The Pleasure of Ruins by Trudy Hale

Black and white photo of rundown cottage in woods

Not too long ago, I was walking my black lab down Norwood Road when an acquaintance stopped his truck to chat. He said he was concerned about my neighborhood. Wasn’t I embarrassed for writers to come to the retreat and see all these ruined and abandoned houses here in Norwood? It’s a shame. It hurts him every time he passes through our hamlet, he said. He then announced that he was going to buy up as many of the forlorn houses as he could (he has the means) and renovate and turn them into Airbnbs. … Continue reading The Pleasure of Ruins by Trudy Hale

Susan Northington Looks to the Horizon


    The horizon line has long been a source of inspiration for landscape artist Susan Haley Northington. She remembers growing up in South Georgia where the open land led to the horizon line. “I remember being in love with the land. The vast flat land and open skies attracted me. Watching sunsets in amazement. The colors, the texture, the endlessness of it all.   “I viewed that horizon line as mysterious but at the same time it offered peacefulness and calm, that balance I sought. As we get older we yearn for balance and … Continue reading Susan Northington Looks to the Horizon

Writing History’s Happenstance by Fred Wilbur

Photo of brochures and postcards

During my older sister’s annual visit last fall, three shoe boxes came into the house with her luggage. After the usual greetings and settling in, she opened the Florsheim boxes to reveal a postcard collection. In an effort to clean out her Tennessee Victorian, a closet shelf having collapsed the week before, she decided she didn’t want them anymore: would I be interested in them? History is always a bit surprising, especially when close to one’s personal narrative. Imagine the archaeologist who digs up an artifact that totally alters the theory he has been working … Continue reading Writing History’s Happenstance by Fred Wilbur

In a Chapel Near the Loire by Elisabeth Murawski

rustic stone chapel on a river

The pulpit floats high above the chairs. She cranes her neck to see, twists a little clockwise to hear. The priest’s suspended there for his flock. Which soil to avoid? Which rock? The Bible’s chained to the lectern, each page a work of art. Needles of heat. Through the window a cloudless sky the blue of Mary’s cloak, a furnace of crows relentless as her fears of hell, of dying alone, that her prayers court a God who needs no one. Elisabeth Murawski is the author of Heiress, Zorba’s Daughter, which won the May Swenson … Continue reading In a Chapel Near the Loire by Elisabeth Murawski

It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll . . . at 1 p.m. on a Wednesday by Celia Rivenbark

Black and white photo of concert audience from the back

Oh, thank you, Jamie Lee Curtis, for bringing to the nation’s attention a problem that many of us, er, “seasoned citizens” have been too embarrassed to talk about. No, not bladder control. Honestly, I can’t take you people anywhere. I’m talking about why—oh, why—our favorite bands won’t have concerts at a decent hour. Like, says Curtis, 1 p.m. She tossed out the idea during the Oscars but then it took off! Turns out there are a lot of us who would love to see our favorite bands when they come to town but not at … Continue reading It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll . . . at 1 p.m. on a Wednesday by Celia Rivenbark

Not Every Deed by Tom Gengler

Oak branches in sun and shade

Not every deed in the annals of my family was given an account. It could not be. But the gospel writers and eyewitnesses each translated experience and recollection to collections of their own. I protected as if genocides were being sprayed from trucks in the living room and cessations possessed my hands. I have planted them in earths they were not potted in. The tender greenhouse became their new home: soils in life they were never rooted in, earthenware pots that drain and breathe and reverse their suffocations. May I plant you (uncle, aunt, mother, … Continue reading Not Every Deed by Tom Gengler

Paintings by Vivian Calderón Bogoslavsky


  When I was little, I was very restless at school, and the teachers made me leave the classroom, wander around and come back. When I came back, I’d already missed half of the lessons. So in order not to get bored, I started to draw, shapes with volumes, movement, light, leftovers. One day my teachers noticed. They called my parents and showed them my lined notebooks. My parents were surprised, and saw talent in me from that moment on. They put me in art classes with a teacher. Thanks to my parents, I was … Continue reading Paintings by Vivian Calderón Bogoslavsky

Forehand Drive by Amy Foster Myer

Photo of hand being held out

“How much further down you think it is?” He turned to look at me in the backseat as he drove. Through the front windshield, dark streets I didn’t recognize spread out in confusing perpendiculars. I had booked a place in the North end—somebody’s basement done up all IKEA-chic—because it was close to my mother’s facility. I’d barely been up this way before and never in the dark, on the lonely industrial roads from the airport. He said sorry again, repeated it. We had turned off at an orange Detour sign, below it, another reading, “Road … Continue reading Forehand Drive by Amy Foster Myer

The Owl by Deborrah Corr


From the branch above, half concealed in new oak leaves, silent, the barred owl watches with giant eyes, round as the pool at my feet. Its body, is all of a piece, no indentation even for a neck. If I could reach high enough, my fingers might stroke it in one long move from head to base, flat-handed, barely a touch, feeling the slightest tickle of feather, like the way, as a child, I’d kneel by the mud puddle, hover my hand over the brown water, lower my arm bit by slow bit, trying to … Continue reading The Owl by Deborrah Corr

I Can’t Believe It. I Forgot to Read Jane Austen! by E. H. Jacobs

Photo of piles of books

I can’t help thinking about what I haven’t read. Every year, I try to read at least one piece of classic literature that I had overlooked, never got around to, or was not included in the curricula of whatever classes I took. The books I should have read. The books every literate person should read. I feel like the woman in that Roy Lichtenstein lithograph sadly proclaiming: “I CAN’T BELIEVE IT. I FORGOT TO HAVE CHILDREN!” Except what I forgot was to read Jane Austen, and so much more. One year, I savored Homer’s Odyssey¸ … Continue reading I Can’t Believe It. I Forgot to Read Jane Austen! by E. H. Jacobs

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