Category Archives: Blog

How to Fight the Self-Doubt that Comes with Writing Your First Book by Lauren Sapala

Photo of paper with messy writing on it
 

Writing my first novel was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It took me two full years to get through the first draft, and I felt like I was slogging my way through the entire time. I would write sections of the book and read over what I had written and cringe. Sure, I also had days where I felt like I had actually written something good, but most of the time I was full of self-doubt. I had never written a book before, so I had no idea what I was doing. I tried … Continue reading How to Fight the Self-Doubt that Comes with Writing Your First Book by Lauren Sapala

Neglecting the Work by Ann E. Michael

Photo of white, rusty old Dodge
 

It seemed to me to have been a long time since I devoted serious focus to my creative work—I mean in terms of organizing, keeping track, revising, submitting to journals, compiling a draft manuscript of newer work…the so-called business of poetry. I resolved therefore to spend a weekend at the task. Alas. The weekend revealed to me the extent of my benign neglect: ten years of not-really-being-on-the-ball. I do not consider myself a particularly prolific poet, but I found myself faced with well over a ream of poetry pages, many poems only in their second … Continue reading Neglecting the Work by Ann E. Michael

Postcards and Authors by Anita Martin

Collage of different postcards
 

You are quirky in a very classy way. Postcards and trinkets and such. You make it all so interesting. Unathi to Anita Dear Debbie, Is your spirit smiling as I work on my third act? It’s been over ten years since the ovarian cancer took you away, and much longer since we brainstormed Mail Just for Me. Do you remember? It was before websites and social media and we were going to create a correspondence for kids. The plan was to learn about the girls and boys, individualize the notes that we sent. I loved … Continue reading Postcards and Authors by Anita Martin

Background! by Miles Fowler

Photo of eight men
 

In 1982, when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I became what most movie-goers would call an extra, or what the movie business objectifies as “background.” I was in at least four movies, three of them big releases. A friend of mine, John-Michael, told me he was an extra on the The Right Stuff and said if I wanted to be one, too, I should go to Northern California Casting in San Francisco. There I was told to get a haircut, put on a conservative suit, and show up at the Cow Palace … Continue reading Background! by Miles Fowler

Jenny Rossi: Many Shades of New England

Color photo closeup of leaf with water droplets
 

  New England is fertile ground for any photographer, and I enjoy drawing from this environment. I’ve long had a love of taking pictures. There’s the heft of a camera, the frustrating magic of lens, light, and alchemy of movement—the frozen awkward smile, or the contemplative stare unknowingly observed and crystalized in time. I took a photography course in high school and I’ll never forget the awe of first seeing Ansel Adams’s landscape photography. The expansive views, the richness. Until then, I didn’t know black and white photography could actually be that expressive. Unlike Adams, I don’t do … Continue reading Jenny Rossi: Many Shades of New England

Writers and Artists—It’s Time for You to Stop Trying to Fit into Society’s Conventional Box by Lauren Sapala

Black & white photo of woman holding small box
 

All my life I’ve gotten into random conversations with people where the subject of our life trajectories comes up, and I always end up feeling kind of weird. This past weekend I hung out with a friend who told me he decided on his career path in high school, diligently researched colleges, applied himself strenuously to his field of study, threw himself at the best internships available, and then went on multiple rounds of job interviews with companies he had also heavily researched, and that’s how he ended up in his current job. He made … Continue reading Writers and Artists—It’s Time for You to Stop Trying to Fit into Society’s Conventional Box by Lauren Sapala

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

Vena Amoris by Kathleen McKitty Harris

Photo of hand with wedding rings on ring finger
 

When he put this ring on my finger, my skin was smoother, and more supple. My hand was thinner, and less freckled than it is now. When he asked me to marry him, he got down on one knee in front of the London flat where he had once lived, and where our love had blossomed—when we were both study-abroad college students living on Dunhills and half-pints of lager and takeaway curry fries, and falling outrageously in love with each other. On the night we got engaged, we lay in a hotel bed after too … Continue reading Vena Amoris by Kathleen McKitty Harris

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

Inhabiting Your Character by Deborah Prum

woman wearing Virtual Reality glasses
 

Have you ever used virtual reality goggles to watch a movie? Imagine that the film starts off in an African village. Ahead of you, you see a hut and can almost smell the smoke rising from a campfire. You hear laughter. On the left, two small boys run past. Behind you, mist rises from the river. On the right, men start arguing loudly. Within a few seconds, you are dropped into the middle of the story, exactly where the screenwriter wants you to be. Watching a movie this way reminds me of how I feel … Continue reading Inhabiting Your Character by Deborah Prum