If A Winter Night were a box of chocolates, the assortment would be heavy on syrupy fruit and nuts, because protagonist Angie finds that flavor palette divine. She fancies herself a disciplined aesthetic, dedicated to her job as a social worker, and living a simple, orderly life. In fact, she’s all over the place, falling in love at the drop of a hat, getting crushed, and drowning her sorrow in decadent snacks.
If A Winter Night were a bouquet, the flowers in the arrangement would be pink roses, white carnations, baby’s breath, and a thistle. Angie tells herself she’ll never…
MY FATHER WANTED SONS
My feminism began with my father, who wanted sons. Had I been one he’d have named me Paul after my mother’s father, or Bruce, after no one he knew. He must have liked the sound alone, the angry strength of it, harking back to a long-lost Scots-Irish ancestor with an oblique connection to Robert The Bruce.
His wanting sons over daughters didn’t make him unique. A man wants his name to go on. This was before women kept their maiden names, or joined their husband’s with a hyphen. Isn’t that an interesting word, “maiden?”
originally published in Women Writers, Women’s Books
I recently took part in a virtual author event with two other women writers. Let me say how much I have come to appreciate the magic of Zoom video conferencing, aside from not having a paid account which meant getting dumped off the call after forty minutes. No problem, everyone, including the audience, was able to log back in. The three of us spoke about our work, read a short portion, talked some more, and took questions from the viewers.
Many of these questions were about craft — how we came up with…
My first short story was written on brown paper using a second-hand Underwood typewriter I picked up at an antiques store. I felt so writerly, perched on my stool at my kitchen counter, banging away. My husband was studying for the bar exam, and had trouble concentrating with the noise I made. Luckily for him I wrote in spurts, lasting no more than fifteen minutes at a time. Then I’d get up and wander off, overwhelmed with doubt and a growing sense that I had no idea what I was trying to say and why it mattered.
I persisted. “Among…
originally published in the Fall/Winter 2020 issue of South 85 Journal. Awarded First Runner-up in the 2020 Julia Peterkin Literary Prize for Poetry
the first corner to lift was the dining room
where candles were lit, wine sipped
plans made, tears shed, voices raised,
more than one plate thrown down
for the pleasure of watching it break
could rain do that, they asked?
flood a basement, sure
sneak in under a loose roof shingle
drip from the ceiling into the pot
one of them finally got up to put in place
saying for god’s sake, enough is enough!
Writing is a private affair. One mind, one hand holding a pen; or two hands hovering over a keyboard. It’s almost always carried out alone. And when the pages are written, then what? This is a key question because it defines a crucial divide between writers who write for publication and writers who write just for themselves.
Writing for yourself is fine. We all write for ourselves first, really. If we don’t love our words, no one else will, either. There’s nothing wrong with being your own unique audience. Maybe you’re not ready to share. …