Many thanks to our Creative Muse for this inspired relay of excellent advice! “Sometimes writing feels great and floats along and the words seem to choose themselves and the meaning is so clear and revision is a blast. But sometimes writing is muddled. Out of our control. Just out of reach.”

Suzanne Farrell Smith

This summer, I consider my professional companion to be Donald Graves, one of the most influential thinkers in the history of writing instruction. As I prep for fall teaching, consider how writing and literacy instruction overlap, and research new pieces on the writing process and life, I’m reading, eagerly but deliberately, Graves’s 1983 book, Writing: Teachers & Children at Work.

Writing developed from Graves’s groundbreaking National Institute of Education study on writing instruction in the late 70s. There is much to learn from his research, thinking, and recommendations. But my favorite Graves lesson, by far, comes 85% of the way through Writing (p 270). I believe my friends in both writing and education will like it too:

After four years of working with the study in Atkinson, New Hampshire, when all the data were in and the information brewed down to the most important finding, we recorded that:

WRITING IS A HIGHLY IDIOSYNCRATIC PROCESS THAT VARIES…

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In mid-2008 I decided to get organized around what had until then been sporadic literary submissions. A color-coded Excel spreadsheet was born (of course). Over the years it grew to multiple tabs, …

Source: 8 from 8: Things I’ve learned in eight years of submissions

Issue #3 went online last week. Did you miss it? Catch up here with the vibrant murals of artist Carlos Culbertson, as well as these wonderful essays from an array of talented creative nonfiction writers:

  • July 11

Rebecca Chekouras (California) writes with the hard light of truth about her brother’s life and death. Discovering a photograph of the two of them together as very young children sparks a cascade of memories about who he was, and of who he became. This is not exactly a ghost story, but it haunts all the same.

  •  Home/Life

Ryan C. Daily (Chicago) wants a home. It sounds simple enough, but is finding your place ever an easy thing? Ryan finds herself compelled to map her childhood living spaces and tries to connect them. When she ends up where she started, the clarity of the last lines took our collective breath away.

  • A Closet of One’s Own

Janet Garber (New York) shares a beautiful memory of where she first discovered the eternal gifts of imagination. This is a delightful and poignant reflection on how much a child craves her own space, or as Janet calls it, “my own true home.”

  • Godzilla

Tom Lin (Ohio)  presents a narrative with visual structure that not only  informs us how to read it but also seems to subtly mimic the loneliness and staggered footsteps of the title creature itself. This is a powerful, complex essay that lingers. By examining his childhood impressions of Godzilla, Lin also opens the door to his memories of his grandfather, of the island of Taiwan’s history, and the legacy of the atomic bomb.

  •  War

Ana Christina Peters (South Korea) has never forgotten one of her father’s most powerful pieces of advice: Always walk away from a fight. Can a child of the Vietnam era grow into an adult who can follow this advice? Can anyone? Ana writes about witnessing a brutal fight between two fathers in the neighborhood, and its reverberation in the bodies and minds of the children who witnessed it.

  •  Extra Help

Emily Rems (New York) turns her considerable writing talent to one of childhood’s most insidious experiences: being repeatedly molested by someone who should be helping you. At the tender age of 11, Emily finds herself regularly alone with a perpetrator hiding in plain sight. Readers must confront with the writer the discomfort, disbelief, and distress of realizing she’s not sure why it started or how to stop it.

  •  The Bucket Boys

Allison Spector (North Dakota) tells a true tale of childhood peril — “but not too much” — in this rollicking and occasionally unnerving recounting of two young girls determined to challenge the boys on their turf. This pitch-perfect narrative will have you thinking about what it means for any of us to stand up to a threat, be it real or simply perceived. Who’s playing whom?

  • Over the Limit

Margaret Redmond Whitehead (Brooklyn) ponders a question we all ask sooner or later: When we have to move on, what stays with us, and what do we leave behind? This is exactly as simple and straightforward and complicated and murky as it sounds, and Margaret writes with compassion and depth about it all. Her experience with refugees, her literary reading background, and her personal family history all inform this empathetic and very real essay.

You can find it all and more right here: Longridge Review #3, Spring 2016.

p.s. Want to write for us? See submission guidelines here: Longridge Review SUBMIT

Issue 3 is here, and I am hustling through the last-minute finishing touches that seem to persist no matter how many months in advance we start putting things together for Longridge Review.

Is every bit of formatting perfect yet? Alas, no.

But I find myself soaking in the joy that comes from reading, re-reading, and working through questions with a wonderfully diverse cadre of writers; the quality of our journey far outweighs the frustrations of errant HTML code.

We don’t usually do much with unusual formatting of essays. So far we have allowed white space to inform the reader of paragraph breaks rather than indents. Indent more than one way? Add numerical or linear cues? Experiment with starting a line with a comma?

No.

Except that was all before I read Tom Lin’s Godzilla, a narrative with visual structure that not only  informs us how to read it but also seems to subtly mimic the loneliness and staggered footsteps of the title creature itself. This is a powerful, complex essay that lingers. By examining his childhood impressions of Godzilla, Lin also opens the door to his memories of his grandfather, of the island of Taiwan’s history, and the legacy of the atomic bomb. Lin gifts the reader with a woven vision of family, culture, and destruction. Ultimately, he asks the reader to consider the lost voices and languages of a people but also of their hearts.

I will write up my usual synopsis of each essay and blog those out soon. For now, I can’t hold these back another hour. They are each just too special, and they await your discovery. Visit our home page for links to:

  • Rebecca Chekouras (California), July 11
  • Ryan C. Dailey (Chicago), Home/Life
  • Janet Garber (New York), A Closet of One’s Own
  • Tom Lin (Ohio), Godzilla
  • Ana Christina Peters (South Korea), War
  • Emily Rems (New York), Extra Help
  • Allison Spector (North Dakota), The Bucket Boys
  • Margaret Redmond Whitehead (Brooklyn), Over the Limit

Happy Reading,

Elizabeth Gaucher, Founding Editor, Longridge Review

 

Longridge Review: Who We Are and What We Do

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.

We are excited to read your work! Visit the menu tab above to learn how to submit your creative nonfiction essays to Longridge Review.

News:

  • Our submission period for the Spring 2016 issue is now open.
  • We’ve added the following language to our submission page:
    • Editing: Longridge Review reserves the right to edit manuscripts for grammar or clarity issues without notification if necessary. If a manuscript requires a substantial amount of editing, we will notify the author of such changes for review before publication.
  • Editor Elizabeth Gaucher has an essay published on Mud Season Review: “Where It Ends“. She is also serving as the fiction editor for the anthology “The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016.”
  • Jeremy Paden, whose essay “Doubt Matters” is featured on Longridge Review, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for his poetry in Border Crossing. Read his haunting poem, Cesium 137. Another poem, wreck: a noun, was nominated for a Best of the Net award by Accents Publishing.
  • We are on Twitter! Follow us to stay in the loop on all things Longridge: @LongridgeReview

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:

  • Listen

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

Anymore, people seem to think they don’t have time to read for pleasure.

Longridge Review is here to help you fix that.

Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable with the gorgeous visual tones of artist Michael Teel, then peruse these terrific new essays:

  • Within an Inch of My Life
    Faith Gong (Vermont) reflects on chasing perfection after the grades stop, and in the process reveals a lifelong struggle that is both chilling and inspiring.
  • Temple Bar
    Patricia Hopper (West Virginia) takes the reader to her childhood Ireland, complete with sights, smells, sounds, and people.
  • Marybelle
    Connie Kinsey (West Virginia) is haunted by the ghost of a little girl in her elementary school decades ago.
  • The Space in Between
    Susan Krakoff (Ireland) grapples with slivers of memories about her father.
  • Doubt Matters
    Jeremy Paden (Kentucky) explores the dark fires of doubt, losing faith, and an emerging new concept of God.
  • Beauty Walks a Razor’s Edge
    Amy Sprague (Wisconsin) remembers the last enchantments of childhood with an adored cousin as his chronic illness advances.

You can find it all and more right here: Longridge Review #1, Fall 2015.

p.s. Want to write for us? See submission guidelines here: Longridge Review SUBMIT