Category Archives: Blog

A Grammar Rule to Live By by Erika Raskin

Plane trail in the sky
 

“Period. New Paragraph,” the mother of a good friend of mine used to announce when changing subjects—sometimes mid-sentence. It’s a good rule for life in general, though. I believe in changing your mind. When I was in sixth grade I agreed to participate in an Outward Bound type field trip that involved rappelling down a cliff. I took one look at the ground below and sat on the grass. Period. New Paragraph I spent freshman year of college in a state so cold that by November when I went outside with wet hair, it froze … Continue reading A Grammar Rule to Live By by Erika Raskin

Beauty is in the Eye of the Boulder by Emily Littlewood

Yard with stone pathways and around trees
 

I’ve lived way out in the country for a little over a year and, with the exception of an inability to have food delivered, I have no complaints. There is something weird about the house though: the rocks. The previous owner used them to mark the driveway to separate it from the yard. But he didn’t stop there. He went on to create a path outlining the entire acre. He also used them to encircle the trees in the yard. Every. Single. Tree. We live in the George Washington National Forest. This is something that … Continue reading Beauty is in the Eye of the Boulder by Emily Littlewood

Maida’s Little Books by Susan Shafarzek

Drawing of a house made from neon wires
 

Maida Westabrook was a brave little girl who had a “floating mass of hair, pale gold and tendrilly” and also a serious chronic illness, which had at one time confined her to a wheelchair, but that was in the past. She could now walk, albeit with difficulty, and had many friends. She also had a devoted—and, happily, wealthy—father, a widower who cherished the life of this his only progeny and thus was devoted to making her life satisfying, stimulating, and worthwhile. To that end, as can happen only in fiction, he provided her (in a … Continue reading Maida’s Little Books by Susan Shafarzek

The Birds of Spring by Roselyn Elliott

2 red-headed woodpeckers on a limb of a tree
 

The heavy, punishing rains have stopped for now, and I step out onto the sun-warmed deck facing our back yard. A third of the space is now a lake, and in the center of this six-inch deep water stand our bird feeders. One with a metal green box perched on a steel pole is full of basic mix composed of sunflower seeds, millet, yellow maize chips. The others hang eight feet away offering sunflower seeds, and suet. Tufted titmice, cardinals, sparrows, nuthatches, and the persistent chickadees are busy at each feeder. A blue jay swoops … Continue reading The Birds of Spring by Roselyn Elliott

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

Placeholder Son by Spriggan Radfae

lightning in Arizona desert
 

Being disowned by your family is often an integral part of the queer experience. It’s a common story that I find is meticulously avoided in popular, escapist/pulp media—an effect of heterosexism that erases and denies the reality of gay lives: “No kween, make us laugh!” Sometimes I wonder how different my life would be if my father and mother had disowned me. It would be revealing to watch a movie of my life without my father’s influence—a twisted version of It’s a Wonderful Life. My family didn’t disown me. However, they also have never been … Continue reading Placeholder Son by Spriggan Radfae

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

In Praise of Not-Knowing by Ginger Moran

Winter trees through a glass ball
 

Write what you know. That was the mantra when I was in graduate creative writing school. We were admonished to write from our own experience, not to try to reach beyond our boundaries and try to re-create worlds about which we had no real knowledge and which would, thusly, come across as fake. But like all mantras, this one has its limits. For instance, my first book, The Algebra of Snow, is about a mathematician alone in the Adirondacks in winter. Anyone being less mathematical than I would be hard to imagine—I struggle with addition. … Continue reading In Praise of Not-Knowing by Ginger Moran

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