All posts by Erika Raskin

Drive-Thru Angel by Lynne T. Pickett

Bonnie took a toothpick and dug at her fire-eaten scalp. Fifteen more minutes. Her mama always loved Bonnie’s red curls. “Just as sweet as the bluebirds singing in the oaks,” Mama would whisper to her. “God spun those curls out of fire with his little finger just for you, precious.” Maybe that’s why the perm solution and the hair dye burned so bad: Bonnie was trying her best to take on God’s job. In the past few years, her perfects curls had turned into frizzy wires and her flame-red hair diluted into a muddy rust. … Continue reading Drive-Thru Angel by Lynne T. Pickett

Ernestine Goes to Heaven by Susan Heeger

“Old age ain’t no place for sissies,” the actress Bette Davis famously said, and these words reeled through Muffin’s head as she crammed a pill pocket down the throat of her ancient basset hound. Ernestine was no sissy. Overweight, asthmatic, maybe a little depressed, the dog had the droopy-eyed mournfulness of Davis during the late “Baby Jane” phase of her career. Some of her teeth had fallen out. Her swaybacked body was knobbed with benign tumors the vet said were “evidence of her aging immune system.” She smelled musty, cheesy, like a Brooklyn deli on … Continue reading Ernestine Goes to Heaven by Susan Heeger

Best Intentions by Erika Raskin

My second novel, Best Intentions, is a medical thriller that falls solidly between Write-What-You-Know, a form of untaxing research I heartily recommend, and Write-What-You-Worry-About, a selfless act of spreading alarm. (You’re welcome.) Shining a light on important issues while plucking details floating around my house to flesh them out was pretty much my dream project. As a doctor’s wife and a mother of a child with a serious illness, I’ve had an interesting vantage point from which to study our medical system. While I don’t claim to be an expert on the subjects I touch … Continue reading Best Intentions by Erika Raskin

Travelogue: Venice Biennale by John B. Ravenal

Once a decade, the European cities of Venice, Kassel, and Munster form a trifecta for the contemporary art world. There’s the every-two-year Biennale in that glorious jewel on the Adriatic. And a mammoth show every five years organized by an internationally-known curator that spreads throughout the mid-sized German city of Kassel. And every ten years, Munster—with its town center entirely rebuilt to its historic appearance after World War II—hosts an exhibition of new outdoor sculptures and installations. This was one of those years when all three coincided. Over the course of two weeks, I saw … Continue reading Travelogue: Venice Biennale by John B. Ravenal

Felled by Sharon Louise Howard

  “While you’re not doing anything—again, today,” Manda said, “you can get estimates on having that tree cut down.” Ben rolled over and propped himself against the mahogany headboard. He pushed a strand of gray hair off his forehead and watched Manda pick through a dozen or more perfume bottles that took up a quarter of her vanity. “Think you have enough of them?” She selected one and put it aside. “You tell me. One for every Christmas, birthday, and anniversary since you stopped using your imagination.” “Forgot Valentine’s Day.” Ben stretched and thought about … Continue reading Felled by Sharon Louise Howard

Monana! Or: A Writer Thinks About Language in the Age of Trump by Erika Raskin

When I was in college I took a child development class with a lab, complete with Osh Kosh B’Gosh clad tots. We studied how they picked up language to convey meaning. It was fascinating. I remember one experiment in particular. The little kids would be shown pictures of an action word–in present, future and past tense illustration: –See the clown? Soon the baby will laugh. –The baby is laughing now. –The baby laughed when the clown came over. Then the young subject would be shown a picture of somebody doing something random like touching a … Continue reading Monana! Or: A Writer Thinks About Language in the Age of Trump by Erika Raskin

Gables by Sherri Perry

Who knew milk cartons had gables? ‘Embossed on gable’ said the fine print, explaining where to find the identifying information, in case of what, a recall? Dottie wondered. Does half-and-half get recalled? The children were running, seemingly mindlessly, through the backyard and around to the side yard. Was it a bad thing that she couldn’t see them or hear them when they were on the side? She put her face close to the wire screen, straining to catch a sound through the open window. Faint shouts and laughter bounced off her ear. Satisfied, she hung … Continue reading Gables by Sherri Perry

Calico Cat by William Cass

In a northern portion of the Midwest, on a night of light snow, during the few minutes just before and after ten o’clock, some things happened. They occurred along a route on which a southbound train traveled through fields that bracketed a town. The train carried few passengers. The conductor sat in the back of a nearly empty car working on a crossword puzzle. He was having trouble thinking of a six-letter word for “spotted, mottled, multi-colored”. He looked outside where the wisps of snow blew sideways in the darkness, but found himself staring at … Continue reading Calico Cat by William Cass

Three Dances by Kate Bennis

  I wrote these poems to capture and preserve real events. They depict shifts from isolation and loss to connection and love—the dance of relationships in unexpected places, with unexpected dance partners. I witnessed two men, so clearly from different worlds, collapse together in a moment of grief and compassion. The second poem tells the story of a friend’s struggle to remember who is familiar and who is foreign, as early onset dementia takes hold. And the third shows the dance of freedom that comes from the structure of love and belonging. —Kate Bennis   … Continue reading Three Dances by Kate Bennis

Push Back, Breathe, Repeat: A Brief Bio by Erika Raskin

I recognize that I may be a tad more sensitive to the prospect of police state behavior than the average Jo but I come by this extra helping of unease naturally. Because of his liberal politics my dad, Marcus Raskin, earned a permanent spot on J. Edgar Hoover’s radar. Bigly. Dad was the frequent object of surveillance and dirty tricks. (He even had his own covert agent assigned to him when he worked as an adviser in the White House—something I discovered in college when I accidentally dated a guy whose father was that agent.) … Continue reading Push Back, Breathe, Repeat: A Brief Bio by Erika Raskin