Just as we were hunkering down in the midst of this global emergency, we received the last dozen or so entries for the 2020 Streetlight Essay/Memoir contest. That was a happy distraction! And this is too. None of the many, many wonderful essays we’ve been reading for the past three months has been about the virus and I’m kind of glad about that. It’s good to acknowledge there is a world outside this present catastrophe. I’m happy to be able to invite you to look at these examples of strong writing, acute vision, and a … Continue reading We Have Winners, We Do
“I change, but cannot die.” Shelly “The Cloud” As my wife and I are on our morning walk, I often comment on the clouds above: the constant change they float themselves through, the subtlety of hues they dress in, the animal shapes and deities we conjure. And one day I must have said I’d like to paint clouds once too often—forget that I am not much more than an occasional house painter— because next birthday my kind and, no doubt, loving wife presented me with an online course simply titled Painting Clouds. With tabletop easel, … Continue reading Capturing Clouds by Fred Wilbur
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.
An essay on creative process by Rachel E. Diken The Open Road had long been a solace to me, until a highway crash many years ago where faulty brakes caused a high-speed tumbling wreck. I was moving from the Northeast to New Orleans, so the vehicle was packed with everything I owned: primarily, a dozen backpacks full of the poems, essays, and notebooks documenting my travels. As I was loaded into the ambulance, I saw my pages of writing floating through the air, carried away by the wind over the highway. The experience marked a … Continue reading When Called, Say Yes
By Janis Jaquith Is it pathetic that my gray roots are showing? What about wearing yoga pants to the grocery store – are people thinking I should know better? Women have always been subject to physical scrutiny and now there’s the added hell of being judged by our work/life balance. Lean into your career and neglect your family. Stay home with the kids and lose ground in your career. We’re zealots. We’re slackers. I feel like I’m tap-dancing for an unseen audience, hoping I’m good enough. Good enough for what, I’m not sure. To occupy … Continue reading Do They Think You’re Good Enough? How to Stop Giving a Rat’s Ass
When I was an adolescent, I read novels voraciously, and the genre of sword-and-sorcery fantasy appealed to me most. It combined supernatural magic, an element seeded into countless cultures and religions, with heroic warriors and monsters, and it allowed me to escape the doldrums of my unremarkable suburban environment. As I grew out of my teens into adulthood, a different type of fantasy fiction began to appeal to me: the horror genre. Writers like Stephen King and Clive Barker wrote engrossing novels that, on the surface, seemed like realism, but they typically possessed a paranormal … Continue reading The Best Sex I Never Had
The premier poetry event of this year’s Festival of the Book in Charlottesville was “Shrines to Longing,” the March 20 reading by Charles Wright, America’s current (20th) poet laureate, and Mary Szybist, who was a student in the University of Virginia’s MFA program when Wright was on its faculty. Both poets attended the Iowa Writers Workshop. Both have a distinctly Judeo-Christian flavor to their work. The 79-year-old Wright read from his 24th book of poems, Caribou, Szybist from her prize-winning second volume, Incarnadine. Although the full house at UVA’s Culbreth Theater was clearly entranced by … Continue reading Of Darkness and Angels
A couple of weeks ago I discovered the original “Twilight Zone” series was available on Netflix Instant. Needless to say I have (happily) surrendered hours of my life re-watching this classic series, which I still believe is one of the very few truly great things to have aired on television. (“The Muppet Show” is probably a close second.) The far-reaching influence of the show is undeniable. The twists and bitter ironies for which the show was famous have informed dozens of tropes in film and popular culture (including fiction). A quick survey of the first season, … Continue reading “Whose Boundaries Are That of Imagination”