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H IS FOR HAWK by Helen Macdonald

"The goshawk is staring at me in mortal terror, and I can feel the silences between both our heartbeats coincide...She breathes hot hawk breath in my face. It smells of pepper and musk and burned stone."

H IS FOR HAWK, a memoir about grief and loss, through the training a goshawk, is brilliant, unexpected, and deeply satisfying. It is a testament not only to Macdonald’s talent, but to her profound connection to life, and to us, earning it an unqualified spot on my Books I Love bookshelf.

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“Ray’s Juice” Now Live and Online at Foundling Review

Ray’s Juice,” is now live and online at Foundling Review!

Farmer’s market season is just around the corner, even if last night’s deep freeze toasted the magnolia blossoms to shriveled, frost-burned blooms. Which makes this a perfect time for a story that takes place under the stars surrounded by abundance and bitty bites brownies.

I’m honored to have “Ray’s Juice” included in the March issue of Foundling Review, “where simple pleasures are corralled into folds of finely finessed sentences.”

To read “Ray’s Juice,” click here.

“Toroid” Nominated for a Pushcart Prize!

I am thrilled and honored that my short story, “Toroid,” has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Each year the Pushcart Prize honors the best of the independent presses, and in spite of the commercialization and commoditization of publishing, the Pushcart has survived and thrived since 1976, supporting the stories that sustain us through small, independent presses.

The reason? In the words of Bill Henderson, Publisher and Editor of the Pushcart Prize Series, “Spirit will never be quelled, certainly not by big bucks and bluster. Each edition of the Pushcart Prize is evidence of this. Many new presses and dozens of new authors emerge annually and are honored in classrooms, bookstores and libraries around the world. And so the Pushcart Prize has been renewed since our first edition in 1976. We celebrate this renewal every year. This is our joy.”

I am tiddley-wink proud to be part of this legacy of wholeheartedness, truth and beauty in a world that so desperately needs it. As I tell my students more often than they want to hear, storytelling is a superpower!

“Toroid” was published in the September 2015 issue of Pithead Chapel, Volume 4, Issue 9. You can read it here.

Wish me luck!


Author Reading Tonight, October 1st, at the Warner Library in Tarrytown, New York

Come join us for what promises to be a fun and fabulous evening at the historic Warner Library in Tarrytown, NY!

Authors Lori DeSanti, Ann Podracky, Andrea Stone and I will read from the anthology SIBLINGS: Our First Macrocosm. Works of poetry, memoir, and story explore and celebrate the mystery of those earliest relationships with those who knew us before we knew ourselves.

“Our families, especially our siblings, provide our first macrocosm. How much of that experience do we carry out into the world as part of our deepest, inchoate expectations of the world and of our self?”

If you can’t make the reading but would like to order a copy of the book, click here and use the code “Tarrytown” for free shipping.

“Toroid” Now Live and Online at Pithead Chapel

I’m thrilled that “Toroid” is now live and online at Pithead Chapel!  I could not imagine a better home for “Toroid” than Pithead Chapel, which publishes “gutsy narratives…[that] leave a brilliant bruise.”

“Toroid” holds a special place in my heart, in part because it’s an homage to those ancient emperors in spirit, of which my father was one, who create wormholes in the universe. My father was not a mathematician like the one in the story, but he was a poet – a bit cracked, shades of a tyrant, yet someone who scoured his soul in the pursuit of truth and beauty.

“Toroid” has earned its own category in my mind, if only because I’ve been writing and revising this story for five years. You heard it, folks, five blimey years (“blimey: a minced oath from [God] blind me”Wicktionary). Even a real, live baby only takes nine months. Over the years the story expanded and contracted, shape shifting and boiling itself down into the condensation you find here. Enjoy!

“The Messenger” Published in SIBLINGS: Our First Macrocosm

I’m delighted that my short story, “The Messenger,” originally published in Kestrel, is now available in SIBLINGS: Our First Macrocosm, an anthology published by Wising up Press, edited by Heather Tosteson, Charles D. Brockett, Kathleen L. Housley, Kerry Langan, and Michele Markarian.

“Our families, especially our siblings, provide our first macrocosm. How much of that experience do we carry out into the world as part of our deepest, inchoate expectations of the world or of ourselves? Is birth order destiny? How are we shaped by the constellation we’re born into, whether dyad or nebula? What is the appropriate sentiment to have towards those with whom we may share only a preponderance of genes and, before we have any choices in the matter, propinquity? Towards those who knew us before we had a sense of self? Towards those who helped us define what we are not as much as what we are? What happens to us as adults when we return to these first numinous macrocosms trying to understand how they still shape our ways of being? Fifty-three talented contemporary writers share poetry, memoir, and story that help us explore these questions and invite us to deeper understanding, unexpected insights, release of old grievances and grief, and celebration of the mystery of the present moment which is so core to our early relations, that graced sense of community that often precedes language, insight, all the mechanisms of adult intimacy.”

You can purchase the anthology through Amazon, here, or directly from Wising up Press, here. Enjoy!

“Ray’s Juice” Accepted by Foundling Review

Huzza hip-hip hurray! My short story, “Ray’s Juice,” has just been accepted by Foundling Review, “where simple pleasures are corralled into folds of finely finessed sentences.” If that ain’t a delectable concoction, something along the lines of egg whites and chocolate, or farm fresh eggs, bacon and cheese, then I don’t know what all.

Check back in December, when the new issue of Foundling Review will be up and online, to find out what’s so special about Ray’s Juice anyway;-)?

“Ordinary” Read by Tania Moore and Brian Barrett, with Original Music by Nathan Corder

My short story, “Ordinary,” read by Brian Barrett and yours truly, accompanied by Nathan Corder’s original musical score, “Fabric,” is live and online at The Flexible Persona!

The Flexible Persona is the small press equivalent to the local farmer’s market, where every visit is an adventure, and you get to meet the people who grow the pumpkins or harvest the pears. The magazine features authors reading their stories aloud, and the personal timbre of each voice lends a vulnerability that becomes part of the tale being told, a perfect accompaniment to the original musical compositions that have been chosen for each piece. A special shout-out to Nathan Corder, whose composition, “Fabric,”—a high, reverberating wire pulled tight against the resonant keening of a trombone, a whale song, a hawk, stretched across the sky—accompanies “Ordinary.”

So grab your laptop, head out to a hammock strung between the trees, and click here to take a listen.

“The Corner of Nutley Ave” Now Live and Online at Cleaver Magazine. Thwack!

I’m psyched that my short story, “The Corner of Nutley Ave,” is live and online at Cleaver Magazine. Chop chop! Issue number ten sports an exquisitely tentacled, cleaver-wielding octopus on the cover, with visual narrative, art, short stories, poetry, flash and creative nonfiction inside, as well as extras such as spot-on craft essays.

Think of Cleaver as a picnic basket filled with delicious treats to read on a blanket on the lawn or lounging in a deck chair under the sky. Slice ‘n dice, friends!

To read “The Corner of Nutley Ave,” click here.

“Match” Now Available in The Madison Review Spring 2015 Issue

It has arrived! The Spring 2015 issue of The Madison Review is fresh off the press, and with it, my short story, “Match.” Check out the jazzy cover art by Deth P. Sun, and order your copy to read with a cool sip of summer here. Cheers!