Writing Kid Characters by Erika Raskin

Photo of group of kids from chest height down
 

One time I was on a literary panel and the interviewer asked why I chose to have three kid characters in Best Intentions. I sat there thinking (all eyes on me), ‘Eek, is he saying that was too many? Should I have practiced authorial birth control?’ But I pulled myself together and admitted I didn’t really understand the question. The moderator said that in his experience writers find children so difficult to craft and differentiate they generally stick to two juveniles per adult tome. I was surprised by this, because a. I’d never noticed and … Continue reading Writing Kid Characters by Erika Raskin

Meet Your Local Poets: Spotlight on Mary McCue


 

Meet Your Local Poets: Spotlight on Mary McCue Ivy resident poet Mary McCue is originally from Norfolk, Virginia. For many years she focused on her beloved violin and played in chamber ensembles. When hand surgery took her ability to play professionally, she moved to Charlottesville and studied poetry through coursework by teachers such as Charles Wright and Gregory Orr. Q: Tell us how you began writing poetry. Mary:  I wrote poems in the beginning to describe pleasure or gratitude. I remember writing one to my dentist as thanks for never hurting me. My family loved … Continue reading Meet Your Local Poets: Spotlight on Mary McCue

Insouciance by Laura Marello

Photo of royal penguin with its chick
 

I just wrote a new book of poems called Celestial Navigation. One of my favorite stanzas says: Penguins man the caps, huddle against the wind, sheltering downy chicks flaunting their deep insouciance their paradoxical grittiness. For a while now, revising the book, I have thought I should look up “insouciance” because I am not really sure I know what it means. So, I look it up: definition: casual lack of concern; indifference. synonyms: nonchalance, unconcern, lack of concern, indifference, heedlessness, relaxedness, calm, calmness, equanimity, coolness, composure, casualness, ease, easygoing attitude, airiness, carefreeness, frivolousness, carelessness; informal, … Continue reading Insouciance by Laura Marello

“Minimalist” Photos of Ricardo Elisiário


 

  Photography for me started as a hobbyist’s yearning for perfectionism and how to depict it using one of the simplest formats—the photograph—rather than any real try at becoming a professional. Over five years ago, Instagram and an inexpensive smartphone paved my way into this realm of scenes, colors and shapes. Mostly my most private bliss when capturing the moments led me to continue and eventually get my first and only DSLR, the beginner’s Nikon D3300 and its standard kit lens. And although as a photographer it’s difficult to rely exclusively on the art in … Continue reading “Minimalist” Photos of Ricardo Elisiário

Learning to Limit Deathbed Regrets by Susan Kille

Cross-stitched pair of lungs
 

Have you heard what dying people are said to regret? Working too much. Spending too little time with family and friends. Not speaking up when someone is out of line. Postponing joy. These are real regrets. I know this. In late August four summers ago, I was preparing to die. I was in an ICU where the force of high-flow oxygen reminded me of standing on a cliff in Ireland being firehosed by wind that travels unimpeded across the Atlantic. Pulmonary fibrosis triggered by mold secretly lurking behind the drywall of our Brooklyn brownstone caused … Continue reading Learning to Limit Deathbed Regrets by Susan Kille

What We Forget by Tom Coates

Picture of American flag overlooking river
 

I remember the moment I knew my grandmother’s mind was slipping away. My cousin leaned in to give her a kiss and say goodnight. “Goodnight, Dahh-ling,” she replied as only she could, and then, to no one in particular, “Who was that?” Granted, the woman had nine kids and eighteen grandchildren, and she may have had a rum punch or two, but still, it struck me. Two years later, a few days before Christmas, I sat with her on a bench under a blanket and a blue winter sky in the field behind the old Virginia … Continue reading What We Forget by Tom Coates

Dead Men Missing Women by Nate Braeuer

Man and Woman from the knees down, striped cat between them.
 

Men in oiled slacks come shuffling down the mount in droves. Combed in purple milk the sky rolls up like bad reception                                       quaking clear from gaveled hits. Dead to hover sun-gray deserts. Hardened skins that settle in the darker crease of echoed canyons.              Dusting fields in phantom scrimmage.              Threading creeks up meadow’s twilight.              Wingtips rippling through the surface. … Continue reading Dead Men Missing Women by Nate Braeuer

A Challenge is a Challenge is a Challenge by Martha Woodroof

Child staring up tall staircase
 

  To me, being alive means dealing with one challenge after another—some glorious, others not so much. My current, decidedly inglorious challenge is having chemotherapy for metastatic cancer. I think of chemo as Paleolithic, micro-inch cavepeople marching around my cancerous body, brandishing clubs and whacking every cell in sight. There’s one! Healthy? Malignant? Who cares? Whack! Among the whacked healthy cells were the ones that hold onto hair. After the first chemo session, I went from having what one friend described as “long hippy hair” to being all-but-bald. So being who I am—a determined realist—I … Continue reading A Challenge is a Challenge is a Challenge by Martha Woodroof

Alan’s Odyssey by Sharon Hostler

Photo looking out over fields
 

69 Killed on Eastern Jet in a Crash near Charlotte New York Times,September 12, 1974 Like Odysseus, you sail the ocean in howling winds. No arm chair academic in corduroys, you are my red-bearded oceanographer in foul weather neoprene. Like Odysseus, challenged by Poseidon, far from the home fires of Ithaca, you, too, are tempted to taste the water nymph’s petals, but unlike Odysseus, you do not fall out, drugged and dreaming. Like Penelope with sulking Telemachus, I have little ones and sick patients. But, I have no need to pass the shuttle. No need … Continue reading Alan’s Odyssey by Sharon Hostler

The Sacred Delirium of Love: Collages by Bill Wolak


 

               I’m drawn to the wild juxtapositions that collage creates. I love the idea that anyone armed only with scissors and glue can construct an image that’s as fresh as a dream and just as startling. Also, I’m attracted to those images that are hypnotic and hallucinatory; the ones that are striking, irresistible, kinky, and unforgettable. One aspect of nature that is especially interesting to me is sexuality in all its complexity and manifestations. Therefore, many of my collages deal with the embodiments of desire, the markers of attraction, and the sacred … Continue reading The Sacred Delirium of Love: Collages by Bill Wolak

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