this piece?

I spent a lot of time thinking about the piece and how I wanted it to go. I mean a lot of time. To the point where when I finally started writing the first draft, I already knew what I was doing. It was a great feeling. I wish everything I wrote went like that.

How has COVID impacted your creative work?

There was no work. I couldn’t be creative through the pandemic until I started reading and watching what I liked as a kid. I also read a lot of essays by people who were writing about whatever they wanted, which was freeing for a person whose writing felt and read like something I put together for a grade.

Now I write what I want. I’ve truthfully spent the last year feeling like l’ve been learning to write for the first time again.

Horror movies come up quite a bit in this piece, and you mention in your bio that you are a fan. What draws you to the genre? How do horror movies inform your creative work? 

Horror movies had a hand in shaping who I am today, definitely. John Carpenter’s Halloween was one of the first movies I can remember watching as a kid. I remember being terrified, but thrilled, because at the root of a story about a masked criminal stalking teenagers was an ordinary person trying to survive. I was drawn to that. I’m more interested in stories about people trying their best than I’m interested in horror, but I like ghosts and witches, so scary movies have been a good middle ground.

When I’m able to understand and relate to a character who makes it to the end of a horror movie, I better understand myself, and that reflects in my writing. I pull confidence from the Nancy Downs and Barbara Steeles of the world.

Read Ethan Velez’s flash fiction piece “I Can Carry It All.”

Image credit: “Happy Halloween,” eyecmore. Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.

It’s a COVID Party

by Shoshanna Soleyn

Watch Editorial Intern Jin Martin’s Interview with Shoshanna Soleyn


Shoshanna Soleyn was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, in Crown Heights. She is a Commercial Photography major at LaGuardia Community College. She was first introduced to photography by a friend in 2016, and got her first camera in 2018. She then started to learn how to make images and wanted to learn more about photography. She enjoys doing portrait photography. Shoshanna‘s favorite photographer is Tyler Mitchell, and her favorite filmmakers are Issa Rae, Ava Duvernay, Spike Lee, and many more. She got accepted for LaGuardia’s Camera for Science for 2021. She looks forward to seeing where it will take her in life. Shoshanna is looking forward to graduating from LaGuardia Community College this June with an ASA degree. Shoshanna will be attending Brooklyn College for Film. Find her on Instagram @_shays.photography_.