Like pilgrims scurrying up a mountain, writers climb in faith. Unable to see over the next hill or page break, we trek onward and upward in search of solace or reconciliation or shared meaning or greater understanding—even of something we may never fully comprehend. — e.v. de cleyre
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:
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
Five years ago, with the prompt and inspiration of my friend Jason Keeling, I started a project called Essays on Childhood.
What happened next far exceeded my expectations.
The first call for “Essays on a West Virginia Childhood” led to subsequent calls for submission and new essays on place, wild things, male experience, and reflections on memory and loss.
Something bigger than a one-time, one-angle exploration was born.
When I began my Master of Fine Arts (MFA) studies in Creative Nonfiction, I started to explore literary journals and the publishing opportunities they offer. Today’s online publishing can outpace printed work in terms of benefits to writers: social media sharing is fast, inclusion in the literary/writing community eases isolation, and networking opportunities for professional work can spread far and wide.
I wanted to offer more than a call to a project or an idea. I wanted to offer a place where the impetus behind Essays on Childhood could grow and cultivate the best execution around the idea of a “bridge” between our younger and older selves.
Today, it is my great pleasure to introduce Longridge Review.
Our mission is to present the finest essays on the mysteries of childhood experience, the wonder of adult reflection, and how the two connect over a lifespan.
We are committed to publishing narratives steeped in reverence for childhood perceptions, but we seek essays that stretch beyond the clichés of childhood as simple, angelic, or easy. We feature writing that layers the events of the writer’s early years with learning or wisdom accumulated in adult life.
We welcome diverse creative nonfiction pieces that depict revealing moments about the human condition.
Please visit our website, share the opportunities, and consider sending us your writing.
We look forward to reading your work!
Founder and Editor: Elizabeth Gaucher, Middlebury, email@example.com
Contributing Editors: Laurel Gladden, Sante Fe, and Beth Newman, Asheville
Creative Advisor and Muse: Suzanne Farrell Smith, NYC
It’s an honor to have some work up over at BREVITY today, thinking about the highs and lows of literary intimacy. I hope you’ll give it a read. Thank you!
For those on our email list, an unfinished version of this post went out yesterday, our fault, not the author’s! Please enjoy the full version.
A guest post from Elizabeth Gaucher:
“I think I have to apologize for something,” the message from my longtime friend read. “At first I thought I need to apologize for not reading your latest published piece, but I think I have to apologize for or admit to something deeper.”
I felt my brows rise. This was coming from one of my oldest and dearest friends, someone who is also a writer, and it felt like a warning flare. I took a deep breath and read on into the mysterious sin. She had in fact finally read my column about the writing life for an online nonfiction journal. She was really moved by it. She apologized for not reading it sooner, admitting she wasn’t…
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The new online literary publication, Longridge Review, is coming together!
LR will be somewhat similar to Essays on Childhood, but more formal. We will have a reading period, an editorial review of submissions for potential publication, and an accept or decline response system.
In addition to Creative Nonfiction Essays, we will feature occasional guest columns on craft and visual artists.
As we close in our mission statement, your feedback is appreciated. What are your feelings about the mission statement as it is now drafted? Is there something you think we missed, or anything that seems out-of-place?
Please post your comments below, and thank you for your support!
Our mission is to provide a free website that offers the finest essays on the mysteries of childhood experience, the wonder of adult reflection, and how the two connect over the lifespan.
We are committed to publishing narratives steeped in reverence for childhood experience and perceptions, but we seek essays that stretch beyond the clichés of childhood as simple, angelic, or easy. We want to feature writing that layers the events of the writer’s early years with a sense of wisdom or learning accumulated in adult life.
We welcome diverse creative nonfiction pieces that demonstrate a strong perception of nuanced and revealing elements of the human condition.
“I have been asked in interviews before how I find the time to write. I always found that question strange, simply because to me, it sounds like you’re asking someone “How do you find the time to play video games? Or hunt? Or scrapbook? Or shop?” We make time for the things we love to do; we have to find time for the stuff we don’t.” — Fred Venturini
“She is walking down a winding path that crosses a wetland area and opens onto a school playground. The autumn sunlight in Vermont is deep gold in the afternoon, glazing everything like heaven. Milkweed pods are drying, opening like cracked brown and rugged treasure chests to send thousands of silky threaded seeds on a quest.” — Imagery from an essay draft. Keep your notes! I don’t know what makes heaven glazed, but I like it.