Illinois Autumn Sunset

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Illinois Autumn Sunset  by Deb Fenwick Sitting on the back porch after dinner during an autumn sunset requires fleece. Maybe a light blanket. A cup of tea is also a good idea. Don’t underestimate the importance of warmth.  Watching pink clouds stretch and yawn as they disappear below rooftops makes you appreciate them more. Don’t get distracted by utility poles that puncture the view. Instead, shift your gaze upward. Tilt your head a little higher to see if you can find an empty patch of sky. Inhale deeply when you do. Talking occasionally with your love, leave blank spaces in conversations. Pause and leave room to ponder. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you know every story he has to tell. Don’t anticipate his response. Listen for what’s new as the birch leaves fall. Also,…


Make a list . . . important and trivial . . . Prompt #617

Make a list of issues, important and trivial, in your life right now. What frustrated you in the past week? What made you laugh or cry? What made you lose your temper? What was the worst thing that happened? The best? The most disturbing and weird? Choose one item from your list and write about it. Write whatever comes to mind. If another person was involved, write what you would really like to say to that person. Then . . . after you write . . . Tell the same story from the other person’s point of view. Don’t judge. Just write. #amwriting #justwrite #writingprompts

Places to submit

Writing contests. Yay or Nay?

If you are thinking of entering writing contests, it’s important to research to determine if a contest is legitimate and reputable. But, how to find reputable contests? Go to trusted sources. Research websites, blogs, and social media by people you know and trust. Anne R. Allen, a trusted source, blogs about writing:  “Writing Contests are Important: How To Tell the Good Ones from the Scams”  “Beware Bogus Writing Contests! Look for These 8 Red Flags.” C. Hope Clark’s  Funds for Writers newsletter is a great source for announcements of vetted contests, and a handbook of writing contests. Writer Beware, the publishing industry watchdog group. If entering contests is in your writing budget, here’s something to consider: B. Lynn Goodwin, founder of Writer Advice: posted: “Too often writers submit to agents and editors without having any credentials, but winning a writing competition—especially a well-known one—gives you immediate credibility and something to add to…

Book Reviews

Swimming Grand Canyon and Other Poems

Susan Bono’s review of “Swimming Grand Canyon and Other Poems” by Rebecca Lawton. I am not a person who knows rivers, although some part of me yearns to be. That’s why I’ve been a fan of Rebecca Lawton’s writing ever since I read her essay collection, “Reading Water: Lessons from the River.” She takes me to those places in myself. In “Swimming Grand Canyon” she shows me her love for rivers with lines like, “The water has no bones/but carries things we love.” I expected this and was grateful for it. But I soon became aware that these poems are channeled through the hard gates of life, and that is what sticks with me. She warned me early on in “It’s Like Life” when she wrote, “You think you’ll jump on/and just ride.” Of course, it’s always more complicated than that, and I realized as I read on how much…


Release . . . Prompt #615

Writing Prompts: What can you release? What are you holding onto? What can you let go of? If you need inspiration to write on these prompts, or need help with how to write about something difficult, please take a look at: Entering a cave . . . Prompt #502. How to write without adding trauma #justwrite #writingfreely #writefree #amwriting #creativewriting


Memory of a ‘giorno dei morti’ in Italy

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Memory of a ‘giorno dei morti’ in Italy by Simona Carini What I remember most about that day is the cold wind. It was blowing strongly, and yet it could not push away the heavy low clouds and wipe the sky clear, so it was dark in the early afternoon. The cypresses lining the gravel path from the cemetery’s heavy iron gate to the chapel swayed as if wailing unconsolably. A group of people had walked the narrow road from the village to the cemetery in a procession led by the priest, Don Gabriele, imposing in his black cassock, which swirled around his legs at the mercy of the biting wind. A child then, I was terrified not of the cemetery, which I had been visiting regularly with my father since an early age, but of…

Book Reviews


Nighthawks by Katherine Hastings reviewed by David Seter. Bursting from a railway tunnel into daylight I’ve often been shocked into the brightness of living. Trees seem leafier. Coffee shops beckon. Katherine Hastings takes the reader along for such a ride in her second collection Nighthawks. The journey progresses from New York City to Hastings’ home turf of Sonoma County, California, with stops along the way. A critic shaking off the dust of library stacks might be tempted to call Hastings a poet’s poet. After all, the collection’s first poem “Central Park Zoo” begins “Dear Garcia Lorca” and concludes not much has changed since the poet’s visit to New York City in 1929. While a student at Columbia University, Lorca witnessed first-hand Black Tuesday, the stock market crash. In Hastings’ poem a llama paces its enclosure in the zoo with “no one to speak llama to.” A woman sits on a bank’s…