“Because of the Shack Out Back, I am able to accept who I am today.” I was born in Kansas City, in 1978, where I was immediately placed into foster care. I was never abused there, nor was I neglected in any way.  However, I’ve always felt alone, which can seem much worse than a fist can hurt. Throughout my entire life, I’ve seen people come and go. Some became friends for a while, but most of the time I kept to myself. It just didn’t seem to waste my time and energy building relationships with people who I’d only know for a couple of months, at most. By the time I turned eighteen, just like that, I was thrown out onto the street, with nothing more than a bag of clothes and 100 dollars.  Needless to say, I was scared out of my mind. I had never been anywhere on my own before, and freedom, in itself, was the most intimidating feelings I have ever experienced. Fortunately, despite myContinue reading »

  I grew up within a small town, in England, surrounded by trees and farms. Things were simpler there. The days were quiet, and the streets could not be safer. The only thing I had to worry about was the primary school, to which I’d be forced to go every weekday morning. My first memory of this school was the massive wooden gates, held together with thick, black iron. These doors were both the only way in and the only way out because its surrounding walls were made of thick, blackened, vine-covered limestone that stood –to what looked to be at the time – a hundred metres tall. Of course, the scariest, most terrifying part of this school was the impenetrable, invisible, only-effective-on-parents, force-field that prevented any and all parents from crossing the white painted line at the gate’s threshold. It was like the teachers had somehow stolen the same spell that religious-folk had used to prevent vampires from entering a house without being invited. Instead, all that the parentsContinue reading »

 It’s the most basic skill in any wine lover’s tool set. Believe it or not, putting it in your mouth and drinking is only part of it, there is a whole procedure steeped in tradition and rooted in science. So you have a few friends over for supper and one of them has a nice bottle of wine. You like the taste, but could not tell the difference between box wine and a 1982 Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Here are a few pointers. A bottle will develop the longer it stays open, as the oxygen mixes in, the harsher taste will mellow out and the aroma will flourish, but don’t keep it open too long (why would you?) or the oxygen will render it undrinkable. So open it, pour two to three ounces, replace the cork and go on to the next step. In a clear glass, start by looking at it in front of a white surface; look for color, thickness and limpidity. A young wine will normally have aContinue reading »

    An interview conducted by TurtleBoy and answered by LemonFresh. TurtleBoy: Is there a reason why you chose LemonFresh as your Alias? LemonFresh: It was a nickname my friend gave me ‘cause I’m a neat-freak at times.  He said he could imagine me carrying a bottle of Pinesol in my book bag, and it just sorta stuck. TurtleBoy: What’s your favourite kind of music, and why? LemonFresh: Anything that fits my mood, really, especially when I’m writing.  Like right now I’ve been blasting Li(f)e by Sage Francis.  It’s been my favorite album for the past week, but last week it was Linkin Park’s new album.  I’ve also recently been listening to City and Colour, so really, anything but bluegrass.  For some reason bluegrass makes me want to take a screwdriver to each one of my ears. TurtleBoy: What do you do to relax? LemonFresh: I sleep.  LOL  I have severe insomnia, so I usually try to sleep.  I also write to relax.  I also watch movies; I am a movie fanatic.  I don’t ever really watch TV any.Continue reading »

The Bastille, or formally, , was built in the fourteenth century in response to the English threat to the city of Paris during the Hundred Years War. It was a strong fortress with eight towers that protected the strategic gateway of the Porte Saint-Antoine on the eastern edge of Paris. Its design was copied in other fortresses in both France and England. By the early fifteenth century, specifically 1417, the Bastille became a prison. Over the years the purpose of the Bastille had changed so that by 1789, it was used to support the operations of the Parisian police, especially in enforcing government censorship of the printed media. Criticism grew during the 1700s as the autobiographies of former prisoners reviled their treatment. By 1889, five years after the completion of the American Revolution, more than 5,275 prisoners had ‘resided’ there.   Finally, on 14 July 1789, the Bastille was successfully stormed by a revolutionary crowd that was trying to capture the gunpowder in the fortress. During the storming of theContinue reading »

Game of Thrones is a popular medieval fantasy series, found on HBO. It is an adaptation of the popular series of books called “A Song of Ice and Fire”, written by George R. R. Martin. The story takes place on two fictional continents by the names of Westeros and Essos, jam-packed with sex and violence and moral challenges relevant in even today’s culture. Throughout the current five stories, George R. R. Martin has described more than 1000 characters, and has created 31 main characters. The series is written in the third person and jumps from one character to another between chapters. Although this technique annoys some readers, it doesn’t seem to enable them to put the book down. Now, with the series into its second season, ratings continue to grow and books leap off the shelves almost as quickly as they can be stocked. Due to popular demand, the books have now been translated into more than 20 languages and the series can be watched in almost 80 countries. DaenerysContinue reading »

#1- Your fingernails grow faster on your dominant hand. So whether you’re right handed or left handed… expect to cut them more often. #2- At age 14, Jeremy Sumpter became the first ‘boy’ to ever play the live role of ‘Peter Pan’ in a movie. The role was always played by women on screen and stage before that. #3- Rain water contains vitamin B12. #4- Actor Vin Diesel’s real name is actually Mark Sinclair Vincent… and he has an identical twin brother named Paul. #5- Years before my story, “Dream Lover”, ever came to be, I actually did experiment heavily with lucid dreaming… and it really DOES work! I used many of the techniques and lessons I learned to write that story. And I still have a dream journal from when I was about 16 or 17 years old. Hehehe… don’t ever keep track of how horny you were as a teenager! Wow! LOL! #6- Time Magazine’s ‘Man of the Year’ for 1938… was Adolf Hitler. #7- It is rumoredContinue reading »

Although the idea to create a community-driven magazine for the Shack Out Back originally came to be in December of 2010, Imagine’s first release wouldn’t appear until August 2011. Since that date, the magazine has had both its ups and downs. There were many unforeseen problems, a lot of confusion and tons of improvisations were made. However, with every single release, Imagine grew stronger. The magazine is nothing like I had envisioned it would be, but I believe that’s what makes it wonderful. It’s unpredictable and always evolving into something new, and we have you, the Shack Out Back, to thank for everything that it is and will become. With your support, we have and will succeed. We will leave a voice of the here-and-now in the past and look to it in the future. We’ll be able to share our experiences, our humour and our problems with friends we’re yet to meet. We’re making our community better. To celebrate Imagine’s first full year in existence, I would like toContinue reading »

Usually around July 4th, people ask me why the United States wanted away from the British so badly. The answer is simple: they didn’t. But at the same time, the Thirteen Colonies didn’t think they had a say in their destiny. King George III never saw the people of the colonies, so he really couldn’t be bothered with their petty grievances. When the Colonists complained, George III responded by sending more soldiers. Finally, on July 2nd, 1776, the Thirteen Colonies, in congress, declared their independence from England and the king.   “July 2nd?” you ask. Yes. The Continental Congress actually voted for independence on July 2nd. In fact, John Adams even noted that July 2nd would be remembered in the annals of American history and would be marked with fireworks and celebrations. The written Declaration of Independence was dated July 4th, but wasn’t actually signed until August 2. Fifty-six delegates eventually signed the document, although all were not present on that day in August.   “So that’s when the AmericanContinue reading »

One hundred and forty-five years ago, the self-governing nation of Canada came into existence. It was established on 1 July 1867 by The British North America Act, 1867 (now known as the Constitution Act, 1867). A year later, on 20 June 1868, Lord Monck, the Governor General, signed a proclamation calling upon all citizens of Canada to celebrate their first anniversary on 1 July. It took another eleven years for the holiday to be established by statute, and in 1879, the holiday became known as Dominion Day.   Now the United States had been celebrating their Independence Day for one hundred and three years by then and Canada found out that all the fireworks stores were sold out because the Americans were hoarding! In a daring late-night raid on the fireworks warehouses in Buffalo, just south of the border, fifteen wagons of firecrackers, rockets and sparklers were given their ‘Independence’ and were taken back to Toronto for the fireworks shows. Feeling a bit guilty, the then Governor General, Lord Lorne,Continue reading »

Congratulations to everyone involved! Top 10 Stories Tid-Bit:Imagine helps you get your story noticed!The proof is in the pudding: 8 out of the 16 stories selected originally appeared in Imagine’s magazine or anthology and 4 of those made the Top 10! Our Top 10 Story winners: 10: Pete’s     “The Umbrella Incident” 9: Ben’s     “Parallels” 8: Comicality’s    “The Secret Life of Billy Chase” 7: Echo23’s     “Christmas” 6: JayDee’s     “Singletrack Mind” 5: Comicality’s    “The Boys of Widow Lake” 4: LemonFresh’s    “Derailed” 3: Mike’s     “Opportunities Lost” 2: TurtleBoy’s    “The Ghastly Obscenities of Brady Jeston” 1: Comicality’s    “Gone From Daylight”   Honorable mentions go to: JayDee’s    “Singletrack Christmas” Pete’s     “PAIN” TurtleBoy’s    “A Very Brady Christmas” Remijay’s    “Modern High” Joey’s     “Football” Erick’s     “Unscripted” We would like a top 10 for every month of the year!!! We currently have: Top 10 Boys Top 10 Authors Top 10 Stories We need 9 more! Send your suggestions to: [email protected]