All posts by Erika Raskin

The Writing on the Wall (or life’s little prompts)


I’m a writer which means I am constantly taking in interesting things. Even when I shouldn’t be. I can be having a very serious conversation with a doctor, for instance, while simultaneously pondering competing information. It’s where my stories come from. Recently, I was mid-discussion with a specialist about medication doses when I found myself wondering about the wedding ring he was sporting on the wrong hand. I was barely able to restrain myself from interrupting and asking what that was about. Instead, while he patiently explained the prescription, I crafted a whole tragic narrative about his slow transition from Widower to … Continue reading The Writing on the Wall (or life’s little prompts)

The Cottage: A Womb With A View


I grew up in a house bustling with artists. We had extra bedrooms that my mother kept filled and a grand piano that was always in use. To this day she hands out her number to people she picks up at bus stops and airplanes and the rapid transit. But mostly, she’s lived with musicians who come from abroad to study at the Cleveland Institute of Music; young people who have been given scholarships for their studies, but no money on which to live. My mother fills the refrigerator and her artists fill the house … Continue reading The Cottage: A Womb With A View

Keeping Score by Lawrence Farrar


While sitting with Lena at their kitchen table the Sunday before, Carl Mobley had experienced the annual burst of optimism that marked the beginning of bowling season. But not now. With the Thursday Night Classic Bowling League only days away, he’d found out somebody was after his job as League Secretary. The very thought of it transformed his face into a billboard of betrayal, hurt, and worry. Carl couldn’t understand why anyone would want to take this from him–and he didn’t know what to do about it. At fifty-two he was a worn-down, vague looking … Continue reading Keeping Score by Lawrence Farrar

Away by Juditha Dowd


“Here we go,” Roberta croons, lifting her granddaughter from Bethy’s arms. Dora has been what Roberta would term ‘colicky’, but the pediatrician claims colic appears around three weeks, and Dora’s only ten days old. “Thanks, Mom.” Bethy’s eyes are ringed with the gray stigmata of motherhood. Technically, she’s on maternity leave, due back at the law firm next month to defend a big Swiss client. Roberta thinks it would have been wise to delay having another child, but Bethy had always wanted three and was concerned about her age. Across the table, Bethy’s husband begs … Continue reading Away by Juditha Dowd

A San Souci State of Mind by Martha Woodroof


All right then. I get it. The San Souci Motel is called the San Soo-chee, not the Sahn Soo-cee. People in Buckroe Beach, Virginia, do not go in for Frenchification. At least according to my husband’s family, who’ve been going there since the fifties. The San Souci is the last remaining water-front motel at Buckroe Beach. It was built in 1958 and has stayed true to its raising décor-wise. It is what it is. Buckroe is not really the beach beach; it fronts the Chesapeake Bay rather than the ocean. It offers only the politest … Continue reading A San Souci State of Mind by Martha Woodroof

Scaffolding: Or How I Learned to Stop Being a Know-It-All and Take Advice from My 20-Something Son by Ginger Moran


I was a typical child of Depression-era parents—left to fend for myself as long as I didn’t bring unwanted attention to my respectable, Southern family. I, like most of my age group, was what I call a self-rising child. Now we would be called free-range. I can quite clearly remember playing in deep construction culverts right after a big thunderstorm with no adult supervision and absolutely no thought of the way water can flash through channels like that, sweeping everything with it in a deathly way. And I can remember being an early teenager walking … Continue reading Scaffolding: Or How I Learned to Stop Being a Know-It-All and Take Advice from My 20-Something Son by Ginger Moran

Out of the Country by Sam Zafris


Ben had wanted to leave earlier but his brother couldn’t take any more time off. Ben glanced at Willy, who was leaning against the passenger-side door, smoking like a chimney. “Can we stop for food?” Willy asked. “What time is it?” “Quarter to ten. I didn’t get to eat dinner.” He exhaled out of the window. “If we see a place, maybe.” A mile up the road there was an exit marked with a knife and fork. They’d make it quick. Plus, Ben needed the coffee. Willy had said he could drive, but Ben knew … Continue reading Out of the Country by Sam Zafris

The Decider


When I was in college there was this bar that had bouncers who took turns playing St. Peter. They stood outside the door going: You. You. You. Not you. The whole idea was so ghastly to me (for a variety of reasons, not least of which was that I knew I’d be the one person in whatever group I was with who’d be left on the wrong side of the velvet rope) that I swore I’d never, ever subject myself to anything like that. And yet… I became a writer. For those who aren’t afflicted … Continue reading The Decider

The Arithmetic of Love by Deborah Prum


The day Septima left, she said, “I believe I am a promise you are tired of keeping.” Minutes before, Turk had pitched a bottle of beer at her. He had missed, but only barely. Green glass and yellow ale splattered against the kitchen wall. For once, she did not bother cleaning the mess. Septima packed her red valise: toothbrush, comb, talcum powder, three faded cotton housedresses and seventy-two dollars. As she left their home and ventured into the driving rain, she muttered, “The lies we tell ourselves.” She’d met Turk, a sailor, at a bar … Continue reading The Arithmetic of Love by Deborah Prum

No Good by Jody Hobbs Hesler


At the old house, Leslie had walked to school. Here, the school was closer, but she had to take the bus. The old house had been on the outskirts of a smaller town, not a former murder capital of the world. Leslie’s mother had grown up just a few miles away from the new place and worried about drug crime crossfire and dirty old men. “It isn’t safe,” was her excuse for everything. “Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.” The two of them had moved right before the end of eighth-grade, in time … Continue reading No Good by Jody Hobbs Hesler