“Crowds Will Look” by Rhys Ramsay

Crowds Will Look

I hope the backs of our heads,
when they are nestled together,
cause offense to the gawkers
who, in disbelief stare us down.

I might choose to bare all for show
although, she leaves her hair covered
she, wears no doubt on her sleeve
when she walks arm in arm with me.

Artist Bio: Rhys Ramsay is a Scottish poet and short story writer living in London. Taking inspiration from a diverse range of writers and artists, both contemporary and past; he is currently working on his first collection of poems covering such themes as city life, sex, love, meltdowns on the tube and politics.

“Stay With Me, My Summertime” by Victoria Young

STAY WITH ME, MY SUMMERTIME
Rays jaunt through your hair,
        Creating whisps of cinnnamon
And warm strings of amber.

         Bathing in the light of the sun, I look down…
Hands enveloped, hearts relying on the haze
     Of the moment to guide
         Us through.

We flutter eternal through time,
         Destiny being our trail of stardust;
Cosmic crumbs in the forest of the galaxy,

“Misery” dimpled across the lips of the jealous
 As they watch us from afar…

My eyes flutter open…
       There you are…
Just as beautiful as I had left you

 

About the Author: Originating from Detroit, MI, Victoria Young knew she was destined to be a weirdo and an outlier. Growing up, she was an avid fan of comic books, video games, obscure music, and making silly faces in the mirror. In fact, Victoria is still an avid fan of those things.  She now resides in Southern Pennsylvania with her husband Jake and their incredibly soft and wonderful cat, Pecan.

“Soft Peaks” by Victoria Young

Soft Peaks

 

 

I don’t know how to love anyone else the way I do you.
Won’t you keep me at a whisper’s distance?

 

About the Author: 
Originating from Detroit, MI, Victoria Young knew she was destined to be a weirdo and an outlier. Growing up, she was an avid fan of comic books, video games, obscure music, and making silly faces in the mirror. In fact, Victoria is still an avid fan of those things.  She now resides in Southern Pennsylvania with her husband Jake and their incredibly soft and wonderful cat, Pecan.

“The Lonely Wooden Lighthouse” by Nathaniel Redcliffe

The Lonely Wooden Lighthouse

By Nathaniel Redcliffe

There is a lonely wooden lighthouse on a small lonely island, occupied by a very lonely soul whose name is Seth Douglas. Seth grew an intolerance for others, he can’t bear small talk and refrains from any sort of emotional attachment; that is why he chose to work and live out the rest of his days, isolated in a light house. The sea separates him from the mainland and the people on it, but that was about to change. On a typical Tuesday morning, Seth is wearing a big old black coat, baggy blue jeans and a t-shirt with the name and logo of an unknown band. If anyone has heard of them they would think they’re pretentious and not as articulate as they like to think. At the present moment, Seth is on top of his cold and windy lighthouse that sits underneath the grey clouds, using his binoculars to look out at the many faceless people distracting themselves from their meaningless lives by spending it on a beach. The mainland’s weather, is in contrast, to Mr. Douglas’s little island, warm and the sun made the sand more golden and the calm sea clear blue. On that gold and sunny beach, a girl had caught Seth’s eye. A woman with lovely long blonde hair, pretty, round face with sparkling green eyes, smooth, soft and tanned legs underneath her slightly curved hips. She is sitting on her own, cradling both her crossed legs, looking as if she was stuck in deep thought or even over-contemplating something. Even though Seth was struck by her beauty, he never thought she would be remotely interested in him due to many years of being alone. Seth had tended to “let himself go”. His light brown hair was getting too bushy, there were big purple bags hanging of the bottom of his sad watery blue eyes, his beard was in need of a trim. The fat on his big hairy pot belly needed to be cut down so his stomach could be firmer. Age was another concern for the lighthouse keeper because this woman looked as if she was in her late twenty’s to thirties, while he is approaching fiftywith many wrinkles on his tired-looking face. In the end, Seth decided to no longer pursue his thoughts (and desire) towards this mysterious woman anymore, even though the image of her lingered in his head for the rest of the day.

Seth woke up the following day in his cold bed. He naturally finds it hard to climb out of bed, what would be the point? Ships have not passed in months. The only thing that wakes him in the morning now was the sound of waves hitting the rocks below the lighthouse. To Seth, the sound was like two aggressive goats ramming their heads together; despite all the years he’s lived on the island, it still remains a sound he could never get used to. Once awake, Seth slowly climbs up the round spiral staircase with the weight of his own head forcing him to look down. Outside, Seth lent on the cold and rusty rails for his morning inspection of the people below. He noticed a group of young, vibrant and handsome male surfers flexing their bulging arms and dripping wet rock-hard six-packs, impressing a group of young, beautiful, skinny, bikini-wearing, impressionable, girls who swoon helplessly to the looks of the athletic youth. Seth is watching the girls lean on one leg, giggling and playing with their hair. Seth loathed people with arrogant and over-confident characteristics. “Lady killers” are completely unaware of the real world around them and have no real intellect to fall back on. Seth’s spirits were raised when he saw that beautiful blonde Suddenly a young, dark skinned, tall, bold, strong surfer approaches her. In Seth’s head, he is pleading that the man is not going to talk to her and hopes she is not going to succumb to his lack-of-charm, confident ego and masculinity. To Seth’s horror, the younger and superior looking gentlemen begins to chat up this exotic blonde, causing Seth’s heart to beat fast and his chest tighten. However, to his delight, the blonde-haired girl shakes her head towards the bloke has a sign of rejection. Of course, this did not the really affect the womanizer, he just walked off like she was nothing, but she was not nothing because now Seth knows that she is not just smart and deep but also never be easily won over by an aesthetically pleasing meat-head (even though it would probably help).

Over the next few days, Seth had noticed the girl was coming on the beach roughly the same time every day to either sun bathe or to read. He didn’t gaze upon her too long because he doesn’t want to feel like a “stalker”, however he decided to give this woman a name, but what? Tiffany? No, that makes her sound like a floozy. Gwendoline? no, that makes her sound old. Rachael? yes, that sounds like a respectable name for a beautiful and intelligent lady. Seth was unaware that Rachael had become a reason for him to jump out of bed in the morning. She also made him want to be a better man, so he took up jogging. Seth would jog around the grass on the small island, starting regular routine of push-ups, sit- ups, and pull-ups on his creaky door frames to not only look better, but to feel more confident within himself. Seth trimmed his messy beard to a perfect stubble line, trying to look younger and cleaner.

Two weeks had passed; the lighthouse captain was gazing at Rachael from a distance for a minute or so like he normally did every morning; frustratingly he couldn’t stand the idea of not knowing her any longer. He contemplated trying to swim all the way to the mainland, but he knew he would not make it. He even considered drowning if it meant just being that little bit closer to her, surely that was an irrational idea so then he immediately rejected his own concept.

Seth fell into a deep daydream; he was no longer alone on top of his lighthouse, he was sitting across from Rachael in an empty restaurant surrounded by long dark purple drapes. Rachael is wearing a long and lovely blue dress that’s supported by the straps on her shoulders and has her long blonde hair tied up in the back. Rachael is staring into his sad, weary eyes. The pair are having a conversation over a romantic dim-lit candle light meal, they sit at a table with a long white cloth and a glass of white wine at each place. Rachael is moving her mouth to talk but no words fall out. They were having a discussion about their favourite books and he could just sit and listen to her all day. Rachael’s hand reaches over the table to place it on top of Seth’s to bring him comfort, something he has not felt in years. Suddenly, they were no longer at the restaurant. Instead, they are tangled bodies lying in a wide, open field on a warm summers day. Though there is a light breeze, it can’t cool their skin. Rachael’s soft and curvy hips are thrown into Seth’s waist while her hands were holding his chest. His left hand is supporting Rachael’s back and the other one is gently touching her lower backside. Their eyes look heavily into one another’s as if they were seeing deep into each other’s souls, sharing what they know, sharing what they are hiding and sharing an experience. They both tilt their heads to kiss, their lips touching softly and briefly. They slowly pulled their heads away, then Seth kisses her again with much more passion. Seth’s right hand moves up onto her waist, Rachael’s body begins to tense up with much excitement, causing her to dig her fingers into Seth’s back. Seth moves to kiss the side of Rachael’s neck causing her to tilt her head back and release a gasp. Seth loses control of his hands and begins to caress every part of her body. Surprisingly tears form in his eyes. Although he had made love before in the past, nothing compared to this overwhelming emotional connection.

A ladybird shattered the day dream by landing on Seth’s arm, bringing him back to reality. He did his best to flick of the ladybird from his arm without causing it harm. Seth placed his arm against the lighthouse wall in hope it would crawl off. Failing that, he tried flapping his arm up and down comically, but the stubborn insect would not budge. Instead it crawled up his pale, yet hairy arm as if it wanted to get closer to him. Seth even thought about condemning the creature to its fate early, before it eventually flew away. Out of his own interest, he used his binoculars to follow the ladybugs path. He watched the insects flight as it made its way to the sunny beach, watched has the lady bug navigated its way over to Rachael, and watched it land on her tanned arm, feeling an instant connection between them. The ladybird obviously startled Rachael at first but when she realised what it was, it caused her to bring out a big smile towards the adorable, innocent looking insect. Her gaze began to look more intense, as if she was studying it. Her look gave an indication that she was puzzled, drawn to search for something towards the direction of the lighthouse, for a reason she couldn’t explain. Much to Seth’s surprise, Rachael looked up through the lenses of the binoculars as if she was looking straight into the lighthouse keeper’s eyes. She batted her long black eyelashes flirtatiously. Seth jumped back in shock, how could she possibly know that he had been watching her? Has the isolation finally driven him to the brink of insanity?

The following day, after his morning workout; to prove that he had not lost his marbles, Seth looked across the water again and Rachael drew something in the sand with her fingers, it read: COME AND MEET ME. Still bewildered to how she could have known, Seth immediately ran inside the lighthouse and used the control panel to signal a boat from the mainland to pick him up, something that he should have had the courage to do days ago. Seth ran into the bathroom washed his face, brushed his teeth and maintained his stubble over a dirty old sink that was practically hanging off the wall underneath the mouldy bathroom tiles and the cracked and misty mirror. He threw on his tidy suit, a tight white shirt, sharp dark blazer with thin red stripes and matching trousers that grow thinner from the hips down to his flat black shoes. With all the weight he had lost, he needed to pierce an extra hole into his black leather belt.

Two hours later, Seth heard a ship’s horn blow, meaning that his transport is soon about to dock. Seth walked along the grass to the docking area where a small white fishing boat floats. The young captain laid down a wooden plank which bridged the gap between the island and the boat. The handsome and chilled out young captain gave Seth a friendly white smile and offered a welcoming hand. As Seth stood on the narrow wooden board, he suddenly became paralyzed, which troubled the boy opposite him, who pulled back his gesture of a welcoming hand and frowned. Meanwhile Seth had a lump in his throat, his sweaty hands began to shake, his chest was getting tight and it was becoming harder for him to breath. The lonely lighthouse keeper believed that he could not sail the sea to be a good man Rachael deserved, because he was too broken, too damaged, and been on his own for far too long. What if she is terrified of him? Seth’s eyes began to burn red and leak tears that slowly ran down his cheek. Mr. Douglas walked backwards off the plank and onto the familiar, safe ground that he knew. The other man tilted his head to respect Seth’s wishes, pulled up the plank and sailed away.

The next sullen day, Seth could barely lift his heavy head from his pillow, never mind get out of bed. In the late afternoon, he managed to get up and look out on the real world that he knew he would never be apart of. His walk was slower Seth was disappointed in himself and in a moment of rage he threw his pair of black binoculars as far away from him as possible, into the lowest depths of the deep blue sea.

The next two days Seth stayed in bed, wallowing in his own depression. It was only till the third day, he was woken up by the sound of a boat horn, the same fishing boat that came to pick Seth up earlier that week. Not in the mood for any visitors, he threw on his unwashed, tattered out band-t-shirt, black jacket and blue jeans on, and stumbled outside to wave off the visitors. To his surprise, the young handsome sailor was carrying Rachael on his vessel. Seth started to panic; he wanted to run away, but where would he go? Just before he was about to lock himself in the lighthouse, he caught a glance of Rachael, which then turned into a stare. He couldn’t help but notice how beautiful Rachael looked with her long blonde hair, thick black bikini and bra that’s behind a very thin, completely see through, red dress that ran from her shoulders down to her knees. The ship docked by the island where the baby faced young captain escorted the lady off the boat onto the island, in a gentlemanly style. This woman always foreseen as Rachael was in fact called: Louise. She instantly was attracted to the older, rugged, loner vibe that Seth was giving. However he was too nervous to talk and when he did it was mere mumbling. They gazed into each other’s eyes like Seth had always imagined. For a moment, he forgot what it was like to be alone on the island. Together they would make the lonely wooden lighthouse into a home.

About the author: 

Nathaniel Redcliffe, 25, born and raised in the mining town of Doncaster. Son of Alison Chambers and Paul Redcliffe. Studied at Ridgewood Secondary School but did not go into further education, instead he joined an apprenticeship scheme at the Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council. Currently working has a Health Care Assistant at Doncaster Royal Infirmary but has taught himself about creative writing and enjoys doing it in his spare time. Until TROU Lit Magazine had published The Lonely Wooden Lighthouse, he had never been published before. Only reached the semi finals at the Laugh or Die Comedy Festival for the horror/comedy film script titled: Head; formed by being admirer of the mixed horror/comedy film genre. He also received an Honorable Mention at Sky Fest 2014 for the film script titled: What We Live For; inspired by his love for music.

Cheesy Christmas Movies, Give Me Something Diverse!

It’s that time of year again… It’s cheesy Christmas movie season! I must confess, that I

Christmas

Image description [A red heart ornament hangs from a green pine branch. Snowflakes have landed on the ornament and there appears to be snow in the background.]

love this time of year and all the gushy, sprinkle covered, romantic Christmas viewing there is from the beginning of November until the New Year. I love getting out my knitting projects, curling up with a fuzzy blanket and my fuzzy dogs and just relaxing for a few hours while I watch some beautiful people fall in love amid the backdrop of Vancouver or down town Toronto in July attempting to look like there could be one speck of snow on the ground. Bonus points if I can recognize a Canadian actor in the cast.

There is one glaring problem (only one you ask?). Okay, okay. So the writing is bad, the plots are predictable, and most of the movies require a hard core commitment to suspension of disbelief to even begin to enjoy them. But the main problem to which I am referring is the lack of diversity in these films.

This year, I saw one movie that had Amber Riley from Glee as the star. I was shocked to see an African American actress in a lead role, which is a terrible reaction to have. It was a much appreciated change from the tall, blonde, thin, white women who fall in love with dark, handsome, tall, rich men.

Despite my love of these movies, I find myself craving more. I’d love to see more diverse body sizes and skin tones in these films. Differently abled bodies would be a welcome change too. Same sex story lines? Yes please. Gender fluid or transgender leads, alright!

I cannot see why the lead roles in these films couldn’t just be given to other types of actors than those we are traditionally used to seeing in these types of stories. Would we find it so hard to feel excited for two women falling in love at a ginger bread competition? An elf in a wheelchair falls in love with an elf of colour? Surely Santa’s workshop is an equal opportunity employer.

I’m not talking stories that play up people’s differences, or pull at our heart strings because the romantic lead is blind. No. I’m talking let’s just put normal, everyday people, of different shapes, sizes, abilities, and colours in the roles and see what happens. A great example of a film that did this was Hitch, though not a Christmas flick, it is a good example of a movie that had two actors of colour in the lead roles, and no one died of shock. Will Smith and Eva Mendez star in this movie, where their race is never once discussed as part of the story. They have the romantic leads and fall in love, just like all kinds of people do everyday. If you’d like a Christmas example, check out Last Holiday, starring Queen Latifah and L.L. Cool J. Their race is never mentioned either. As I always say, acceptance through representation. Here we have two perfect examples.

So maybe I’m filled with the Christmas spirit of wishful thinking. But if there is ever a time of year when people of all kinds deserve to fall in love, shouldn’t it be now? Come on cheesy Christmas movie makers, give us some diversity.

-Whitney

Birthday Celebration Give Away

Hello Lovelies,

Whitney here to tell you to keep those submissions coming. I’ve had a few pieces hit my inbox since I stopped publishing weekly pieces and it has been a pleasure to read them. Unfortunately, they haven’t been quite right for the magazine, but I am always happy to see your work and to read the amazing things your love filled brains and hearts create. Please keep sending in those love stories. Representation matters.

In other news, it’s my birthday next week. So that means between now and Tuesday, I am giving away FREE creative writing critiques to celebrate. If you are interested, drop me a line at troumagazineemail.com to claim your spot. These critiques can be on any genre or style, they don’t have to be love stories, though you know those are my fave.

Some parameters:

Prose pieces: up to 10 pages long.

Poetry: up to 8 pages.

Looking forward to reading what you’ve got!

Note from the Editor: Submissions and moving forward.

Hello lovely readers,

I write to you today to let you know we have reached the end of the stock pile of submissions I have been receiving over the past months. I have enjoyed reading every single piece that hit my inbox and cannot wait until I get to see some more of your wonderful work.

Since I first published Birthday Cake by Chale Needle, TROU has managed to have one story or image to share with you each week, which honestly amazes me. I never thought that I would have such success with this little magazine right out of the gate.

I have received messages from some readers about how valuable they have found the content here. I believe it matters so much to provide a platform to showcase acceptance through representation, and the love stories of regular, everyday people who are as much the same as I am as they are different. I will continue to leave the magazine open to submission, just as I always have. I hope I will receive something wonderful in the next few days that I can share with you next week. If that should not happen, then the structure of the magazine will shift a bit to accommodate the  new speed at which I receive suitable material to publish. Ever the optimist, I believe there are lots more stories to share out there.

If you would like to help keep the weekly publications going there are several things you can do. You can share the calls for submission I put out on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook in your feed. Or you could share the link to the submissions page directly with your friends, family, and fellow story tellers.

Best of all, you could submit a story, essay, memoir, poem, or picture yourself. Have an idea I did not think of that you think would fit the mission of the magazine, send that in too! Love appears in many forms, and I am always up to be shown new ways to love.

Building a community from scratch takes work. I hope you will join me in hammering in a few nails to build things up.

-Whitney