All posts by Trudy

A Runaway Life by Mariflo Stephens

Train running on mountain
 

I live a runaway life. I’m a writer, a wife, and a mother and, like a lot of women who tire of the multi-layered duties that come with that combination, I need to get away. Right now, what I’m running away from is a story. That could be funny since I’m a short story writer, a comedic one at that. But it’s not funny. Usually I run away to Washington, D.C. I ride the train from Charlottesville and settle in the quiet car. The train sways slowly from side to side. It’s like being calmed … Continue reading A Runaway Life by Mariflo Stephens

Journaling with Jenny by Jenny Patton

Sharpened pencils pointing up
 

When I was seven, I made my own journal out of legal pad paper—a little book that sparked a lifelong passion for writing down my thoughts, feelings and desires. E.M. Forster asks, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” Here’s my take: “How do I know who I am until I see what I think?” Journal writing has been proven to combat stress and help treat eating disorders, depression, addiction and other psychologically rooted problems. People who write about past traumas show stronger immune systems. After my mom died, … Continue reading Journaling with Jenny by Jenny Patton

A Craft Talk by Katherine Smith

Sun shining though hole in red leaf
 

ALLOWING THE LEAF For an ultrasound exam, I ran on a treadmill and then was hooked up to a machine that showed my heart pumping blood. It was an incredible thing to see my heart keeping perfect time, beating with a precision, grace, and power I never knew I possessed. It’s almost embarrassing just to mention the word “heart” in a poem, and yet my heart, indifferent to its embarrassing lack of originality, keeps me alive. Heart Monitor was inspired by my echocardiogram. The heart monitor helped me see what’s always there. At around the … Continue reading A Craft Talk by Katherine Smith

Time To Write by Laura Marello

Little sign that says Write
 

So delicious—this light, this air, this time, my time, because I have constructed a solitary life in order to free up time to write. Ice chatters in cool, stevia-sugared lime juice; I look out through the window and see the avocado tree needs watering. But I do not get up because this is writing time, not plant-tending time, not cat-tending time, not house-repair time, nor house-cleaning time, not errands time, or social time, or work-for money-to-keep-me-alive time. It is not even job-application time. This is writing time. Even if what I write is shallow, or … Continue reading Time To Write by Laura Marello

Hooligans and Lunatics by Alex Joyner

Paper plate with a tiny spot of light on it
 

“We’re walking to the midnight service?” my daughter asked. “With all the hooligans out there.” It was Christmas Eve. I looked out the window onto the streets of our Eastern Shore town. A mostly full moon moved in and out of backlit clouds. The Chinese were landing a rocket on its dark side and I kept singing a line in my head from Mulan—“mysterious as the dark side of the moon.” “Parksley doesn’t have hooligans,” I replied, smiling at her faux foreboding. “Come on.” We added layers of coats and hats and headed out into … Continue reading Hooligans and Lunatics by Alex Joyner

Digital Cleanse by Kelly McGannon

Statue at man at top of ladder
 

Sometimes, modern life feels dried out and far away from what nourishes. In our chase to connect, we climb ladders that promise better tomorrows and disconnect from what feels good under our feet. We forget the myths and their subtle warnings. Rung over rung, we push into the ethers, no longer worrying if this wobbly, narrow structure is going to support us. We want to live where the gods live. Stretching skyward, we squint and see Icarus and those sexy wings. He looks so damn glorious up there, waxed and shiny in the warmth of a thousand … Continue reading Digital Cleanse by Kelly McGannon

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