I am thrilled that my short story, “Match,” has been accepted by The Madison Review, coming out in the spring!
This was a rather mysterious acceptance. For one thing, the invitation came through my Yahoo email, which I only use for online shopping and generally spammy purposes, never for personal use, and for sure not for my literary correspondence. My first thought was, malicious spybot malware invader?
Lila is the third in Marilynne Robinson’s trilogy of novels that takes place in the small Midwestern town of Gilead, and both Gilead (2004) and Home (2008) explore the lives and friendship of two Iowa preachers. In this latest novel, Lila, the wife of the preacher, John Ames, tells her own story, earning an unqualified spot on my Books I Love bookshelf.
Lila’s life in Gilead begins when she enters the town church to shelter from the rain and first sets eyes upon her future husband, John Ames. Flashbacks to Lila’s past weave through the narrative, and as she struggles with loneliness, belonging, and faith, Lila’s past remains potent and alive.
The New York Times Magazine recently published an article on the photojournalism project of Nicholas Nixon, “Forty Portraits in Forty Years,” in which he photographed four sisters every year since 1975. I discovered the project when my college classmate, Rosie Reardon, posted a link on Facebook (re-posted here). The collection of images is a moving pictorial journey documented over decades.
Aging is not an easy topic, especially in a society that fetishizes youth, and the photos brought up a lot for me, the good, the bad and the beautiful, because one can see that what the women in the photos lose in the smoothness of their skin they gain in something else – but what (or do they)? It’s probably different for each of us.
The photos inspired me to jot down a few thoughts, and I invite others to share their own reflections in the comments field. I’ve heard many wise, honest, often funny insights from the inspiring women (and men) in my life, and I’d love to open the closet and bring in a community of voices to shed some light on this topic. Read more
This Labor Day I was invited to share a reflection on Matthew 16:21-28 with the congregation of St. Barnabas, a beautiful Episcopal church in Irvington, New York. This is a yearly custom at St. Barnabas, and I was honored to be asked to serve in this way. The scripture I was to speak on, Matthew 16, is a somewhat opaque passage that was rewarding as well as challenging to unfold. The full bible passage as well as the text of the sermon follows.
On Saturday, April 5th I had the pleasure of reading with a talented group of performance artist writers at Books on the Square in Providence, Rhode Island, as we celebrated the East Coast book launch of Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Authors!
Books on the Square, a thriving independent book store, graciously turned over their shop for the reading, which quickly filled to capacity leaving standing room only.
The program alternated poetry with flash fiction, and the pieces ranged from humorous to edgy, with moments of laughter as well as silence. The caliber of writing was superb in this intimate evening of live performance.
Fellow participants included Kim Baker, Diane Dolphin, Lynnie Gobeille, Theo Greenblatt, and organizer Kathryn Kulpa.
Thank you to everyone who helped make the evening a resounding success!
Celebrate the East Coast release of Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Authors, an anthology from Spider Road Press! Featured readers will be myself, Theo Greenblatt and Kathryn Kulpa, special guests Kim Baker and Diane Dolphin, and Lynnie Gobeille from the Origami Poems Project.
Up, Do is “dedicated to the teachers, in and out of the classroom, who showed (Patricia Flaherty Pagen, Editor) that girls’ musings and women’s words are key ingredients in the alchemy of storytelling.”
Don’t miss what promises to be fun night of audacious and entertaining storytelling. Saturday, April 5th at 7:00, Books on the Square, 471 Angell Street, Providence, RI
My flash fiction piece, “A Matter of Time” has just been published in the anthology, UP, DO Flash Fiction by Women Authors, Edited by Patricia Flaherty Pagan and published by Spider Road Press!
The anthology contains “thirty three fierce, intriguing, very short stories by women writers,” and the richness and variety of voices within the collection, as well as the way in which the stories reflect one another, is fascinating and moving. I’m excited to be included with this talented group of authors.
I’d like to extend a special thanks to Spider Road Press for paying each of us $10 for our labor of love cobbling words, wisps of clouds and the gritty soil of our souls into something worth reading. The symbolic significance of being paid for the work one does as a writer, and especially, perhaps, as a woman, is not insignificant.
UP, DO Flash Fiction by Women Authors can be ordered from Amazon for $8.99 here. 5% of the proceeds from the book will benefit rape crisis and veterans’ charities in Texas and New England.
Keep tuned for news of a possible reading, and for the release of the ebook coming soon.
"I stared at my drawing as if my gaze could bore a hole through the paper, and I continued to crayon in my Astro Turf strip of green.
The next morning, as I was stuffing my lunch box in my cubby, Emily appeared by my side..."
It’s here! About Place Journal, Volume II, Issue IV, A Civil Rights Retrospective, and with it my story, “Cambridge Friends.” I am so psyched to be part of this awesome collection.
In the words of the introduction, “this issue contains challenging, provocative, compelling, and prophetic contributions in essays, poetry, lyrics, song, short fiction, photography, art, and video that reflect on a particular or general aspect of the ongoing struggle for civil rights. How far have we come as a country, and how have we regressed?”
I look forward to exploring the rich array of voices assembled in this volume, and as Michael McDermott, Managing Editor, writes, “This issue will help to inspire and direct activities to forward the struggle for social justice…working for a better future by learning and honoring our past.”
A special thanks to Editor Richard Cambridge, whose vision for this issue has been profound. To borrow a phrase he borrowed from Martin Luther King, who adapted it from a sermon given by Theodore Parker in 1853, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Who would have thought that a suburban white chick could have anything of value to add to a conversation as critical as one about civil rights? The struggle for justice, however, belongs to us all. Click here to read “Cambridge Friends.” Peace.
My short story, “Cambridge Friends,” has been accepted by About Place Journal for their upcoming retrospective of the Civil Rights Movement! I can’t wait for the issue to come out, as it promises to be a crackerjack collection.
My story is fiction, but the setting is a very real place, Cambridge Friends School, in Cambridge, MA, in the early 1970’s, where I was incredibly fortunate to go to school until the 4th grade, when my family no longer qualified for financial aid. I credit much of who I am today to those crazy wonderful days in an experimental, “open structure” classroom at a time when the world was churning, and I didn’t think twice about rapping a Black Panther chant right alongside my friend, Anita, before we sat ourselves down on the rug for Quaker meeting (not to mention the fact that I was a white chick with a streak of wild and a crush on Anita’s afro).
The Black Earth Institute, the super-cool publisher of About Place Journal, is “a progressive think-tank dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society. Black Earth Institute encourages awareness of the arts as a means of promoting a progressive, inclusively spiritual and environmentally aware society. The organization gathers artists and audience members to further understanding of the historical role of the artist as bringing forth wisdom from beyond the self.”
Stay tuned for a link to the story and possible reading dates…