Gustafson Nominated for Pushcart Prize

December 1, 2016

The Editors
Pushcart Press
P.O. Box 380
Wainscott, NY 11975

Dear Editors:

As the lead editor for Longridge Review, I nominate our 2016 essay, “Time Stops,” by Mary Gustafson, for a Pushcart Prize.

The sheer human courage this essay represents cannot be overstated. Gustafson survives a rape at age 8, and goes on to struggle through a series of chronic dysfunctions leading to sense of personal failure. Through a commitment to therapy, she finds a woman who can help her parse the agonizing events of her life and discover pieces of who she was, and still hopes to be, before and since the attack.

This essay stirred responses from our readers like no other before it. Some of those comments are posted at the end of this letter.

As lead editor for this work, I believe Gustafson’s choices around white space, sentence fragments, indentation, and italics are masterful. She creates a sense of time stopping and starting, speeding up and slowing down. The reader participates in her trauma, in her thoughts and spoken words, and in her broken heart. This is literary intimacy at its finest.

Thank you for considering “Time Stops” for a Pushcart Prize. I believe it represents the best of the small presses.

Very truly yours,

Elizabeth Gaucher
Editor
Longridge Review

Time Stops: Readers Speak

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, guilt, and fear fed by a still-present societal stigma with regard to mental health. Yet what stands out more is the resilient spirit of human beings.

Thank you for publishing this beautiful essay.

***

Good evening. I wanted to write to let you know that I just finished reading a piece called “Time Stops” by Mary Gustafson. I found this piece to be an amazing, profound, raw depiction of sexual abuse and its far-reaching and long-lasting effects on a woman.

As the daughter of a woman who habitually was abused by her father, both mentally and sexually from the age of 3 through age 12, I believe if my mother was still alive, she would have benefited greatly from reading this particular essay.

I know it would have helped her to know she was not the only one. Thank you for choosing this piece to publish. It really is beautifully written and deeply moving.

***

I just finished reading Mary Gustafson’s “Time Stops”  and I wanted to thank you for providing a great space for such stories to be. I found her piece to be eloquently written. It stood out for me in its fierce vulnerability and told a personal tale that many women, myself included, can relate to. Hard subject matter told with a deft touch.

Good for you Longridge Review, I look forward to reading more of your picks.

***

I just finished reading Ms. Gustafson’s (essay) Time Stops. What a beautiful and heartfelt depiction of such a horrible experience. I was both touched and enraged at the same time! She is an incredibly strong individual and SURVIVOR.  Her story is both inspirational and heartbreaking, and I found her writing style unique and engaging.  I look forward to reading more from this talented writer.

Longridge Review’s 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.

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