All posts by Erika Raskin

The Space Where You Were by Nina Denison


It was like one of those dreams where you’re trying to reach someone in a crowd and you keep glimpsing the back of their head before they’re swallowed up by the thick humanity. The crowd is impermeable— you try elbowing your way through, but it closes in on you again and you find you haven’t advanced. You’re panicking. You have no voice. It wasn’t a dream, though, and I didn’t need to use my elbows—I just couldn’t get to you. You kept disappearing around corners, into rooms, your shadow bending all over the wallpaper and … Continue reading The Space Where You Were by Nina Denison

Writing Advice


    9 Pieces of Advice for Writing Fiction From Streetlight’s Fiction Editor First off, crafting stories is a skill that can be learned. (Unlike, say, the ability to keep house.) So here are a few pointers from someone who writes and reads. A lot. 1. Plotting: There are many different ways to do this. I know writers who cover their walls with blueprints, mapping each chapter like cartographers before embarking upon the very first sentence of any project. On the other extreme are those of us who take a more minimalist approach. We are … Continue reading Writing Advice

My Friend Pointy Girl


The whole kerfuffle starts with a thought. I could illustrate my blog. As soon as I think it, she shows up: the familiar, furious fluster-roar: WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? YOU’RE NO ILLUSTRATOR! YOU’VE NEVER EVEN TAKEN A DRAWING CLASS! YOU CAN’T DO THIS. YOU CAN’T JUST DECIDE TO DRAW THINGS AND SHOW PEOPLE. STOP INSTANTLY. The wrath of Pointy Girl. She’s been around as long as I can remember and that girl has the tongue of a snake. She shrieks at me when I want to do something different. She snarls when I … Continue reading My Friend Pointy Girl

Come and Get My Gun by Sean G. Murphy


“Do you know how fast you were going?” Not fast enough, you don’t reply. You have somewhere to be, and you can’t get there quickly enough. It’s not your own bed (that’s where you just came from) and it’s not her bed (that’s where you won’t be coming again, anytime soon); it’s the house you are usually driving away from at this hour, hoping to find the way home through half-shut eyes. You’ve seen this little piggy before, you think, as he holds his flashlight expectantly in your face. And not just in those recurring … Continue reading Come and Get My Gun by Sean G. Murphy

The Ones Who Stay by Jenna-Marie Warnecke


August 2012 Paris is empty. There’s no one left except the tourists and the Chinese. All the Parisians and even the other expats are in the south, or in Spain, or on the Côte. Everything’s closed; not one event scheduled until September. Even the blogs and guidebook sites I shoot for are quiet this time of year. I’ve taken every possible photo of Paris. There’s not much to do except walk around and look at shuttered doors. I’m the only person I know who has enough money to live in Paris, but not enough to … Continue reading The Ones Who Stay by Jenna-Marie Warnecke

No Matter What by Tracey Levine


On the day I found out that I was pregnant I went to a bar and drank heavily with my boyfriend. It was early afternoon and I had a spicy bloody Mary and followed it up with a few craft beers. He drank the same. We stretched our arms across the table and held hands, like newlyweds. The word shot-gun came up. We certainly weren’t getting married, not that we never would. We’d decided before my pregnancy test appointment at the clinic — I didn’t want to pee on a store-bought stick, that we weren’t … Continue reading No Matter What by Tracey Levine

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