Tori Bond’s Familyism: A Review by Ayesha F. Hamid

Family means different things to different people, and Author, Tori Bond, explores the vagarities and variances of family in her debut, flash-fiction collection, Familyism. Whether her stories consist of children spending time in nature and performing plays or townspeople, sitting in a bar and dreaming of a way out, Bond is able to create entire worlds with a sparsity of words. Bond perfectly captures the essence of the mundane as well as the extraordinary; she immerses us in the surreal and magical but keeps us rooted through her skillful exploration of human emotion. The author has the unique ability to make the reader feel deeply; her stories are crafted with care and are guaranteed to fill the reader with wonder. The powerful endings of each story will leave readers mesmerized.

Bond uses her ability to make the reader laugh, but Familyism goes beyond simply being funny; Familyism is equally sad and profound and joyful. While reading, I found that the veins of isolation, loneliness, and the yearning for escape crashing over me like a wave. Characters experience the loneliness of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the settings of the stories don’t offer characters an escape – Again, the reader is drawn into a world of powerful emotion. Regardless of the intensity of feeling Familyism elicits, Bond masterfully balances emotion through her well-timed use of narration and humor. 

I highly recommend Familyism; It is not just a book, it is an experience! The book is a quick read, and the stories flow easily. The book will make you laugh, and you will be moved. You will ponder, question, and reminisce. This book could make you laugh out loud, so I don’t recommend reading it in public.

Catt Colborn – An Interview by Ayesha F. Hamid

I recently spoke to Cathy (Cat) Colborn, author, creator of the an online journal, and Philadelphia representative for WragsInk Publishing. Colborn has been writing and drawing since she had her first easy reader as a child.  Today, she’s become a jack-of-all trades in the creative-writing and publishing worlds.

Colborn is the founder of a well-known, online journal called Philly Flash  Inferno. The inception of the journal started approximately five years ago; Cathy and a friend remarked that “flash fiction was taking over the writing scene.” Colborn and her cofounders loved this genre and decided to create a journal in which people could submit their flash. Although flash fiction was the reason that the magazine was formed, it now accepts other genres of writing, including poetry and fiction. “Philly Flash Inferno has become something of a cult classic in the Philly tri-state area, almost like a little “Weird NJ” on the literary market,” says Colborn.

When asked what she would recommend to up-and-coming writers, Colborn says that in the publishing world, self-promotion is key. “I know I’m not going anywhere, even if the big publishing houses come knocking, if I don’t promote myself.” Cathy not only promotes herself, but also looks for ways that she can help colleagues to get their work out there.  Knowing her for several years, I’ve noticed that she’s great at networking, always offering others advice and resources. She’s not only linked to a number of writers, but also friends with a variety of visual and graphic artists. Cathy is the first person I turn to when someone asks me if I know of an artist for a project. Also linked to the world of photography, Cathy is married to award-winning photographer, Shawn Colborn.

Aside from working in publishing, Cathy also plans to teach as a creative-writing professor. She would like to take the lessons she’s learned from her mentors at Rosemont’s MFA program and pass on the knowledge to other students. Colborn is excited “about the process of being on the other side of the desk and seeing this thing come full circle.” Cathy’s novel, Madame Lola’s Marvelously Amazing Medicine Show, is now available at Amazon.