Book Reviews

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

“The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin is clever, surprising, and grows on you, just like the mini-character who is absolutely delightful. The main character is not very likable at first . . . but of course he changes, due to circumstances beyond his control. This is a book I will ponder long after I have shelved it in the “good reads” section of my bookshelf.


The Divorced House

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. The Divorced House By Simona Carini At the Greenwich Observatory onceI straddled the brass line in the courtyardOne foot EastOne foot WestHeart at longitude 0°.Felt familiar. Walking around North BerkeleyI happened on a house bisectedYellow on the rightGray on the left.Felt finely honed painwafting out the divorced houseEast and West facing off at a meridianrunning down the front and a short flight of stairsBright red on the rightBurgundy on the left. Felt like the child going homehaving to decide whether to enterthe door on the rightor on the leftTo inhabit my father’s worldor my mother’sHeart at longitude 0°. Except home was one apartmentwith one doorone kitchen and one bathroom.One familynever divorced. The mystery of the divided façadeof my parents’ marriage.From the sidewalk across the street,the halves conflict.At close rangethe shift across the line is not a…

Just Write


Layering: The goal of layering in writing is to take unrelated elements and bring them together in a single piece of writing. “Layering means that we’re weaving in different elements of our story, characters, writing craft, etc. Some writers even start with just one element—such as writing their whole story just as dialogue—and then layer in everything else once they have the shape of the story.” — Jami Gold Ideas to add layering in your writing. Start with lists: List #1: Some facts about yourself or your fictional character List#2: Favorite food or music List #3: Favorite movies or TV shows List #4: Philosophical sayings List #5: A type of clothing or furniture Freewrite: #1: Using a word or phrase from each of the lists, spend a few minutes creating a piece of writing. Freewrite #2, Layering: Add an outside event as a metaphor to echo the theme of your freewrite….

Book Reviews

Proprioceptive Writing®

“Writing the Mind Alive” by Linda Trichter Metcalf, Ph.D. and Tobin Smith, Ph.D. “This book offers a unique writing approach that breaks right through writer’s block, opens up inner treasures you didn’t dream possible, and allows you to know yourself in an intimate exciting way. It is beautifully executed, deeply inspiring, and psychologically on the mark.” — Jill Morris, Ph.D., author of The Dream Workbook “Proprioceptive Writing® is a method for exploring the psyche through writing. PW is practiced to music in 25-minute sessions, under stress-free conditions, alone or in groups.” — PW Center PW teaches you to listen to your thoughts with empathy and curiosity and reflect on them in writing. PW returns you to the pleasures of pure process, reminding you why you wanted to write to begin with. Note from Marlene: Proprioceptive Writing might not be helpful for everyone, but it might be perfect for you!

Places to submit

Star 82 Review

Star 82 Review is an independent art and literature, online and print magazine that highlights words and images in gemlike forms. Each issue includes a combination of flash fiction, creative nonfiction, erasure texts, narrative art, word+image, collage poems, and poetic storytelling featuring subtle humor, humility and humanity, the strange and the familiar, and hope. Star 82 is the code needed to unblock one’s phone number. Tell us who you are. Someone will answer. Submission Guidelines Star 82 Review was founded in 2012 by Alisa Golden, then a senior adjunct professor in the Printmaking Program at California College of the Arts, later, teaching letterpress in the MFA Writing Program, now a freelance writer, editor, and artist. She has been making books since 1983 under the imprint never mind the press. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, a BFA from CCA(c) in Printmaking. You can find her book art,…



Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Wait. What? By Brenda Bellinger Mindlessly scrolling through Yahoo News (a time suck, I know), I came across a headline titled “Caroline Kennedy’s first grandchild’s name revealed.” It stopped me cold and aged me a lifetime all at once. I still picture Caroline as that sweet little girl at her father’s grave site in 1963, two days before her seventh birthday. A moment that precipitated that image is forever etched into my memory. I was sitting in my third-grade classroom at McKinley School in San Francisco. Our teacher, Mrs. Johnson, whom I recall being about the same age I am now, was in front of the class at the blackboard when we heard a soft knock at the classroom door. The door opened and our principal motioned for Mrs. Johnson to step out into the hallway….

Places to submit

Pitch Your Story to The Bucket

From “The Bucket” Editor, Morgan Baker: We’re thrilled that you are interested in writing for The Bucket. We have a simple question to ask: How does what you want to write help people lead a more fulfilling life by acknowledging – even embracing – their own mortality? This is our mission. And our filter for the kind of article we accept. We are looking for articles that fall under three main categories: Living Fully Dying Well Money & Law While these seem mutually exclusive, we have found them to be quite the opposite. But rather than get hung up on what goes where, just use our mission as your guide…we’ll figure out the details later. Our Brand The Bucket’s brand is bold, curious and unapologetic. We are not afraid of mortality and we want our writers to feel the same. We encourage humor, honesty and the ability to talk about…


Flowed beautifully . . . Prompt #668

Write about a time, or an event, that flowed beautifully. Maybe it was a trip or a visit that was perfect. You could also write about music, art, or any creative endeavor that you cannot forget. Or write about something you read, or something you wrote, that conveyed a message succinctly and engagingly. Today’s writing prompt is inspired by the Writers Digest Review of “The Write Spot: Musings and Ravings From a Pandemic Year.” “This book is exemplary in its voice and writing style. It has a unique voice, and the writing style is consistent throughout. The style and tone are also consistent with or will appeal to readers of a variety of genres. Because this is a collection of different voices, the styles and rhythms are unique to each author. Yet they all flow beautifully, conveying their message succinctly and engagingly.” Note from Marlene: Why yes, I do find…


Liminal . . . Prompt #667

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  Viktor Frankl Prompt: Write about the space between stimulus and response. Write about a time you recognized it – or you didn’t – and how that impacted your life. OR:  Explore the word or the concept of liminal: Liminal specifically means relating to the point (or threshold) beyond which a sensation becomes too faint to be experienced. Liminal: Related to or situated at a sensory threshold; barely perceptible or capable of eliciting a response, things that exist at the threshold (or border) between one thing and another. Examples of liminal: The liminal stage is the middle stage, the in-between period during which a person has not yet fully reached their new status in whatever rite of passage they are going through. ~ Being “the…



Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Burgeoning By Su Shafer How many petals are in a peony? There’s no way to tell from the bud – a closed hand           holding more than you can imagine. They unfold slowly, the way a smile spreads           before a secret is told. Each petal           a curled finger uncurling           an alluring promise of beauty to come           a whisper – just wait, just wait… And then suddenly It blooms Su Shafer is a creative crafter, fabricating bits of writing in poetry and short stories, and generating characters that appear in paintings and sit on various bookshelves and coffee tables.