Bring on the Ghosts: Advent Storytelling 2016

Welcome to Advent Ghosts 2016, the eighth annual shared storytelling event at I Saw Lightning Fall, Loren Eaton’s blog about “narrative, genre, and the craft of writing.” For the uninitiated, Advent Ghosts seeks to recreate the classic British tradition of swapping spooky stories at Yuletide. However, instead of penning longer pieces, we post bite-sized pieces of flash fiction for everyone to enjoy.

Ghost Winter Flower by Henrik Thorn

To learn more about this tradition, read the article here about this “lost tradition.”

This is my fifth year writing for Advent Ghosts. In my first year I pulled some edited lines from a ghost story I wrote about meth addiction. It is called “The Escape.”

In 2012, I decided to try Loren’s model of writing one piece inspired by secular Christmas traditions, and another from sacred texts.

Unwanted explores the terror we feel when an unexplained and damaged presence penetrates the safety of our families and our homes.

For Later is my take on what I’ve always seen as a poetic and disturbing element in the gifts of the three kings to the baby Jesus.

I again used a sacred story’s inspiration for 2013’s “Vacancy.” I’ve always had a fascination with the innkeeper from Jesus’s birth story. I fantasize about a moment in which the larger narrative clicks for him, as it did for shepherds and kings.

2014 found me writing about the last heartbeat of a last creature. As natural as it would be, the feeling of loneliness in even a non-human animal felt very real to me that year.

I took a break in 2015. Before Loren took the reins over the more graphic content, I was feeling out of place with the tone of some of the pieces.

But this year, I’m back. I love the restriction of the 100 words — no more, no less — and how it pares down the writing to something essential. No frills! Plus, there’s nothing quite like being part of reviving a lost or fading Christmas tradition to get my inner nerd all a-tingle. Charles Dickens, I love you.

Enjoy this year’s submission, which will post not long from now, and if you like creepy little tales be sure to visit Loren’s blog, too! Just when I think I’ve read the most shiver-inducing tale, they get, well, more shivery!

 

“Time Stops” — Readers Speak

Longridge Review

I just read Mary Gustafson’s “Time Stops.” Thank you for sharing this moving work.

The cycle of moving in and touching the wound and then retreating is very effective. It takes us down a stairway to a destination we may not ordinarily choose to reach. She reveals her heart and at the same time reveals her urge to obscure it.

Fine emotional writing with a big wow factor.

***

I just finished reading “Time Stops” by Mary Gustafson.

This compelling and important piece of writing fills the reader with raw emotion. You acutely feel the pain as she takes you along on a desperate roller coaster ride to snatch joy while dealing with the long term effects of deep trauma.

As one layer cracks to allow a moment of enlightenment, and perhaps freedom, paradoxically, another layer filled with tangled memories descends. The author illustrates a long, winding path of shame…

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Letter from the Editor: Fall 2016

We hope you will read each essay with care, and with time. There is much to learn here.

Peace and write on,

Elizabeth Gaucher
Editor, Longridge Review

Longridge Review

Dear Reader:

A heads up, this issue is really heavy. There is recounting of a lot of trauma.

But this is part of our mission, I believe. To bring forth how serious childhood is to who we become. To offer empathy and compassion for adults who are still trying to find themselves whole after harm they suffered at a tender age. Absolutely, sometimes the formative event is love or humor. But often, it is not.

Sometimes the harm is callous disregard. Sometimes it is violent assault. Sometimes it is the betrayal of a friend. Sometimes, it is a parent’s love growing mysteriously cold.

And yet….each of these writers still seems to carry a small, unextinguished light. The search for resolution and healing is much of what these essays have in common.

Christopher Woods‘ photographs carry that same small light in darkness.

We hope you will read each essay with…

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#4, Summer 2016: 6 New Essays + Sharon Lyn Stackpole = Your Longridge Review

Come over and see what’s going on at Longridge Review!

Longridge Review

The-Journey-of-Life-An-Open-Road. “The Journey of Life, An Open Road” watercolor and ink — Sharon Lyn Stackpole

News:

  • Our next submission period will be in the Fall. Sign up to follow us (see the bottom middle area of our home page) to receive an email notification when submissions open.
  • We are thrilled that Mary Heather Noble has joined Longridge Review as a reader and contributing editor. She is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of Southern Maine.  She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geology from The Ohio State University, and a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.  She lives with her husband and two daughters in Vermont after living in Oregon for nine years. Learn more about MHN on her website, Mary Heather Noble dot com
  • Mary Heather recently was named a finalist by Bellingham Review for…

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8 from 8: Things I’ve learned in eight years of submissions

Having been now on both sides of the submissions process, I’ve considered putting something like this together. Now, my friend Chris has done such a fine job, I don’t need to! Enjoy this terrific list of musings about the “seeking publication” life.

Chris LaMay-West

eight

In mid-2008 I decided to get organized around what had until then been sporadic literary submissions. A color-coded Excel spreadsheet was born (of course). Over the years it grew to multiple tabs, and the 2008 tab tells me my first submission tracked there was June 26th, 2008. Since today is June 28, 2016, cursory mathematics indicates that I have been at this for eight years!

I aim for a submission a week. I’ve hit something like 70% of that target, racking up 297 total submissions. My stats (so far) are:

stats

Besides getting published, and having lots of fun with Excel along the way, I’ve learned some things. Here, for your perusal, are eight lessons I’ve learned in eight years of doing literary submission:

  1. There’s a lot of research involved. Not all journals are created equal- Some publish only a fraction of a percent of what they receive, and may not…

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#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…

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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…

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