The Stories We Tell Ourselves Are Not Real Life


 

Something I’ve noticed about public discourse over the past decade or so is the habit or need to assume or force our real lives and events to fit into the arcs and tropes of fictional stories. This happens to us as individuals but also occurs in the larger communications of our culture, from the way we address the lives of individuals to how we address movements and nations. I call it narrativism, because I don’t have a better word for it. I call it narrativism in the same way that one calls bias based on … Continue reading The Stories We Tell Ourselves Are Not Real Life

Learning v. Education


 

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” -Einstein During the last few years I’ve debated going to graduate school for poetry. Do I need a formal degree to get where I want to be as a poet? A look at price tags helped me decide quickly, at least for the time being. But shortly after putting the issue aside, I was presented with two literary opportunities that felt like the perfect interim education: copy writing at my content marketing firm and co-editing poetry for Streetlight Magazine. Maybe grad school could wait … Continue reading Learning v. Education

Suzie dePoo: A Key West Treasure

Suzie dePoo Unicorn scuplture
 

Some years ago in Key West’s Gallery on Greene, I saw a unicorn — sculpted from wire entwined with bits of china, crystal and beach glass — gliding like a giant mobile, catching the light, gently riding the air. Nearby were ethereal, life size angels and jesters clipped from scrap tin or painted onto driftwood. I was intrigued. The artist, I learned, was 82-year-old Suzie dePoo; she lived behind the battered wall on Dey Street and it was okay to drop by. No one answered my knock. Open sheds spilled chicken wire, panels of wood, … Continue reading Suzie dePoo: A Key West Treasure

House of Mirrors


 

A few days ago I was in the Ramada Inn off Interstate 4 in Altamonte Springs, somewhere in central Florida. My son sat on the bed surfing the web and my daughter, her back against the headboard, legs stretched out under the sheets, balanced a Mac on her lap. From out of my son’s computer came a little boy’s shrill cry, “Charlie bit me.” And again, a high-pitched wail,  “Ouch, Charlie bit me.” “What in the world?” “Mom, it’s Youtube,” my son said, “Watch this.” He clicked the play icon and a video of a … Continue reading House of Mirrors

At Your Service


 

    This year, as you probably know, marks the bicentennial of the publication of Pride and Prejudice.  And, if Jane Austen could only see what an industry she has spawned.  The Amazon listing for books related to – or cashing in on — this title spans 101 pages.  There are sequels and “variations” and “re-tellings” as well as “re-imaginings.”  There are journals, graphic novels and a whole spate of murder mysteries, including one by P.D. James.   There is a version set on Mars and another one set along the Hudson River.  There is Pride … Continue reading At Your Service

Something Besides Silence


 

At one point in the graphic novel Maus, Art Spiegelman’ chronicle of his father’s life before WWII and in Auschwitz, and the author’s own difficulty dealing with that history, Spiegelman is speaking with his therapist, who is also an Auschwitz survivor. Spiegelman is having great difficulty writing the second part of his book, which concentrates on the father’s time in Auschwitz; the holocaust, as a subject, is too large, too complex, too evil to even address, to the point where both men are struck dumb. Eventually the therapist quotes Samuel Beckett, saying “every word is … Continue reading Something Besides Silence

Let Them Read Poetry!


 

    I once heard another poet say, “Only poets read poetry.” My reaction was half- pshah! that can’t be true! and half- ah, how true! Personally, my reading list is split pretty equally between poetry and fiction/memoirs- recently it’s Matthew Dickman’s All-American Poetry and Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild. One is on Oprah’s book club list and the other isn’t.   The above claim- only poets read poetry- ruffles my curiosity. I know many non-writers who read poetry, but usually, they have some other personal connection to the arts. What about the person who read … Continue reading Let Them Read Poetry!

Letters, We Get Letters


 

But do we? Do you still get letters?  Sometimes I find myself wishing I did. Of course I get mail. Everybody gets mail. But is the monthly statement from Belk’s to be considered a letter? I don’t think so. I know they love me. They’ve told me so many times with their catalogs and wonderful offers, but somehow, I don’t think it’s personal. Same goes for Dominion Power (without the special offers) and the doctor’s office. They use my name to keep from confusing me with somebody else, but it’s just not personal. Oh, e-mail. … Continue reading Letters, We Get Letters

Ants on the Wall by Jabeen Akhtar


 

I calculated as my hair fanned across the scorched, crumbly asphalt: 5.5 pineapple vodkas since 12:13pm, four in the privacy of my kitchen, one and a half since I had been out in the sun, and a beer. I was a spectacle, another drunkard attempting to dance to the live jazz that had overtaken our streets. Are you ok? they all asked. Seriously, are you ok? Canned pineapple juice trickled up my throat. A pebble had lodged itself in my left earlobe. I turned my face to the afternoon sky, opalescent from the heat radiating … Continue reading Ants on the Wall by Jabeen Akhtar

A Clean-Swept Room by Raennah Mitchell


 

For days after her mother’s death, while adults move around her making funeral and guardianship arrangements, Sarah stands by walls. Her six-year-old fingertips search the wallpaper in the day care where they have placed her. Peach-colored blossoms overlay faint gray stripes. She turns away and leans against them. Across the room, other children color, drive toy trucks through a box of rice, dress in capes and felt hats. Sarah rolls her head from side to side, imagining she can fall backward into her mother’s arms, the paper flowers closing over them. The squat woman who … Continue reading A Clean-Swept Room by Raennah Mitchell

Streetlight Magazine is the non-profit home for unpublished fiction, poetry, essays, and art that inspires. Submit your work today!