Sparks

Time . . . Too Much, Too Little

By Cheryl Moore In the many years of a working life, time is too little.           Too little to be with family and friends           Too little to pursue creative activities           Too little to just sit back and enjoy its passage. Since retirement there has been time. What have I done with this time?           Walk to the river           Scribble in a journal           Mix up paint on a canvas           Invent a story from memories           Settle on the porch with a book and watch the birds at the feeder,                     crows chasing a hawk high in the sky           Watch the sun rise and set as it slowly arcs across the sky           Watch the tide’s ebb and flow pulled by the distant moon           Watch the blooming and fading of the garden’s flowers           And the creatures who visit Too much time or too…

Sparks

Be more, do less.

By Camille Sherman This advice was first shared in a Master Class-style opera workshop where my classmates and I would sing for each other, beginning the long process of working out the kinks in our presentation. The purpose of the vice was to help organize the inner monologue: the running mental news banner that presses into every young performance or audition.  Here’s how it goes: standing in front of a dozen peers, preparing to perform the aria you’ve been overthinking all morning, the mind runs wild. Sound good, remember the words, give a compelling performance, impress everyone or face clumsy embarrassment. The music starts and as you stare at a point on the back wall just above the heads of your classmates, your mental tornado flurrying, a thought freezes you into place: what do I do with my hands? Do I move or gesture? You realize as you sing the…

Sparks

Turtle Regains The Pond

By Lakin Khan Layers of mud kept Turtle warm and secluded all through the winter hibernation. Occasionally a bubble escaped to the top of the pond, but usually, no. A spring sun glanced across the serene surface of the pond, riling up the water insects, generating a small current that brought fresh smells to Turtle’s blunt, beaky nose. Cinnamon, he thought, and hot cross buns, he considered, the memories of days kept at a house weaving into his rising consciousness. Time for business, he thought, and scrabbled against the twigs and leaves that the mud held against him, claws working to free him up out of his encasement and into the cold bottom water and then up, up, up into the gradually warming surface, into the feral spring. Two months ago, wild horses couldn’t have dragged him out of the bottom of the muck, but now Spring itself was galloping…

Sparks

History Lesson

By Susan Bono I’ve been rummaging around in already full closets lately, trying to find space for all the stuff I brought home when I emptied my parents’ house last May. It’s been rough going, but I stopped wondering why when I realized Mom and Dad lived in their house for thirty-seven years, only eight years longer than we’ve lived in ours. Our youngest son often encounters me staring into space clutching a quilt, wood carving, or photograph. I think my uncharacteristic attempts at organization are making him nervous. “What are you doing? What’s that?” he asks. “Oh, this is some of your Great Aunt Emily’s needlepoint,” I tell him a little too eagerly. “These are my Barbie clothes, and here are the baby rompers your great grandmother made for your grandfather back in 1925. You wore them once yourself.” I give him these family history updates knowing full well…

Places to submit

Moonpark Review

MoonPark Review is an online literary journal devoted to publishing compelling, imaginative short prose that breaks our hearts, haunts us, makes us laugh, or gives us hope. We love flash fiction, prose poems, and hybrid forms. We are currently reading for Issue 17, Fall 2021.  If you send us a story with a happy ending, make us believe it. 750 word maximum. To get a sense of our aesthetic, read our previous and current issues. You could also check out our interviews at Six Questions For…, Duotrope, and Lambda Literary.

Places to submit

2021 Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest

Poetry Contest news from Alan Lowe:Inviting All to Enter 2021 Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest Wishing you good health and peace during these difficult and confusing times. Looking on the bright side,  the 17th Annual Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest is open to young and old. Contest theme: If Life Were A Game Show, What Would Poets Say? The five contest categories: Let’s Make A Deal    To Tell The Truth    The Price Is Right    Family Feud    Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Poets may submit a maximum of three poems, no more than one in each of three of the five contest categories. Everyone is encouraged to enter the contest. Poets do not have to live in Lincoln, CA to be eligible. There is no entry fee. Young Poets, 18-years of age or under, are encouraged to submit poems and will compete in a special “Young Poets” category. “Rules and Entry Form” can…

Sparks

Calm

By Kathleen Haynie I drive by her turn-out, roll down the passenger car window to greet her with my best whinny. I can see her whinny ripple through the flesh of her sorrel and white soft muzzle. That muzzle will soon be buried in the red wheat bran she knows is coming. This time it is laced with bute to ease her pain from her sprained right knee. I hope the alfalfa sprinkles camouflage the taste of bute.* She is not too distracted with the hay and grain to lift each foot in turn so I can clean out the V ruts of each frog. After seventeen years, we know the drill. The curry comb pulls off twigs of the white winter coat on her back and haunches. Somehow the earth tells her body that it’s time to start letting go as the days grow longer. Yet the nights are…

Sparks

A Patch of Joy

By Christine Renaudin Slowly the idea grew from seemingly random pickings at the local thrift store a month or two ago, to design a painting along the seams of a small piece of patchwork discovered in the sewing notions section. Bold colors and markings drew me in, sharp contrasts, black acting as prevailing background: yellow on black, and vice versa, bright colors in between, the kind I have dreamed of playing with but never dared throwing first thing together on canvas. Circles and crosses, stars and stripes, straight and curvy, thin and think, flowers, abstracted and not, leaves, pink and red, bees and dragonflies, plain black on white: all patterns placed side by side in surprising, shockingly daring ways that made my mind bubble with joy, and my heart dance with the desire to play along. I bought the small rectangle of motley fabric and brought it home, where it sat abandoned in my grandmother’s…