For most of my youth, I lived in a secure blanket of belonging. I belonged to the groups of people that surrounded me at my school and church: white Christians, married couples with children (children like me), and suburban homeowners. I learned from my parents and other adults who the “bad” people were. I knew that when adults lowered their voice to talk about somebody, it indicated disapproval. As a child, I could never have imagined that one day I would become the very person they were disparaging. Yet that’s exactly what I did. Since … Continue reading Open-Mic Poetry Night
Writing a story from a foreign or external perspective offers not only the reward of expanding your own awareness about people but can also lead to empathy for others that you may not have had before. To write about foreign lives often requires research that can lead to discovery and will likely expose a writer to experiences unique to a particular culture. With the political climate in America being so polarized, we might all benefit from writers making an effort to explore the unfamiliar. Yes, one could always read a book or watch a movie and … Continue reading Writing About the Other
I recently interviewed my friend, Sue Eisenfeld, about her creative nonfiction writing, and it turns out she’s taught a range of courses and workshops at Johns Hopkins University in creative nonfiction. She’s taught travel writing, nature writing, and recently a course called The Literature of Science Writing that examines what makes science writing literary and not simply technical writing. Eisenfeld has also written as a freelance writer for twenty years, but far and above her essays and articles stands her first book, Shenandoah: A Story of Conservation and Betrayal, published by the University of Nebraska … Continue reading Sue Eisenfeld: An Author’s Journey to Publish Creative Nonfiction
Some writers spend years honing their craft until their work unfolds with the effortless grace of an Olympic figure skater. It’s the kind of ease and proficiency that looks impossible—belying countless hours of rehearsal—and can make an audience gasp. Diane Whitbeck is such a writer. A prolific freelance writer and published author, she has ghostwritten fourteen books in just two and a half years and has also authored six books under her own name. I interviewed Whitbeck about her writing career, and though I had only a short list of questions, she offered me a … Continue reading Amazing But True! Confessions from a Ghost (Writer): Diane Whitbeck
Streetlight’s upcoming spring issue (due out on April 6th) will feature three winning essays selected from the trove of entries submitted to our 2016 Essay/Memoir Contest, so expect some amazing writing next month and in the future as well. This latest writing contest follows on the success of last year’s poetry contest, and promises to become a major fund-raising event for our not-for-profit web publication. Our editors delighted in the response this year to our call for entries, but choosing just three essays out of all the wonderful submissions is no meager challenge, so you … Continue reading Don’t Miss Our Spring Issue!
Write It Right! Free Grammar Resources for Writers. Sometimes even the most erudite writers use bad grammar or misspell words. Hey it happens. English is a living language after all and subject to change. Dictionaries frequently bow to popular misusage of words and then permanently alter their acceptable meanings (podium, ironic, fortuitous), and as any person that grew up with a smart phone as an extra appendage will tell you: more and more chat-speak is creeping into acceptable usage. On top of that, the Internet creates crossover platforms for UK English writers and American English … Continue reading Write It Right!
Many writers choose not to enter creative writing contests because they think the low odds of winning aren’t worth the effort. And yet, that’s exactly the kind of thinking that makes it easy for other people to enter writing contests and actually win them! If You Think It’s Too Hard To Win A Writing Contest, Consider This: There are a lot of really small contests out there. Often, individual writing groups will host their own small contests. Since these contests aren’t big, they won’t be as well known—and therefore will attract fewer competitors. Consider joining … Continue reading It’s Easier To Win A Creative Writing Contest Than You Think
Beyond the obvious grief of losing a parent or relative to old age, there is a particular tragedy that accompanies a person’s passing rarely whispered inside the comfortable blandness of funeral homes or over the open caskets of the recumbent dead: the tragedy of discovering lives left unfinished and dreams unfulfilled while cleaning out the lingering personal effects of the departed. In my lifetime so far, I have sorted and removed the orphaned belongings from the homes of three people that have escaped their corporal lives: a woman in Boca Raton, Fl, whom I only … Continue reading Post Mortem Clean-Up
You’re watching a show, and suddenly it happens: the story cuts to a scene of a naked woman about to take a shower. Her breasts — huge and gravity-defying — jiggle and roll as she enters the shower stall, and at some point after she is wet, she presses them against the plate glass door of the shower for added effect. Then, for no apparent reason, the male protagonist in the story enters the bathroom, and comedy ensues as the man, embarrassed at seeing the woman’s bare breasts, somehow trips and falls face-first into her … Continue reading Japan: Your Culture’s Showing
I move around a lot — not kinetically, but like a hermit crab from home to home. And as a consequence, my Facebook account has become cluttered with groups of friends from all the various cities where I have lived. So recently, in a bitter night of un-Friending, I purged gangs of them from my Friends list. It’s not that I had reason to suddenly dislike them — most were wonderful people — it’s that I became acutely frustrated with Facebook and how it has affected me. Since I was born before the advent of … Continue reading A Spy Among My Peers