By Cheryl Moore Despite the pandemic, despite the looming drought, despite the growing tensions in the world—we are living in a wonderful time. On clear mornings, I see the warm pink in the eastern sky where the sun is about to rise. This time of year, April, it rises between two tall palms across the street—in June it will rise behind Sonoma Mountain. This is the most beautiful time in the garden —leaves on trees just breaking open, giving a lacy feel against the blue skies. Rose buds are opening and iris unfolding on their tall stalks. California poppies are everywhere and fields are full of mustard. Bird song fills the air as males find mates and begin nest building. Soon there will be small yellow ducklings trailing their parents down at the river and fishermen will sit on the bank to see what the incoming tide will bring.  Besides…


Waking Up on a Spring Morning

By Deb Fenwick On spring mornings, after a long brittle winter, the truth is everywhere. It begins at dawn. Not that I wake up that early anymore. These days, I sleep until the sun is high in the warm sky. But I remember thirty years of sunrise drives—drives where a glowing, golden-pink ribbon stretched languidly across Lake Michigan. Like it had all the time in the world. Unhurried. Unlike me. The sky had no need to rush to work. To meet deadlines. To prove its worth. From the driver’s seat, I watched the morning clouds, dumbstruck some days, because they seemed to delight in their own essence. Those early morning skies seemed, somehow, to speak to something truer than the life I was living at the time. In those days, I didn’t have time for walks where I watched the earth wake up to its magnificent self. The glory song…

Book Reviews

All the Ways We Said Goodbye

Review by Nancy Julien Kopp “All the Ways We Said Goodbye,” by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White. One Book, Three Authors I recently finished reading a very interesting book. “All the Ways We Said Good-bye” used the Ritz Hotel in Paris as the focal point in telling the story of three women of different periods of time. Aurelie de Courcelles’ story centers on WWI. That of her daughter, Daisy, takes place during the Nazi occupation of WWII. Babs Langford’s part in the book happens in 1964. The three women are all related in some way, two by family and one by default. The story is rich in characters and background of both world wars. The Ritz Hotel is home to Aurelie’s mother, Daisy’s grandmother, and is always a place of refuge for the women. Babs Langford, who lives in England and was widowed a year earlier receives a…


Hello, how ARE you?

By Sharmila Rao Writing Prompt on The Isolation Journals: How ARE you? What happened yesterday evening motivated me to attempt this prompt. I dropped in to meet one of my friends whom I was seeing after a year because of the Covid protocols. She is a cancer survivor and I had gotten closer to her during this challenging journey of hers. We exchanged the usual pleasantries and she replied I am fine, Sharmila. I could see her eyes were saying something else though. As we got talking about the past year and how it has affected each one us, I told her of the many changes I have begun to incorporate in my life, one of them being giving due priority to myself—something I felt I had seriously lacked all my life. The moment I mentioned this to her I was taken aback by her soft almost immediate plea to…


I’ll say a little prayer for you . . . Prompt #574

Today’s prompt is inspired by Mavis Staples and her essay on The Isolation Journals. Mavis wrote: Many times in my life, I’ve come across someone who won’t smile, who won’t speak to me. I’ll get on an elevator and say “good morning,” and that person won’t say anything in return. My sister Yvonne—she’s different from me. When people are rude or unfriendly, Yvonne’ll tell them, “I didn’t do anything to you! Whatever is on your mind, don’t take it out on me.” But I’m wired differently. I keep a smile on my face, and I say to myself, “Alright. I’ll say a little prayer for you.” And I’ll say a prayer that whatever they’re struggling with, they’ll get through. That whatever is heavy, whatever is burdening them, they’ll find a way to lighten that load. That they’ll realize, even in the middle of great struggle, there are things to be…


I was the kid who . . . Prompt #573

Your Deepest Core by Maggie Rogers: Throughout my life I’ve thought of vulnerability as a shield. My logic goes something like—if I tell you my whole truth, everything I’m feeling, then there’s no ammo left for you to hurt me. It’s been my default defense mechanism for as long as I can remember. I was the kid in the second grade telling everyone who I had a crush on instead of trying to keep it a secret.  Prompt: I was the kid who . . . Prompt inspired from The Isolation Journals with Suleika Jaouad, “A newsletter for people seeking to transform life’s interruptions into creative grist.”


The Nyx Café

By Ron Salisbury Day stood by our table with her eager smile,pad and pen at ready. “Today we only have two specials,” she said.“The first one includes an amuse bouche;one hour and a half of good sleep. Upon wakingyou wonder why? Then realize you’re still dampfrom a hot flash. The appetizer is a couple of hourswhen the pillows are too soft, too hard, or both,the bed clothes too heavy, cramp in your big toe,wondering if you should call the doctor aboutthat little pain in your side. Suddenly you realizeyou have been asleep because of the dream you hadfilled with people you absolutely don’t know.The main course is filled with noise—traffic, butyou live on a cul-de-sac, the overhead fan butit’s not on, a strange hum from the kitchen,the dogs rushing downstairs and you get upto check and find them both at their water bowls,you might as well see if the doors are locked….


The Hum

By Camille Sherman It startled me. The devices were powered off, the lights relieved of duty. The street below offered no atmosphere or background detail. All is still.  I whip my head, crane my neck, squint my eyes. The hum does not become louder, more apparent, more directional. It almost becomes maddeningly softer, like a drop of water has come and diluted its color so its wayward edges are harder to spot.  It doesn’t quite have a pitch. I rule out the heater, much more ostentatious when it kicks on to rescue cold feet. I come to terms with the fact that it is likely the refrigerator, reassuring me that it is trusty and functional. I put my mug in the sink, grab the blanket off the couch, and slide into bed. Lying there, I realize the devices are powered off, the world is asleep. The low hum is the…

Guest Bloggers

A Type of Disconnect

It’s been a difficult thirteen months during shelter in place. From March 2020 to now (April 2021) many of us have felt a spectrum of emotions. Alison Flood eloquently captures what many of us are experiencing: After a month of lockdown, William Sutcliffe wrote on Twitter: “I have been a professional writer for more than twenty years. I have made my living from the resource of my imagination. Last night I had a dream about unloading the dishwasher.” Whether it is dealing with home schooling, the same four walls, or anxiety caused by the news, for many authors, the stories just aren’t coming. “Stultified is the word,” says Orange prize-winning novelist Linda Grant. “The problem with writing is it’s just another screen, and that’s all there is … I can’t connect with my imagination. I can’t connect with any creativity. My whole brain is tied up with processing, processing, processing…

Places to submit

Writer Advice: Flash Fiction Contest

I met B. Lynn Goodwin several years ago at a writing workshop. Lynn is the creator of Writer Advice, a resource for writers. Since 1997, it has grown from an e-mailed research newsletter for writers into an e-zine that invites reader participation and holds four contests a year. WriterAdvice seeks flash fiction, a story running 750 words or less. Sometimes fiction is based on real life, sometimes it stretches the imagination, but we always love or hate the characters. All fiction genres are welcome. Hopefully, your story will touch or move readers in some way. The last day submissions will be accepted:  Wednesday, June 2, 2021. Early submissions are encouraged. Lynn is the author of one of my favorite books, You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers (Tate Publishing), Talent, and her memoir, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62.