All posts by Trudy

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

Taking the Right Step by Cheryl Traylor

Concrete stairs surround by greenery
 

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. We are not handed a guide at birth entitled Fail-proof Steps to Living This Life. As such, I’ve lived most of my life through a lot of trial and error—heavy on the error side. I’ve also learned that sometimes I just have to take the next right step and try not to run the entire marathon at once. I’m getting ok with that practice. There is a source that I go to often for life advice. Poet Mary Oliver never fails to enlighten me or ease my weariness. She … Continue reading Taking the Right Step by Cheryl Traylor

Chosen by Mariflo Stephens

Girl writing in notebook
 

I started to become a writer with the first writing exercise I was ever given. I was 12. Mrs. A, my seventh-grade teacher, called it a ‟theme.” She said a theme should have a title, like ‟I Like Horses,” and then the paragraphs that followed would explain why the author liked horses. I did like horses, so that’s what I wrote: “I Like Horses.” When the themes were graded and passed back, I saw I’d made a C. My theme had too many misspellings and was too short. My teacher was also bothered by the … Continue reading Chosen by Mariflo Stephens

An Interview with author Sharon Harrigan


 

I met Sharon one Saturday morning in late September at Writer House in Charlottesville, Virginia after dropping a writer off at the train station who had been at Porches writing retreat. We talked about Playing With Dynamite, a memoir about her father who died in a mysterious and bizarre accident when she was seven. Sharon: It’s cool to be talking to you because I was at Porches when I made the final edits on the book. It was my last opportunity to make any changes so it felt like it was high stakes and I … Continue reading An Interview with author Sharon Harrigan

When Called, Say Yes

highway with streaming car lights
 

An essay on creative process by Rachel E. Diken The Open Road had long been a solace to me, until a highway crash many years ago where faulty brakes caused a high-speed tumbling wreck. I was moving from the Northeast to New Orleans, so the vehicle was packed with everything I owned: primarily, a dozen backpacks full of the poems, essays, and notebooks documenting my travels. As I was loaded into the ambulance, I saw my pages of writing floating through the air, carried away by the wind over the highway. The experience marked a … Continue reading When Called, Say Yes