The Show Tell Project

For Seymour's Fat Lady

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All Warriors Have Scars

by fyarlgiles

A scar is yesterday. It is the corpse of a memory too sharp to be forgotten. And Zanthia’s body was a graveyard. 


Her olive face, handsome yet delicate, bore a slash from her brother’s axe. Arms, back, and legs too were cloaked in tough mutilated flesh that told of her bravery, her loyalty, her glory and not least of all, her suffering.  


The bullet wounds were new and the sight of them still struck her with a cold pain. Six of them, potted into her shoulders and her thighs like bubbling heaps of melted wax.


She had traveled on for some time, hoping that the marks would heal. Regarding them as healthy, living tissue in a brief phase of ill, but skin is never the same after it is broken. It cannot feel. Instead, it sits flaccid, trying hard to imitate the smooth rosy shade of life. A tombstone in a garden of blooming nerves.


She remembered the Elven sorcerer, Elanil. Her delicate features, her piercing blue eyes, the sound of her screams as the wraiths drained her magic the day that Voshla turned against them. There had been too many men on the battlefield that afternoon. Zanthia could not protect her. She could not save her. How foolish she had been to believe she had found a new family.


But, where would she go now that she had seen the limits of her power and the cowardice of her companion?  For the time being, the innkeeper Arkurius Tillman had offered her room and board in exchange for security. As it were, there had been nothing to do but drink and remember how her heart had betrayed her; today was no different. Zanthia planted herself in a corner of the tavern and watched as the patrons stumbled through.


After her third ale, she noticed a pink-haired gnome bard at the far end of the bar, her large eyes staring intently, awaiting Zanthia’s permission. The moment their gazes locked, the gnome smiled widely, and started toward her with a swift and clumsy walk. Getting into the tall bar stool was a struggle for a creature with such short stocky limbs, but Zanthia held back her laughter.


The gnome extended her hand. Angie was her name and she seemed insistent on getting acquainted. She lifted her hand to the barkeep, signaling for two ales and turned her attention back to Zanthia, who dismissed her coldly:

“Return to your bardic songs, gnome. I wish to drink alone,” she said.


The gnome offered a knowing look and after bracing herself, she continued with both caution and sincerity: “I will leave if that is what you wish, but I have been watching you and you must know that we are not so different. I come here for a reason. I understand what it is like to be the only one of my kind, to fail the ones I love, to drink until I am a stranger to myself.”


Zanthia did not react well to the possession of forbidden knowledge. This creature was a danger to her. She readied her great sword for a swift decapitation. Angie raised her hand slowly and spoke with authority. A cool light emanated from her center: “Do not fear me, Zanthia. I come as your guide and creator, brought to you by ally not foe. Destroying me will mean a more final end than you could imagine.”


Zanthia pressed her blade against Angie’s neck firmly enough to draw a single drop of blood. Through gritted teeth, she spit a threat, “Tell me now, who wishes to enchant me and I promise to make your death a painless one.” 


Angie’s eyes grew large, but she was not afraid. In this moment, a gentle warmth breathed into Zanthia and she knew the scars on Angie’s spirit as she knew her own– A dead father. A mother driven insane by neglect and abuse. A childhood steeped in loneliness and isolation.—She was reminded of herself, had time been less violent, but equally painful. Just then, Zanthia spotted a pale blue pendant of summoning against Angie’s breast; there had only been one in all of Golarian, and it had belonged to Elanil.

She paused and lowered her sword. And then with broken hope she pleaded, “ Gnome. You are sent here by the great Elven sorcerer, Elanil. Speak the truth; does she survive? Has she sent for my help?”


Angie’s face sagged into a frown. She looked into her ale and imagined drinking it down. She thought of all the deaths it could help her forget, and she wondered if it was more painful to know or to remember. She spoke once more, hoping that this time, she would be heard:

“ We can never be assured of a happier future, and I know all too well that no magic can bring your family back. But know that Elanil is within you, and for as long as you live, those who meet you, will also be meeting her.

It is true you could not save her, but if you accept it, she can still save you.”

Angie slid off her chair and onto her feet. She approached Zanthia carefully and they embraced. An icy wind enveloped her and she remembered the sound of Elanil’s heartbeat. Her eyes opened and Angie was gone, the ornate pendant left where she had stood. 


Zanthia wandered out into the street, her great sword sheathed on her back. Somehow the deformed lumps upon her body seemed different; they reminded her of who she was, of what she had overcome.

All warriors have scars; Zanthia would not make the mistake of living in the pain of them. Morning was the best time to travel, but the sun was setting now. She jumped onto her horse and began to ride.


She did not know where she was going.

The Walls We Are Inside

by fyarlgiles


For the man who doesn’t need me,

I am a million wanting hands growing from stones

too hard

and impenetrable to sprout

anything at all.

Against me, an ocean.



It is a mirror

unconcerned with the self I want to see


I am facing the wrong direction

and so is he.


I am an open mouth

wrinkling for lack of moisture and he is the whale’s tail

fanning warm, salty air against my tongue.

It is then, that wet and dry are the same to a wanting body

and survival

is in a difference I refuse to know.

If only I could sink beneath the water

where his eyes are.

Would I know him then?

-Angie Hoover

Art: Goodbye by Michael Harford

The Gymnast

by fyarlgiles


In the evening,

when her elbows grind into the gravel

beneath whirling toes

and plump, freckled cheeks,

she is alive

in the world with the rest of them.

She is the bringer of motion

of percussion—

of lightness and music–




But when the faint moonbeams recede,

she is a hardened lump of throbbing thighs

and raw skin–

stiffened scabs

and sleepy hands wrapped up in sheets

longing for the comfort of


eyes to tell her that

She Exists.

“The Gymnast” by Angie Hoover-Hillhouse

Artwork by Hugo Barros

This piece will be featured in an upcoming stage production called Cat-Fight, which explores  the complexities of womanhood!

Support Women in the Arts! Donate to CAT-FIGHT !

Where it’s Safe

by fyarlgiles


I am here–

No hands to grasp

the prickly air


limbs that long

for impossible






— a face stuffed 

with pale, white


–so that the world

will never get in

or out

of me.

-“Where I am Today” Angie Hoover-Hillhouse

Cinema Surreal: The Cat with Hands

by fyarlgiles

A few nights ago, I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to view this horror short. It is about a cat who lives in a well and steals human body parts so that he can become a man. The film is loosely based on Mit Romney’s Life Story

Happy Halloween!!

With the Princess

by fyarlgiles


after the war

I buried my eyes

-in the stones

-in the sky

where her blue body lies

They draped her in petals

as white as the moon

to soften the sins



—from her wounds


her secrets

 smell pinkish

like strawberry wine


I see

the foul rot

that will

cloak her

in time

With the Princess by Angie Hoover-Hillhouse

Smooth Superiority

by meaghanmerrifield


smooth superiority

rusts in a steaming haze


until it explodes71968-9856867-7

Art Mash: You Have Something on Your Face

by meaghanmerrifield


jaws heavy with swollen tongues

fall into smiles of stupor

heat flushes faces into blurry blends


yet the rubies violets peaches and maroons

settle and inevitably cool


teal is well suited to time

in it’s watery wisdom292774-10961227-7

and the end

gracious and refined

reflects fondly on

the beauty of the blend

“Beauty in Blend” by Meaghan Merrifield

Artwork by Charles Wilkin

Girls on Film: Re-evaluating Nostalgia in The Great Gatsby

by fyarlgiles


Last night I attended Doug Benson’s Interruption of The Great Gatsby at The Cinefamily. I hadn’t seen the film, but had heard that it was a big, awful mess designed to win over young viewers with brain-numbing hip-hop music and party culture extravagance. I couldn’t wait for the mocking to begin. But something unexpected happened between Benson’s “Does this movie take place on Earth?” and Thomas Lennon’s “Can anybody tell me who that character is? For a million dollars? Anyone?”….

I became interested.


Like a lot of people who heard about Luhrmann’s Gatsby before seeing it in a theater, I went in expecting to be offended by the off-base portrayal of the Jazz Age. Because I admittedly adopt the type of unfounded nostalgia that no person my age should. As the camera swooped into a lavish hotel room and the thumping bass of club music played over the speakers, my instinct was to say “Hey! THAT’S NOT HOW IT WAS! ” But I realized then, that I had no right to think that because all my ideas of The Jazz Age are based on images from Boardwalk Empire and Betty Boop.


It’s true that the emotional nuances of the original story are stomped on by Luhrmann’s signature vulgarity. And it’s true that he made Gatsby’s house look like a rap music video, but when we strip it down isn’t Gatsby an excessively rich dude who throws parties littered with drunk girls, booming music, celebrities, and free booze?…  The interpretation isn’t exactly off the mark.


Luhrmann’s movies are often panned, but I really think that he has a talent for showing that young, stupid people are young and stupid no matter what backdrop you throw them against. We want to believe that we’ve missed out on something. That superficiality  is just the oozy afterbirth of the 1980s and that our beloved Jazz Age was better than whatever we’re living in now. But the shallowness that we criticize without restraint in our own time, existed without question, in the times that we idealize.

It was not a tale of disillusionment ..or the hopelessness of time, but I left the film wanting to understand my attachment to worlds that can no longer be accessed and my need to believe that  the magic so absent in the world today existed decades ago.

Angie Hoover

The Grim

by fyarlgiles


A necrotized

claw has sprouted from the

neck of my favorite lace gown.

At first, it was a pool

of strawberry syrup

as bright and red

as a freshly skinned knee–

And then,

under the hanging tangerine fog of a Sunday afternoon,

it melted upward

into a


sickled flower

of bloodless quiet

anticipating its reflection

in me.

“The Grim” by Angie Hoover-Hillhouse

Artwork by Sarah Cruce