All posts by Deborah Kelly

The 21st Century Federal Writers’ Project By Deborah Kelly

2 men typing with Poet for Hire sign
 

A proposed 21st Century Federal Writers’ Project introduced in the House of Representatives last month is gaining broad support from literary and writers’ organizations hard hit by the Covid pandemic. The bill, introduced by two Texas Democrats, would hire writers to chronicle the changes wrought by the pandemic, much the way the 1930s project explored the devastating impact of the Great Depression and other historical mileposts. That enormously successful program paid emerging writers to collect oral histories and tell the stories of Americans whose lives were forever changed. Some of those hired by the program … Continue reading The 21st Century Federal Writers’ Project By Deborah Kelly

Second Acts By Martha Woodroof

Photo of white goat
 

Mary, Mary, quite contrary . . . a splat from my Charlottesville restauranting days . . . From the mid-1970s until the early 1980s, I co-owned a couple of Charlottesville restaurants with my second ex-husband. I was an accidental restauranteur. Second-ex had dropped out of law school one course short of a degree because he couldn’t bear the idea of being a lawyer. He had no idea what to do next and was understandably depressed. He knew the business side of restaurants from working in them during college and law school. I loved to cook. … Continue reading Second Acts By Martha Woodroof

The Hopeful, Courageous Power of Anger by Renee Branson

Black and white photo of black fist painted on white fence
 

“Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” —Augustine of Hippo There is a lot to be angry about. Skyrocketing rates of COVID, financial stress from months of quarantine, deadly racial injustice, political chaos . . . and that’s just the first few things that come to mind. I am angry. More importantly, I’m okay with being angry. One of the more common misconceptions about resilience is that there is no room for anger. … Continue reading The Hopeful, Courageous Power of Anger by Renee Branson

Just Speak by Ann E. Michael

Photo of marchers holding Stop Racist Killer Cops sign
 

Much has been going on in the blogger’s back-of-the-blog life, compounded with news of the nation. And frankly, I have been mulling for well over a week on how to say what I want to say; or how to say anything, for that matter. There are times in the life of a writer when said writer recognizes the limitations of words. Also: words can be dangerous—inflammatory, distracting, powerful, persuasive, false, painful, hurtful. People get defensive at words they feel are “aimed” at them. Aimed, a weaponized word. I have had people (okay, white people) tell … Continue reading Just Speak by Ann E. Michael

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

Silence & Solitude By Ann E. Michael

Road through tunnel of colored leaves
 

Sara Maitland’s A Book of Silence. James Ragan’s Too Long a Solitude. Jane Brox’s Silence: A Social History. Thomas Merton’s Thoughts in Solitude… Is it just a coincidence, or did I subconsciously start reading books dealing with silence and solitude in the weeks before I planned to spend a few days alone in a friend’s rural cabin? And will the relative silence make my somewhat maladaptiveness to busy environs even worse? For I freely admit that living for thirty years in an area that borders on the rural, and spending so much of my time … Continue reading Silence & Solitude By Ann E. Michael

The Strangeness of Being Here at All: Franz Wright’s Redemption Story By Alex Joyner

Blurry photo of group of people
 

There are days I wake up in sluggish wonder, newly aware, as a last dream image drifts away, of the marvel of my beloved still beside me in the bed, the fan beating time through the air, and the persistence of this body and mind. Or as the poet Franz Wright would put it in a prayer: You gave me in secret one thing to perceive, the tall blue starry strangeness of being here at all. —The Only Animal “It is strange to be here. The Mystery never leaves you alone.” The Irish priest-poet John … Continue reading The Strangeness of Being Here at All: Franz Wright’s Redemption Story By Alex Joyner

Neglecting the Work by Ann E. Michael

Photo of white, rusty old Dodge
 

It seemed to me to have been a long time since I devoted serious focus to my creative work—I mean in terms of organizing, keeping track, revising, submitting to journals, compiling a draft manuscript of newer work…the so-called business of poetry. I resolved therefore to spend a weekend at the task. Alas. The weekend revealed to me the extent of my benign neglect: ten years of not-really-being-on-the-ball. I do not consider myself a particularly prolific poet, but I found myself faced with well over a ream of poetry pages, many poems only in their second … Continue reading Neglecting the Work by Ann E. Michael

Writing Small by Ginger Moran

Fountain pen laying on paper
 

Writing Small When There Is No Time to Write Big: The Goldilocks Approach to Getting Writing Done I was back from the James River Writers Conference in Richmond when I realized I was dealing with an uncomfortable truth. I had been sitting at the conference, listening to agents and editors and the questions people were asking them. The conference is a good one—not too big and not too small. The keynote speaker was Padma Venkatraman, whose beautiful books I’ve seen before and who exhorted us to both dream and do. She should know—she is an … Continue reading Writing Small by Ginger Moran