All posts by Trudy

Red Sofa by Trudy Hale

Photo of red sofa
 

When I was thirteen, my mother left us. It was on a Sunday and she knew that Daddy, my brothers and I were away, visiting a family out on the old Nashville road. A moving van pulled up to the duplex and my mother emptied the rooms. Excited by the drama, neighbors watched from their front yards. My mother ‘stole’ the large Heriz oriental rug, the twisty verdigris wrought iron table, the African basket lamps in moss green linen shades—my friends had never seen such lamps. The hand-embroidered pillows, magenta and orange molas sewn by … Continue reading Red Sofa by Trudy Hale

Little Cups by Alex Joyner

Sepia toned photo of backlit walnut tree
 

I once held my cousin in a Dixie cup. At least a part of him. The improvised committal on the banks of Nottoway Swamp was a fitting send-off for a man who wanted no ceremony. Prone to eccentricity and melancholia like many of my clan, Cousin Bill had requested only that we scatter him after the annual family reunion in tidewater Virginia. Over BBQ, collard greens, and caramel cake at the Ruritan building, we lit a candle for him and Alice Page, our other casualty that year, then offered the swamp excursion for those who … Continue reading Little Cups by Alex Joyner

Clutter by Trudy Hale

Photo of stack of letters and papers
 

When my late husband set out to write his memoir he purchased Life As Story, by Tristine Rainer. He studied the book’s exercises and wrote in the margins. I want to read his annotations again. Feel the swoop of his pen; reacquaint myself with his responses to the memoir exercises. I have a distinct recollection of black ink on a cream page. Whole sentences, paragraphs filling the margins. I pull the book from my shelf and peer inside. There are none of the annotations I remembered. Instead, a few underlines and a small circle within … Continue reading Clutter by Trudy Hale

Re-Wilding by Laura Marello

Photo of purple marigolds
 

There is a 1990s concept, or perhaps an older concept made new and currently gaining currency, called “re-wilding.” It is the prospect of making tamed and domesticated things wild again. Since 2008 or so, this concept has skyrocketed in book titles, and I imagine other places. It was originally used by Michael Soulé in the 1990s to capture the idea of restoring a landscape to its original wild state by introducing keynote species, native plants, and thereby allowing the natural environment to slowly return, restore itself. The major example was returning wolves to Yellowstone. But … Continue reading Re-Wilding by Laura Marello

Whose Story Is It? by Trudy Hale

Two large robots boxing
 

The Twitter world ‘blew-up’ with writers weighing in on the “Bad Art Friend” article in the New York Times in early October (NY Times link below). I had sympathized with the kidney donor whose life and letter had been “borrowed” and “stolen” by the short-story writer. The organ donor writer seemed to be the underdog. I was thinking how I would have felt, if a fellow writer friend, had taken my experience and wrote a story that was published and hailed by the literary community. It was an emotional and ethical kind of thing for me—the … Continue reading Whose Story Is It? by Trudy Hale

Once Upon a Time In Montecito by Trudy Hale

Photo looking through open french doors
 

This is a true story. After my husband Billy died in June of 2020, his ‘step daughter’ Zoe, a beautiful and vivacious woman of fifty offered her home in Santa Barbara to hold his memorial. We waited until the 2021 vaccines and chose the month of August. Zoe’s mother had been Billy’s girlfriend in the Seventies, and she and Zoe lived with Billy in Hollywood. Zoe’s mother and Billy never married. Zoe would laugh and refer to herself as the ‘step-daughter’ and make quotation marks in the air. While our daughter Tempe and son Charlie … Continue reading Once Upon a Time In Montecito by Trudy Hale

Fix Your Scene Shapes by Lisa Ellison

Pears in front of sky
 

In your final manuscript, every scene should contain a conflict that’s essential to your narrative arc, something that simultaneously captivates the reader and catapults your story forward. Like stories, scenes also have a shape. Some work well, while others fall flat. When you spend a lot of time on something in your story, you’re saying, “Hey reader, this is super important, so pay close attention to these details.” In other words, you’re giving this part of your story some weight or importance. In an effective scene, your main character has a conflict that peaks in … Continue reading Fix Your Scene Shapes by Lisa Ellison

Return to Sender by Trudy Hale

Photo of dove sculpture
 

I live in a writers’ sanctuary, a nineteenth century three-story house overlooking the James and Tye Rivers. The back stairway off my kitchen leads to my office and bedrooms; a long narrow hall on the second floor separates my quarters from the writers’ section of the house. When the house is empty of visiting writers I like to wander through the rooms and reacquaint myself with the many books. Most of the books are my deceased husband’s or mine collected over the years. Over time, more books appear, publications of past resident writers and donated … Continue reading Return to Sender by Trudy Hale

The Eternal Clamor of the Unquiet Mind by E.H. Jacobs

Pink spring in blue tunnel
 

My evolution from wanting to write, to loving writing, to having to write did not proceed quietly. The more I lost myself in the craft, the more I anguished over what it meant to be “good enough” and, once good enough, then “really good.” If some of my pieces were receiving so much praise, why were they being rejected? If the editors liked them as much as they claimed to, why didn’t they publish them? I would submit a piece and then incessantly check my email for a response. My response to success wasn’t a … Continue reading The Eternal Clamor of the Unquiet Mind by E.H. Jacobs

When the Student Is Ready, the Lizard Appears by Susan Lubeck Moriarty

Photo of green lizard in brown leaves
 

I was on the patio in my lounge chair journaling. The year was 2017 and I had been living in Los Angeles for the past twenty-three years, having moved from Chicago. I loved my husband Dave, family and friends but I hated my life. I no longer had a passion for anything. In the past I did have passion working as a dancer, actor and singer for thirty-four years, but I did not feel I was successful because I only had a very small savings, enough to last me for two months. I went from … Continue reading When the Student Is Ready, the Lizard Appears by Susan Lubeck Moriarty