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Our publication features poetry and prose on the challenges of growing up, growing older, looking forward, and looking back. Times of identity crisis. Times when we are, as the lyric goes, “fraid of changin.’”

Our inspiration is the lyric from the song, “Landslide,” written by Stevie Nicks (1973)when she was a struggling young artist. She wrote the song in Aspen while gazing at the mountains and wondering about her future in music. Though many believe this song is about aging, Nicks wrote it with her father in mind. When she speaks of children getting older, she is speaking of herself.

“So during that two months I made a decision to continue. ‘Landslide’ was the decision. [Sings] ‘When you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills’ — it’s the only time in my life that I’ve lived in the snow. But looking up at those Rocky Mountains and going, ‘Okay, we can do it. I’m sure we can do it.’” …


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Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Pity the annual Holiday letter, which is sincere but often parodied. Generally, most of us would rather not hear about Katy’s breast enhancement or Ethan’s SAT scores. Yet, a thoughtfully composed Christmas letter can be entertaining for the audience and therapeutic for the writer. What follows are observations, learned from writing holiday letters for 25 years.

The holiday letter is a eulogy memorializing the passing of each year. The best funeral eulogies tell the audience stories about a person’s life. How the deceased person befriended waiters, liked to whistle, adopted stray dogs, baked flaky piecrusts, or prized a collection of Elvis memorabilia. …


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Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

“I wouldn’t put that bumper sticker on your car. You might make the wrong impression.” This was my father advising me not to advertise my political views, while I sought a job after graduate school. The bumper sticker was John Culver for Senator (who would lose to Charles Grassley). Culver was a liberal Iowa Democrat who had opposed the Vietnam War when in Congress.

“But Dad, I’m a social worker,” I said, trying to reassure my father that support for a liberal Democrat would neither surprise nor dismay potential employers. I had been a voter and a Democrat for four years. …


Exploring point-of-view in your writing

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Photo by Saketh Garuda on Unsplash

“I have wanted you to see out of my eyes so many times.”

~Elizabeth Berg~

Perhaps, you write creative nonfiction — personal essay, memoir, literary journalism. You use fictional techniques to create true stories. But the first-person pronoun, at times, feels a bit narcissistic. And, you tire of the relentless drumbeat of ‘I.’ Sometimes you think about writing your true story as fiction. In that genre, you will be able to revel in the life of an invented character; put a little space between yourself and your self.

This is an essay about point-of-view pronouns. …


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Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Our publication features poetry and prose on the challenges of growing up, growing older, looking forward, and looking back. Times of identity crisis. Times when we are, as the lyric goes, “fraid of changin.’”

Our inspiration is the lyric from the song, “Landslide,” written by Stevie Nicks (1973) before Fleetwood Mac formed, when she was a struggling young artist. She wrote the song in Aspen while gazing at the mountains and wondering about her future in music. Though many believe this song is about aging, Nicks wrote it with her father in mind. …


Inspired Writer Contest Finalist

“I might have a seizure,” she said, as if predicting rain.

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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

I cover my eyes at the strobe-like quality of certain movie scenes, each time recalling my first EEG — the tangled headgear, the mingling aromas of alcohol, glue and solvents, the sweet syrupy sedative, a brief sleep and, upon awakening, the madly flashing lights positioned above my closed eyes. The scratching and ticking of robotic pens accelerate in rhythm with the speed of the strobe. I feel like my brain will explode. Flashing lights still make me wince.

My personal aversion to flashing lights might have guided me, as an English professor, when on the first day of class a young woman handed me a generic form letter from the accessibility coordinator — Provide special accommodations. Allow extra time. Give oral exams. Assign take-home tests. “I might have a seizure,” she said, as if predicting rain. I knew none of these special accommodations would apply. …


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Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

~Martin Luther King, Jr.~

It was early 2017. White nationalists seemed to be everywhere in the months following Donald Trump’s election, waving Confederate flags and proclaiming the USA is a White nation. All this in spite of Oprah and Obama. I felt the need to apologize. “I am so sorry,” I told my personal trainer, a Black woman. “Racism must have been here all along.” She was probably accustomed to liberals craving penance and seeking forgiveness. …


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I place two coffee cups on the counter, as if each is a fragile antique I had picked up at Portobello market. The mugs feature a map of the London Underground and the ubiquitous subway warning, Mind the Gap. “I’ve been looking for these all over London,” I tell the clerk in Heathrow’s duty-free shop. He looks squarely at my smiling face and asks, “Why? He does not seem to understand the fascination tourists have with this particular souvenir. …


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Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay

True stories by ordinary people are commonly referred to as the “nobody memoir.” We lack the plot line of celebrity. No rags turned to riches. No lonely child turned superstar. We are still working on the arcs of our plots. Neither famous nor infamous, the typical nobody memoirist describes the most intense incidents of a lifetime. Drama emerges from adventure, adversity, angst, or abuse. The protagonist climbs a mountain or rows an ocean, walks a thousand-miles on a treacherous seaside trail, confronts an abusive past, recounts her recovery from rape, exposes a dysfunctional family. Popular memoirs dig deep into the wounded psyche. Triumphant narrators emerge, healed by the crucible of experience. …


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Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

“Sometimes, the more constraints we give ourselves, the more fun we can have . . . the rules give your intellectual mind something to concentrate on, and then your subconscious mind can come out to play. The time limit quiets the inner censor and forces you to keep writing whatever comes out.”

~Brenda Miller~

I first read about hermit crabs in Barbara Kingsolver’s essay collection, High Tide in Tucson. In the title story about a stowaway crustacean, Kingsolver creates a lively lyrical first-person narrative in which the crab becomes a metaphor for how creatures habituate to their environments.

Indeed, the hermit crab makes good metaphor. When you feel cramped, find a new shell to call home. Keep your plump red belly undercover.

About

Kimberly Garts Crum

Essayist. Teacher. Seeker. Working on an essay collection, “Slouching Toward Self-Actualization.” Co-editor of the Medium publication Landslide Lit

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