Category Archives: Blog

Beauty of Decay: Photographs by Daniel Pravda

Photo of old barn with rusting roof
 

                I grew up in Virginia Beach where I witnessed damage and destruction of rural and natural lands for the lie called development. I feel levels of anger and disappointment when I see greed eclipsing nature. As poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, “Aftercomers cannot guess the beauty been.”     I now drive around Eastern Virginia and North Carolina and search for ways to preserve rural and natural beauty. This beauty manifests to me in rusting barns, abandoned homes, churches and schools, forgotten tractors, trucks, and plows, as well as … Continue reading Beauty of Decay: Photographs by Daniel Pravda

William Crawford’s DRIVE BY SHOOTING

Photo of man painting
 

Some of America’s greatest photographers roamed the country by automobile. They forever changed the context of artistic imagery. They eventually replaced traditional monochrome with color, and they shot the unnoticed aspects of the backside of our country. Stephen Shore, Bill Eggleston, and Lee Friedlander were well known, working members of this New York school of photography. I am their present day disciple. An avid minimalist shooter, I helped to invent “forensic foraging,” a throwback approach to modern digital photography. The heavily saturated, vivid color of these pictures drive the work. The subject matter is often banal … Continue reading William Crawford’s DRIVE BY SHOOTING

Day Five Million by Emily Littlewood

Silhouette of man's head in front of tv
 

I’m bored. Really, really bored. Since the cases of COVID went back on the rise about a month ago I’ve been put back on shelter-in-place orders. Since my transplant I’ve been immunosuppressed, so I have to be extra careful right now. And until there’s a vaccine. While I’m lucky enough to live in the perfect spot for walking, it’s only a small reprieve. I still have to come back home. I’ve sewn masks, colored, organized, puzzled, read, watched a ton of crap TV. I may have finished Netflix, and I’m about one more isolated week … Continue reading Day Five Million by Emily Littlewood

A Capital Morning on Virginia’s Eastern Shore by Alex Joyner

Photo of old house with light shining over it
 

You tiptoe back towards religion, in my experience, cautiously and nervously and more than a little suspicious, quietly hoping that it wasn’t all smoke and nonsense, that there is some deep wriggle of genius and poetry and power and wild miracle in it, that it is a language you can use to speak about that for which we have no words. —Brian Doyle, A Prayer for You & Yours   Those trees just there were purple a half-hour ago. The kind of mango purple that only appears on winter mornings when the sun’s light has … Continue reading A Capital Morning on Virginia’s Eastern Shore by Alex Joyner

A Hard Thing to Measure by Fred Wilbur

Photo of sunset over water
 

  Measurement is ubiquitous in human endeavor throughout time and across cultures, and one could argue throughout the totality of existence. Anything cyclical contains a measurement for sure: orbits of galaxies, planets, moons, day and night until eternity. Currently we are fixated on big data, Covid deaths, our place in the world (GPS’ed), the most recent political poll, or how much cash we have or don’t have in our wallets. Not too long ago the definition of the kilogram changed. Did you notice? The physical ‘artifact’ of platinum and iridium, one of the most stable … Continue reading A Hard Thing to Measure by Fred Wilbur

On Being Threatened with Hellfire in the Second Grade by Martha Woodroof

Silhouette of someone jumping in the air
 

My father was an atheist; my mother, an agnostic. My parents preached conscience and character to their two daughters instead of dogma. I grew up in Greensboro, N.C., a city with seven colleges. Outside of academic circles, however, society was rigidly constrained by the Bible Belt. Pictures of a blue-eyed, blond-haired Jesus were omnipresent. The judgmental Yahweh of the Old Testament thundered from a lot of Christian church pulpits on Sunday mornings. All my school friends went to Sunday School and church. As far as I could tell, the primary goal of their religious experience … Continue reading On Being Threatened with Hellfire in the Second Grade by Martha Woodroof

Lost in Tech by Stryk Thomas

Photo of hand holding out a phone
 

“Welcome! How can I help you today?” I asked as the store doors opened. The first customer was an older gentleman who I’d glimpsed pacing outside like a taunted zoo lion for at least a half hour before we unlocked the door. “You’re finally open,” he gritted through his teeth. “I’m here to get a new phone.” So began one of many interactions I have as a writer who moonlights in sales for a certain technology company. The retail store is frequented by diverse customers. The wants, needs, and preferences vary as wide as desire. … Continue reading Lost in Tech by Stryk Thomas

Turner and Bobby by Debra King

Photo of child's hands drawing
 

When I was a toddler, I named my hands “Turner” and “Bobby.” Turner was my dominant right hand, the one used to access closed doors and cupboards. My parents say I blamed “Turner” when I spilled a glass of milk. “Bobby” was the diminutive for Robert, my father’s name. He would take my left hand when we walked or crossed the street. It is debatable whether this phase of early childhood can be remembered by a child of two, or if it is imprinted because I have heard more than once the story as told … Continue reading Turner and Bobby by Debra King

Flash Fiction Contest Winners by Erika Raskin

View of window above couch
 

It is no easy task to provide a peek into a textured world, with backstory, present and possibility —in only five hundred words. The writers who submitted to our Flash Fiction Contest took on the challenge and we are so grateful they did. The first prize goes to Mayim by Nancy Ludmerer, a story that has history, loss and a beautiful splash of hope. Next to Godliness by Sheila Longton pulls back the curtain on dual childhood tragedies and Self, Expression by Annie Holzman reveals the loneliness of the last chapter. On behalf of Suzanne … Continue reading Flash Fiction Contest Winners by Erika Raskin

The Enormous Gift by Laura Marello

Rocks in water
 

Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer. Simone Weil Love is not merely an emotion. It is a meltdown that reestablishes a more unified space of brilliance, goodness, and sadness. This is the real function of love in spiritual tradition. Lama Lodro Dorje   Last week, the week before my last semester of university teaching (online, in an unprecedented pandemic), I had the most extraordinary experience with a stranger that I have ever had in my long life. I was nervous as always about the semester starting, but extra nervous because of what that last full-time teaching … Continue reading The Enormous Gift by Laura Marello