#3, Spring 2016: 8 New Essays + Carlos Culbertson = Your Longridge Review

Longridge Review

Issue #3 went online last week. Did you miss it? Catch up here with the vibrant murals of artist Carlos Culbertson, as well as these wonderful essays from an array of talented creative nonfiction writers:

  • July 11

Rebecca Chekouras (California) writes with the hard light of truth about her brother’s life and death. Discovering a photograph of the two of them together as very young children sparks a cascade of memories about who he was, and of who he became. This is not exactly a ghost story, but it haunts all the same.

  •  Home/Life

Ryan C. Daily (Chicago) wants a home. It sounds simple enough, but is finding your place ever an easy thing? Ryan finds herself compelled to map her childhood living spaces and tries to connect them. When she ends up where she started, the clarity of the last lines took our collective breath away.

  • A Closet…

View original post 434 more words

Dark As A Dungeon

Essential reading, Appalachia. And perhaps everyone else, everywhere, who gets this line: “And I thought about how for years, they’d walked away when they wanted to, when they were through with us; and I thought how gratified I was, at last, to finally see us begin getting in the last word.” #notenough #enough

Cultural Slagheap

Let the record show that Don Blankenship’s last public act in the Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse on April 6 2016 was to reveal, openly and for the transcript, how far gone into delusion he’d become over the course of his career.  In his final statement to the court, Blankenship insisted on positioning himself as a man who’d been unfairly accused: “It’s important to me that everyone knows I am not guilty of a crime,” he said, after offering the feeblest and most general condolences to the families of the 29 miners killed in the Upper Big Branch explosion six years before.  Yet that was precisely and exactly what he was now—a convicted criminal, albeit one convicted of a mere misdemeanor.  And then Judge Irene Berger, herself the daughter of a coal miner, hit Don Blankenship with the maximum allowable prison sentence of one year, and a $250,000 fine.

The court…

View original post 2,258 more words

#2, Winter 2015-16: Five New Essays + Eric Drzewianowski = Your Longridge Review

This is a special re-blog for friends of Esse Diem and for lovers of the Essays on Childhood project. I hope you enjoy the latest from Longridge Review.

Issue #2 is here, and it’s special. dski design will show you the most beautiful handmade books, and a diverse group of essayists offer up their strangest, darkest, and most contemplative moments from their crossings out of childhood into adulthood. Much shadow in this issue, but also rays of light:

  • Listen

Daniel Blokh (Alabama) didn’t tell us when he submitted his work that he was only 14 years old, and his writing is so sophisticated and complex we never thought to ask. When he turned in his bio, we had a conundrum. Our mission is to work with the writings of adults only reflecting on childhood. But Daniel is that rare old soul who makes you want to break the rules for art. Using song lyrics, book quotes, and his own poetry, Daniel addresses an unidentified “Y” in a series of short letters about life, family, identity, loss, and finding your way to yourself. Take your time with this, it’s a beauty.

  •  Thanksgiving Mourning

Vincent J. Fitzgerald  (New Jersey) is willing to do that thing that is so painful, he is willing to unmask a father who seems to only know how to hurt his family. No excuses, no defense. Not for his father, nor for himself years later when he begins to live out the same pattern. This is what courage looks like, facing fear rather than denying it.

  • A Steady Application

Trista Hurley-Waxali (California) weaves a masterful, mysterious narrative about her mother. Why does her mother “wear the red lips” at night as she creeps down the hallway, leaving Trista to peer through the dark and pray for her mother’s safe return? A Steady Application chills like a thriller, but it was one woman’s childhood experience. This is why we do what we do.

  •  The Mark I Left

Kara Knickerbocker (Pennsylvania) offers something touching and unaffected in her first piece of creative nonfiction. On one level, it’s a simple story about a little girl and a new pet. But Kara offers just enough allusion to heavier truths to let the reader know nothing is simple on this day, at this house, with these people. Read her essay sitting down. It almost knocked us over more than once.

  •  The Egg

Jane Rosenberg LaForge (New York) is an accomplished writer who turns her pen to her childhood obsession with an egg sculpture in her mother’s closet. Jane follows her musings, as those threads lead her to her individual parents’ identities and insecurities, as well as her own. The conclusion is a tour-de-force surprise of personal, indefatigable power.

You can find it all and more right here: Longridge Review #2, Winter 2015-16.

p.s. Want to write for us? See submission guidelines here: Longridge Review SUBMIT

Do I Own My Story? But What If It’s Also Your Story, and You Don’t Want Me To Tell It?

“Beware the small gratuitous hurt.”

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz hertzel Laurie Hertzel

By Laurie Hertzel

Like any good student, I sat in the front row, took diligent notes, and believed, for a while, everything my teachers said. As a young newspaper reporter, I had ambitions beyond daily journalism, so for years I attended as many workshops and seminars as possible, studying narrative writing, fiction, and, eventually, memoir.

“I own my story,” I obediently jotted during a memoir lecture—or words to that effect. “No one has the right to tell me what I can or can’t write.”

But when I began working on my first memoir, I realized that it’s not that simple. Yes, I own my story—that is, I have the right to tell the stories of my life.  But I don’t live in a vacuum, and in order to tell my stories I cannot help but tell the stories of others. Do I have that right? Do I have the…

View original post 895 more words

Halloween Fiction in a Flash: “Treasure”

If you read this blog regularly, you know I’m a big fan of the 100-word flash fiction model. It creates a structure that imposes discipline, as does the sonnet. There are rules. My process is to keep a tight leash on my sentences but not self-edit much in the draft phase. The fun comes when I do a word count and have to start paring down, replacing, refining.

There is an effort to collect 100-word stories on this site, 100 Word Story.

I got started with Loren Eaton’s Advent Ghosts. This Halloween story, “Treasure,” is for my friend Eric Douglas. I like what Eric says, “(T)his particular brand of flash fiction is telling a complete story in 100 words. Not more. Not less. It can be a lot of fun. And it can also be challenging. Sometimes what is most important is what is left unsaid.”

I will share Eric’s full Halloween 2015 round-up on Esse Diem on or after Friday, October 30.

I hope you enjoy my story. I’ve always been fascinated with how simple curiosity can morph into obsession and losing touch with reality.

I’ll leave the rest unsaid.

John William Waterhouse, Psyche opening the golden box , 1903.

John William Waterhouse, Psyche opening the golden box , 1903.

Treasure

It was a place to hide treasures. How what she considered “treasure” changed, she couldn’t remember.

Things from the woods behind the house, the path to school. First leaves or seeds, but soon feathers. What once had a heartbeat. Claws, then tails, whatever could be preserved. That Halloween, the treasures were recent.

“Who’s next?” Seth held a flashlight under his face in the dark.

He passed her treasure box to the left, and Jeff shivered. “I’ll go.”

Then, “EW! I know that’s just spaghetti in there! That’s worse than the peeled grape eyeballs!”

No, she thought. It’s so much better.

#1, Fall 2015: Six New Essays + M. Teel = Your Longridge Review

Good gracious, I am so excited about this! Check it out:

Longridge Review

Anymore, people seem to think they don’t have time to read for pleasure.

Longridge Review is here to help you fix that.

Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable with the gorgeous visual tones of artist Michael Teel, then peruse these terrific new essays:

  • Within an Inch of My Life
    Faith Gong (Vermont) reflects on chasing perfection after the grades stop, and in the process reveals a lifelong struggle that is both chilling and inspiring.
  • Temple Bar
    Patricia Hopper (West Virginia) takes the reader to her childhood Ireland, complete with sights, smells, sounds, and people.
  • Marybelle
    Connie Kinsey (West Virginia) is haunted by the ghost of a little girl in her elementary school decades ago.
  • The Space in Between
    Susan Krakoff (Ireland) grapples with slivers of memories about her father.
  • Doubt Matters
    Jeremy Paden (Kentucky) explores the dark fires of doubt, losing faith, and an emerging new concept of…

View original post 51 more words

A VERY Special Special Call for Submissions: HeartWood: Getting to the Heart of the Matter

I am honored to be tapped as a nonfiction editor for the new HeartWood literary magazine out of West Virginia Wesleyan College. #WVWCMFA

Mary Carroll-Hackett: Poetry and Prose

Why is this one special special? 

Because in the company of an amazing group of people, this Call for Submissions is coming directly from me!

😀

Allow me to introduce

HeartWood

an online literary journal in association with West Virginia Wesleyan’s Low-Residency MFA program, publishes twice yearly, in April and October. Our inaugural issue will go live April 2016.

HeartWood

General Submissions

We accept submissions year round through Submittable, and welcome previously unpublished poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, from both established and emerging writers.

What We Want:

We are interested in writing that pushes into, dares to reveal, its own truth, that takes emotional risks, that gets to the heart of the matter.

Simultaneous submissions are fine, provided you notify us if the work is accepted elsewhere.

We also welcome queries from Appalachian artists (writers, visual artists, musicians, performers, folk artists, etc) interested in being included in our Appalachian Arts section.

View original post 409 more words