Dispatches From The Couch by Erika Raskin

Photo of roses on trellis
 

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.  L.P. Hartley That quote knocks me out so much I wanted to use it to launch into a safari through my own history. Perform a little dispassionate examination. No judgey-ness about (most) things, just a backwards look. But, you know, pandemic. There is no yesterday. Or tomorrow. Only now. I do not allow myself to actually think about what the lock-down represents. The deaths. The crushing losses. The wasted economy. The lurking dangers to those I love. So, I don’t. Instead, I just am. … Continue reading Dispatches From The Couch by Erika Raskin

On A Cappella Lane by Fred Wilbur


 

At university, I lived on A Cappella Lane, which dead-ended at the railroad tracks. Elm cool, the house had ivy as a front ‘lawn’ chaperoned by a short picket fence. The landlady had a walk-in basement apartment and lived between hot-water heater and oil furnace so that her children’s rooms could be rented out. My first night the trains woke me in a nightmarish sweat, bed shaking, books falling out of alphabetical order, coat hangers chiming in the closet. Soon enough I slept unawares. On occasions thereafter I would wake in the middle of the … Continue reading On A Cappella Lane by Fred Wilbur

A Plague Tale by Trudy Hale

Profile view of woman wearing plague mask
 

I run a writers’ retreat in a nineteenth-century farmhouse on the James River in Norwood, Virgina.  My quarters are at  the rear of the three-story house and consist of a large country kitchen with a woodstove, a mudroom, and a staircase leading up to my bedroom and small office. On the morning of February 7th I pick up my sixteen-year-old nephew at the Charlottesville airport. I spot him waiting at the baggage. He has grown taller since I saw him last. A lean boyish body and freckled nose, his light brown hair in a Westside … Continue reading A Plague Tale by Trudy Hale

What “Pantsing” Really Means, and Why Most Writers Have it All Wrong by Lauren Sapala

large sculpture of chair and table
 

If you’re a writer with even minimal involvement in the online writing community, chances are that you’re familiar with the terms, “plotter,” and “pantser.” And if you’re a plotter who manages to successfully finish books—and by “successfully” I mean get out a sloppy first draft with a rough approximation of a beginning, a middle, and an end—then you probably don’t have much angst about being a plotter. You get an idea for a story, you work on an outline and sort out your story arc, you might even plot scene breakdowns, and then you write … Continue reading What “Pantsing” Really Means, and Why Most Writers Have it All Wrong by Lauren Sapala

A Study in Red and White and Keeping Up Appearances, 2 poems by Valerie Griggs

Photo of bright red rose
 

A STUDY IN RED AND WHITE Perhaps a poinsettia-shaped arrow, aimed perfectly by the mischievous son of Venus, brought pomegranate seed mayhem to this soul of mine. A red velvet cake secret snowballed sweetly until I was pale with no sleep, no appetite for anything but you. A December rose blooms above fresh fallen snow— how did you slip between my silver lining? KEEPING UP APPEARANCES On our bones we painted strawberries to hide cracks made by life in the desert. Hidden grief lives in our bones; the painted life of the desert hides what … Continue reading A Study in Red and White and Keeping Up Appearances, 2 poems by Valerie Griggs

Maps: Surviving Social Distancing by David Roach

Old map of the world
 

Right now, sitting in my armchair, I’m imagining myself at the Camilla House bed and breakfast in Penzance, listening to Fiona, the charming proprietor, as she tells me about her favorite local restaurants and pubs. How can I be two places at once? I’m recalling my visit to Cornwall three years ago by looking at my Ordnance Survey Motoring Atlas of Britain. I love maps, especially road maps. Studying a map, I can see where I am, where I’m going, or where I’ve been. In my imagination, I convert its two dimensions into three, and … Continue reading Maps: Surviving Social Distancing by David Roach

Aerial View by Virginia Watts

Aerial view of farm field
 

Hannah Fisher keeps the curtains closed in every room of the farmhouse night and day. Windowsills are stuffed with juice glasses brimming with seasonal wildflowers: delicate, snow-white Queen Anne’s Lace, purple chicory, periwinkle cornflowers. She’s been working miracles with her monthly budget too, squeezing out extra cash for her husband Rex’s cases of Miller High Life and ingredients to prepare elaborate, formal dinners on the weekends, recipes she downloads on her laptop. If there’s any spare change after all of that, she drives fifty minutes to the Wal-Mart in Scutters Mill and returns home with … Continue reading Aerial View by Virginia Watts

The Puzzle Club by Fred Wilbur

Photo of leaves and sticks on ground
 

  In this time of social distancing, I have opened the box as Pandora must have done; 1500 pieces dumped like a pestilence onto the table, but like school children, all begging to know their place. During my working life there were business conundrums enough, but now in seclusion (which is a more positive word than quarantine), I have turned to picture puzzles. 3-D puzzles don’t have the same attraction to me because once you figure out the ‘trick’ you tend to remember it, the fun is gone. And besides they seem head-splittingly mathematical. Same … Continue reading The Puzzle Club by Fred Wilbur

In the Catacombs and Lost, 2 poems by Susan Muse

Black and white photo through an alley
 

In the Catacombs Ice hangs from the glass lantern, its dive caught midstream. It is patience itself, suspended in immense loneliness. Inside the fire flickers like a sunset descending behind the cedars out back. Only the crackle in the ashes disturbs the silence of the house. And I read leaning into the words that are tangled and brazen flaring the pending darkness like unknown corridors winding their way into the catacombs. Lost I was asleep when a lone rabbit ran through the night, his tracks spiraling the snow-burdened yard like he was lost, bearing the … Continue reading In the Catacombs and Lost, 2 poems by Susan Muse

What to Do in the Days of Corona Virus? by Elizabeth Meade Howard

Photo of orchard with pink buds
 

    March 19. It was the first day of spring. Cardinals trilled at dawn. Trees were starting to smudge pink, white and green. I smelled mulch, and fresh, overturned earth. Beauty and hope were in the air. And there too was the invisible dread, the dark underside, the quietly, stealthily spreading Covid-19. I wondered if it was safe to have contact with friends across the street, across town, those recently returned from other states and foreign ports? President Trump had recently declared a national emergency. My husband, John, and I qualify as “elders,” however … Continue reading What to Do in the Days of Corona Virus? by Elizabeth Meade Howard

Streetlight Magazine is the non-profit home for unpublished fiction, poetry, essays, and art that inspires. Submit your work today!