All posts by Erika Raskin

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

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

Brazilian Vacation by Cécile Barlier

Underwater photo of kids
 

It’s insane to try to sort days out of days. Some days you have it and some you don’t, but the thing you have or not is never just one thing: it is a stockpile, an accumulation, a buildup, a collection, a pool, and that pool is not filled in twenty-four hours. There’s the dramatic: days of deaths, dismemberments, detentions, immurements, stoning, impaling, holes poked in the back of heads by vultures to get at the brain, intestines cleaned up by desert ants, but on a scale from one to ten that goes from horrid … Continue reading Brazilian Vacation by Cécile Barlier

Echeveria Colorata: A Self-Care Manual by Ali Curtis

Photo of single tree set apart from other trees
 

The plant in the corner needs to be watered. It’s staring at Anita again. A cold deadpan interspersed with the occasional slow blink. The plant doesn’t have a mouth but if it did she imagines that it would yell a lot. It’s a small succulent, (Echeveria Colorata- She liked that it had color in its name) that Anita bought from Wal-mart the first week of classes as an experiment in caring for a living thing. “You should get a fish. Or you know maybe start out small–a plant? It’s good to care for something other … Continue reading Echeveria Colorata: A Self-Care Manual by Ali Curtis

Voicelessness by Anita Lekic

Black and white photo looking up at bird
 

I’m dreaming. I am in my old life, the life that no longer exists. I am married and I have a daughter, although in the dream she is young and not an adult. And things are going wrong. We are in the midst of a large group of scientists and my husband is ignoring me. Worse yet, he is oblivious to me; he’s discussing a travel adventure with an Italian and a Swiss scientist – they are going to fly above the Alps in a hot air balloon. And he is taking my daughter, a … Continue reading Voicelessness by Anita Lekic

On Field Pond by E. H. Jacobs

Photo of water lilies
 

We put the canoe in, Sophie and I, before the sun had warmed the pond and the fog had dissipated. Enveloped by the smell of damp-draped earth, we paddled in silent synchrony, each paddle angled efficiently, barely registering sound slicing the water. When we spoke, it was of the European cities we would visit, the country house we would build and the summers we would spend on Martha’s Vineyard. As the chill and the fog lifted, we saw the blue sky, expanding like a promise that we were moving into. Sophie was silent, as the … Continue reading On Field Pond by E. H. Jacobs

Trespass by Stephanie Coyne DeGhett

Coyote in snow
 

The dog had gotten out, slipped out, wriggled out, sneaked out. Too smart for her own good—clever at door latches, willing to bide her time when the mood was on her to go solo. You’d think it was too cold to want to walk the wild side—somewhere near zero. Kit would go call her in a minute, stand in the pool of light at the kitchen door call Lillie, Lillie. Too late, too dark, too cold to let the dog just return—as she always did—in a few hours. Kit pulled on her jacket, stepped into … Continue reading Trespass by Stephanie Coyne DeGhett

Art: You Know It When You See It

Stone sculpture of sunrise behind mountains
 

From impressionism to pointililsm to my nursery-school grandboy’s stick figures with appendage-sprouting-heads, the outward expression of other peoples’ internal creativity knocks me out. Whatever it is. Following a visit to the Van Gogh Museum, an old friend and I had a big argument about whether or not an objective definition of good art exists. I said no. He said yes—using the exhibit as evidence of a quantifiable measure of talent. I refuted this by saying there were only two paintings in the whole building that I would want in my living room. And only if … Continue reading Art: You Know It When You See It

For Sale on eBay by K.E. Ogden

Clothing rack with hangers
 

K.E. Ogden is the 3rd place winner of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Short Fiction Contest. One short-haired, German Rex single-owner cat about one year-old, up-to-date on shots, I think, although Mom got a little lax toward the end. Listen up, buyers: This is a great, sweet cat with a spicy character. Shut in a small, Vegas apartment with my mom since its birth, the cat retains a distinctive, sophisticated look even after hiding for two weeks in my mom’s closet under a pile of dirty laundry, next to an eight-foot high stack of sci-fi and fantasy … Continue reading For Sale on eBay by K.E. Ogden

What Do You Feel by Julia Ballerini

People staring at each other in a circle
 

Julia Ballerini is the 2nd place winner of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Short Fiction Contest. I was persuaded, if not coerced, to join a group therapy session. My boss was concerned about my mental well-being. I panic when I have to speak in a setting with more than two other people. I rarely utter a word during meetings unless obliged to give a report or am asked a question. On these occasions, I flush bright red from my face down to my neck and chest. I jumble words. My discomfort is highly visible and audible. It … Continue reading What Do You Feel by Julia Ballerini