Put Some Meat On Their Bones by Erika Raskin

Photo of uniforms displayed on wall
 

I once wrote a piece for Publisher’s Weekly about how even people who are terminally disorganized can craft novels. I offered a five-step alternative to the (impossible) task of manufacturing a pre-writing blueprint. Of these: one-sentence plot description writing what you know asking what if retrofitting action and, creating three-dimensional characters It is the final that is most crucial. In order for your narrative to take off, your cast needs to be sketched out (with well-rounded backstories that include things like the meaning of hidden tattoos, food allergies, wardrobe choices, cat or dog preference, conversational … Continue reading Put Some Meat On Their Bones by Erika Raskin

Fisher Samuel Harris Shows at McGuffey Art Center


 

    I didn’t start making art until after I’d graduated from college. While I never got much of an artistic education, it turns out that you can learn a great deal if you are persistent (read: stubborn) enough. After a few years of study in McGuffey Art Center’s figure drawing sessions, I eventually produced a drawing that was put in a show. Someone asked me, “What is this drawing about?” I blanked: my art wasn’t “about” anything. I just wanted to be an artist. So I studied Dalí and Picasso, Tamer and Turner and … Continue reading Fisher Samuel Harris Shows at McGuffey Art Center

A Very Small Adventure by Susan Shafarzek

Photo of plane flying in sky
 

Many, oh, many, many, years ago, a friend and I took a plane trip to Minneapolis, Minn. It was not a first flight, but it was a first time west for both of us. Our flight began in Newark, N.J. This friend believed, or professed to believe, that airplanes only stayed in the air because the passengers kept willing it to do so. Perhaps she was being facetious, but in any event, that was probably our only worry. In those days, no one searched your luggage and the rows of seats seemed not to be … Continue reading A Very Small Adventure by Susan Shafarzek

My Wife Is In Love by E. H. Jacobs

Photo of sewn hearts, two red, one pink, connected together
 

Five years ago, my wife fell in love. I’m not talking about me (we have been married thirty-nine years, so I hope the falling in love thing happened much earlier). Through her genealogy research, my wife, Vicki, discovered a ninety-three-year-old cousin living on her own in Montreal. Vicki’s research started with one item that she found among her late parents’ belongings: a postcard, sent from Poland and written in Yiddish, that had been addressed to her paternal great-grandfather. This was her first inkling that she might have family that had not emigrated to the United … Continue reading My Wife Is In Love by E. H. Jacobs

A Gull and The Black Birch, 2 poems by J. R. Solonche

Photo of bare tree against gray sky
 

A Gull A gull so far from the river circles the parking lot. Its whiteness is lost in this late fall day’s brightness. Its black edges are lost in the sunlight. Its black edges are lost against the glowing clouds, where its whiteness is lost. My daughter sleeps in the car and does not see the gull gleam above us so far from the river. She is lost in a glowing white dream. Tomorrow I will have forgotten the gleam of the gull that circled above her so far from the river. Years from now … Continue reading A Gull and The Black Birch, 2 poems by J. R. Solonche

Duck Blind by Regina Guarino

Photo of person looking through their fingers
 

Across the narrow alley way between row houses, where trash cans totter and feral cats loiter, a window opens onto the neighbors’ kitchen. For once, the blinds are open after dark, and I can see the family at dinner. Though they moved in this past winter, we haven’t spoken yet; but I feel like I know them from their Sunday morning ritual. If I sit at my front window at 8:45 a.m. sharp—which I often do as I drink coffee and read the newspaper in my chair—I see them file onto the sidewalk, from tallest … Continue reading Duck Blind by Regina Guarino

In Which She is Briefly a Curmudgeon by Ann E. Michael

Cover the The Tripods book
 

When I was about twelve years old, I found John Christopher’s YA Tripods books in the library. In this series, the humans on Earth have reverted to an agricultural, village-based society dominated by aliens who stalk the planet as giant “tripods,” three-legged metal vehicles in which the domineering hierarchy scans the population to make certain there are no outliers plotting to overthrow them. The aliens use technology to place a “cap” hard-wired into people’s heads when they are twelve or thirteen, and there’s a ritual ceremony surrounding it. The cap keeps humans docile and obedient … Continue reading In Which She is Briefly a Curmudgeon by Ann E. Michael

When the Waters Rise or Storm Descends and Chicken, 2 poems by Michael Quattrone

black cliff with sun behind it, people on top
 

When the Waters Rise or Storm Descends Each family will have gathered what is durable and light. How far will the little ones walk before they ask to be carried. What else will you set down. When are we going to be there. Even our grief will not put out the fire. There it is, burning, lighter and lighter, singing into a mouthful of air. Chicken By the third time I checked on her, she had no eyes, just two white sockets where they should have been. A pair of glossy beetles, oblong, paddled in … Continue reading When the Waters Rise or Storm Descends and Chicken, 2 poems by Michael Quattrone

Culture Shock by Rachel Lutwick-Deaner

Photo of kayaker on water
 

Fifteen years ago, I knew that moving to the Midwest would be a kind of culture shock. I knew it because I googled “Regional Food of Michigan” and the first thing that came up was “cereal.” But I didn’t know then what I know now, that Midwestern Nice was going to be the real shock. I always felt shy growing up on Long Island. Part of that shyness was that I was an outsider from the start. We started our lives as a family in Palo Alto, Calif., where I was born at Stanford University … Continue reading Culture Shock by Rachel Lutwick-Deaner

Thoughts on Place by Sharon Ackerman

bittersweet berries with blue ridge in background
 

When I was very young, I memorized the poem “Fern Hill” by Dylan Thomas, unaware that I had been drawn into poetry of place. Short-sighted, I read it as a poem about the loss of innocence which mirrored some of my own morphing into an adult. Now I realize the poem does what good poetry of place does; it brings us into imaginative relationship with the land we have separated from. Loss of innocence? Perhaps, but more the inevitability and shifting of perspective that underpins our perceptions of home or homelessness. Many poems of place … Continue reading Thoughts on Place by Sharon Ackerman

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