Taking the Right Step by Cheryl Traylor

Concrete stairs surround by greenery
 

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. We are not handed a guide at birth entitled Fail-proof Steps to Living This Life. As such, I’ve lived most of my life through a lot of trial and error—heavy on the error side. I’ve also learned that sometimes I just have to take the next right step and try not to run the entire marathon at once. I’m getting ok with that practice. There is a source that I go to often for life advice. Poet Mary Oliver never fails to enlighten me or ease my weariness. She … Continue reading Taking the Right Step by Cheryl Traylor

Between Lanes by Stephen Poleskie


 

Off to my left the dark current of the Hudson River rushed downstream at 65 mph, a magnificent sight, but at the moment my mind was concentrating on the tail lights bobbing and weaving in and out of traffic in front of me. I was somewhere in the middle of the pack, an anonymous group of motorcycle enthusiasts who met on summer evenings on Eighth Street in Greenwich Village to ride out together. Being, more or less, one of the regulars, but never the leader, I would hang around, chatting and ogling the passing chicks, … Continue reading Between Lanes by Stephen Poleskie

After the Magician by Stephanie Milner


 

Jessie had worked at Meyers Auditorium for six years, by then. When she had started during her fourth year in college (it took five to finish her social sciences degree), she hadn’t planned to stay that long. It had just been a good arrangement. The job paid better than others on campus. She controlled her own schedule because crew members picked which shows they worked. But in any case, she had stayed. She didn’t regret it. She liked how physical the work was. There was equipment to push, pull, and carry. Ladders to clamber up. … Continue reading After the Magician by Stephanie Milner

My Father Unknown by Laura Shaine

Photo of the box of a 23andMe DNA kit
 

How do you knock on a door that, all your life, you imagined opening? I stood at a fateful address on the edge of the historic district of Old Cloverdale, in Montgomery Alabama. I had never been to Alabama before and until now, had only one important contact here—Harper Lee. Before my first memoir was published, Harper Lee had read it and written to me, “A beautiful story I shall cherish for years to come.” I was thrilled, of course, but still uncertain— what was my story? Ever since I could speak I had searched … Continue reading My Father Unknown by Laura Shaine

Joshua Number Eight by E. Hume Covey

Photo of old yellow bus
 

    If you could sit totally still for long enough on the big rock by the sycamore, the catfish would peek out tentatively from the hollow underneath and then would move out, browsing along the bottom. A few minutes later, the ribbon snakes would slither down the honeysuckle, gliding back and forth across the pool with their heads raised barely above the surface. This time a gray watersnake had joined them, below the kingfisher’s perch, half in the water and half in the patch of jewelweed, near where the lone trout lurked  in the … Continue reading Joshua Number Eight by E. Hume Covey

Hot Guy From Photography Class by Alice Archer

Photo of bird flying against gray sky
 

  The instant we walk into the next room, which is all photographs—black-and-white rocks casting shadows in a desert, dirty-faced Depression kids and haggard mothers; borrrrring—Van seizes my arm. “Oh. My. God.” She doesn’t have to say anything else; she doesn’t even have to point. The high, silly voice springs from my mouth to her ear without conscious intervention. “Ohh, the Met? Awesome! Let me put on my club shoes!” Van growls through gritted teeth: “Oh—God—my—fucking—feet—hurt—but—I’m—trying—to—hide—it!” “He doesn’t even give a shit, man. Great boyfriend.” “I don’t even think he’s her boyfriend.” I squint, tilt … Continue reading Hot Guy From Photography Class by Alice Archer

The Photography of Margo Hamilton and Ron Evans

Photo of black hand holding sheet music
 

    Margo Hamilton and Ron Evans share a studio and a passion for photography. At their studio at the McGuffey Arts Center in Charlottesville, Va. a variety of some twenty-five cameras are strung decoratively on one wall. Their work includes fine photography as well as portraits of family, children and silhouettes. The two photographers met in 2009, Evans having moved to Charlottesville from Dallas, Texas where he had lived for thirty-five years. Hamilton had been living in Charlottesville for close to a decade. A native of Little Rock, Ark., Evans remembers playing with his … Continue reading The Photography of Margo Hamilton and Ron Evans

White by Holly Day

Photo of glass vase filled with sand and white folded paper
 

Once upon a time, there was a woman who wanted to have a baby. Or rather, this woman, named Jane, didn’t particularly care whether she had a baby at the time this story takes place, but her husband, a good, solid man named Jack, felt it was time for the two of them to have a baby, and since she often felt his wishes ought to be hers as well, she also thought it must be time. Every Sunday, the two of them would trudge from their tiny little apartment to church, where they would … Continue reading White by Holly Day

Lowcountry Tragedy by Erika Raskin

Photo of notes taking by Erika's mother
 

First off, I’m just going to put right out there that I have been known to watch live courtroom TV like it’s a job, attending to whatever case is being broadcast into my living room as if auditioning for a seat as an alternate. I can opine about guilt, innocence and the social context affecting a legal outcome with (possibly oversized) confidence. I especially enjoy learning the backstories (gossip) about the various participants. Defendants, attorneys, bloggers and turf-guarding journalists. They’re all fascinating. (In another life I might’ve been a court reporter.) Quick aside: I recently … Continue reading Lowcountry Tragedy by Erika Raskin

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