A heads up, this issue is really heavy. There is recounting of a lot of trauma.
But this is part of our mission, I believe. To bring forth how serious childhood is to who we become. To offer empathy and compassion for adults who are still trying to find themselves whole after harm they suffered at a tender age. Absolutely, sometimes the formative event is love or humor. But often, it is not.
Sometimes the harm is callous disregard. Sometimes it is violent assault. Sometimes it is the betrayal of a friend. Sometimes, it is a parent’s love growing mysteriously cold.
And yet….each of these writers still seems to carry a small, unextinguished light. The search for resolution and healing is much of what these essays have in common.
We will consider one creative nonfiction piece (up to 6,500 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 Individual authors will not be published more than once per calendar year.
We accept only electronic submissions through our online submission manager, Submittable. There is no submission fee.
The title of your submission should be included with your name (e.g., Jane Doe “My Essay Title”). Include a short biography (five to seven sentences) with your submission.
Our next submission period will be in the Fall. Sign up to follow us (see the bottom middle area of our home page) to receive an email notification when submissions open.
We are thrilled that Mary Heather Noble has joined Longridge Review as a reader and contributing editor. She is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of Southern Maine. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geology from The Ohio State University, and a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Vermont after living in Oregon for nine years. Learn more about MHN on her website, Mary Heather Noble dot com
Mary Heather recently was named a finalist by Bellingham Review for the Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction for her essay, “Eulogy for an Owl.”
Suzanne Farrell Smith’s essay on mothering twins in the NICU is forthcoming from Under the Gum Tree. UGT is a storytelling project, publishing creative nonfiction in the form of a micro-magazine. Tagline: Tell Stories without Shame
Editor Elizabeth Gaucher’s essay, “Allons, Enfants: A Young Appalachian in Paris,” appears now in the Summer 2016 issue of Still: The Journal.
Gregory Fletcher (NYC) tells the tender yet complicated story behind his personal evolution into manhood. What does that word mean, anyway, manhood? And does it matter who defines it? Can a “real man” be provided for by his grandmother and come to believe in himself in an authentic way? Read this unique essay to broaden your understanding of identity, independence, and love.
Sink or Swim
Rich H. Kenney, Jr., (Nebraska) returns to a harrowing summer filled with perceived monsters, hostile adults, and an unavoidable life-and-death encounter with his own anxiety. Despite all of this, somehow, he weaves mild humor and courage toward a conclusion that will make you proud to be human. Read his essay and be reminded how strong people can be.
Karen McDermott (Los Angeles) There are times when the sheer breathtaking honesty of an essay leaves me very quiet for a long time. “Doll Blanket” is such a work. If you write, you will recognize how difficult it can be to disclose the events Karen describes here, but even more how so it is to disclose the feelings. If you are mostly a reader, you will recognize it as well. Few essays will lay it bare like this one does.
Mariana McDonald (Georgia) reminds us that knowing guilt and even some concept of sin comes early in life. A child perceives danger, reports said danger, a life ends — but the child’s trouble is just beginning. This deceptively simple narrative has all the great themes of unforgettable tales like Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Crane’s The Blue Hotel, Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and the Garden of Eden myth. At the same, it avoids feeling derivative by staying true to one girl’s unique life-changing event. Don’t miss this one.
J. R. Tappenden (St. Louis) shines light on a hard reality, that some of our favorite childhood memories can sometimes be tied to an ugly truth. Gorgeous old airplanes open up the world of flight and freedom. But in the end, they once had a dark purpose. How do any of us balance the beautiful and the dreadful? Once we understand, can we pass on the things we love to those we love in a moral way?
That Good Hair
Bobby Wilson (China) writes about his hair. Or, well, does he? His hair is a part of everything, but as you roll through this fast-paced narrative, at some point you will start to realize that hair is the vehicle on which you travel, and from which you see the writer’s experience. Early lines like, “My brother and I embarked on eight long years of hair purgatory,” made this an essay one we couldn’t resist. Being “full Black” makes finding a barber a priority. Wave amplitudes. Cornrows. Hairlines. Tapers. Tweezers, razors, gel, doo rags. Good hair. More than anything else, Wilson explores what it means to relax and learn to love yourself.
Sharon Lyn Stackpole (West Virginia) studied painting and art history at West Virginia University under the tutelage of the renowned professor and art historian Marian Hollinger. Her warm and delicate work glows on the pages of Issue 4.
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?
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
Elizabeth Gaucher, Founding Editor, Longridge Review