0 comments for “Friends

  1. This was a joy to read and quite enlightening. You brought a voice to a subject in need of one. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you for sharing your insights. I am curious to know how you went about finding a writing coach.

  3. Your conceptual approach reminds me of author Andrea Barrett’s collection of short stories called “Ship Fever” published in 1996.
    I’d love to know if you are familiar with this compilation.

    Thank you for your marvelous story.

  4. I love the imagery used in this piece, and the fragmentation you used — I’m a huge fan of fragmented narratives! Also, I really like the contrast between the Kudzu and peas, and the way you accept your heritage at the end, for better or worse. Truly beautiful.

  5. A beautifully rendered experience. I love this sentence: “Outside on the sidewalk, grave men touched their hats, children bowed, matrons shook hands — a dry and formal culture — but suddenly the air was rich with bells. I exhaled and almost skipped.” The parallels between the kitten and ballet dancer/narrator were mesmerizing.

  6. I love how real you were able to make the balance of wonder and worry feel to me as I was reading this beautiful “Foreign” story. And how your struggle is highlighted by the kittens failure.
    I also love your sentences such as “kindness slipped through their silent faces”, and “I wasn’t part of her struggle” that seem unexpectedly and almost painfully honest and reveal so much.
    A small unforgettable story that sinks deep.
    .

  7. “They are compasses, children. They are maps by which we find our way home.” — I so love this! Wonderful essay.

  8. Exceptional writing against a ghastly backdrop. Bravo! I am so sorry for your experience and loss, but so warmed by your incredible resilience!

  9. Leann, your words are so beautiful. I am so glad to know that your dreams of being a cowgirl and a writer have come to you. Thank you so much for your courage and beautiful gift of this essay.

  10. I held my breath the entire read. Beautifully written to haunt everyone who reads this. Thank you!

  11. As your piece strives for balance between the fantastic possibilities of space above and the deadly nuclear weapons below, what I appreciate most is that your eyes don’t glaze over. Instead you hitch a ride to the stars on Handel’s Messiah, look back, and restore your sixth-grade hopes with a fresh perspective.

  12. You made me cry – that’s not the first time. Rachel, your writing finds a way of revealing and making beautiful what is in my heart but I didn’t know how to say. And of showing angles and perspectives I hadn’t considered.
    thank you.

  13. Love the way at the end that there’s empathy but without letting go of the acknowledgment of the damage done. Such a delicate balance and beautifully written.

  14. A year ago my best friend died in hospice. It was sudden that stage four terminal cancer. You described the whole experience perfectly, the horrid, the deep numbing grief. Well done.

  15. The isolation and loneliness of this story has really stuck with me.
    The feeling of being surrounded by people, yet having no one to talk to
    The novelty of Sundays in those cultures where everything closes to facilitate time to spend with friends and family is less rosy for the outsiders that have not yet created either
    The despair of hoping and failing to make it through the night when there could be help with the new dawn
    The last line shows how things have changed with time.

    • Thanks Kat. Yes, those Sundays were weird. I didn’t realize at first and planned to buy stuff for a picnic on a Sunday. To my shock, NOTHING was open. I was in Germany a couple years ago visiting friends and it has changed. There were places at the train station to buy more things than when I lived there.

  16. You show so deftly how family secrets can affect generations and how freeing it can be to embrace them and bring them into the open. Loved this!

  17. You capture so well the anxiety of being a stranger who does not speak the language. I felt like I was right there with you. And the image of the kitten dying has stayed with me for days–powerful!

    • Thank you Kathy. I keep thinking of the many currently forced into new countries, new languages. I had a job and intended to go. But yes, the kitty broke my heart.

  18. I was so on edge about what was going to happen with the peephole guy at the end! Wonderfully done!

    • Thank you Kathy, for your comments on my story!

      Your story “Pulses” is so beautiful, poetic, and heartfelt. I admire the way you entwine family life with plant life.

      Your conceptual approach reminds me of author Andrea Barrett’s collection of short stories called “Ship Fever” published in 1996. I’d love to know if you are familiar with this of compilation stories. They are truly superb.

      Let me know if you have read them!

      I thank you for your marvelous story—and your comments on mine.

  19. I am so glad I found this story! Deb, you are a powerful writer, and every word awakens the senses, connecting us to the heartbreaking experiences of the narrator. Well done.

  20. Patty. Hi, its clare Elton. I so want for you to be happy AND healthy. I always thought you to be the kindest woman with a gentle spirit. I thank you for that. Please take care❤

  21. I couldn’t agree more, and I think you are being generous. It felt shallow to me, with too many details of the circumstances and too little insight. I came to the book expecting Owen’s to connect the dots about specific books and what they offered, but she does little more than list titles. So what? Also, it was just plain strange that there wasn’t a single mention of her husband the whole time she was raising kids, having more kids and then falling in love with Kyle. Are we to believe that little detail of her life wasn’t part of her dilemma? A very unsatisfying read.

  22. Such a sad and beautifully written piece, I could feel all of your pain. And then your bio, I wish you lots of courage.

  23. What a beautifully immersive piece, Terri! There are so many incredible sensory details that evoke a sense of disorientation and loneliness and also beauty. Thank you for sharing this.

  24. Oh this is powerful, and in between the punches of humor, there is very real pain. I disagree that “you got yourself into trouble.” You were living, adventuring, BEING and the times were dangerous for women because predation was very real then too, just differently cloaked, also so often using an alias.
    Your story to me, illuminates this need to look very carefully at our circumstances. Sometimes a peephole is very, very necessary. Right, Indira?

  25. As a person who had undergone a very serious bladder cancer surgery. I could not put this memoir down. I thoroughly recommend it to everyone undergoing recovery . Brahna’s resilience to overcome her tragedy will be a guide to all our healing. Definitely pass on to all your loved ones.

  26. What a touching and memorable story. I loved the descriptions of the light, a new culture, the language. And I was so sad for the little kitten and for you. I found it heartbreaking no one would help…Beautiful writing. Bravo.

    • Thank you, Ann. I think the fact that no one took the time to help encouraged me to learn the language. I suppose its a human thing: I don’t understand you so if I ignore you, you’ll go away…

    • Hey Roz, Thank you so much. I just commented on your blog post about a memoir in essays and will subscribe. Sorry, I got the email with your comment here AFTER I sent the email.

  27. Such tragic and beautiful poetry. So many vidid and memorable descriptions:
    “fell from my mouth like tangled wire.”
    “rain was erasing sidewalk hopscotch.”
    “asleep in a pile of leotards.”

    Your story perfectly captures your bravery, loneliness, compassion, and sensitivity.
    It is a quiet and moving marvel.

    —Lotus Mae

  28. So many beautiful descriptions. My favorite: Re tGerman words “fell from my mouth like tangled wire.”

    • Thanks, Jacalyn! And yes, German can leave you with a sore throat, but I love the language now. Its rules are so different…

  29. A wonderful story. So vividly observed. It felt like Germany in the, what, 70s? And the kitten. Of course you never forgot her. I also loved the way you described how words behaved in your mouth. Well done!

    • Thank you, Anne. Yes, late 70’s. Because I couldn’t talk, I spent a lot of time looking and writing. If you learned to speak German after you were out of school, you understand what I wrote about the language. Jetzt (now) – an early tongue tripper!

  30. Hilarious. And scary – the crazy situations we get into when we’re young. Everyone has them, well, every woman I’m guessing. Your descriptions were visceral. I also laughed at the type of man you wanted and was thrilled to know you’d found him. I mean, you’re married, right…

    • Hi Terri. Thanks for your comment! I’m glad you enjoyed my story. And yes—I am married to a man that pretty much fits my description to a tee. Only he’s better than I hoped for. Thanks so much again! —Lotus Mae

  31. What a powerful and utterly remarkable piece! It’s raw, honest, devastating … yet every word resonates with the love underlying this story. We, too, are brought into that room. We, too, watch quietly as this cherished woman struggles to stay – then struggles to leave. Being present at the passing of a loved one is a daunting privilege. Thank you so much for allowing us to share – through your unflinching testimony – this unforgettable narrative.

    Your writing is a gift. Describing such a profound loss is the toughest test there is.

  32. Hey Katharine! I can’t believe it took this long for me to read your lovely, heartfelt piece. You are an amazing author and I agree with all of the previous comments. So glad Bobbie got to see it too (Hi Bobbie!). You are an incredible creative – I love having your photography all over my house – makes me think of you often. Love you, miss you, hope to see you soon!!! Tessa

  33. A beautiful and touching elegy. My cat slept at my feet last night; I take it for granted but it’s a miracle to have these connections with our pets.

  34. The sadness and bravery, the confusion and discovery is truly the saga of a person trying to get their footing in a strange and unfamiliar country. Beautifully written, Terri Lewis.

    • Thank you Nancy. Sometimes I think about how much easier it was for me than for many who leave home now for awful reasons. I wanted to be there, had a job, and still it was hard…

  35. So much going on in this story. The pouring of the water, the struggles with language, the broken parts of a family. You covered entire lives with such feeling. And the ending? Exactly right. I was so glad for you.

  36. I love the clustering of images, how they are disparate but in the end coalesce. I’m thinking it may be the way the mind works in alzheimers – my MIL has it and I never know where we are when the conversation in her head emerges into speech. The image of the flashing fireflies was devastating. A moving piece.

    • Thank you Terri! I’m so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law and wish you peace and blessings in your journey with her.

  37. Kathy, Your language is so eloquently simple and stirs me in many ways. I can taste, smell, touch, and see the pictures you paint and relate so well to the people you allow us to meet. Thank you!

  38. Your writing is incredible, thank you for sharing your families journey. I know that your Mother is very proud of you! God Bless you Leanne.

    • Wow this story is just exactly how it sometimes works its sad that this is the way that we lose our loved ones its also not fair to lose them to soon they should get to enjoy there families just a little longer. I think you are a excellent writer Leanne Pierce you definitely write it down just how ir is sometimes its sad to lose our loved ones even so young it just isnt fair. I think if you wrote a small novel it would definitely catch people reading it and understanding that is how lofe os sometimes so cruel

  39. I have been at the bedside of dying loved ones many times. You have described it accurately. The dying room is like the departure gate to a place unknown. It helps that I believe it is a better place. I have never been there as you have though, as a person whose ticket has already been purchased. Your body might be failing but your mind, your ability to write and your generous spirit in sharing is so strong! The gorgeous photo is perfect because it shows you as the beautiful person that you are.

  40. This is the real reality of a parent dying. So well written, from the heart.
    We need to talk about the right to die and the inhumane treatment of the dying in this country.

    • I am saddened by the reality of the facts you have had to bare.
      Such a close family. Such profound sorrow in every word that has been pulled from the deepest reaches of your soul Leanne.
      God has been using this tragedy to light the path for others who follow.
      Your life will be a testimony to many, especially those who love you deepest, Dallas, Cassie, Monika, your dad…
      This is just our temporary home. It is not all there is.
      Having buried the ashes of my own daughter, I am reminded daily of her in numerous ways. Her heart-light still shines bright!
      Love those around you, and continue to share your spirit! Life is not measured in the length of our life we have lived here, it is measured in the quality of the time and the way we chose to spend it.
      Trust and love the Lord with all your heart. Keep short accounts. Be kind and generous.Teach others to rise above and go beyond. Leave this world a beautiful and better place than you found it.
      You are a child of the most high Lord!
      He loves you, and although we may face uncertainty, he is always with us.
      God bless you Leanne.

  41. Kerry, I want to thank you for giving me and inside look of what it feels like, before and after. As a father to a six years old who had the opportunity to go through SDR where you went when she was 3.5 years old, I always wonder how it feels like.
    She ita working hard and progressing so much.
    Like you, although her young age, she is determined to inspire others.
    You can see her on YouTube – Fun Wiz Zo.
    I copied your words to read it to her when she is ready to fully understand.
    I look at you and absorb tremendous inspiration.
    Thank you so much
    Elad

  42. Rachel Cann’s story All The Beautiful Young Men has been honored by a Pulitzer Prize proposal for 2023 by the English editor of Lit.202.

  43. This speaks to me on so many levels, levels that I didn’t even know that I had. In writing, you verbalize so much of how I felt just after the quarantine with pure vulnerability and candidness. Thank you!

  44. Thank you, Charlotte, for your inspiration that life after the death of a family member may not ‘go on’, but it does ‘move forward in time’. My son, Kevin, took his life on 7/1121…not a lucky day. I think I must have read most of the recommended grief memoirs out there trying desperately to begin some healing. . Astonishingly, you and another Mom (author of “I’ll Write Your Name on Every Beach) live in the same community as I! I loved your presentation with Tim at All Saints recently. A strange but much appreciated serendipity! I hope there might be a “Paris” in my future too. Thank you for sharing the deepest part of yourself.

  45. I love to play with numbers, also. All four of my grandparents (all of whom I knew) were born in the 1890’s. They all lived past 70. Good stock! My parents were born in 1921 and they both lived to 96 — dying on the same day. Three of my younger siblings have died. Three of my older cousins have died. At 75, I am the oldest living member of my family. I started writing about my life after a life-threatening illness in 2019. I have much to share. Thank you for your sharing. I shared it with a friend who “lost” her husband to cancer in November 2021. Her writings are marvelous to read.

    • Oh my gosh, Leslie ~ I’m so glad you’re writing. It sounds like you’ve got a rich family life from which to share. Looking forward to reading more!

  46. This story moved me in how well it detailed the internal and external realities of the experience. I felt so physically similar when I was a new mom and this story showed me that those physical responses can occur without having given birth. Thanks for sharing this story of love, hope, and the desire for justice.

  47. Love the intertwining of universal human experience and different subcultures. Very well done!

  48. I love the amazingly funny truth! I can honestly resonate with that last phrase (cause I have TRIED AND IM TIRED!).

  49. I received a handwritten essay from my incarcerated son on Saturday, May 28. I submitted his essay Sunday, May 29, 2022. I had difficulty using Submittable. After contacting them and not receiving a reply until late afternoon on May 31, I was delayed in finally submitting an essay for my son until 6:15 pm May 31. I hope we met the deadline!

  50. Thanks for sharing that heartbreaking journey so raw and well written
    I often think of you all.. love Tini

  51. This made me think about what it must have been like for my mom going through the exact same thing with my dad in 1970. Heartbreaking and so beautifully written. Thank you for giving words to this hellish experience.

  52. I loved your story.. Self deprecation tells me the couch and shag carpet is good for you. You see yourself in all it’s, how did you put it, “chunky” glory. Thanks for the chuckles, laughs and reminding us that a critique of one’s self can be therapeutic.

  53. Such a visceral memory. If only we all knew what that last time would be like — if we could forecast, script, rehearse, what would it look like? This captures the moment and the lingering regret and pain.

  54. What a horrible, lovely, strange, sad, and powerful story. Thank you for sharing. Michael was a great man. And he was clearly lucky to have you. And you him. For whatever time allowed.

  55. I wept . So beautifully written. I too wanted to hold my son forever and tell him how much he was loved, still do. Cancer ripped him away from our family.

  56. Thank you so much for this. I’m so tired of apologizing to myself for my stomach or my rolls. And while I thought this was going to be a story about what happens after the loss of a pregnancy, I am happy that it was none of that but so much more.

  57. I’m so very proud of you my beautiful Goddaughter. Keep up the great work. Love you much !!!

  58. I loved the entire piece. Your discussion of both self awareness and self love is vital, especially in a society that puts so much emphasis on a woman’s body. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world.

  59. Keep Up the Awesome Writing.
    So, l really do not have much to inquire about NOW because WE
    Just Talked…Great talking w YOU this evening. LMU DEARLY
    AMEN 💕 😂 💕 😂
    ENJOY, B SAFE. Hope ALL turns out POSITIVELY w UR Health…n JESUS NAME. AMEN

  60. Adina thanks for this wonderful writing! You have infused this essay with introspection, humor and an emotional power that challenges narrow patriarchy and cultural conditioning. This is Not Baby Weight speaks to many audiences because of your skills as a writer and thinker. I’ve read this several times today and once read it aloud for a colleague who kept saying “that part” as I read. I want to be a writer like you when I grow up. Will definitely be sharing.

  61. I enjoyed your narrative of us “Ferguson” women😱! Great work…a chuckle here and there…but mainly reflections! Thank you for sharing! ❤️🥰❤️

    • I loved this piece. It spoke to me and my body. Thank you for this. Also, love the rhythm of your writing.

  62. I so relate to this. I have been so ambivalent ( and also inert) these past several years. Thank you!

  63. I really did like this Connie..and scarily enough? I find myself there..covid kills more than the body, it kills the soul.

  64. Most of this is bullshit. Your grandma paid for your flying lessons. If your dad took you to a bar when you were growing up you were to young to be shouting pool and learning anything. You got blaming your problems on others from your moms side of the family. Nice piece of fiction though.

  65. What a dose of reality. I think I have been in a classroom with some of those boys, or their brothers. I want to know what happened next.

  66. Great story. I grew up in Northern Idaho and the houses of ill repute of Wallace were known and discussed frequently at my high school. Some of my friends made the occasional “field trip” to Wallace to avail themselves of the services available there without one life ever being ruined. All were disgusted when the politicians finally put an end to things.
    On a side note, Sam Day once interviewed me for a story in the Intermountain Observor.

  67. Three of my friends lost parents to suicide. I’ve heard about their lasting pain, even though two of them are all married with children. This was poignant without being sentimental, a tough line to toe. Thank you for sharing.

  68. Hi Melanie…

    Serendipity led me to discover you just now.

    So enjoyed your piece on “turning 50”

    Smiled all the way through till the end.

    Was further touched by your acknowledgment of “Always Canadian”

    Like you, I reside in the USA, and like you, my mantra too is “Always Canadian” eh !

    So looking forward to reading all your
    books ☺️

    Excitedly,

    E. Moren 🍁

  69. This beautiful piece will stay with me. The dad/husband of a family I love died by suicide a year ago Saturday. I see his wife and children (ages 14 and 16) continue to struggle as they navigate his loss. Another dear friend is one year “No Evidence of Disease (NED)” following a Stage III colorectal cancer diagnosis at the beginning of Covid. Life is tenuous, tender. Thank you for the reminder, and the hope.

  70. So many times, I stopped to re-read a paragraph because it demanded I do so. Beautifully written… can’t wait to read the entire memoir. Oh… and those recipes. What a genius, creative way to include them. WOW.

  71. I love this story, Chris. I teach a creative nonfiction class that requires students to read and share contemporary essays. I hope it means something that several different students have recommended this one.

  72. I am trying to book a flight back to Seattle. What sessions are happening on Sunday, August 14? Is it a full day?

  73. Thanks, Karen. I’d counter Rifka’s comment with the observation that you seem to be doing thoughtful work embracing your heritage in this new context. You describe walking on a tightrope, and, impressively, you keep from falling to either side.

  74. Wow, what a story and what incredible writing Charlotte!! I was with you with the ups and the downs, and the ups again. I genuinely LOL’d (in disbelief) when your first father said, “We’ve got quite a drive back to Princeton.” ….and then the twist at the end! Really engaging writing, and really well done.

    • Jeff, thank you so very much for leaving such encouraging words!! It took me a few years to find the laughter…but I don’t know how I would have survived otherwise.

  75. This was a brilliant story and I thoroughly enjoyed reading through it. I could feel the anxiety and the tension and the hurt and anger of wanting to know and be loved by the ‘wrong father’ and feeling so rejected and hurt by it, but then having an unexpected and happy twist in the end when you find the ‘right father’, one who is there for you through and through. I, too, am curious to hear about the ‘right father’ and the bond that grew between the two of you.

    • Patience, thank you so much for reading my story – the bond is growing, but real life is complicated, as I’m sure you know! It’s not easy to establish a father-daughter bond at our stages in life…but we’re finding our way!

  76. What a great story (and loved the opening story re the pyramid scheme cowboys!)! I was hooked on every sentence, love your writing style! Also the hidden (or not so hidden?) messages about the hypocrisy of the community at the time.

  77. Great story, Charlotte. Very funny and very sad, all rolled into one piece. What a turn at the end. I was so glad Dennis Lane was not your father. Indeed, he was quite a disappointment. Glad you found your real dad. Pat

  78. Sharp, poignant, engaging piece! The details are crisp and the pacing kept me glued to every word. Excellent piece, Charlotte! I admire how you were able to tell a long, complicated story in a short space, leaving the reader wanting more, yet creating a complete, satisfying story in itself.

  79. I love this Charlotte! You have such a good sense of humor that you tie together with these visceral feelings. It’s truly a complete work of art.

  80. I cannot wait to read the memoir. Great tension created in many levels. And the ending could only happen in a true story!!!

  81. Absolutely loved your essay Charlotte. Connecting all those numbers and ending with what counts is so moving.

  82. Wow this packed a punch, Nice writing, Amazing story, I want to know about the new father as well. Maybe a second piece somewhere? I’m so glad he’s part of your life.

  83. Charlotte, the turn at the end! Completely unexpected (as the discovery must have been for you). So much I love about this piece—the tensions that swirl around all the men in it, the hint early on (you “convinced yourself”) that something will be amiss, your italicized thoughts, the tepid tea that represents the accumulations that make you want to cry. I’m glad this found its way into print.

  84. Brian – Thank you for your valuable reminder that our work deserves detailed attention to the small things that could detract from its impact. I’m often tempted to rush through, to yield to the excitement of finishing. Your words will remind me to conquer my impatience.

  85. What a fantastic story! Charlotte totally pulls you in as she bravely confronts “the wrong father”. And what a wonderful and unexpected twist at the end. Now I want to hear about “the right father.” I am curious about what her mother has to say about all this. Fantastic piece.

  86. Powerfully real and tangible emotions expressed and surface in this piece; Losing Weight. Reminds me a lot of a course we were required to take while working with very young kids from traumatized backgrounds. Guiding each of those kiddos to finding a balance between the reality of their loss/experience and some positive memory in their brief past was a key discovery for both myself and the kids I was working with. This is meaningful writing on so many levels.

  87. Debra, I love your solo retreat story. I can so imagine myself in your shoes–or rather sandals. You are making progress. Those conversations with strangers who are genuinely interested in your memoir matter. They fuel us through dry spells. Good luck with your book. You’re getting there! — Beth Ann Mathews elizabethannmathews.com

  88. When an editor doesn’t know what a comma splice is, that’s a problem. You’ll never find a comma splice in a magazine like The New Yorker or The Atlantic, and the omission of commas after years and city names is now the norm in too much writing. The story a writer tells is the most important, but the writer can follow some basic rules about comma usage. As for students, it’s to be expected that they make mistakes. They’re students. But comma mistakes are unacceptable most of the time. There are no comma splices in The Dubliners. Joyce knew the rules. Then he wrote Ulysses.

  89. Small world! I was a PCV in Nepal 18 (education,1968-70). I was the first posted to Mukti High School in Pyuthan Ratamata,

    You must have been hiking the route in from Dang (Ghorahi) that climbed up to the Mahabharat Range with expansive views of the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Himalaya, then following the crest eastward for some hours before descending from Tiram village to the Mardi Khola. That was the dry season route that began with a flight into Dang Tulsipur.

    During the rainy season when the flights were suspended, the route from Kathmandu to Pyuthan involved taking a bus down to Birganj, then Indian Railway connections via Muzaffarpur, Gorakhpur, on to Tulsipur Uttar Pradesh. From there, a bus up to Koilabas just across the border. Then hiking over the first range of Siwalik Hills into to Deukhuri Valley, and roughly following the Rapti River/Mardi Khola up into Pyuthan. Today there apparently are bus connections over all-weather roads!

    The connection between Dang Tulsipur and its namesake in U.P. was noteworthy. Tulsipur State was one of the original Baisi Rajya (22 petty kingdoms) of western Nepal. It consisted of Dang-Deukhuri Inner Terai and adjacent part of present-day U.P. During the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857-8, the Rani sided with the rebels against the British. When they lost, she went into exile across the border and the British annexed territory right up to the base of the outermost Siwaliks, so there is still no outer Terai belonging to Nepal along this section, and there are the two Tulsipurs commemorating the erstwhile rulers.

    • thank you for this wonderful history of the travel to Pyuthan. You have identified EXACTLY where I was hiking. Someone who knows the area now told me that it is now about three hours by bus from Ghorahi to Bhingri. What a transformation! Time and space compressed.

      • The old walking route from Ghorahi to Pyuthan went through Tiram rather than Bhingri. Bhingri probably wasn’t a destination until the road was re-routed further north around the headwaters of Arun Khola and upgraded to motorable condition. Nevertheless, the late Albert Clark and I must have gone through Bhingri during our cross-country trek from Pyuthan, to Dhorpatan during the Dasain holidays, 1969; without it registering in my memory or the photos I took.

  90. Ali, this is so moving. And courageous. I have been trying to tell a similar story for years and you’ve given me a little more power to do so. I hope you got some healing from this as well.
    Thank you.

    • I hope that your story finds its way out! More than the writing, hearing from other women has been an unexpected and beautiful salve!

  91. Thanks so much for this, Laura! Writing groups are a powerful thing — IF they are the right fit. You pointed that out, and I appreciate the mention of the groups you’ve joined, because a couple of them are new to me. As the former leader of a writing group in Kansas City, I developed a survey for writers who are looking for a writers group. It focuses on those very details you mention – what is your main goal in joining a group, how much time do you want to commit, etc. The survey is at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/wgnmeetup. Many thanks for this nurturing piece!

  92. I like how you have interlaced the voice of your father with your own feelings and responses and how you relate to your son. Well done with the back and forth. I can hear and feel your father.

    • Thank you for reading. And ugh, I carried so much shame for so many years about my response — I’d always assumed I’d react different. It seemed so out of character. May we change the narrative for those who come after us!

  93. This is such an evocative picture of little girls and their friendships. While I was reading, images of my older sister and my best friend appeared.

  94. Thank you for your bravery and vulnerability. It is so hard to be honest in writing, but that is what humans want and need.

    • I appreciate you reading! I try to ask myself, Is this actually the most true thing I can say about XXX? And if it’s not, I try to ask why. It is SO hard, but knowing it helps other women feel understood is worth it!

  95. Katharine, this is beautifully written and so honest. As a woman who surrendered to silicone at eighteen, your question “Will i feel it when its touched” is one i have rarely heard of a woman prioritizing, you know, her own sensations as much as the look. His honest recommendation for fat transfer was a quick peek into the world of implant complications. Congrats on choosing you.

  96. The world needs more women like you to share their voices and experiences! Thank you for writing this enlightening piece ✨🌟💖🙏

  97. Hello Katharine Emlen, what a moving piece. I’m a young adult college student who struggles a lot with reading and I don’t think I’ve read anything so easily. You words came easily to me and I never had to double back and reread something a few times to understand. I also especially admire how you talk about your worth and body going through changes with kindness towards yourself. I think any young woman reading this who fears of breast cancer or has it, this could really shine a light on their situation. Just wanted to share that with you! Beautiful writing!

  98. Love LOVE your style of writing… it’s not just letters forming words to be read on a page, you’re a skilled wordsmith who painted such a wonderful story that I feel that I not only know you, I lived the experience through you. I was transported into your world and I felt what you felt and I found myself smiling even as tears rolled down my cheeks. Thank you. Don’t stop writing! I can’t wait to read what you write next!

  99. This piece . . . ah, it’s got everything. It’s poignant and ferociously honest and laugh-out-loud funny and wise. Thank you for sharing this story; I’m giving it to everyone I know. That last line . . . powerful stuff, Katharine.

  100. Beautifully written, Farha. Especially the situation you are describing about a child and a mother’s interaction.

  101. What a beautifully written piece. I can’t wait to read your book! You are perfectly imperfect, as we all are. I am proud to call you my friend! 💜

  102. Oh, Katharine …. what a lovely, loving piece of writing. You really nailed it – one single breasted woman to another. Keep writing! Keep being wonky and wearing two different socks. Kudos to you.

  103. Thank you Veena for sharing your experience.
    Beautifully written! Having to navigate all those nuanced and not so nuanced social layers takes guts and insight.

    • Maravillosamente bien escrito, con la suficiente cercanía para, conmover, y la justa objetividad e inteligencia para reflexionar y cuestionarse la situación. ¡Muchas gracias Veena!

  104. Thank you Veena for sharing this amazing and insightful piece of excellent writing. I was gripped from the beginning and learnt so much. You are an outstanding and talented writer with much wisdom.

  105. A fascinating article with astute observations–possible only by living in a culture different from ones own. This author’s same sensitivity has been achieved by many Peace Corps volunteers, including me. I even married a native of my assigned country (Peru). Such experiences have changed many lives.

  106. Hello Veena! Loved loved the article!!! Send me an email. I want to introduce you to our amazing friends (and colleague) who just moved to Costa Rica!

  107. What a wise and important article you have written, dear Veena! I will recommend it to all to explain the invisible structural impediments to equality and access to rights.

  108. “Sometimes to survive we have to bury our stories deep in the earth, without a single stone to mark the spot.” THIS! And now you’ve marked the spot and women weep and honor your bravery as they recall their own stories. Blessings.

  109. Dear Friend, thanks for your vulnerability in sharing. The body keeps the score, and this amazingly written piece is a step in healing. Honored to bear witness to it.

    • That was a huge burden you were carrying. I hope it’s a bit lighter now. Thanks for being brave enough to share it. That kind of strength is inspiring.

  110. Thank you for your reflections on your PCV life in Nepal. Each volunteer has such different experiences yet I could relate to everything in your story in a very personal way – even though I served in Nepal from 1964-66. I’ve returned to Nepal 5 times since the 60s and admire how Nepalis have retained their smiles and friendliness to others. Thanks for your article and service. RR

  111. You are so brave. These words hit home for so many!!!
    Your writing authentically captures the feelings that are so hard to say out loud. Thank you for sharing them! 💜

  112. Beautifully written remeberance of time in Nepal. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Lamjung, Nepal from 2017-2019. Ours was a very different experience with cell phones to connect with staff and colleagues, and buses the took us to Kathmandu and back close to our homes. I lived in Brahmin house but worked for the most part in a Dalit village. That created some tension at home but being white and old insulated me from negative comments or perhaps my limited Nepali kept me ignorant. Where I lived overseas work is now commonly in the Middle east and, in general, money sent home to my to Dalit community meant that while there were social caste differences there was broad economic parity betweem communities,

    • thank you for these reflections Richard. In the 80s I never heard of workers going to the Middle East – mainly India and for the upper echelon, Hong Kong. How interesting that the remittances made everyone at a similar economic level

  113. Kris, this is fabulous – and so quintessentially YOU!!! Funny…deep…. food/love/travel….woven into culinary/life wisdom…all with your unique and perfectly aimed humor! Brava!

  114. Lauren, this is masterful, wrenching, and so so lovely. I didn’t know anything about NSSI before I read this, but your piece connects at such a gut, personal level. And I’m so grateful for the illumination.

  115. Thank you for this. I recently adopted a shelter dog and he has come with challenges — growling and barking at family members (we are working on it with a behavior specialist). It is not always a simple, sweet story of “saving a dog who also saves you.” Sometimes, these unwanted animals need extra help. Zeus is lucky to have you.

  116. Your writing style draws me in. Telling, reflecting, reaching forward, then back to the present. And I have seen the reality of you and your brother’s relationship in my own grandsons. I feel privileged tohave read “Teeth.” Thank you for sharing.

  117. Great advice – this one really resonates and is super practical, thanks

    8. Note where you are in the writing process. You can help to protect yourself by telling your reader what kind of feedback would be most useful. In a raw first draft, a writer usually needs encouragement and some gentle questions to open up the story, and feedback such as line edits can be disheartening. When a writer starts to play with bigger aspects like structure and organization, further developing character and voice, this is a great time to receive feedback on how these are working. Once a piece is fairly polished, however, structural feedback may be discouraging. If your piece is a first draft and you simply want gentle feedback about what’s working and what could be improved, say that. If you’re happy with the structure of the piece and mainly want line edits, let them know that too.

  118. I’m interested and glad to read how other mother’s who have children with disabilities are able to manage with the help of writing their stories. Thanks, Jaclyn!

    • Jen Yo
      Hi, I have written a book – Dawn, The Doorway – Ascend through naturally distinctive children (Children born with congenital anomalies)
      It is under process of publishing through Archway Publishing (From Simon & Schuster) I would like to send some more details and get your endorsement. It is based on practicing compaassion….. Grandpa of Dawn

  119. Michelle, just, WOW. I won’t forget this story. I am so sorry you’re have had to endure this, and so grateful to you for writing about your experience so beautifully.

  120. “If prayer is nothing more than a sequence of words, then maybe theology is nothing more serious than grammar.”

    What a lovely line. Having grown up devoutly Evangelical, I can relate to a lot in this piece, inlcuding playing hide and seek in our church building. Except we called it “Sardines” as one person would hide and everybody had to find that person and hide with them. I also grew up in Oregon and we went camping at Cove Palisades, where I loved finding my own, often dangerously precarious, nooks in the rock face of the high desert. I suppose finding our nooks of faith can be at least as precarious.

    Thanks for a lush and thoughtful read.

  121. I love this, pure and simple. You guys are lucky to have each other
    to navigate a world that can be so harsh. So glad you didn’t give up on him.

  122. I love your work. It touches me. I read “Gulf Coast 1977” some years ago and have had it on my Frig since then. Thank you.

  123. Beautiful told story Chanta about unimaginable loss. We all have a language of love and yours is food, which brings you back to your early childhood and a time of happiness and innocence, your parents but especially your mother. You are a truly caring giving and loving person. Viktor Frankl came to mind as I read your story.

  124. I feel honored to have read the book in its entirety. In it, many images are almost too painful to remember but too important to forget.

  125. This is a(nother) wonderful story of Cambodian survival and resilience. I was there during the war (as a journalist) and amidst everything fell in love with the country’s silk weavings, which are available at https://mekongblue.ecwid.com/ – gorgeous work and most reasonable prices.

  126. I am deeply impressed by the illuminating story and the author’s command of the language. They made me think of Kurt Vonnegut’s best.

  127. Very interesting. To this day I have had several names. Each name is attached to particular part or phase of my life. Curiously, the name I love the most is the one my mother and father used before their deaths, “Nelvin,” and was used throughout my high school days – but not since.
    For my career, family, and Writing I have mostly been “Melvin” or “Mel,” which has been ambivalent most of the time.
    Now I go by the name “Django” which I chose when I became a deep musician, and which I handed down to my son.

    So today, when one asks what is “Mi Llamo?” I often think to myself, “Which Me do you want to know?”
    Thanks

  128. Hello Michelle – I just spent some time looking at your website and I am so excited to talk to you! I sent an email last week but have not heard back yet. You were recommended to me by Marcia Maier as a prospective copy editor for the unusual parenting book I am working on. I hope you will reach out soon. Thank you!

  129. Excellent story. There is so much more than what the title protrays in this piece. It certainly paints a picture of two brothers and their relationship together. Loved it.

  130. So touching! Chantha, I can’t wait to read the entire book. I feel so honored to have met and gotten to know you.
    ❤️
    Gayle Jordan

  131. This is beautiful, Nita. I’ll think of it whenever I need to remember the hard truths of aging and steel myself for the repetitions and rages.

  132. Hi Kandi, this is Dan McManus. You bought my Jayco trailer. I lost your number, but wanted to let you know I received a re alll notice for the propane regulator. Email or give me a call and I will get you the notice.

  133. Suzanne – I’ve written “stuff” for years (research papers, articles for clubs, a blog for over a decade now) but I’ve never written a book. Now I’m thinking about it. So I took a moment to search online for some guidance and stumbled upon your post here.

    Just wanted to say your keen observations and your turn of phrases are beautiful and so inspiring to a 61 year old novice! Thank you for sharing your beautiful writing with me and giving one more lens to use in exploring my writing!

    By the way, I attempted to include my URL as requested below – but kept getting an error message to “enter URL.” You might want to have your web guru check that out for you!

  134. Intriguing short story. I read through it twice for all the details to sink in and come together.

    “What will I be doing someday when I receive my fate? What will be left unfinished?” – Those two sentences really leave you thinking….

  135. Very descriptive I felt like I was in the corner an unseen observer. My grandmother also had a kerosene heater as described in this vignette taking me back to the memories I have of that time with her.

  136. I’ve read this twice now. I don’t do that often, but this story really puts you in a thoughtful mood. It’s worth a read.

  137. I loved this. The description is perfect- I could smell the kerosene, feel the heat of the room and sense the despair this young man had for being in a position where his soul will forever be darkened, no matter what decision he made.

    I’m very impressed and hope to read more from this author.

  138. Emotional read, you can really feel the relationship and tension between all the characters. Love the visual descriptions.

  139. Kandi, it’s Clint. It seems I’ve lost your contact info but found you here. I’m leaving LA in a few days heading north. I’ll be stopping to see whomever of my old friends I can find. Greg has just moved back into his property in Paradise and the house is going up. I’m intending to stop in. He doesn’t seem well at all. Please send your contact info and maybe we can meet.

  140. Hello Marie ! Haven’t been to the Christmas Store lately, but just this morning, finished reading the intro to ‘Archetypal Figures in Hemingway’s, “Snows of Kilemamjaro”‘ by David Anderson. Clearly a synchronicity : )

  141. What a gorgeous piece! The language grabbed me right away and didn’t let go. I was in that gym with the narrator and the boys. Holding my breath to see what would happen. Caring about the characters. Pulled into their world. Wanting them to make it. And that ending….wow. Brava!

  142. This seems very real, heartfelt and well-written! I hope Morgan’s MFA is going well, and that we will get to hear much more from her! I hope sincerely that she will get to be seen!

  143. Brilliant hard hitting sparing no emotion of what once was joy but has turned to sorrow

    Want to read more of your compelling depiction

    What a gift you have.

  144. Congratulations to Allison, so well-deserved, this recognition! Little did I know that participating in her master class and roundtable critique via SCBWI -WWA last June would lead to membership of an amazingly supportive community. A world of possibilities has opened up. From daily co-work sessions to finding out about publishing platforms such as Brevity and Hippocampus Magazine, Insta Pods, not to mention the writing spurt I experience daily.

  145. Beautiful. My mom’s 90 and regularly repeats questions and repeats stories. She’s not diagnosed with dementia and I don’t think she has it. But it’s my impatient replies to her that I recall with guilt. I get so focused on my own life and time constraints. I forget to see her actions as her own and see them as intrusions on my time and sanity. Thank you for opening my eyes to a picture of my mom and sometimes in the picture my dad, passed at 92 yo in 2010, sitting next to her. She’s just anxious and I don’t go see her enough. Thank you

  146. I think it’s coming for my mom, too. But I don’t know how to explain it. Thank you for putting words to this.

  147. Interesting article, but it is a shame that you have thrown away your ethical & rich heritage. If you never learned much about Judaism, you owe it to yourself & your children to learn about it before you discard it. Being a self-respecting, knowledgeable Jew is a positive, not a negative. I lived once in a small town where they were very few Jews, and my contribution while I was there was to seize the opportunity to answer their questions & explain to many non-Jews something about my heritage. Most of them had never met a Jew before so I was very conscious of the fact that it was important for me to present a positive image and the true facts.

  148. Hi Karen,

    Thank you for your interesting article on the subject of Lev Tahoe. I am just “down the road” from you in Windsor Ontario. This was also the talk of our community and featured what felt like daily in our newspaper. At the time Chatham-kent was an area I covered for work.
    I had several meetings at your Superstore meeting room, where I was asked what I thought about them. I was the only Jew many of my committee members had ever met. It was an interesting time!

  149. Thank you, Holly Hagman for this insightful & smart write-up of my breakout session on constrained writing at HippoCamp last month. This is a wonderful and illuminating take on a subject I love, and it’s refreshing to visit my beloved stomping grounds and see it all through someone else’s fresh perspective!

  150. wonderful interviewer, wonderful interviewee, wonderful interview. gonna buy me the book.Thanks for this, Morgan.

  151. Suzanne, you never fail to amaze me. You speak of shape . As I read your piece I could see the words coming off the paper backed up by the same words becoming a shadow pile of print.
    I don’t know how clear I am but I love reading what you write.

  152. S – thank you for giving precise/explicit, fiercely moving, entirely recognizable voice to the lived experience of so many of us. Brava! Including your essay in my list of all-time-favorites.

  153. Really fine piece, very evocative with just the right amount of grit, and clearly every word describing that time and place was earned through living it.

  154. What a lovely piece, Jennifer. I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear friend. By writing you are still connected to Monica just as writing connects each of us to the world. Your piece made me think of the poem by Alden Nowlan, “An Exchange of Gifts”. Writing is, indeed, such a gift. Thanks for sharing yours with us.

  155. What a wonderful piece. Like Judith (below) I read this following a link on Marion Roach Smith’s blog. I was with you all the way, feeling your panic at the prospect of having to go home. (Yes, falling over would top the list.) Isn’t it strange how in times of strife and struggle we come to see the full generosity of others.

  156. What a poetic writing, Linda. I feel like I am flowing with your music and your feelings. What a great gift you have given yourself, following your dreams and playing the chords in your life.

  157. What a lovely story. I’m writing a book about loss so I was particularly attuned to the story and could feel the vibrations. You affirmed yourself, comforted yourself and now shared it all with others. What a gift!

  158. I really loved reading this- So touching in so many ways. Without saying it, you show how you are supported and surrounded by loving people, your friends, your husband. I like how subtly you have fit these in between the words, just as music also does.

  159. Jennifer, I enjoyed that little piece. I expected it to be about handling the successive rejections of being a writer rather than about rejection for a dream job. In the end, it was really about something else entirely: realizing why you write. Your old couple reminded me of a scene when I was 25 sitting at Hot Shoppes, reading a letter from a woman friend who was hitching her way through Africa. As I read her letter intently, an old woman walked over to the table and said, “I know things aren’t going to well back at home and there’s nothing I can do to help, but maybe this ten dollars will be of some use to you. You have to take it. I have to do this every so often.” And I did. I actually needed that money. At the time, I aspired to write, and did, but never thought of publishing. I didn’t even know one could publish the sort of thing I wrote. I sealed everything I wrote during a five year period in a box when I took a “real job” ( meaning, instead of substitute teaching), married, and began raising a family. I still wrote and shared things with friends, but nearly all of that vanished. I began again and then said it’s time to retire and pick up where I left off some 35 years ago. Now, I’m a novice, and have to adjust to a rejection rate that far exceeds anything I ever experienced when I wrote proposals to get funding for projects. Compared to submitting to lit journals, that was a near sure thing. Anyway, I liked your piece a lot. A long time ago, I worked with Betty Hubbard at Central Arkansas. I think she’s still working. If you ever cross paths with her, you’ll be glad you did. Thank you.

  160. Another great tip on craft, Nicole. Especially reminding us that beyond “show, don’t tell” lies the need for intentional and delicate balancing of show AND tell.

  161. As a person thinks, so he/she IS. To be in war is to be conditoned to violence, unless one can learn to identify with the soul and the God Within each of us. God is Love, God is Good and it is mankind who creates evil in our world, by way of one’s thougths.

  162. The Broder story is touching and brings one to things internal and perhaps eternal. All is energy and all energy vibrates. Cetain vibrations resonate to the soul and bring joy to the heart. Such is her story. Blessings to her. Don Crawford

  163. So terribly wonderful! You are truly skillful at your craft. I love to read your stories and truth is always so powerful.

  164. Remarkable writing from a gifted author. When I first read the title of Sara’s essay, I thought it would be about a woman caring for her aging husband. How interesting to me still to read portions of it from that perspective. My beloved will be 81 soon and doesn’t need care like an infant. Quite the contrary. He still runs, lifts weights, walks the woods with me. But constancy and my nearness, now more than ever. A gift, really, but I sense the shadow.

  165. Reminds me of when I had to leave Israel and return to Australia – albeit unwillingly. Left my boyfriend behind, my friends on the kibbutz and the memories of my time alone, free to be me without criticism.