In Praise of Christmas Tree Farms

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. In Praise of Christmas Tree Farms By Sus Pareto Yesterday I drove to Larsen’s Christmas Tree Farm, about two miles from my house. It was a balmy fall afternoon, and the road to the farm was lined with poplars and willows dappled in gold.           Up ahead, I saw the red and green sign pointing to a narrow driveway which led to a dell where a yellow clapboard house and outbuildings gathered. Just a normal, traditional Petaluma farm — except when Christmas tree season opens. Like an explosion, the quiet dell surrounded by acres of orderly pine trees becomes a bustling hub of people and cars. As if by magic, gossiping groups of pre-cut trees have popped up while a tree-bagging station, ticketing station, and cookies-and-hot chocolate stand wait nearby. The barn has become a Christmas…


Letter Delivered Years Later. . . Prompt #693

“It is a relatively little-known fact that over the course of a single year, about twenty million letters are delivered to the dead.”— “The Girl With No Shadow” by Joanne Harris Prompt: Write about a letter delivered 25 years after it was written. Or 33 years after it was sent. Or 18 years. You can write from the point of view of the recipient, the sender, or both. Or write about the unintended recipient . . . the person who now lives at the address the letter was sent to. Does the letter reveal disturbing or euphoric news? Just Write!

Book Reviews

The 7 Secrets of Essential Speaking

“The 7 Secrets to Essential Speaking: Find Your Voice, Change Your Life,” by Dr. Doreen Downing Review by Lee Glickstein This is the definitive book for solving public speaking anxiety. Most every book about getting over public speaking anxiety comes down to performance techniques, some version of “fake it till you make it.” But this only works for people who have a capacity for faking. The rest of us need an organic way through that gently taps into our essential authenticity. Step by step, Dr. Doreen Downing lights up that path with easy-to-read clarity, compassion, and emotionally intelligent insights. Lee Glickstein is founder of Speaking Circles International and author of “Be Heard Now! Tap Into Your Inner Speaker and Communicate with Ease.” He works with clients ranging from professional communicators to “non-speakers” with severe stage fright, and is committed to facilitating ease, power and effectiveness for anyone who needs to or…

Places to submit

Abandoned Mine

“Abandoned Mine” is looking for: Poems that are accessible and understandable. Poems people will want to re-read. Poems people will want to share with family and friends, neighbors and co-workers. Poems people will remember for the rest of their lives. Many people today are of the belief that they don’t “get” poetry, regarding a poem with almost the same trepidation they might regard, say, a complicated physics equation. In fairness to those many people, some poems are dense. Or cryptic. Or full of confusing words. (Or all three.) Such poems can be intimidating. Such poems can sometimes dissuade people from reading more poetry . . . more. Submission Guidelines Thank you, Dave Seter, for your important and thoughtful poem, “Language of Chemicals and Probable Cause” in Abandoned Mine.

Guest Bloggers

Presence and Connection

Guest Blogger Dr. Doreen Downing talks about public speaking, especially for writers. As a writer, you may be able to put words on a page, but … do you have the confident voice to access your words when you must speak in public? If you don’t feel confident, and if you feel anxiety, doubt yourself, hold yourself back, then what you write won’t reach as many ears or as many hearts as you’d like. When I ask my clients what holds them back from feeling at ease speaking about their work, the answer is always fear. And, bottom line, it’s the fear of being judged. It’s true that a judge could be sitting in the audience, listening for your mistakes, and counting your um’s, but more likely than not, the judge that criticizes you the most is perched right inside your own head. In fact, you could be your own…


Have fun with clichés . . . Prompt #690

Let’s play with clichés. It goes like this: I’ll write some clichés with missing words. You get to fill in the missing words. It’s sort of like Mad Libs. For example: More than one way to skin a cat becomes: More than one way to [verb] a [noun]. Ready? There are no wrong answers! It’s [verb ending in “ing”] [noun] and [noun] You can’t [verb] a [noun] by its [noun] The [noun] [verb] always [adjective or noun] on the other [noun] [Verb] your [noun] right It’s an uphill [noun] [Verb] between the [plural noun] A [noun] is only as [verb] as its weakest [noun] A [noun] and his [noun] are soon [verb, past tense] A [noun] of a different [noun]  A [noun] of a [number] [verb] begins with the first [verb] Whatever responses you came up are fine. Can you use any of your re-imagined cliches in your writing? Clichés…


The Stories We Tell

“Jo [Gaines] shares how the process of writing her new book led her to see more clearly the fullness of her story: Every piece, worthy. Every chapter, a bridge. Every moment that shaped her, brought to the surface.” Winter 2022, Magnolia magazine “I ended up discovering a lot in my story: clarity, healing, deeper truths I didn’t know I could get to. But mostly, these pages brought me back to myself, back to those tender little moments I thought I’d lost. In writing down my story, I had the chance to relive some of the very best chapters of my life.” —Joanna Gaines, Winter 2022 issue of Magnolia magazine. Your turn: Books like Joanna’s as well as The Write Spot books might help you write your stories, and like Jo, you might find clarity and healing, remembering what you have forgotten. “The Stories We Tell: Every Piece of Your Story…