Jewish Star and Fure Escape,
Jewish Star and Fire Escape, Barbara Ruth
Artist’s Note: The original photo was taken at Lick Observatory, Mt. Hamilton, in Santa Clara County, California.
[Image: a portrait orientation image. The background is a deep black, with tiny blue flecks in the upper third of the image. In the lower two-thirds of the image, the side of a building with a gable-style roof can be seen. The outline of the roof appears to be in neon red, orange, and white. From the roof and descending the side of the building is a neon fire escape, with the rails and rungs above the roof a bright blue and the rest of the length down the side of the building in neon white. A six-pointed Jewish star outlined in neon peach and white sits to the right of the fire escape later, and the star is sitting inside a circle border that’s neon, but off-white. A pair of lights hang over a door underneath the star, and a window outlined in white is visible in the lower left of the image. In the bottom center, part of a sign can be seen on which the word “DORMITORY” reads.]


Geese Headed in the Same Direction, Barbara Ruth
Geese Headed in the Same Direction, Barbara Ruth
[Image: a landscape orientation image. The background is mostly filled with shamrock and chartreuse coloured grass that almost looks neon. A light green path bisects the field from right to left across the upper third of the image. Four Canada geese stand in the midground of the image: they have long black necks with brown feathers, white bellies, and black webbed feet. They are spread almost equidistantly across the image’s field.]


Feeling Unacknowledged, W. Jack Savage
Feeling Unacknowledged, W. Jack Savage
[Image: a portrait-orientation image with an off-white background. Several slashes of colour and irregular shapes take up the center of the image. Large, chunky blobs of periwinkle appear in the upper center of the painting, flocked by several chunky grey clouds in oval and elliptical shapes. Gold and forest green spots appear in the center foreground, and one long ribbon of gold and green drapes from one of the gold and green spots in the center, moving diagonally to the lower right of the image. Two large red shapes are in the foreground: one as a red circle with black, with two long threads of red emerging and dangling below it, and another red and gold streak moving diagonally across the upper left of the irregular shapes.]


Crossing Over, W. Jack Savage
Crossing Over, W. Jack Savage
[Image: a portrait-orientation image with a grey background. Massive irregular shapes fill the landscape: white in the upper left corner; red and dark grey in the upper right; a white, grey, yellow, and red blob on the bottom center. The irregular masses of colour converge in the center of the image to form ripples and waves with mixed blue, black, grey, white, yellow, and brown.]
W. Jack Savage is a retired broadcaster and educator. He is the author of seven books including Imagination: The Art of W. Jack Savage ( To date, more than fifty of Jack’s short stories and over eight-hundred of his paintings and drawings have been published worldwide. Jack and his wife Kathy live in Monrovia, California.

Issue 10: Synchronicity

Issue 10. Cover Art: Barbara Ruth.
[Image: a portrait-orientation image with a black background. Up the left sides, the words “Barking Sycamores” in sans serif sand-colored font appear. In the bottom right corner, the words “Issue 10” appear in the same print style, in gold-coloured letters. Above “Issue 10” appears a photomanipulated image of a group of round black cacti on the ground: some are small, with one large specimen with long spines near the top center of the image. The ground beneath appears in various tones of gold, beige, and sand.]
It’s true that 2016 has been a painful year for many of us. We’ve seen the deaths of artists who have meant a lot to us, whose creative works have touched many –– Prince, David Bowie, Alan Ruckman, Anton Yelchin, and Gene Wilder, to name a few. Once again, we hear the clarion call of needed change as more Black people die at the hands of law enforcement, bigoted populists attempt to legislate queer and trans people of out existence, rape culture continues to abound, and fearful political forces rise that echo fascist and racist demagogues of the past. Meanwhile, neurodivergent and disabled people continue to fight for basic civil rights and against ideologies that deny our personhood, humanity, and rights to accessibility and self-determination. With all of this, it’s easy to wonder if anything in our world has meaning or connections. Does anything make sense? We’re not sure how to answer this question.
Solomon chose the theme, “Synchronicity,” which is loaded with potential connotations. Usually defined in dictionaries as events occurring near in time to each other but with no apparent casual relationship, we also thought of Jung’s suggestion that while these events may lack causality, they do not lack meaning when taken together. We’ve both been very keen on exploring time, time travel, and causality. Ian’s been especially thinking about these themes while working on his MFA thesis, a collection of poems tentative named Time Travel in a Closet. (Happily, he passed his defense this summer and graduated.) At the very least, both of us have concluded that imaginations and our sentient understanding are ways in which alternate events, options, and timelines can be explored. Connections can be discerned in many ways, some obvious and some more intuitive.
Illness and life events delayed the publication of this issue, but here we are. Once again, due to the sheer number of submissions we found it difficult to make our final selections. This issue welcomes some previous contributors as well as new voices in our ranks. Our cover features art by Barbara Ruth; this piece is called “Circles and Bubbles in the Key of Cactus.” We hope you enjoy reading it as it rolls out over the next few weeks.
N.I. Nicholson
V. Solomon Maday


Birds Speak of Mysteries, Barbara Ruth
Birds Speak of Mysteries, Barbara Ruth

[Image: two large freeway lamps, one in the foreground and the other in the background near the lower right corner of the image. Both are slender poles bearing a long, curved metal arm extending to the left. On each arm, several small birds sit. The lamps stand out against a bright purple sky, with light thistle tones near the top graduating into a deep electric purple at the bottom.]


Berlin in the 1920's, Alexa Von Poremski (Ink, 2015), Allen Forrest
Berlin in the 1920’s, Alexa Von Poremski (Ink, 2015), Allen Forrest

[Image: a black and white sketch of a woman seated in a chair, turning and leaning over the back with her head propped up on her folded arms. The woman has short black hair which reaches down to the end of her ears, styled in an a-line bob. She is wearing a sleeveless garment with a belt around the middle.]

Born in Canada and bred in the U.S., Allen Forrest has worked in many mediums: computer graphics, theater, digital music, film, video, drawing and painting. Allen studied acting in the Columbia Pictures Talent Program in Los Angeles and digital media in art and design at Bellevue College (receiving degrees in Web Multimedia Authoring and Digital Video Production.) He currently works in the Vancouver, Canada, as a graphic artist and painter. He is the winner of the Leslie Jacoby Honor for Art at San Jose State University’s Reed Magazine and his Bel Red painting series is part of the Bellevue College Foundation’s permanent art collection. Forrest’s expressive drawing and painting style is a mix of avant-garde expressionism and post-Impressionist elements reminiscent of van Gogh, creating emotion on canvas. You can find his website at:


Ambiguities, by W. Jack Savage
Ambiguities, by W. Jack Savage
[Image: Several white, red, mauve, yellow, dark gray, and purple figures against a cream colored background. Many of the figures are blurred, and the image also contains several undiscernable, irregular shapes in the same colors as the figures. The figures and shapes are sometimes blurred together. ]
W. Jack Savage is a retired broadcaster and educator. He is the author of seven books including Imagination: The Art of W. Jack Savage ( To date, more than fifty of Jack’s short stories and over six-hundred of his paintings and drawings have been published worldwide. Jack and his wife Kathy live in Monrovia, California.


Next to the Chainlink Fence, Jane Sproston
Next to the Chainlink Fence, Jane Sproston

[Image: a white, somewhat rough and rocky surface covered in vegetation. The vegetation appears to be broken grey pieces of twigs and small plants, mixed with leaves and other plant parts in blue, red, green, yellow, teal, orange, and indigo.]

Our cover artist, Jane Sproston, contributed this as her artist’s bio for Issue 9.

“I live in Atrincham just outside Manchester. I now work seasonally as an exam marker after leaving a secondary teaching career in 2009. Since 2010 I have rediscovered my art and found that it helps express my ideas in a much better manner than I can speak using words.

I can’t remember when I started drawing because I have always drawn pictures. I vividly remember learning how to draw circles and later on people when I was at nursery. As a child I always wondered why I was different to the other kids at school and why I was treated differently. Last year I drew a picture called ‘In front of the chain link fence’ which brings together some of my feelings about my childhood, living in Longsight in the late 1970s and 80s and suffering from the bullying of other children.

I spent a begrudging year at art college 1993/4, firstly at Salford College and later at South Trafford. I hated being there and could not wait for it to be over. People around me tried to encourage me to engage with my art, telling me that I was good at it. I wasn’t ready to engage with it at 18 years old. I think 20 years of life experience has helped me go back and appreciate what one can do through artworks.

I didn’t get an autism diagnosis until earlier this year after suspecting that I was autistic since 2010. My daughter is autistic which is why I started to reflect on some of difficulties that I have had in life and why I have always felt that I don’t see things in the same way that other people do. I always wondered why I was put in the bottom set class at secondary school when I knew I wasn’t limited academically. Fitting in at sixth form college was traumatic and working with other people in the various jobs over the years has also been very challenging.

Art has been my therapy and during times when I have thought too much about negative aspects that I have dealt with from other people I can retreat into a picture and ‘speak’ through it. I find that I now feel more positive which reflects in some of the work that I am now doing. Greece, temples and trees are things that I like.

I started exhibiting my artwork at the beginning of 2014 and hope to continue exhibiting my artwork.”