Belong. Prompt #584

The characters in the Broadway show and the movie, In The Heights, chase their dreams and ask: “Where do I belong?” West Side Story is also about finding one’s place, illustrated in the song “Somewhere:” Someday, somewhereWe’ll find a new way of livingWe’ll find a way of forgivingSomewhere There’s a place for usSomewhere a place for usPeace and quiet and open airWait for us somewhere Prompt: Write about a time you felt out of place. A place where you didn’t belong, but there you were. What did you do? What did you feel? Have you found Your Place?



By Cheryl Moore It’s as slick and slippery as an eel living in a low walled enclosure, searching all the crevices to find bits of debris that didn’t find their way to the long, dark tunnel at its root. It spends most of its days and nights resting against the hard, upper ceiling except at meal times when it is an important assist in processing the food, or when in company its primary function is to express thoughts into language. So many kinds of languages it helps to express — the hard, umlauted words of German, the soft shushes of Portuguese or Polish, the rapid clip of Spanish or Italian, even the clicks of Khoisan, and of course, the vast vocabulary of English which has borrowed from all over the world. Such a useful organ, the tongue, it may even be aware of when to hold its peace. When Cheryl…



By Ken Delpit Individual voices are fascinating. They reflect uniqueness.They involve specific characteristics and abilities, both physical and mental. In tone and in lyric, they express specific perspectives and emotions. They can be soft; they can be harsh. They can be musical to some, grating to others. They can be up-lifting, but also down-putting. Voices may not define us completely, but they certainly represent us while the rest of us waits backstage. But voices rarely come just one to a customer. Multiple voices can reside in a single person. This is certainly true for writers. Each fictional character, partially invented and partially native, taps into its writer’s own voice box. Voices within propel writers’ fingers, and shape their stories. With few exceptions, it is also true that everyone has multiple voices, whether writer or not. Anyone who hides true feelings or conceals real intentions uses a voice convenient for the…

Guest Bloggers

What’s in a letter?

Guest Blogger Emily-Jane Hills Orford writes: No, I’m not talking about the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet. And I’m not talking about emails, text messages, private messages and whatever electronic form of letters and messages are out there on any current platform. I’m talking about the REAL letter: the one you write in longhand (you know cursive writing, the secret code of a previous generation), fold carefully, tuck into an envelope, seal it, address it, place a postage stamp on its corner and drop it in the nearest mailbox (the snail mailbox variety, varies in color depending on what country you live in). Letters have long been the most poignant written form of communication in any language: a means to share stories, convey important (or unimportant) messages, or, basically, just to connect. Have you written one lately? Or, perhaps you are the lucky recipient of a letter in your…


A Safe Place

By Kathleen Haynie When did I feel safe? I can’t remember ever feeling safe. I search. Maybe I felt safe at Ocean Beach—only strangers around and I could keep my distance. A place to run to on the “N” Judah street car. Run from the fighting, run from hurt, run from the anger. Run to feel away, to feel unfettered, to yell at the ocean where no one could hear my voice drowned out by the Pacific roar. I could hide in the open expanse of sand and waves and roar and motion and cry, the tears running. Running. Run into the cold fog, run into the bits of sand in the air, run with the pull of the earth. Drawn into the pull of the receding water, losing itself/myself into the empty of personality, empty of emotion. Fleeing and dissolving into the pull back into self. Self-drained with fast…



By Susan Bono “That’s quite a sack of rocks you’re carrying, sweetie,” my father’s friend Bruce said more than once during phone calls last year. It was his way of acknowledging how heavily Dad’s poor health, hard-headedness and self-imposed isolation weighed on me. But I also took it as a tribute to Dad’s stubbornness and my strength, too. “Dumb as a rock” never made much sense to me, since stone strikes me as having its own unassailable intelligence. Its ability to endure illustrates its genius. I have never believed in the ability to factor equations or compose sonnets was proof of brain power, although I shared with Dad the idea that someone with rocks in his head was lacking in foresight and flexibility. Rocks may be smart, but they are slow. Time measured in stone is something else again. There were moments during my dad’s dying that were as slow…

Places to submit


Pleiades: Literature in Context features poetry, fiction, essays. The Pleiades Book Review (PBR) is a literary supplement to the magazine featuring both essay reviews and shorter reviews of books released primarily by independent publishers. POETRY Please send 3-5 poems. We are particularly interested in work that embraces risk and is lyrically inventive. We value work that gives voice to a range of lived experiences and employs a mastery of expression. Work of any length will be considered, and we look forward to reading your most polished poems. FICTION Pleiades is looking for exceptional fiction, with a focus on well-developed characters, memorable language, provocatively-wrought subject matter, and immersive settings. While there are no length requirements, our journal has limited space, and manuscripts over 12,000 words will especially need to impress. Some stories may be considered for our “online exclusives” category.  CREATIVE NONFICTION While we enjoy essays and nonfiction in all forms, we are particularly…


What am I ready to let go of?

By Julie Wilder-Sherman Well, what am I going to do with all these masks? Store-bought. Handmade. Giants-themed. Kitty cats. Bejeweled. Blue flowers with yellow backgrounds. Yellow flowers with blue backgrounds. Plain, monochromatic. Busy, colorful. Cloth mosaic. A quilt of masks. Wait! That’s it. A Quilt. Of. Masks. Imagine millions of masks sewn together like the AIDS quilt, honoring what we have survived and what we have lost. A memorial, a tribute and dedication to what we have endured.   I’m ready to let go of seeing half-faces. Of asking people to repeat themselves. At nodding to those speaking, pretending to understand. At straining to hear the muffled words behind the shield. I’m ready to let go of images of cops and robbers. Of old movies with lepers, their faces partially covered. Of images of Isis terrorists with covered faces holding rifles over captives kneeling in front of them.  I’m ready to let…


Post-Pandemic Songs and Second Chances

By Deb Fenwick After fifteen months, it’s time to soar. A hundred, a thousand, millions of voices are calling, inviting us to share in a common song. There’s a brilliant bright light and an invitation to hope after all the darkness—to hope and to imagine possibilities. It’s a resonant call to lift off and soar. And it originates from that other place.  It’s a place of community where we remember our interconnectedness. It’s a place where there’s an agreement to work together to make something that transcends what one individual, no matter how magnificent, can do on their own. It’s a place where you work toward something with others, and it takes on its own magic. You can see it in a choir’s chorus or a road crew building a bridge. It’s there as an emergency room team saves a life, and as food pantry volunteers pack boxes. It’s that…