All posts by Trudy

Myths Are Good Medicine by Kelly McGannon

Path through woods in fall
 

It’s hard being human, especially when the world feels hard. Nowadays, we live in a fishbowl of constant exposure to the unnatural noise of unnatural tweets and digital pings, chimes, and chirps. I miss bird song and the sound of my own inhales and exhales. I miss the wonder of watching a golden eagle soar overhead and stare me down. This is real connection, and I don’t have to push a single button to find it. I just have to put less nourishing things away and step back into the physical, natural world that is … Continue reading Myths Are Good Medicine by Kelly McGannon

Appetite For Destruction — Fixing Roofs in Waverly by Alex Joyner

Plastic vulture on roof overlooking street
 

“Simply to look on anything, such as a mountain, with the love that penetrates to its essence, is to widen the domain of being in the vastness of non-being. Man has no other reason for his existence.” —Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain   I walked warily through Waverly—aware that I felt at ease there. It was in the wake of destruction and the town was slumping under the weight. But I am comfortable with narratives of decay and hauntings. The other day a friend pointed out a fir outside my window. “It’s dying,” she said. … Continue reading Appetite For Destruction — Fixing Roofs in Waverly by Alex Joyner

Donald Trump Saved My Marriage by Ruth Ewers

Two cookbooks
 

Okay, maybe not exactly saved it, but at least shored it up. Let me tell you how. My husband and I married in the late 70’s, back when our generation was all about living simply, off the land and off the grid. We moved into a house with no indoor plumbing, used wood to heat, grew our veggies, and collected water from a nearby spring. Bob was a self-employed carpenter and I worked at a natural foods store. I made our bread from a dog-eared, oil and flour stained Tassajara Bread Book, and prepared meals … Continue reading Donald Trump Saved My Marriage by Ruth Ewers

Music & Memory by David Roach

Box of records
 

Soundtrack 3 (1964) It’s a cold February day. My parents and I are visiting Saint James School to decide if I will go there in the fall. I am in the ninth grade at Sligo Junior High School; I am lost there between the “hoods” and the “nerds,” not fitting into either group. I want to be a “hood,” of course, because they’re the tough, cool guys. I’m a bit scared of the idea of going off to boarding school, living with 120 strangers. I’m also anxious because tonight The Beatles are to make their … Continue reading Music & Memory by David Roach

Editing as Channeling: A Dangerous, Necessary Evil? by Dick Harrington

Mug, vase of flowers and papers on table
 

As a retired college English professor, I much enjoy editing manuscripts part-time. Clients find me via a University of Virginia website called Professors as Writers, a service intended for UVA faculty and grad students seeking help with their writing. The service is also available to anyone else accessing the site. About five years ago, I received a call from a Nigerian man who lives in Virginia, teaches full time at a university, and had just finished drafting a book manuscript that was a defense of God and Christianity. I accept only editing jobs that intrigue … Continue reading Editing as Channeling: A Dangerous, Necessary Evil? by Dick Harrington

A Dream To Disconnect, by Mathina Calliope

Mist in the trees
 

One evening, damp and full of anguish, I arrive at a camp and basically fall apart. I want to talk to my boyfriend back home, but as usual have no signal. I start climbing on soggy leaves, moving higher, hoping. Finally, a few circles fill in on my screen and I call. His voice is like a hug, but as soon as we start speaking the raindrops start up again. Reluctantly I let him go and trudge downhill to the shelter, set up for the night. In an iPhone advertisement from when FaceTime was new, … Continue reading A Dream To Disconnect, by Mathina Calliope

Listen Carefully by Karrie Bos

Author Karrie and her sister.
 

I grew up telling it to whoever would listen—mostly that fell on my mother’s shoulders. At the breakfast table, at the dinner table, I proselytized with the fervor of a repenting sinner. And it began when I was only three. “Oh, oh, I‘m so be-cited!” I squealed like Horshach from Welcome Back, Kotter, after seeing my mom’s birthday cake all lit up with candles. “Nice pants,” I added, grabbing my pink, kid trousers for comfort. We all have a need to tell it, the big events of our lives, the small moments of our days, … Continue reading Listen Carefully by Karrie Bos

Letter To Self On Lying Fallow by Billie Hinton

Two new plants growing
 

Dear writing one, There will come a day when you will stop writing, for no good reason. There will be no drama, no single event that sinks your writing heels into the ground. You will come home from a writing retreat with good pages and confidence and work still to do and you will intend to keep doing it. Life itself is what will intervene. It is not you being lazy. It is not you being blocked. It is not you abandoning writing. It is not writing abandoning you. You will try to figure it … Continue reading Letter To Self On Lying Fallow by Billie Hinton

Keeping To The Beat by Mariflo Stephens

Cadets studying Howl
 

On the face of it, it wouldn’t seem to be a match. Beat writers and military cadets. But Gordon Ball, Allen Ginsburg’s farm manager, taught Beat Generation writers to cadets at Virginia Military Institute for 26 years. Also, on the face of it, a young woman from Appalachian with writerly ambitions would have little chance to meet a man connected to the most famous poet in America. But I did. I met Gordon when I was in my early 20’s, during the 1970’s, because his sister married my cousin. I hadn’t known much about Ginsburg … Continue reading Keeping To The Beat by Mariflo Stephens

Radical Reach: Thinking On Art as Activism by Mary Carroll-Hackett

Hands writing with a quill
 

In my own personal experience, art, poetry especially, has always been political, has always been protest, rooted in my own mixed ethnic and poverty-class background. It rose from my father’s Irishness—Dad reciting Yeats regularly, the earliest poetry of my memory, those lines documenting our family history in Easter 1916, the heartbreaking tales told round our table of “the troubles” and what they referred to not as a famine, but as ‘the Great Hunger.” It grew from my mother’s childhood in abject Appalachian poverty, the barbs I knew personally of class divisions, the broken Southern diction … Continue reading Radical Reach: Thinking On Art as Activism by Mary Carroll-Hackett