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The Big Brick Review is ready for your submission.

The Big Brick ReviewThe Big Brick Review wants original, non-fiction pieces up to 555 words by July 31, 2015.

Submission must be in the form of a personal essay, prose, excerpt, or ramble that builds on the narrative of our lives, finding new insight to old struggles…old insight to new struggles…and all shades-of-gray in between. Pieces that include the concept of ‘building’ (which authors can interpret as creatively as they choose (it’s a noun! it’s a verb!)) are especially favored. For more info, visit Submissions Guidelines.

Marlene’s Musings: Go for it! What do you have to lose?

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  1. justinefos

    Re-write from 7/21/2015

    Author: M. Justine Foster

    I love reading other peoples ‘old house’ experiences! It reminds me of the house that the parents and sister of my first husband lived in. It was in Lawrenceville, GA, now a bedroom community for Atlanta. Its main claim to fame was that it was still standing in 1969, after surviving Sherman’s March to the sea in 1864. The house was out in the countryside among the pines and on a red-dirt road. My visit was during the first week of August.
    As a California city-girl, it was there that I was introduced to many firsts.
    First Georgian Thunderstorm
    First fireflies
    First in-laws
    First exposure to Georgia summer temperatures
    First exposure to Georgia humidity
    First trip across the country
    First Southern Fried Chicken by Grandma Mitchell
    First sister-in-law
    First mother-in-law
    First father-in-law, a kind gentle man who wept when we left.
    First Bomb shelter – and it had a picture window!
    First deep-fried cornbread, cooked in a cast-iron frying pan
    First time bringing home-made wine home. I learned not to pack it in my suitcase in a plastic milk jug
    First time in a truly large family, My husband’s mother had seven siblings,
    his father had nine. The huge number of cousins that came to see us was stunning, and we all sat on the floor talking laughing, finding out about each other.
    The old house was torn down in the early 1970’s, and a lovely, modern house was built in its place. Though the same family lived there for over 40 years more, it was never as magical to look back on. I will always be grateful for the spirit of the old house that still dwells in my soul.
    I wonder if the Bomb Shelter still resides in the side of the hill with its picture window still intact? I never thought to ask.

    © M. Justine Foster
    July 21, 2016

    1. mcullen Post author

      Wow! You paint a lovely word picture of an interesting family. Excellent details make these folk alive and inviting readers to join in those family times.

  2. Ke11y

    Life started in an orphanage, in Essex, on the outskirts of London. I have no real recollection of the first six years spent there. I was adopted, aged eight years, by a Scottish family, and moved from the home to an island in the Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Mull.

    I had to learn some new tricks, a new set of rules, accepting that beauty has no single place and that a Cimmerian shore doesn’t have to hold my heart. Life could not be better than when damned by the rainbow. And so it was I found my new family, and a new life in a place that was to cast its spell on my heart and soul, scattering every trial of guilt. My father explained that one’s life had to be large enough to cope with the strength and beauty of its shoreline.

    Tobermory Town, with its historic townscape, the post office, the library, the school, and the grocery store, sit alongside antique shops and art shops. None of which detracts from the town’s sorrowful length of history. Trust of that history left to men like my father, and his father, born of Viking blood. He would talk to me about pathways, the tors and bluffs that don’t bluff, or boast, but stimulate and inspire when treading along the winding road of adventure. Its bouquet of scenery quite as stunning, aromatic, as fragile and rugged as nature designed it to be.

    The island spits on the poet’s poetry. It dares the writer to write, to gobble up the next syllable, sneering dissatisfaction until the author’s flushed forehead shows his embarrassment. The island invites you to stretch out your arms, have you fold them around its petticoat shores. By ten years old I was no longer broken, a child still, sighing harmonica notes and with an endless desire to cry for the newness of my family and the island’s welcome.

    The adventure was everywhere, but the greatest of those adventures was running to catch the school bus and taking the ride alongside the Sound of Mull. It was a half hour bus ride to Craignure, and the car ferry across to Oban. While other kids sat in the warmth of the ferry’s canteen, during those blustery winter morning crossings, with threatening rainclouds hanging low over the waters, I stood at the bow letting the sharp wind crisp my ears until they felt like ice packs on the side of my head. Hurting so much I entered the classroom crying with pain, tears streaming down my face. Mrs. Braebrook would shake her head, grab my hand and pull me down the corridor to the school’s boiler room. ‘Read this,’ she’d say, thrusting a book into my hand, ‘come back to class when you’ve thawed out.’ And then leave me with a smile on her face and a chocolate bar in my hand. I was a ridiculous kid. She said that, too.

    Weekends were spent at the harbor using up every minute of daylight. I was going to be a fisherman, and I told my father so. He’d smile. ‘Your head’s too much in the clouds, son.’ He’d say. I didn’t understand what he meant, so at twelve years of age I’d scrape barnacles off trawler hulls, earn a few pennies making huge mugs of tea. The men would ruffle my hair, poke fun at my tent-sized jumpers, those knitted by my mother, and threaten to hoist my long baggy shorts aloft. Whenever the trawlers were in, I was there. To a man, each of my father’s crewmen contributed to my education. It might have been learning a particular kind of knot, perhaps how to repair a lobster pot, sort crabs, or fillet a fish, but also, to a man, each taught me about love even when life on the island was about beer and bread and hard times.

    I thought once I’d never get the island out of my head, that it would haunt me for the leaving. I was a boy the first time I found myself enraptured by Mull’s mystical beauty, and a man by the time I’d found the strength to leave its heart-folding shores. I might have been lost, a gypsy, more detached than the best of beggars…until Mendocino.

    1. mcullen Post author

      Kelly! I’m so glad to have your writing here. You have once again uplifted my spirits with your gorgeous, fabulous writing. I enjoy the story that unfolds and especially like the lines, “The island invites you to stretch out your arms, have you fold them around its petticoat shores.” And “sighing harmonica notes and with an endless desire to cry for the newness of my family and the island’s welcome.” I have missed reading your stories and embrace your lovely writing with welcoming arms.

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