All posts by Susan Shafarzek

Dear Johnny… by Margaret Thacker

Non-Fiction
 

I read your obituary in the paper today. It said you were 49 years old when you died. You left to mourn a wife, three children, one grandchild, a sister, and foster parents who steered you in the right direction. You worked for a construction company and were a volunteer fireman. It had been so long since I’d seen you. I was nine and you were ten. You came to school mid-year, after everyone had been assigned a desk and knew their place on the bus. I was in third grade and you were in … Continue reading Dear Johnny… by Margaret Thacker

Whaddya Mean Rosebuds?


 

 Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,    Old Time is still a-flying;  And this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying.   I suspect the above is familiar to most readers, even though it was written mid-seventeenth century and so much from that period would seem totally closed to us, or at least, unfamiliar. It’s from a poem called, “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” by the Cavalier poet and clergyman Robert Herrick. It was a big hit at the time and it seems to have stood the test of time. … Continue reading Whaddya Mean Rosebuds?

Uncle William and the Bard


 

Our guest blogger this week is Miles Fowler, who lives in Charlottesville. In this blog he talks about the Shakespeare Controversy and a part played in it by one of his own relatives: At the same time my mother told me about the Shakespeare authorship controversy, she told me one of our relatives was an anti-Stratfordian, someone who believes that William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon (1564-1616) was not the true author of the plays and poems attributed to him. Later I got to know that relative as “Uncle William.” William Plumer Fowler (1900-1993) was an attorney, … Continue reading Uncle William and the Bard

No Spoilers Here


 

I’ve been reading some of Ruth Rendell’s work lately. That sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it? Just picked up a couple of her latest, enjoyed the experience, had a nice day, eh? The fact is I have, over the past couple weeks read every single one of the Inspector Wexford series that the Charlottesville Public Library could provide for me. The whole series comprises twenty-five books, but that would be expecting too much. I did find some twenty (or rather, they were found for me), going back to From Doon With Death, 1964, and ending with … Continue reading No Spoilers Here

It Can Be New Every Time


 

I have a shelf at home where, up until recently, I kept the books I hadn’t yet read. It was three shelves, actually, stacked with the volumes I hadn’t had the time or chance to peruse. Many of the books have been there for quite a while, because I have a bad habit that, if you’re a serious reader, you may be familiar with: I reread books. Yes, it’s a bad habit. I’ll finish a book, look over my choices for the next one, and go back to an old favorite, one I’ve read before … Continue reading It Can Be New Every Time

The Stories We Tell Ourselves Are Not Real Life


 

Something I’ve noticed about public discourse over the past decade or so is the habit or need to assume or force our real lives and events to fit into the arcs and tropes of fictional stories. This happens to us as individuals but also occurs in the larger communications of our culture, from the way we address the lives of individuals to how we address movements and nations. I call it narrativism, because I don’t have a better word for it. I call it narrativism in the same way that one calls bias based on … Continue reading The Stories We Tell Ourselves Are Not Real Life

Something Besides Silence


 

At one point in the graphic novel Maus, Art Spiegelman’ chronicle of his father’s life before WWII and in Auschwitz, and the author’s own difficulty dealing with that history, Spiegelman is speaking with his therapist, who is also an Auschwitz survivor. Spiegelman is having great difficulty writing the second part of his book, which concentrates on the father’s time in Auschwitz; the holocaust, as a subject, is too large, too complex, too evil to even address, to the point where both men are struck dumb. Eventually the therapist quotes Samuel Beckett, saying “every word is … Continue reading Something Besides Silence

Letters, We Get Letters


 

But do we? Do you still get letters?  Sometimes I find myself wishing I did. Of course I get mail. Everybody gets mail. But is the monthly statement from Belk’s to be considered a letter? I don’t think so. I know they love me. They’ve told me so many times with their catalogs and wonderful offers, but somehow, I don’t think it’s personal. Same goes for Dominion Power (without the special offers) and the doctor’s office. They use my name to keep from confusing me with somebody else, but it’s just not personal. Oh, e-mail. … Continue reading Letters, We Get Letters

Farewell and Hail


 

  As Streetlight gets ready to go into our second year, it’s my sad duty to bid farewell to one of our editors and my glad duty to introduce two new editors. George Kamide, who has been on the staff since we went online last year leaves more than a small vacancy here. One can hardly overstate the contribution George has made, not only as fiction editor, but as a planner and facilitator of the website. His previous experience working on an online publication and his willingness to put in the extra effort  made our … Continue reading Farewell and Hail

Why Is Every “I” Also a Genius?


 

Hello, I am currently under threat of hurricane, and electrical power/internet access could be cut at any moment, so I will be brief: I recently attempted to write a short story in the form of the narrating character’s first-person blog. It was difficult, to say the least, largely because the narrator was a low-key software engineer approaching 30 and living in Maryland with his wife and child. The main difficulty came from the fact that this character was in no way realistically allowed to be verbose. He could have some wisdom, and make insightful observations … Continue reading Why Is Every “I” Also a Genius?