Category Archives: Creative Non-fiction

Drive

More than a dozen ice packs and three days later, I’m ready for action again. Jeff has invited me to meet up at Deer Valley’s MORP. Happy memories of MORP from the year prior make me eager to attend. However, … Continue reading

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Open Arms

I lay wide awake in bed for a long time. I imagine the expression “in the heat of the night” typically describes a fiery tryst between two impassioned lovers. Of course, teenage boys can create sufficient friction all on their … Continue reading

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A Line From Brief Encounter

In David Lean’s film, Brief Encounter, the characters played by Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard meet by chance at a commuter rail station and begin an affair. During a few clandestine meetings, first on a trip to the countryside and … Continue reading

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Thumbing Down the Road

If I were asked to design a crest symbolizing my adolescent years, I’d be tempted to include an outstretched arm and raised thumb as a central feature, though the thumbs-up gesture might delude people into thinking I was a happy, … Continue reading

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Half-Skull Days

Last week, it rained six days straight, not for six days straight, as it can back home in the Midwest, but on six consecutive days. In the eighteen months we have lived in Southern California we have not experienced more … Continue reading

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Another Dark Place

            In a dark time, the eye begins to see.                                                 — Theodore Roethke Shallow breath is winter’s way of breathing; I am double-masked walking in the woods, with fogged glasses; dressed in black, pushing my stick ahead of the mud that … Continue reading

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new time no time always time: moving/into another year

Our hours have been lifted out of the rusty bottoms of the clocks and carried halfway across the globe to another continent. On the new continent, everything seems immortal, appetizing, immune to decay. On the new continent, every stranger that … Continue reading

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Una tavoletta di cera / A Wax Tablet

Original by Franca Mancinelli Uno sguardo dall’alto ricongiunge tutti quelli che sono divisi Hugo von Hofmannsthal Lo sciame di minuscoli insetti è rientrato in un’ansa dell’aria. Resta un allarme quietato, una scossa nel profondo delle cellule. Ho risalito le scale … Continue reading

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A Brief History of Trees

Long before the gaunt winter maples loitering along the boulevard outside my picture window today / before the curious patch of lanky bamboo stalking the east wall of the drafty, crumbly limestone box that I moved to after my husband’s … Continue reading

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Overcrowding in Ventress Prison During Pandemic, March-July 2020

(Author’s Note: Incarcerated sources are kept confidential to protect their safety and privacy. Each prisoner is identified by a randomly chosen letter.) “When Obama was President, there was still some people put in place to deal with” research and preparedness … Continue reading

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A Continuum of Loss

I lost something once, and in that loss, was everything. I was twelve that year, she was forty-six, her mother was eighty-five and her younger sister had died ten years ago. I am, because she was. She was my one … Continue reading

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Incarcerating Family

(Author’s Note: The identities of prisoners and their family members are confidential in order to protect their safety and privacy. Each source is identified by a randomly chosen letter.) (Part 1) Introduction Over the past eight months, prisoners and their … Continue reading

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Amid Nonsense

I found my name in a book, amid nonsense: …cool rewrite power rewrite rewrite      rewrite feb rewrite continuous            rewrite to rewrite martha      rewrite      engber rewrite rewrite rewrite      (            ) rewrite… (Alan Sondheim, “@touch,” VEL, 73) I found the passage when searching my name on Amazon to … Continue reading

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An Irish Stew

I took my first bite of food from my mother, a school teacher, who had eight children in eleven years, a peptic ulcer, and a disdain for women who shared recipes. With so many mouths to feed, my mother found … Continue reading

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Perspective

Just beyond our kitchen garden’s box frame, last year’s oak leaf & butter lettuces have seeded themselves inside the cowlick of grasses, growing in patches of ruffled leaves that haven’t yet been found by nightly foragers that emerge from the … Continue reading

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Alabama Prisoners Consider Country’s Next Steps as President Trump Hides in Bunker, June 2020

Author’s note: Prisoners in this series are confidential sources, each identified by a randomly chosen letter, to protect their safety and privacy. (Part 1) “G” – How America “forgot about” itself. An American President, “Man, he can only do so … Continue reading

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To be sorry

Today’s Saturday, my second favorite day of the week. Friday is the best, because after Friday comes Saturday, which is still fun, but after Saturday comes Sunday, and Sundays make me sad. But this Saturday is special. Dad’s home, mom’s … Continue reading

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When I Realized I Was a Ghost

Growing up I had conflicting feelings about ghosts. I was a child concerned over whether they actually were real. I feared what mischief unseen spirits may cause but only because that’s what I had been taught to do. It was … Continue reading

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You Can’t Go Home Again, Again

“A man’s maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child at play” – Friedrich Nietzsche In late spring 2018, I traveled to Ecuador, where I first visited the cities of Quito and Cuenca before exploring … Continue reading

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The Last Cruise of the Plague Year

Four Days Aboard the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise, 2020 I stepped off the elevator and onto the pool deck, with the sense that I had crossed a sort of threshold. Here the scene was quaint, almost pastoral – a … Continue reading

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The clothes I wear

The garter, the underwear I knew straight away; I knew love was spectacular. It knocked me out, hung me upside down and checked for change. Every cell in my body felt electric, needing to plug into him to come to … Continue reading

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Tracking Franz at Planá

Franz Kafka arrived in Planá—a small resort town on the Lužnice River in south Bohemia on Friday, June 23, 1922—a week before his official retirement from the Worker’s Accident Insurance Institute in Prague. He’d been promoted to senior legal secretary … Continue reading

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Finding the Lens in a Visual Memoir

Part of the peril that comes with being someone who loves literature and teaches reading for a living is that sometimes analysis and interpretation leads to a locked-down view of what a text means. We know the stories of poets … Continue reading

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No Plans Come to Mind

We ate an enormous meal together. All of us, in the old farmhouse near Ontario’s shores, eating and talking and not talking, and laughing really loud. We are loud. Half of us have a hard time hearing, which makes it … Continue reading

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Invisibilia

I. Changeling You sign only your first name in my yearbook, with a tiny drawing of the sun. You pass the book back to me and heat curls off the page, dewy, sweet. You grab my wrist and I inhale … Continue reading

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