All posts by Erika Raskin

Allison Moves In by Margie Shepherd

Photo of stacked shipping containers
 

  Allison did not come to the decision to move in with Gregory lightly. She loved her little apartment, absolutely loved it. It was a source of immense pride and comfort. But she suspected that Gregory might be “the one,” and moving in together was the natural next step. They talked about The Big M only once, admittedly in a cursory fashion, but Gregory did not shy away from talking about the future. Gregory had been pushing the move for weeks. He hated trying to find parking near her building, hated that he had to … Continue reading Allison Moves In by Margie Shepherd

Forehand Drive by Amy Foster Myer

Photo of hand being held out
 

“How much further down you think it is?” He turned to look at me in the backseat as he drove. Through the front windshield, dark streets I didn’t recognize spread out in confusing perpendiculars. I had booked a place in the North end—somebody’s basement done up all IKEA-chic—because it was close to my mother’s facility. I’d barely been up this way before and never in the dark, on the lonely industrial roads from the airport. He said sorry again, repeated it. We had turned off at an orange Detour sign, below it, another reading, “Road … Continue reading Forehand Drive by Amy Foster Myer

An Audio Book Report And Relevant Field Trip by Erika Raskin

Photo of woman speaking
 

I listened (why hold a hefty book aloft when you don’t have to?) to Rebecca Makkai’s I Have Some Questions For You and shared the following assessment with my multitude (that’s a joke) of Facebook friends: Holy shit is it good. An aside to newbie audiophiles: also, critically important to the listening experience is the performer. Try out a sample before committing. Keep a running list of the ones to steer clear of. (I’ve heard some voice actors who should be sued for over-the-top accents, mispronunciations and relentlessly cheery deliveries.) In this case though, Julia … Continue reading An Audio Book Report And Relevant Field Trip by Erika Raskin

Bonnie’s Spell by Tonja Matney Reynolds

Photo of smoke stacks against blue sky
 

Bonnie usually loved the drive to Aunt Edda’s house. She’d peer out the backseat window as her mother drove along the section of highway overlooking the car factory where her father and Uncle Henry worked. Smokestacks jutted from the enormous building, filling the air with fluffy clouds. Bonnie always imagined her dad inside the factory feeding a giant furnace, making clouds shaped like cotton candy, just for her. She’d close her eyes and try to change the puff-ball clouds into bunnies with the power of a wish, but it never worked. Dozens of times, her … Continue reading Bonnie’s Spell by Tonja Matney Reynolds

White by Holly Day

Photo of glass vase filled with sand and white folded paper
 

Once upon a time, there was a woman who wanted to have a baby. Or rather, this woman, named Jane, didn’t particularly care whether she had a baby at the time this story takes place, but her husband, a good, solid man named Jack, felt it was time for the two of them to have a baby, and since she often felt his wishes ought to be hers as well, she also thought it must be time. Every Sunday, the two of them would trudge from their tiny little apartment to church, where they would … Continue reading White by Holly Day

Lowcountry Tragedy by Erika Raskin

Photo of notes taking by Erika's mother
 

First off, I’m just going to put right out there that I have been known to watch live courtroom TV like it’s a job, attending to whatever case is being broadcast into my living room as if auditioning for a seat as an alternate. I can opine about guilt, innocence and the social context affecting a legal outcome with (possibly oversized) confidence. I especially enjoy learning the backstories (gossip) about the various participants. Defendants, attorneys, bloggers and turf-guarding journalists. They’re all fascinating. (In another life I might’ve been a court reporter.) Quick aside: I recently … Continue reading Lowcountry Tragedy by Erika Raskin

Stay In Your Own Lane by Erika Raskin

Photo of sign that says "Dude. Breathe" on pole
 

The back of my old CRV is adorned with a nearly forty year-old license plate (you can still read it if you squint in a certain light) and three bumper stickers. One says RESIST (as in the GOP’s vile embrace of authoritarianism), the second is a Ukrainian flag, and the third is for my Congressman brother (we’re not in his district but you know, family). A few weeks ago I was filling up my Honda at the local gas station, a rural place where Confederate flags barely raise an eyebrow, when I noticed a white … Continue reading Stay In Your Own Lane by Erika Raskin

Put Some Meat On Their Bones by Erika Raskin

Photo of uniforms displayed on wall
 

I once wrote a piece for Publisher’s Weekly about how even people who are terminally disorganized can craft novels. I offered a five-step alternative to the (impossible) task of manufacturing a pre-writing blueprint. Of these: one-sentence plot description writing what you know asking what if retrofitting action and, creating three-dimensional characters It is the final that is most crucial. In order for your narrative to take off, your cast needs to be sketched out (with well-rounded backstories that include things like the meaning of hidden tattoos, food allergies, wardrobe choices, cat or dog preference, conversational … Continue reading Put Some Meat On Their Bones by Erika Raskin

wish by Harry James

Black and white photo of person with their head in hand
 

The morning sun dappled the kitchen wall with an outline of wind-fumbled leaves loosely hanging on trees, cooking in the early morning heat. On the card table, slash, breakfast table, slash, dinner table, the future lay exposed in a circle of plastic cards organized among the ruins of last night’s fast food feast. Her husband called it the “Wheel Of Life”. A wish made real. They could live as they wanted to live, without want, without need, without anything that they didn’t want to do without. A perpetual money machine. “See, it works this way. … Continue reading wish by Harry James

Duck Blind by Regina Guarino

Photo of person looking through their fingers
 

Across the narrow alley way between row houses, where trash cans totter and feral cats loiter, a window opens onto the neighbors’ kitchen. For once, the blinds are open after dark, and I can see the family at dinner. Though they moved in this past winter, we haven’t spoken yet; but I feel like I know them from their Sunday morning ritual. If I sit at my front window at 8:45 a.m. sharp—which I often do as I drink coffee and read the newspaper in my chair—I see them file onto the sidewalk, from tallest … Continue reading Duck Blind by Regina Guarino