Creative Nonfiction, #26, Spring 2023
Gravel, Alan Caldwell
Colored Pencils, Melissa Greenwood
Pulling Away, Summer Hammond
Imaginary Friend, Linda Petrucelli
Five, Ryan Walker
Games of Chance, Melissent Zumwalt
Alan Caldwell discloses the domestic violence in his childhood home in a straightforward just-the-facts manner that’s chilling in its detachment. Gravel reveals an unsettling portrait of a child adapting his existence to survive a predictable cycle of misery.
Melissa Greenwood is relatable to any oldest child in this scene of teasing and tormenting her younger brother. It seems like her father is intent on teaching her a lesson about bullying, and he does. Just not the lesson he thinks it is.
Summer Hammond‘s brief ode to loss will stay with you long after the last line. I wrote this to Summer, “Dear heavens. I’m struggling not to just weep doing the final read throughs on this issue. Every piece does a unique job of pulling me back into those feelings, those fears, the weirdness of knowing and not knowing what this experience portends for your adult life. Then you grow up and maybe find the words, which you have done so beautifully here.”
Linda Petrucelli remembers her reunion with a favorite doll while she and her sister share the unenviable task of cleaning out their childhood home after a parent dies. Her capacity to return to old emotions is astonishing (I had this same doll), as is her clarity about letting things go.
Ryan Walker puts us in the room with him and his seriously ill brother. If I told you he tried to make contact with Sesame Street’s Big Bird when no one else is around, you might think this is going to be funny. You would be wrong. The loneliness of this narrative haunts me.
Melissent Zumwalt crafts a delightful reflection on her father’s gambling addiction; what I love most about this piece is how it surprised me. She is clear-eyed about the problems embedded in the behavior, but she also brings a generous spin to betting on oneself and the concept of hope.
This issue features one new image, one of my favorite pieces by Emily Sunderman of Middlebury, Vermont. Emily is a personal friend, and I am deeply indebted to her for sharing her various arts forms with me over the last decade. In addition, we pause to remember pieces of visual art from the first 25 issues of Longridge Review.
Submissions for our 2023 #BarnhillPrize issue open June 11 and close August 12 . Thank you for reading and for sharing the online literary landscape with us.
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