Issue #7 went online in early May. Need some great reading? Catch up here with vibrant mixed media of Toti O’Brien (Pasadena), as well as diverse essays from an array of talented creative nonfiction writers.
Following are previews of the essays via their original Facebook and Twitter posts. Links to each essay are in the tweets.
Abby Burns (Indiana)
“As a kid, I often found myself yearning to embody others, especially in those moments when people left me alone to my thoughts. Call it escapism, but when I was nine years old, Xena Warrior Princess used to take over my body. She would save a busload of children after a catastrophic car accident, pulling them from windows just as fire hit the gas tank and the vehicle exploded in the background.”
In Uninvited Hauntings reflects on imagined ghosts, then unmasks the real ones.
Michael Chin (New York)
“But perhaps it’s because he couldn’t speak the language that my grandfather was drawn to professional wrestling. Ostensibly a sport (one with so few rules, and such clear lines between good guys to cheer and bad guys to jeer) that he didn’t need the English language to follow what was happening, just eyesight to see the fights and a sense of hearing to follow who the crowd was rallying for and against.
It was my grandfather who drew my father into wrestling, after which my father introduced it to me.”
.‘s epic The Bionic Elbow. Promise, challenge, , , and
Minna Dubin (Berkeley)
“Like those nights in the woods, every shoplifted t-shirt or skimpy pair of underwear was another thing I managed to get over on the adults, over on authority, over on the voices that said, You don’t know anything – you’re just a chubby kid. Walking out of a store without paying was a game, and if I won, then I didn’t just beat the big bad guy at the end of round one. I beat the cameras, the end-of-the-aisle mirrors, the check-out girls, the dressing room helpers, and the detectors at the store exits. Stealing meant beating the whole system. Though I didn’t know exactly what all ‘the system’ entailed, I knew for sure it was the homing ground for the voices I heard.”
. recounts mysteries of female identity, adolescent obsessions, the lure of shoplifting.
Susan Grant (Maine)
“She did not know what to do. She had been playing with a neighbor several doors down, and now, her friend had to leave to go with her mother to the store. The little girl decided that she ought to go home and maybe get a cookie. As she approached the gate into her yard, she reached her tiny hand to open the latch, and he turned on her. The little girl will never forget the sounds that came from his mouth. Her hands shook at the memory.”
Susan Grant writes of something menacing a child from behind a gate. She wants 2 pass. Will she enter?
Amanda Kay (Pittsburgh)
“Living there, we were immersed in smoke. Jack had a cigarette in his hand from the moment he woke up to the moment he went to bed. Smoke was his personal halo. His skin was yellow-gray, his thoughts distracted as though his brain had never quite learned how to be sober after so many years of alcoholism… I didn’t understand for some time what it truly cost my mother to live in the same house with him again.”
Amanda Kay’s mom went 2 juvie 4 pulling a knife on her stepdad. He had it coming. Was it nature or nurture?
Gleah Powers (Santa Monica)
“We’ve been having some talks,” he said. “Your father realizes he made some bad choices. He’s on morphine and pretty much incoherent but he wants to see you. I called your mother and sister. They don’t want anything to do with him.”
. The longing for my father began at 21 & Bcame chronic 3 months B4 I turned 21
Helen, Ruggieri (New York)
“Lefties know the name of their condition, but introverts usually don’t. They have to figure it out later on. They’ll read Hamlet, years after the fact and say, Wow. There’s a man after my own heart. He knows what lies below the surface of life.”
Helen Ruggieri conjures as , remembers chains, life as an
Gretchen Uhrinek (Pennsylvania)
“We met on a playground. I, the ever-tenacious six-year old, was leader, chief, head honcho, and ruling monarch of a little thing I called the Vampire Club. It was a scam, of course. A poor kid in a rich school, I never intended on doing anything with the club. But for just ten smackaroos, any kid on the playground could join. Any kid except for Dan. He didn’t have any friends, and I didn’t have any friends, and I wanted nothing to do with him.”
Toti O’Brien (Pasadena)
“I have been a dancer for my whole life. I have often hoped the motion inhabiting my body would spill into my visual work, giving it some of its energy, its lightness, its joy.”