Category Archives: Blog

Finding Thomas Merton by Sharon Ackerman

statue of monk in crude stone and wood structure
 

My summer reading list (and Spring) centers around the writings of Thomas Merton. After sifting through his prose and poetry I think the most amazing thing about him is how many people lay claim to him and find a sense of permanency in his writings. It is as though his thoughts formed in solitude in the forests of Kentucky were destined to travel outbound, arriving as the first French Trappists first arrived, sailing up the Mississippi river from New Orleans to the Abbey of Gethsemani. A Roman Catholic from the age of twenty-three, Merton nonetheless … Continue reading Finding Thomas Merton by Sharon Ackerman

Celebration (Part II) by Susan Shafarzek

Photo of wine glass on colorful tablecloth
 

I’m amazed and delighted every time we hold Streetlight’s Essay/Memoir contest to see how many wonderful submissions we get. The only sorrow is that we can’t give out more than three cash awards. But, we can offer honorable mentions and this year, I’m happy to say, six very excellent writers have agreed to let us publish their work under that aegis. We’ll be starting to roll out those wonderful essays this coming Friday, with Naomi Enright’s insightful and useful criticism of the usual way our troubled American history gets presented in school. The Hidden Curriculum, … Continue reading Celebration (Part II) by Susan Shafarzek

Martha Woodroof by Liz Gipson

Photo of four cameras
 

Monday for Mom was splat day. She was working on splats up until her last few days. We talked about the splatforms a lot in her last few months. About a week ago she asked if I would write a splat about what it is like to be splat adjacent. This is what I came up with and she scheduled it for today not really intending it to be a last splat in this format. I’m posting it today in her honor. One thing I tell my students is, it’s not the mess we avoid … Continue reading Martha Woodroof by Liz Gipson

Drawings by Guliz Multu


 

I cannot separate drawing from writing. Without drawing swallows, I cannot write spring. I am self-taught in art. I am always a student. I observe, I dream and I draw. I grew up and live in Ankara, Turkey. I’ve traveled Europe to see works by Botticelli, Rafael, Michelangelo, Donatello in Italy; Dalí, Velázquez, Picasso, Goya in Spain. I took a deep breath in Alta Mira Cave, Spain. I lost myself in the Louvre, and the Hermitage. I stared at Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Vermeer in the Rijks museum. Art is long, life is short. Cappadocia, … Continue reading Drawings by Guliz Multu

The Kidney Hoarder By Bess Wiley

Photo of lit matches
 

That’s actually me. I have four kidneys. I joke about it, but with great feeling for what they each signify. Two are native, gifted by my parents. The others are from two donors who saved my life with their own flesh and blood. I’m not a religious person, but the brotherly parable holds. I fell ill towards the end of the millenium when my kidneys failed. My brother volunteered to donate one of his. We matched blood types and four out of five tissue types, delighting the transplant team at Cedars, who then performed the … Continue reading The Kidney Hoarder By Bess Wiley

A Tuskegee Airman by Miles Fowler

Photo of plane
 

As a Tuskegee Airman, the late Leon “Woodie” Spears was one of fewer than 1,000 African-Americans pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He was among the last cadets to be trained on the grounds of (and in the air above) the Tuskegee Army Air Field near Tuskegee, Ala. Several thousand other African-Americans were also trained there to be navigators, traffic controllers, mechanics, and bomber crew members. Nothing was easy for the young black men who came to Tuskegee from all around the country in the early 1940s. Woodie was from … Continue reading A Tuskegee Airman by Miles Fowler

The 21st Century Federal Writers’ Project By Deborah Kelly

2 men typing with Poet for Hire sign
 

A proposed 21st Century Federal Writers’ Project introduced in the House of Representatives last month is gaining broad support from literary and writers’ organizations hard hit by the Covid pandemic. The bill, introduced by two Texas Democrats, would hire writers to chronicle the changes wrought by the pandemic, much the way the 1930s project explored the devastating impact of the Great Depression and other historical mileposts. That enormously successful program paid emerging writers to collect oral histories and tell the stories of Americans whose lives were forever changed. Some of those hired by the program … Continue reading The 21st Century Federal Writers’ Project By Deborah Kelly

Poems Everworthy by Fred Wilbur

Photo of cluttered desk
 

  The old poet who thinks he is young remembers the young poet who used to be wise. Twyford James   Though I had my suspicions last fall and tried to hope it along this spring, the venerable holly tree is dead.  Most of its leaves lost, yellow paint chips on the ground, the ever and green are missing from “evergreen.” And so the bark sloughs off, the punky white wood is useful to spalting fungi and insect larvae. The woodpeckers follow. A pileated visits Holly’s Diner, chisels like a true craftsman, searches earnestly for … Continue reading Poems Everworthy by Fred Wilbur

Fix Your Scene Shapes by Lisa Ellison

Pears in front of sky
 

In your final manuscript, every scene should contain a conflict that’s essential to your narrative arc, something that simultaneously captivates the reader and catapults your story forward. Like stories, scenes also have a shape. Some work well, while others fall flat. When you spend a lot of time on something in your story, you’re saying, “Hey reader, this is super important, so pay close attention to these details.” In other words, you’re giving this part of your story some weight or importance. In an effective scene, your main character has a conflict that peaks in … Continue reading Fix Your Scene Shapes by Lisa Ellison

How the Imposter Syndrome Works to Keep You Small by Lisa Ellison

Close up photo of ant in grass
 

At thirty-seven inches and thirty-seven pounds, I was the second smallest kid in my first-grade class. The smallest was a kid we called Peanut—a boy so tiny, he’d drown in the shallow end of the pool. Everyone loved to ruffle Peanut’s hair. I loved his “old man” style, complete with plaid bell-bottoms, butterfly-colored shirts, and hair slicked down with Vitalis. Peanut was a sweet, old soul who appeared to like being small. For a long time, I did too. Growing up in a rust-belt town where bad luck seemed like all we had, a small … Continue reading How the Imposter Syndrome Works to Keep You Small by Lisa Ellison