You’re the Blue Outline

by Orion J

it’s roughly 11:29pm and i have you roaming around in my mind, then again what else is new? i can imagine you humming along to these tunes while you tangle your fingers in my already so easily tangled hair and i’d count the minutes you spend trying to untangle yourself from me – limbs and all while you’re at it

before you left you made it a point to tell me about how i was like the light of your day and maybe i just might have imagined the caffeine scent that hangs over every single word that spills out of your beautiful mouth in that ridiculous accent of yours.     you’re ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. i love the way you make shades of blue seem more vivd and i love the way it curves in to rest against my shoulders as i find inklings of you along the sleeves, almost as if you’re right here next to me. i’d fall asleep in an ocean with dreams as succulent as honey oozing from your lips, catching myself saying ‘good morning’ to a silhouette as i realise that i just may have left just enough space for you to slip your arms around my waist as you pull me close enough to rid the glass between our eyes

i’d like for that to happen again sometime, if you don’t mind and i’m sure you don’t judging by your sleepy murmurs that i manage to piece a ‘i wish you were laying here next to me’, out of when you dial me.

you asked me if i was angry at you, repeatedly, oddly enough you can’t help yourself on fridays. i brushed it off with a laugh and a roll of my eyes because you fail to realise that i could never stay angry at you because well, you make me feel so much more than that
[bullet train of emotions just rush into the gateway of my heart every time i lay my eyes on you]
anger is just my daily attire but you make me want to change into something new and that’s why i am so in love with you
so very
in love with you.

maybe i’ll tell you when you ask me if I’m mad at you some friday of a week.

new years day, only someone like you would plan something right out of a reality television show and i wouldn’t switch channels to be honest, your heartbeat on my left as you leaned in and i don’t remember if i shut my eyes when yours graced mine but it was my first time and i know i play the blind card to it but i remember what exactly it felt like and how my heart was jumping out of chest and how you were trembling right against me as i asked you to kiss me again
[its been a few months and i still hesitate at the thought of kissing you because i’m so afraid of tripping up somewhere but it doesn’t make me want it any less because sometimes i feel like your sugar laced sweet every things could spill into me and i’d never forget how special you make me feel]
yes, i am aware that its ‘sweet nothings’ but anything you say means everything to me and maybe i don’t say it enough but the chance of you choking over my sweet abyss wasn’t a factor i would definitely let it slip out once in a while
you’ve asked me to describe what your scent was and well who would i be to say? i mean sure your scent clings onto my jacket no matter how many times it takes a spin in the wash almost like the thought of you contrasting against the carnival of fairy tale blue fairy lights i hang by the side of my bed, i’d like to imagine that you do the same, i’d like to imagine that you flip through the words left stranded in those pages i’ve spent days rewriting and taking minutes of my day to ensure that you’ll be able to read it – whenever you feel the blue from your clothes painting your spirit, i’d like to imagine that you curled up with your jacket at dusk the same way i did as i tried to dissect parts of me from you only to find that i really couldn’t
it’s the next day and 11:50pm, but you’re still on my mind,
you’re like the light of my day i can’t get you out of my head sometimes,”

sometimes i flinch when someone make contact with my side and my shoulders but for a second i think that it just might be you cause’ i’m so used to you pressed up so close to me as you run your nails down my side in the darkness that swallows me whole late at night as you pull me closer eyes still on the screen ahead of us as i learn to let go and take your palm in mine, running my fingers over yours delicately just to remind myself that you are here and you are mine and that this moment is ours and ours alone like the others i’d store in the attic of my mind whereby i’d use the fireflies as light to read off the water colouring you’ve left in my mind.

i know you’ve never called me yours apart from that one time whereby i couldn’t differentiate between the sincerity caught between the tides of those flamboyant words of yours that entraps me with every breath as i submerge under the tides.



At night, she’s the first thing he sees. Some nights she clusters with friends. Other times she’s alone. But no matter, her beauty out shines all others. Some nights she plays coy and hides away. But no matter, he loves her just the same.


Author Bio:

Serena Vela is currently a graduate student, working on her Masters, in the Language and Literature program at Our Lady of the Lake University. Currently, she lives and works in San Antonio, TX where she spends her free time practicing yoga and writing short stories.


Poems by Douglas Polk

battered and abused,
tired on the page,
unloved and unwanted,
still searching for a place,
a home of their own,
the meaning gone,
a faded photograph,
typed or in long hand,
only words,
saying the same things,
over and over,
and sex,
and ache,
the soul a fount of emotion,
yet the mind runs dry,
of words,
in silence the rage builds,
lacking words,
colors fill the vacuum,
dancing behind the eyelids.
A Morning Walk
the sunrise greeted on a walk by the creek,
among the cottonwood,
rotten and fallen over in the wind,
ants on the logs,
seem to stop and swear at me,
feeling the part of the intruder,
moving along looking for my place in the universe,
horses behind the gate to the horse pasture,
awaiting a treat or two,
a daily ritual,
done to insure a good day,
the treats given,
I climb the hill,
the highest on the place,
standing on top,
closing my eyes I give thanks,
for all I am,
and all I hope to be.
A Smile
she smiled a smile,
I knew reserved for me,
an outsider,
hers the only smile we saw,
our business to list and sell the biggest ranch around,
priced out of reach of the local population,
I wished we were spending the night,
but sadly ate and drove away,
she was gone,
by the time we made our next trip,
but I remember her smile.



 by Chris Burton


Nights like these I miss the breeze

You don’t know how I bleed for you

Swing from poplar trees for you

The silence so violent

The summer so arrogant

I sit and I long

I long for the breeze

Who knew leviathans brood by oceans?

The arms that nursed you curse me daily

Fountains of iniquity that raised you to fail me

Yet in spite of these frailties we thrive

with dancing shoes

with cold sweat

with short breath

falling hair

failing lungs




Oh cactus, you stubborn fool!

A desert for your kingdom

A lifetime with no reprieve

I too dream of home untarnished

Gentry dreams make me grieve

My home has no garden

No shelter from trees

But still I find comfort

when I’m blessed by breeze


A Great Big Thank You!

Susannah Jordan has joined the HIP Literary Magazine team recently and is the one responsible for posting your accepted submissions! After I’ve selected the pieces that should be published, I pass along the necessaries to Susannah and she’s so kind as to post them up where all the world can read your words! Susannah is a wonderful writer herself and I just wanted to give her recognition and a GREAT BIG THANK YOU for her help in keeping HIP’s wheels turning. Thanks, Susannah!

Allie Coker-Schwimmer

Editor of HIP Literary Magazine

HIP Debate

Question: When a movie is based on a nonfiction book or real-life events, is it acceptable for the studios to embellish/enhance scenes and other parts of the story?


Manny Coker-Schwimmer

Films depicting true stories should, like their origins, be as fictionless as possible. Throughout the history of cinema, movies have been used as a compelling and entertaining means of re-enacting real-life personal struggles, coming-of-age experiences, rises to fame, and descents into infamy. Sure, I have seen many of these films and thought that I had seen an unadulterated version of what the real-life characters had done or experienced. If the original story was interesting enough to capture a film studio’s attention, then it shouldn’t need embellishment or artificial plot elements to hook audiences as a film production, right? Someone in Hollywood clearly disagrees with me.

The movie Patch Adams is a classic example of an “enhanced” non-fiction story. It illustrates Patch’s very unique life trajectory as he overcame suicidal depression and decided to become a doctor, in the process challenging many of medicine’s traditional conventions. He proposed a revolutionary brand of clinical practice that emphasized holistic care while de-emphasizing the paternalism and strict formality that had always defined medicine. This is a man with an endearing, humorous personality, who is a true iconoclast, played by Robin Williams, usually an equally endearing and funny actor. The true story of Patch provided more than enough material for a popular film on its own.

Still, the script adaptation created a female love interest, who was a composite of his real-life wife and his real-life male best friend. She and Patch work together to build the foundations of his new clinic before she dies an untimely death toward the end of the film. In reality, his male friend was murdered while still in medical school. Whether his friend was a man or a woman, a platonic buddy or a lover, wouldn’t make this tragedy any less devastating to Patch. I believe it is a statement that his best friend’s passing was not moving enough to keep audiences emotionally engaged. Surely, people could understand the pain of losing a dear platonic friend and how that could drive even someone as focused as Patch to question the value of living. It also raises questions about the validity of other situations we see in the production.

Let’s look at another movie based on a fascinating story, Saving Mr. Banks. It was the first time millions of people learned how difficult it was for Walt Disney to work with P.L. Travers and create the legendary film that is Mary Poppins. It is a deep exploration of Travers’s early life and how that impacted her attitude toward life as an adult –including her resistance to Disney’s suggestions during every step of the movie production process. I enjoyed Saving Mr. Banks and was initially impressed by how much Travers opened up to the production team’s creative ideas and seemingly transformed as a person toward the end of the movie.

Several days later, I learned the truth: several key scenes in the film never actually occurred. Travers warming up to the Sherman brothers’ music as they played “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and dancing along with them? Nope, just a movie script concoction. How about Travers’s tears of joy and relief with Disney’s production of Mary Poppins during its premiere, toward the very end of the movie? In reality, that’s not why she was crying. She confronted Disney afterward and demanded that the animated penguin sequence be omitted from the final production. In response, Disney put his foot down: “Pamela [P.L.], the ship has sailed” 1. A person’s first thought about these inaccuracies could be that exaggeration and truth-bending are typical of Disney films like Saving Mr. Banks in order to create a happy-ever-after ending. If that were truly the case, then why does the Disney-produced movie also depict Walt’s smoking and drinking habits? I believe that sacrificing accuracy for the sake of a more desirable film climax or sentimental effect is a common strategy used by Hollywood studios when it comes to non-fiction films.

On the one hand, I may be naive to expect that film is a reliable medium for non-fictional storytelling. The two major motion pictures I discussed exemplify how untrue this expectation can be. Still, the process of converting a living, breathing story into a film narrative brings it visually to life and can sometimes improve its reach to more people than what would be possible through writing alone; there are numerous exceptions where film adaptations are not necessary to shine the limelight on literature. I want to avoid criticizing cinema’s lack of complete adherence to original stories. Adjustments to how truth is portrayed are at least usually made with a purpose: for example, to help fit a story into a particular formulaic film format, as with Saving Mr. Banks, or to enhance the emotional draw of a key relationship, as seen in Patch Adams. If someone’s life is going to be played out on the big screen, film studios ought to respect their story’s inherent impact and avoid tampering with actual details to “enhance” the viewer appeal. Sticking to real life and minimizing fictional scenes will result in more honest non-fiction films that best respect the story behind the story as it truly happened, as well as the lives of the real individuals whose experiences are being shared.

1 Reel Faces: Patch Adams (1998). Neither author name nor date of authorship provided. Accessed May 26, 2014.
2 The Telegraph. Saving Mr. Banks: how Mary Poppins was nearly scuppered by her creator. By Julia Llewellyn Smith. November 29, 2013. Accessed May 26, 2014.


Allie Coker-Schwimmer

I am a creative nonfiction purist. Don’t tell me 25,000 people attended a conference if it was only 10,000. Don’t fudge the dialogue just to sound more eloquent. And whatever you do, don’t conflate the events from six months into one week. As a reader I want the facts, but as a writer I understand the daunting task of presenting such facts in a compelling way.

In the film version of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the protagonist, meant to be author John Berendt, was given a love interest named Mandy. In real life, “Mandy” did not exist, thus creating confusion and frustration for some viewers. Developing a love interest or, often, a third party in order to help with narration of the story is not an uncommon practice in cinema. While there are admittedly other plot devices or narrative techniques that can be used, is there truly a dilemma when movies embellish and create characters and events?
In Saving Mr. Banks, the audience sees P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins, grow from being rigid and detached to experiencing emotions of warmth and sentimentality towards Walt Disney and the production team. While this may not be the most accurate portrayal of Travers’s demeanor (her grandchildren reported that she “died loving no one and with no one loving her”) the manipulation of characters and scenes in Saving Mr. Banks does not necessarily do the viewers a disservice.

“Based on a true story” is a phrase we’ve all become familiar with, as well as “based on true events”—and a good nonfiction movie is just that, it’s “based” in fact. Not every sequence or detail is true—these are the white lies of plot which are fabricated but not detrimental to the overall story or message. These changes do not alter important facts or affect the core story. How many times have we heard tales from behind-the-scenes where the script, or original book, article, or research, struggles to translate from page to screen? John McFee’s The Control of Nature is an example of a book that excelled despite its densely-packed and detail-oriented text. Nonfiction books are essentially printed information, but to make the transition to visuals sometimes the narrative must be reconstructed. When a studio secures the movie rights to a book, they have identified the story as powerful, as worthy, but making a text interesting enough to watch on screen can call for tweaks.

If we were to identify the key points in Saving Mr. Banks, they would include:

—P. L. Travers’s difficult childhood
—the author’s resistance to turning Mary Poppins into a movie
—setbacks and disagreements during the production process
—the final outcome of Mary Poppins the movie

None of the embellishments—Walt Disney visiting Travers at her London abode, Travers dancing to “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” or Paul Giamatti’s character, Ralph, who represents a composite of different Disney limo drivers—detracts from the main story and, I believe, only enhances an already intriguing narrative.

By losing the ability to enhance, reconstruct, and speculate, genres such as historical fiction would not exist. Movies like Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus give the audience factual information about Arbus and an insight into her character despite the specific plot being fictional. Sure, we’ve invested ourselves in something that doesn’t exist—a relationship, a character, an action—so our disappointment is the reason we react with such surprised disgust at learning the untrue sections of a movie. Frankly, I would not change anything about Saving Mr. Banks. It is a fine film, one of Disney’s best. So why do I hold literature to a higher standard of accuracy and truth than cinema?
When a movie gets it wrong, we barely blink an eyelash, but James Frey was torn into a million little pieces for lying. On the other hand, David Sedaris, wildly popular as he is, has admitted to “adulterating his nonfiction with many imagined settings, scenes, and dialogue” and few seem to mind. Perhaps our tolerance for truth-bending has less to do with format and more to do with how entertained we feel.

The practice of embellishing and enhancing in cinema can be a slippery slope. Going against an author’s wishes to change the ending (My Sister’s Keeper), misrepresenting family dynamics (as Roseanne Cash stated about Walk the Line), and fouling up basic facts (age, race, nationality, etc.) are all examples of bad nonfiction storytelling. But by the end of a film, a dash of creativity and an imagined scene or two never hurt anybody—confused or misinformed, maybe, but hurt, no.

Quotations from this article were gleaned from “Not Quite All Spoonfuls of Sugar” by Margy Rochlin on and “David Sedaris and His Defenders” by Jack Shafer on



HIP Review

Drug War

Bill Boden

Just when the crime drama seems totally played out, Hong Kong director Johnnie To comes along with his savagely violent depiction of that genre. To’s new film Drug War, a Mainland production shot in both the wintry northern port city of Jinhai and Erzhou, a central Chinese city, has the grim, industrial feel perfect for the backdrop of this bleak story filled with guns, blood, car crashes and drugs, drugs, and more drugs.

Hong Kong filmmakers are in a new but now fairly standard commercial situation: their films need to be censor-ready and releasable on Mainland China as well as attractive to its audiences. Connecting a high body count with the drug culture apparently sends a censor-appropriate message, and if this full-throttle film fails to drive home the notion that a life of crime and drugs doesn’t pay, nothing will.

Producing fifty grams of meth in China brings on the death penalty. Drug War‘s anti-hero, Timmy Choi, has produced tons. As the film opens, a lab explosion kills his wife and brothers, and Choi, played by Hong Kong heartthrob Louis Koo, gets arrested after his car accident. Koo and Sun Honglei, the steel-veined narcotics detective Capt. Zhang Lei, carry the story through its labyrinthine plot. After a frenetic start, patient viewers soon understand who is who, and To catapults the film to a spectacular climax.

This fresh handling of crime leaves little time to breathe, and even a mad dash to the washroom or snack bar during this movie may be out of the question.

Rated NR for mature audiences.
In Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles.

Drug War

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