Category Archives: Blog

Bring Out the Champagne! by Susan Shafarzek

Photo of wine glass on colorful tablecloth

Yes, champagne, please. It’s a red letter day here at the essay/memoir neighborhood of Streetlight: time to announce (appropriate fanfare) the outcome of our sixth essay/memoir contest. It’s a time of hopefulness, vaccinations and all, even if we are—for the second year in a row—announcing the winners of our contest in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. I feel grateful for all the help I’ve had, especially to Paula Boyland who co-judged and to Emily Littlewood, who kept us ‘blind’ in our reading by keeping track of the entries for us. But, most of all, … Continue reading Bring Out the Champagne! by Susan Shafarzek

His Words Were Smiles by Erika Raskin

Photo of a child's writing

“Please forgive me. My illness won today. Please look after each other, the animals, and the global poor for me.” Some people are born with a different level of grace and goodness than the rest of us. My nephew, Tommy, was one of them. The middle child of my brother Jamie and his wife Sarah, Thomas Bloom Raskin was extraordinary from the jump. Even as a small child he could glide into any set of arms, any conversation, any group. He was born kind. And intuitive. And piercingly sensitive to the needs of others. At … Continue reading His Words Were Smiles by Erika Raskin

Philosophical Poetry by Fred Wilbur

Photo of cracked asphalt

  In a recent batch of ‘reviews’ from an online magazine, I was struck by the variety of descriptive words used to evaluate the thirty-five or so poems. They ranged from “funny,” “strong,” and “moving” to “masterful,” “cinematic,” and “sardonic.” These superlatives were illustrated by a phrase or line which purportedly was the essence of the work; the impressive image, at least. Clearly, there was little effort to delve into the subject, the art or mechanics of the pieces. I wonder, would readers just pick out the “exhilarating,” the “charming,” the “delightful” in hopes of … Continue reading Philosophical Poetry by Fred Wilbur

An Audiobook Review: Landslide by Susan Conley, Narrated by Rebecca Lowman by J Brooke

Photo of Landslide book cover

There are audiobooks enhanced by the author’s voice reading their own words (Becoming by Michele Obama), and those where an otherwise terrific book in print is hindered by the author’s out-loud read (Kamala Harris’s The Truths We Hold). And then there is the third category, a wonderful book in print made into a terrific listen by a professional actor relating to and embodying the characters (what Jim Dale did for the Harry Potter series). Landslide, Susan Conley’s newest novel, about a contemporary family living (and seemingly sliding) in rural Maine, is the third category of … Continue reading An Audiobook Review: Landslide by Susan Conley, Narrated by Rebecca Lowman by J Brooke

Becoming Vegetarian by Nick Barta

Photo of highland cow

“A vegetarian walked into a bar. . . . I only know because he told everyone within two minutes.” That joke perfectly encapsulates why I never tell anyone that I am a vegetarian. I either hypocritically write a blog about it, or I am introduced by my mother as such, “Nick is a vegetarian . . .” and then leaning forward a bit she clarifies, “that means he doesn’t eat meat.” Reactions can range from wild ecstasy to tepid disdain. One friend solemnly nodded her head and then proceeded to rub my back as though … Continue reading Becoming Vegetarian by Nick Barta

Spring’s Memory by Sharon Ackerman

two crows on wire

I will never forget the first time I read Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon and its startling portrait of the character Pilate. When Milkman first meets her she is standing very still, dressed in black and cradling a round, luminous orange in her palm. That image never left me, suffused as it was, with archetypes of The Crone, The Magician, The Shadow. Morrison knew how to make heart-stopping use of instinctual images. Plumbing deeper, I think the portrait of Pilate personified the Earth Mother, her darkness and her light, her life-giving power and her predation. … Continue reading Spring’s Memory by Sharon Ackerman

Second Acts By Martha Woodroof

Photo of white goat

Mary, Mary, quite contrary . . . a splat from my Charlottesville restauranting days . . . From the mid-1970s until the early 1980s, I co-owned a couple of Charlottesville restaurants with my second ex-husband. I was an accidental restauranteur. Second-ex had dropped out of law school one course short of a degree because he couldn’t bear the idea of being a lawyer. He had no idea what to do next and was understandably depressed. He knew the business side of restaurants from working in them during college and law school. I loved to cook. … Continue reading Second Acts By Martha Woodroof

Library Skulls by Fred Wilbur

Photo of stuffed bookcase

When insomnia provokes my wife or I to walk the footprint of our house, we sometimes end up at our bookroom. Bookroom is an idiosyncratic idiom of our family as my grandparents used the term, logically enough, for their room filled with books.  When I was a kid it was the quiet room (Shssssh) with glass-doored cases, walls of tooled leather, slag glass lamps, and ‘oriental’ rugs.  Our bookroom is not so different, though let’s substitute open shelves that, aggravatingly, are un-adjustable, walls of pine paneling, bright LED lights with inexpensive shades, and bare board … Continue reading Library Skulls by Fred Wilbur

Where Are My Words? by Pamela Potter

Photo of lit candle and envelopes

All my life, I’ve processed joy and sorrow, confusion and diatribe, in writing. I have a book of hand written poems working through the tragedies and angst of a teenage mindscape. I have notebooks journaling my college years full of anecdotes of friends and my small adventures. I have abandoned blogs leaving breadcrumbs of my growth and change on the internet like a hidden treasure map. This past year has left me grasping for a comfort that will not come. In March 2020, my words fled. Cancelled like the cruise I had been looking forward … Continue reading Where Are My Words? by Pamela Potter

Sunday Afternoons by Sean Grogan

Photo of train tracks

I was walking our dog this evening, around six o’clock, when I heard the low rumble of an approaching train. I live in Silver Spring, Md., a few blocks from where the tracks cross over Georgia Ave. When walking down our street, we can see the trains passing at our level, giving the illusion that there is a crossing up ahead. Actually, Georgia dips down below the tracks at that point. But I always look, for I’m reminded of the times my father would take me to watch trains on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes we’d go … Continue reading Sunday Afternoons by Sean Grogan