Category Archives: Essay/Memoir

The Young Man at the Gym by Martha Woodroof

Photo of inside of church with vaulted ceiling
 

“I seem to have become an outrage addict,” I say to a young man at the gym. I’ve just glanced at the TV screens mounted on the wall in front of the aerobic equipment. As usual, CNN is in full eek mode, and so—like one of Pavlov’s well-conditioned dogs—I am eeking away. The young man is tall, thirty-ish, with dark, curly, blunt-cut hair. I am tall, seventy-one, with long, greying, ash-brown hair that stays permanently ahoo. We are both serious weight-lifters, albeit his free weights are a lot heavier than my Cybex stacks. “I gave … Continue reading The Young Man at the Gym by Martha Woodroof

Garbage Pails by Terry Barr


 

“Haze opened the extra door, expecting it to be a closet. It opened out onto a drop of about thirty feet and looked down into a narrow bare back yard where the garbage was collected. There was a plank nailed across the door frame at knee level to keep anyone from falling out.” ( Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood, 61)   In our family album there is a picture of me taken by my Dad using his Brownie camera. The date is March 1959. I am standing in our back yard, about twenty feet from a … Continue reading Garbage Pails by Terry Barr

Memento Mori by Melissa Knox

Photo of person by grave marked with rocks and teddy bear
 

To be no more; sad cure; for who would lose, Though full of pain, this intellectual being, Those thoughts that wander through Eternity, To perish rather, swallowed up and lost In the wide womb of uncreated night, Devoid of sense and motion? John Milton, Paradise Lost   In the middle of the night, my husband sat up; he’d been coughing too much and I’d been lying awake listening to his rasping breathing. His doctors understand as much as anyone about his little-known lung disease, but that’s not saying much. They’d ordered an oxygen tank which … Continue reading Memento Mori by Melissa Knox

A Doctor Finds Her Way by Cynthia Yancey

photo of structures in mountains
 

The sun was warm and bright as we pedaled our way along the new Ring Road encircling the city. On its outskirts we saw many families working there in the Kathmandu valley, women weaving mats, others rhythmically washing their clothes by hand, beating them on the rocks and stretching them over the banks and stones to dry. Little children were everywhere. There were children carrying children, neatly tied onto their backs with brightly colored cloaks, some babies naked, crawling alongside their mothers who, though busily working, were not too busy to look up in amusement … Continue reading A Doctor Finds Her Way by Cynthia Yancey

Bring Them to an Art Show: On Teaching Imaginative Writing by Rich H. Kenney, Jr.

White horse head morpihing into flowers
 

If a piece of artwork could express itself in words, what would it say? This was the question I pondered while visiting Time Lapse, an art faculty show at Chadron State College (CSC) in Chadron, Nebraska several semesters ago. Here’s the beginning of what Black and White Crease, a painting by adjunct faculty member, DeWayne Gimeson, seemed to say to me: I believe in creases like the ones that form on balls of paper we too often throw away. We rarely see their peaks, their crevices, their unscripted shadows save for the quiet exhale—the curious … Continue reading Bring Them to an Art Show: On Teaching Imaginative Writing by Rich H. Kenney, Jr.

First Responder by Joan Mazza

Back of brown envelope
 

Tired of bars and discos where I met men who drank and were in search of easy women, horrified by the scary men I met at church singles groups, I decided to be bold and placed a personal ad in the newspaper. “Are you out there?” the headline read. It was 1979, before the Internet, before Herpes and HIV were in the lexicon. I didn’t tell anyone but my shrink. I made my case: I could specify the kind of guy I wanted: smart, kind, solvent. He had to love books and dogs. Surely, I … Continue reading First Responder by Joan Mazza

My Father’s Gardens by Leslie Artz

Green garden
 

If I had to pick a color to write about, it would be green. Leafy green, bold green, hunter’s green, the way it washes over the landscape after days and days of rain. Months of green from the beginning of May when the buds first begin to open, “when the world is really and truly green all over.” Emerald green. It’s the color of the season I love so much—June and the promise of longer days. Gardening season begins. Things never feel completely settled until the weeds are tamed and the seeds are planted. Volunteer … Continue reading My Father’s Gardens by Leslie Artz

Precious by Sarah Dickerson

White and black kitten
 

When I was five years old my stepdad, Bill, found Precious as a stray kitten in the parking lot of his office and brought him/her home. We had him/her fixed at the appropriate time, but later, no one could remember which surgery had been performed. Was the cat spayed or neutered? We decided Precious was a girl—why else would we have named her Precious? And besides, don’t all cats seem inherently female? She was “precious” indeed. Solid white but for a black patch on top of her head between her ears, so little she slept … Continue reading Precious by Sarah Dickerson

A Visit With Santa by Priscilla Melchior

Santa waving in the falling snow
 

Clichés abound this time of year. It’s the one season in which it’s OK to speak of holiday magic or lapse into sappy memories like those that surfaced recently when I ran across a 1956 photo of 4-year-old me on the lap of Santa Claus. Understand, I’m talking about The Santa Claus—not some run-of-the-mill helper who brings up the rear in an annual Christmas parade. I mean he who sat upon the throne-like chair in Richmond’s Miller & Rhodes for the latter half of the 20th Century. Whole books have been written about his reign, … Continue reading A Visit With Santa by Priscilla Melchior

Postcard From the Darkroom by Valerie Kinsey

Inside of a darkroom with safe light
 

During a late afternoon P.E. class in fourth grade, my mother came looking for me on the playground in her leather boots that zipped to the knee. In those days she wore her brown hair in a short permanent wave that looked like a little cap of curls from far away. I remember seeing her standing on the foursquare courts between our shrill games and the parking lot. She claims she called my name and I ignored her. I don’t remember the events of the afternoon this way; however, my family had encountered a lot … Continue reading Postcard From the Darkroom by Valerie Kinsey