Category Archives: Blog

Four Backstory Traps and How to Escape Them by Lisa Ellison

Typed word Backstory on paper in typewriter
 

I remember the exact moment when I decided to become a writer. It was the winter of 1987. I was in sixth-period study hall, gripping Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. The book catapulted me into the world of Louis Creed and Jud Crandall, making the rowdy seventh graders around me disappear. Every day that week, I stayed up well past midnight, unable to put Pet Sematary down. I spent the next few years in various states of terror as I devoured King’s most famous works including It, The Stand, and The Tommyknockers. Stephen King is a … Continue reading Four Backstory Traps and How to Escape Them by Lisa Ellison

Mornings by Pamela Potter

Sunrise
 

I love mornings. For me, this time is full of promise and magic and possibility. Anything could happen today. Nothing negative has marred the perfection of the peace and quiet. No one has made any demands. The quiet is only broken by the sighs of my cats and the hum of my space heater, because it’s January. Well, no demands isn’t quite accurate. First thing every morning when my cat realizes I’m awake, she gets on my bed and we have quiet, thoughtful cuddle time. It’s a mindfulness time for me. I try to stay … Continue reading Mornings by Pamela Potter

A Late Christmas Gift by Miles Fowler

Wrapped gift with ribbon and bow
 

Like most people, I have done things that I wish I had not done, but it seems rare that something I am sorry I did is linked inextricably to something else I am glad to have done. Growing up in a middle-class family, I lived in material security. My mother and father saw that my brother, sister and I were always clothed and fed. At Christmas, that festival of food and gifts, there would always be lots of presents. Most of my early memories of Christmas are extremely pleasant, beginning with the enormous conifer in … Continue reading A Late Christmas Gift by Miles Fowler

A Few Thoughts on Imagery by Sharon Ackerman

large lavender and light filled circle with a tiny moon at its center
 

I have no idea where the images in my poems lived before they made it to the page. I’ve received ample chiding during poetry critiques on my tendency to “raid the unconscious.” Sometimes an image is found just by walking out into the world and finding an object with an emotional or psychological correlate. Other times, the image surfaces through a bedrock of shared human experience. Hard to trace. Around the turn of the twentieth century there was an interesting shift in poetry that involved imagery. The Imagist movement originated as a turn away from … Continue reading A Few Thoughts on Imagery by Sharon Ackerman

How Writers Can Stop Being Consumed by the Fear of Not Being Good Enough by Lauren Sapala

Edited writing
 

Although I have always considered myself a writer, I have also spent many years not writing. In fact, for most of high school, college, and my 20s, I didn’t write at all. Not one story, not one poem. During that period, I was mostly entangled in living the life of a depressed alcoholic, while trying to keep my shit somewhat together in the meantime. So, you could say I didn’t have time to write, but the truth was that I was really in no place to write. I didn’t start writing seriously—and by seriously I … Continue reading How Writers Can Stop Being Consumed by the Fear of Not Being Good Enough by Lauren Sapala

Deep Ellum B.C. by Alex Joyner

photo of bookstore with sepia tone
 

Wednesday night in Deep Ellum, the eclectic little arts neighborhood lingering in the shadow of I-45 east of Dallas’s downtown. Ever since the 19-teens when Blind Lemon Jefferson came to the barbershops and dives of Elm Street to play the blues with Lead Belly and T-Bone Walker, the area had a reputation as a collection point for artists, misfits, and the occasional spectacular violent outburst. By August 2017, it hadn’t much changed. Pecan Lodge, a hipster barbecue joint, and the brightly-tiled Café Brazil were colonizing the neighboring streets, but the scruffy music and arts scene … Continue reading Deep Ellum B.C. by Alex Joyner

Art: You Know It When You See It

Stone sculpture of sunrise behind mountains
 

From impressionism to pointililsm to my nursery-school grandboy’s stick figures with appendage-sprouting-heads, the outward expression of other peoples’ internal creativity knocks me out. Whatever it is. Following a visit to the Van Gogh Museum, an old friend and I had a big argument about whether or not an objective definition of good art exists. I said no. He said yes—using the exhibit as evidence of a quantifiable measure of talent. I refuted this by saying there were only two paintings in the whole building that I would want in my living room. And only if … Continue reading Art: You Know It When You See It

Daniel Garner: Capturing the Moment

Close up of water drops on a CD
 

  I spent my childhood hiking Long Mountain just south of Lynchburg, Virginia. Christmas of 2000, when I was twelve, my aunt gave me a 35mm camera so that I could share the places I discovered with others. The device was very basic, but I still remember the thrill of waiting for prints to return in the mail. I explored the Peaks of Otter, Beaver Creek, the backgrounds of Rustburg, and the train tracks near Indian Hill. Everywhere I went, my camera came with me. If I woke up and saw snow covering the fields, … Continue reading Daniel Garner: Capturing the Moment

Silence & Solitude By Ann E. Michael

Road through tunnel of colored leaves
 

Sara Maitland’s A Book of Silence. James Ragan’s Too Long a Solitude. Jane Brox’s Silence: A Social History. Thomas Merton’s Thoughts in Solitude… Is it just a coincidence, or did I subconsciously start reading books dealing with silence and solitude in the weeks before I planned to spend a few days alone in a friend’s rural cabin? And will the relative silence make my somewhat maladaptiveness to busy environs even worse? For I freely admit that living for thirty years in an area that borders on the rural, and spending so much of my time … Continue reading Silence & Solitude By Ann E. Michael