The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses series, published every year since 1976, is the most honored literary project in America.

Since 1976, hundreds of presses and thousands of writers of short stories, poetry and essays have been represented in annual collections. Each year most of the writers and many of the presses are new to the series. Every volume contains an index of past selections, plus lists of outstanding presses with addresses.

The Pushcart Prize has been a labor of love and independent spirits since its founding. It is one of the last surviving literary co-ops from the 60’s and 70’s. Its legacy is assured by donations to its Fellowships endowment.

Longridge Review is pleased announce our 2018 nominees:

  • Nora Seilheimer, Back into Movement

(published Winter 2018-February, Longridge Review, https://longridgereview.com/nora-seilheimer/)

  • Luanne Castle, The Secret Kotex Club  

(published Spring 2018-May, Longridge Review, https://longridgereview.com/luanne-castle/)

  • Risa Nye, Visions of LaDonna                                                                                                          

(published Spring 2018-May, Longridge Review, https://longridgereview.com/risa-nye/)

  • David McVey, On the Wonder of the World

(published Fall 2018-November, Longridge Review, https://longridgereview.com/david-mcvey/)

  • Aliza Dube, Loved to Death

(published Fall 2018-November, Longridge Review, https://longridgereview.com/aliza-dube/)

  • Nikki SambitskyPenny Drop

(published Fall 2018-November, Longridge Review, https://longridgereview.com/nikki-sambitsky/)

 

Congratulations to each of these wonderful writers, and thank you to everyone who found a forever home for his or her essay with us in 2018!

 

Header art by Sharon Lyn Stackpole, “Conversation with Annie,” ink and coffee on cold press.

 

Our apologies, the link to Aliza Dube’s essay was not functional when we first blogged about the new issue; that error has been corrected.

You can find a link to “Loved to Death” on the home page, or via this link: https://longridgereview.com/aliza-dube/.

Aliza’s recounts one of her childhood pets’ violent end and the impact it had on her perception of love. It is one of several essays in Issue 12 to confront complicated dynamics of consent, predation, risk-taking, bigotry, and regret.

Despite these themes, there is an irrepressible strength in these narratives.

We hope you will come take a look!

Creative Nonfiction, #12 Fall 2018

Christopher Cascio, Kid
Heidi Davidson-Drexel, Your Boss
Aliza Dube, Loved to Death
Anne Noonan, Stink Tree
Lisa Rizzo, Snowsuit Prisoners

Nikki Sambitsky, Penny Drop

Featured Artist

Peter Tavernise

NEWS:

We will open submissions again from December 14, 2018 – January 15, 2019.

  • Our guest blogger in Issue 12 is essayist Heidi Davidson-Drexel. Read thoughts on how she developed the narrator voice in “Your Boss.”
  • Suzanne Farrell Smith’s essay, “The Helping Man,” is nominated by Pembroke Magazine for Pushcart Prize. Congratulations and good luck! This fall Suzanne also had an essay published in Brevity, “If You Find a Mouse in a Glue Trap.” Finally, her essay “Work and Love” is published in Issue 8 of Adanna. Way to go, SFS!
  • Read our editor Mary Heather Noble’s blog post, On Writer’s Block: Notes from the Kitchen Island. “I’ve tried all kinds of ways to avoid doing this work. I tried moving far away, and when that didn’t help, I wrote and published a few scenes from that childhood path and then suffered the consequences. I’ve tried writing about other things. I’ve tried literally running away.” This is a gorgeous and vulnerable self-examination of, among other things, the mountain climbing we do as children and as adults.
  • Our former guest editor for Peter Tavernise is this issue’s Featured Artist — check out his gorgeous digitally created work!
  • Do you have a question for us? Write to us at Ask the Editor. In December, we will tackle the question, “What qualifies as childhood for your mission?” Read Heidi’s blog post about her authorial choices in her essay, Your Boss.
  • We ask you to follow our blog! We don’t post there often, but when we do it’s focused information you can use about writing and writers, as well as updates about our journal.
  • We are on Twitter and Facebook: Follow/Like us to stay in the loop on all things Longridge: @LongridgeReview and Longridge Editors LLC.

by Essayist and Guest Blogger Heidi Davidson-Drexel

I was not officially a child when I was violated by my boss, a reality which further muddied the mess of emotions I felt about it.  I used to struggle with what to call the experience.  I was enough of a child at the time to feel molested, but couldn’t reconcile that term with my age.  For awhile I referred to it as a controlling relationship- a title modification that allowed me to skim past essential details.  But it wasn’t a relationship.  It seemed there were no accurate descriptions, words or phrases that fit.

To write about it, I had to allow myself to peer into my inner state at the time it all happened.  It wasn’t an easy place to go.  But when I finally got up the courage, the overwhelming feeling I had was one of sympathy for my younger self.  The internalized guilt and self-hatred had dissipated with the years and I could see the confused young person I was, grabbing onto anything she could find.

This feeling of understanding grew as I worked on it.  The barrier between adolescence and adulthood is like a line of buoys separating the shallow end of the pool from the deep end.  It’s flexible- easy to cross back and forth.  In all of the outer ways, I was like an adult.  I started working at 14 and was supporting myself while in college. I studied hard and did well in school. But emotionally, I was still splashing around in the shallows.

When I started out writing this piece, I thought if it as an explanation to some nameless person, some naïve reader who might not understand how such a thing could happen.  I wanted to show how easy it is to lose the ground under your feet, how it could happen to anyone.  By the time I finished the essay and reread it, it was clear.  I had written it, not for some nameless bystander, but for my younger self.  For the part of me that still didn’t understand what had gone wrong, and for the parts of me that still felt I had done something to cause it.  I wrote this for the child I was, in the hopes that she can begin to move on.

Read the essay here.

It has come to my attention that the $3.00 fee that should have been automatically requested when writers submitted essays for Fall 2018 was not charged.

While this is not good news for our little #litmag, we accept full responsibility for the technological glitch. If you submitted for Fall 2018, know that your $3.00 has been waived, and it will have no effect on your essay’s evaluation.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Gaucher
Editor
Longridge Review
https://twitter.com/LongridgeReview
https://longridgereview.com/

Summer is our quiet time, but we are still planning!

Please share this information with your writing friends and community.

***

Our emphasis is on literature that explores the mysteries of childhood experience, the wonder of adult reflection, and how the two connect over a lifespan. Take a look through some of our online essays to get a feel for what we publish.

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 perceptive and revealing moments about the human condition.

We will not consider trite, light narratives; genre nonfiction; critical analyses; inspirational or motivational advice; erotica or pornography; or any writing that purposefully exploits or demeans.

We will consider one creative nonfiction piece (up to 3,500 words) per submission period. Please do not submit more than once during the reading period. Individual authors will not be published more than once per calendar year. The deadline is midnight EST on the close date. Each submission requires a $3.00 fee, payable electronically via Submittable.

Visit our full submission guidelines here: https://longridgereview.com/submit/

Ask the Editor is a resource for our readers and writers in which we review and respond to popular questions about our journal, essay writing, submissions, and literary potpourri type stuff. Have a question you’d like to see answered here? Send it to edg dot longridgeeditors dot com. Chosen questions will be kept anonymous.

Here is a question that is often on most writers’ minds:  Is there a common reason you reject submissions?

Q:  Like most journals, you probably reject more submissions than you publish. What’s the biggest mistake people make?

A:  It’s true, we take 10% or less of the submissions we receive. I deliberately use the term “decline” vs. “reject” because it’s more accurate. There are two basic categories for our declines. The first is mathematical and straightforward. The second is nuanced and often complicated.

 

Category One is made up of essays that do not conform to what we request. They are over the word count, off-mission, or fiction. Those declines are especially frustrating when the writing is good — and Longridge Review attracts a lot of talented writers.

These particular mistakes happen, I believe, because people often have some writing they’d like to have find a forever home, and these pieces are sent out to various places rather than crafted specifically for us. There is not one thing wrong with that in general, I am sure it’s quite common, but it can lead to wasted time all around because the work just doesn’t fit what we do.

Occasionally, it’s obvious that the writer is penning a longer work about his or her life, something more in the memoir form. It would be great if those of us who write creative nonfiction could just cut and paste the right word counts out of our manuscripts and Ta! Da! have a great essay. But it really doesn’t work like that. Sometimes you can craft something forward, such as a collection of essays into a book, but even that is a creation that is more than the sum of its parts, and difficult to do.

Category Two is harder to explain than the first set of mistakes. It can be an essay of the right word count, optimum punctuation and grammar, even some breathtaking sentences, and still not work. These narratives can be broken down into three general types:

  1. The Recounting Narrative — It’s surprisingly common for us to receive pieces of writing that read as if the writer is scrolling through his or her brain and writing down whatever is recalled. Declining a piece like this is not a judgement on the value of the memory. It is usually because the narrative has no discernible structure. Why are you telling us this? is what goes through the reader’s mind. What does this have to do with me?  Where is this going?
  2. The Not-Taking-It to-The-Pain Narrative — If you know The Princess Bride book or film, you know “to the pain” is a classic phrase the hero uses to intimidate the villain, promising not to kill him but to leave him alive and eternally suffering. Cheerful, right? (It’s actually a very funny scene in total.) You do not have to suffer eternally to write a good essay, but you know what? You do have to suffer a little bit. Often that pain is something the writing itself can exorcise from a troubled past. But a writer does have to get to it, to touch it, to own it. We can tell when an essay is dancing around what really hurts, trust me. Your readers can, too. Often we writers are the last to know. Which leads me to . . .
  3. The It’s-All-About-Me Narrative — Writer Brian Doyle said that bad personal essays are about the writer. Good personal essays are about the rest of us. What does that mean? you ask. How can I write about you if I don’t even know you? You can’t write about me, but you can connect your life with mine, with that of any other human being. That’s why this is art. That’s why this is important. That’s why your writing matters to the world. Not because you necessarily are instructing others, but because you are giving them the gift of the “a-ha” moment. When a reader can see him- or herself in your essay, even if it’s the most foreign thing literally speaking, that’s the win. That’s why we write. That’s why we read. An unexpected example for me in Issue 11 was Cars: An Unrequited Love Story. I’ve never been a teenage boy. Never had feelings for an automobile. I laughed a lot during this essay, and have read it several times. I realized it’s not about cars. It’s not about Scott Peterson; I mean, it is, but it’s about more than that. It’s about young ideals, about hopes and dreams, about sacrificing and working to bring something into your life that you really want, and coping with the aftermath when it doesn’t quite roll out like you hoped it would. It’s about growing up, and we’ve all done that.
Keep those cards and letters — and essays — coming!

“Get to the point,” he answered immediately, when I asked what advice he can offer newer writers. “I usually have a speech I make to my students. “Cut to the chase. Tell a tale. All things are stories; romance, work, education, religion and stories are how we most commonly and easily eat information, eat the world; so the storyteller has enormous power and pop if the story is naked. The best tales are direct and unadorned.”– Brian Doyle

More details are on the way, but right now you can be one of the first to read and share 6 new essays from this talented group of writers:

Creative Nonfiction, #11 Spring/Summer 2018

 

Featured Artist

Jon Tarleton

Enjoy!

We Addicts, a Hopeless Bunch — Reprinted with the permission of Larry D. Thacker. Read Larry’s blog here, Death and A Writer: A Blog. Featured art image ©Larry D. Thacker.)

 

Talk about a metaphor.

Most of the writers I know are hardcore addicts. A hopeless bunch.

And not in the sense of substances ruling their lives (I’m glad I can brag how most of my close writing friends are pretty healthy people, though we imbibe heartily on occasion). But we all suffer a problem with writing and we’re all agreeably co-dependent upon each other.

When we get together, we don’t encourage healing. We don’t support each other by helping break away from our additions to the written word, our eternally anchored lives to the pen, page, laptop, and desk.

We gather in each other’s secret company, at conferences, festivals, residences, and writers groups, to load up, and stab the veritable needle into one another’s neck all day and all night. In person. Through social media. By e-mail. Via hand-written notes. By the books of poems, shorts stories, novels, and creative non-fiction we produce and circulate like so much underground illegal drug activity. We’re a hot mess, as they say.

We are addicts, indeed. Psychologically. Physiologically. Socially. Culturally. Economically. Religiously. Enslaved to the word, and the word to us. When we engage in these precarious acts, we experience a heightened pleasure nearly as delightful as anything the world offers. This is why we persist in our crazed life choices, come success or failure, clarity or confusion.

We learn to gather up our many rejections like the old adage: At least a bad day of drinking was still drinking (or was that a phrase about fishing?). When we’re not writing, or revising, or submitting, or reading, something feels imbalanced about life. It’s that craving that sends us off kilter until we’re back again doing that tasty thing that preoccupies us waking or sleeping, or in that dazed in-between world.

And it’s in our dreams, too. We dream about that good, sweet high. That one elusive poem we must eventually create. That lovely paragraph we’re chasing. That short story we lost in a fevered dream when coming down. The vision of a story just waiting around the magical corner.

We’re all chasing the same thing and something different all at once. An alchemical cocktail of words discovered by only us in the lonely night, tested swirling in our own bloodstream, boiled down and readied for a hungry world.

 

Greetings, Writers:

We have developed a gift for launching our calls for submission during the CRWROPPS hiatus (no new announcements until after March 12).

Our submission period will be extended to May 1.

CRWROPPS is the Creative Writers Opportunities List moderated by Allison Joseph. It is a public Yahoo group with over 14,000 members that posts calls for submissions and contest information for writers of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. It is an important resource for writers as well as for publishers.

If you are not already connected to this group to receive calls for submission, check out the details here for how to join: CRWROPPS-B.

We encourage established, unpublished, or emerging writers to submit their best work to Longridge Review.

Visit our full submission guidelines here: https://longridgereview.com/submit/

We look forward to reading your work!