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Transitions - Chapter 1

Doug Sherr

© Copyright 2018 by Doug Sherr

Photo of the RichardLindabury-10-13-2011.

This story is the first chapter of a memoir. It details the moment when I knew I needed a new life and what i did about it.

The Triumph fired on the first kick. It’s a little sad when an English motorcycle is one of the more reliable things in life. When the bike was warmed up I still didn’t take off. The next twenty minutes would be a delightful ride down Chicago’s waterfront, but waiting for me was a windowless office and laboratory. At age twenty-six, I felt like that little kid on a perfect day who wants to play hooky; who just wants to play. I turned off the bike and went in the house to call the boss and skip a day. When he answered, I blurted out that I wanted to quit. Frank Iwatsuki was a brilliant engineer and a fine man.

He said, “Oh, that’s good Douglas, because you’re a terrible engineer. You should be an artist or poet or something.”. . .


A Successful Woman

Luxhmee Jaypaul

© Copyright 2018 by Luxhmee Jaypaul

Photo of a monarch butterfly.

In a small town lived a girl called Roshni. She was the sole daughter and has two brothers. She had educated and ultra-cultured parents who love her a lot. Furthermore, she livedin an extended family. She has spent an amazing childhood with her brothers and cousins. She was a dream weaver and she cherished her dreams a lot. She loved simple living but high thinking. She always wanted a happy life. She had her own ideologies and she followed it by heart. . . .

The Speech Contest

Charleine Sell

© Copyright 2018 by Charleine Sell

Girl at microphone.

As a shy, skinny, too tall ninth grader, I was devastated to learn I had been selected to give a speech before the whole school

September in St. Petersburg, Florida is always hot and humid, but during my ninth grade year in 1961 at yet another new school, I had a frightening experience that made me shiver with fear. I had attended 7 different schools over the years. The more recent ones were all in the St. Petersburg area; seventh grade at Madeira Beach Junior High, eighth grade at Lealman Junior High, and now ninth grade at Southside Junior High. Needless to say, I was a shy girl, skinny and too tall, who spoke in a whisper in class if I was called upon, and never ever, ever volunteered an answer. . . .


Pickle Girl

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2018 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo of a bowl of pickles.

At the end of the Second World War, the country of Japan lay in ruins. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were piles of rubble from atomic bombs with badly wounded people wandering around glassy eyed in need of medical care. People were starving throughout the nation because farmers, fearing Allied attacks, had failed to plant their yearly crops of rice.

It fell to General Douglas MacArthur and his Allied Forces to to enter the devastated country, spend time there, and attempt to “fix” the problems the War had created. Their efforts proved so successful that within 10 years, the average Japanese citizen was four inches taller (diet changes), lived an average six years longer (medical care), and enjoyed growing business success (trade with Europe and US). . . .

Second Job

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2018 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo of a $20 bill on a printer.

A few years into her retirement, it became abundantly clear to the Old Lady that her Social Security Retirement check of $800 a month would support a very frugal lifestyle, but it would not extend sufficiently to cover extraordinary expenses or expensive repairs. At the age of 80, heart disease had reduced her days to resting in a recliner, and her nights to sleeping in the same chair. A long plastic tube emerging from an oxygenator, pumped oxygen into her system to assist her breathing. She was, in effect, a disabled shut-in. It was not clear, under these circumstances, how she could devise a plan to supplement her income.
The Old Lady pondered this problem for several months. When no solutions came to mind, the stress of unpaid bills frequently interrupted her sleep, driving her blood pressure dangerously high. Finally, in the middle of one very long night, she awoke abruptly and the answer, so awesome in its simplicity, had been right in front of her the entire time. She needed a job to make money, so she would MAKE MONEY! . . .

The Resurrection of Palley

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2018 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo of marijauna growing in the woods.

. . .“What's that?”, asked the girl, pointing to a yellow swathe of color that was too large to be a bush or flower. The boy, who had little interest in flowers, but who could fix anything with moving parts, was driven by curiosity to see what lay partially hidden beneath the tangled weeds.

It's an old forklift”, said the boy, “rusted out, dirty, tangled with blackberry vines., paint faded until it nearly melded with the dead grasses.” “Useless!”, he repeated, but the challenge of fixing the impossible stirred within him. . . .



David Njuguna

© Copyright 2018 by David Njuguna

Photo of a mosuito.

Having long been plagued by the mosquitoes that reside in my backyard, I decided to write about the life of just a single one of them. I can’t be completely sure her name was Maya, but for the sake of the story, I assumed it was. Some bit and pieces might be a work of my imagination (the meeting with her suitor for example). . . .



Razel Suansing

© Copyright 2018 by Razel Suansing

Photo of a gesha.

Braids in my hair droop alongside my silky majestic gown. Dazzling chandeliers hover above me, crowning me with their enchanting illuminations. My father kisses me good night. I see him still wearing the bracelet I crafted for him when I was six. The tangled twigs tied along his wrist where his lifeline lies. . . .

Not Just Another History Lesson

Anne Organista

© Copyright 2018 by Anne Organista

Photo of name on 9/11 memorial plaque.

Every teacher has his or her moments of glory; those moments when students rise above their expectations or when lesson plans go awry only to be salvaged by a completely unexpected situation. I say this with much candor. In all my years of teaching, many little things made me happy, feel appreciated and loved. Nevertheless, it was this one event in 2001 back in the Philippines, when I felt especially proud. . . .


The Teacher

Mercy Godwin

© Copyright 2018 by Mercy Godwin


Photo of an apple on teacher's desk.

By 4am my alarm sounded and I opened my eyes reluctantly unwilling to move and still wanting to steal a few more hours of sleep but I resisted the urge and put off the alarm. I had only slept for four hours though I went to bed by 10pm it took about two hours before sleep finally came. I walked to the bath room after putting on a sweater since it was a cold morning, brushed my teeth and washed my face before going to the children's room to wake them up. . . .


The Edible Bird Farm

Ru Otto

© Copyright 2018 by Ru Otto

Photo of farm turkeys.

When I was eight years old, my father decided to start an edible bird farm and he invested in an assortment of ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys. One early spring day, we came home from school to a living room transformed into a brooder factory. He had cordoned off the entire room and had divided it into islands of boxes sitting on tables made of plywood and saw horses. Each box had a clutch of eggs under a lamp. After a few days, the sounds of chicks pecking their way out of their shells filled the room, which was by now about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and quite stuffy from the heat lamps. Soon, tiny yellow entities filled each box, and as the sound of their joyous cheeping and the pungent aroma of their continuous defecations filled the air, our home began to sound and smell like a chicken stockyard. . . .


Love: The Real Story

Melody Dawn

© Copyright 2018 by Melody DawnE

Painting of a cherub.

I hummed and sang. Spinning, twirling, dancing. Imagining and pretending. I was Cinderella. I was in love with prince charming. I hoped he would find me. Sometimes I was the princess other times it was my Barbie. I must have watched and reenacted Walt Disney’s Cinderella over a hundred times, dreaming of the day I would fall in love, get married, (wear a beautiful gown), and live happily ever after. . . .


The Fabric of Family    


Lane Dooling

© Copyright 2018 by Lane Dooling

Annual Family trip to La Jolla, CA.

Looking back, I have always been aware of how special family traditions are - as a child, teenager, young adult and now full circle as a parent. I remain a bit amazed at the power of simple family traditions - how the smallest practices seem sometimes defines the backdrop of family life. Like myself, I have known many people who to have a special meaning to be long remembered. Even more amazing is that they can be interwoven into the fabric of dysfunction that did not have easy childhoods but were able to come through them possibly clinging to the happiness and familiarity their family traditions brought, even if limited. I can't help but conclude that these reoccurring events or customs offer hope, comfort and optimism - golden sparkles amidst cloudy days. . . .


Of Sukkahs and Muezzins

DeVonna R. Allison

© Copyright 2018 by DeVonna R. Allison


Muezzin giving the call to prayer.

. . . .“Allahu akbar, allahu akbar…” the voice intoned and I realized, I was hearing the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer. The man issuing the adhan is called the muezzin. It was the first of five such calls that would issue forth that day and probably the one easiest to hear from my distance due to the quiet early morning. . . .


Lands of Corn

Maria Sanchez Martinez

© Copyright 2018 by Maria Sanchez Martinez

Photo of cactus and corn.

 My ancestors were the people of the corn. My hometown is surrounded by corn. So much of my family’s early life revolved around corn. This is the main subject of my story, a telling of a journey with corn as the epicenter. All that remains now in our lives are the few stalks of corn we plant in the backyard, a long ways away from what once such an important part of our everyday life. . . .


My Hidden Passion Found A Home in Love

Marvelous Ndigwe

© Copyright 2018 by 
Marvelous Ndigwe

Photo of her homemade carbonara.

This story, as the name implies, tells of how love can change the course of a person’s belief, to what they like but are denying its reality. Its central focus was on the love of cooking, but it is relatable to other areas of life where we tend to numb but need attention. It’s a story that will bring its readers fun and a need to search deep into themselves to find that hidden passion. . . .

Kind Hearted Woman

Bryant Ross

© Copyright 2018 by Bryant Ross

Photo of a hand holding a straight razor.

I only remember ever seeing my father drunk once.

I was six or seven years old and all I really remember about it was being scared of this big angry man who I suddenly didn’t recognize. Then pain and ringing in my ears, the taste of blood as he backhanded me across the face, dizziness as I lay on the floor, and terror as I saw him coming for me again. . . .

Concrete Ancients

Alex Jasinski

© Copyright 2018 by Alex JasinskiP


Photo of the "ancient" mirror.

This is a piece based on my travel experiences in mainland China (and influenced by three years spent living there) and focuses on the theme of authenticity and cultural heritage. While the original idea sprung out of a very specific trip I took a couple of summers ago, the idea behind this piece has since grown in size and scope. I hope readers will be able to relate to the issues described therein, as I feel that the questions and challenges addressed here remain pertinent wherever we go. . . .

Signs of the Road

Aube Rey Lescure

© Copyright 2018 by Aube Rey Lescure


Photo of a deer in the headlights.

This is not the story of the descent into Grand Canyon, which merits its own tale, but of the long road there as we drove through Nevada and Arizona with fear in our hearts. Faced with the unknown, we often lent meaning to signs. A series of curious occurrences, strange, terrifying, and beautiful, made the drive to the Canyon's rim an American odyssey of its own. . . .

Sea Change

Janet Campbell

© Copyright 2018 by Janet Campbell


Two people in a kayak at sea.

We hadn’t seen humans for quite some time. Until this morning. When a fisherman had returned to his shack to find us there. Chagrinned wouldn’t even begin to describe how we felt, but it had been a necessity.

We’re terribly sorry to intrude. We paddled that boat from the mainland,” Angus said pointing to our kayak. The man raised his eyebrows in surprise.

Has it got a motor?” he asked in a thick accent.

We laughed. “Just these,” I said and held up my arms, bronzed and taut from a couple of weeks on the water. . . .


Life in the Gulf

Val Vassay

© Copyright 2018 by Val Vassay

Spice seller in the Bahrain souk.

I landed in Bahrain for the first time in September 1978, one month before my 27th birthday. The minute the doors of the British Airways plane were opened the heat and humidity surged in. I’d expected it to be hot but nothing can prepare you for the fierce, bone-melting heat of the Persian Gulf.
After the seven-hour flight through the night from Heathrow, it was a relief to get off the plane and into the air-conditioned corridors of Bahrain airport. After planning this move from the United Kingdom for months, I was thrilled to have finally arrived on the tiny island that was to be home to my husband Jim and me for the next two years. . . .



Sayantan Basu

© Copyright 2018 by Sayantan Basu

Royal Bengal Tiger Sighting at Lalgarh.

Basu’s love for the wild has always drawn him to stories of encounters with wild animals, their sightings and captures. Predator is the narration of one such true story he fetched from the villages of Bengal. A tiger sighting in the forests of Lalgarh after 107 years had left authorities and villagers clueless. A two-month long operation followed in its pursuit with the tragic ending of the majestic creature being caught and put to death by the locals. The author ends up in a chance meeting with a survivor of that dreaded encounter only to realise the brutality of a predator. . . .


Define Stateless

Polly Alfano

© Copyright 2018 by Polly Alfano

Photo of a vineyard in Mendosa, Argentina.

A running joke my best friends have said about me is that I have Alzheimer’s. It’s not something that would usually cause laughter in people but if I told my friends now that I’m writing a memoir, they’d sure laugh at the irony. I have terrible memory—short-term, long-term, any term. If it wasn’t for diary entries I have my eleven-year-old self to thank for and retellings from my family and friends that spark the darkest corners of my brain, this memoir would be one page long—today’s activities. . . .


A Painful Introduction to Real Life

John Sayles

© Copyright 2018 by John Sayles

Greenhouse nursery staff.  John is in the middle.
The greenhouse nursery staff, before arrival of displaced people.  L to R: Mark, wartime rear gunner, Jean, wartime army veteran, John, Fran, expert flower packer, Norman, veteran of RAF in India, and Les.

 This story represents a short, painful introduction to manhood for a young sixteen year old lad working in a small glasshouse nursery and meeting men who had suffered and taught me much about human spirit. My first real step in to manhood.

It all started dear reader with a little part-time school holiday job helping to pick tomatoes. Have you ever picked lots of tomatoes, especially in a hot, humid greenhouse. The lovely tangy smell given off as one brushes against the swaying greenery of the plants attached to string above ones head. . . .



Ridley Walsh

© Copyright 2018 by Ridley Walsh


Riders on a trail.

This story is about the time I got to ride horses in the mountains through a trail. . . .


A Mother's Love

Stephanie Guzman

© Copyright 2018 by Stephanie Guzman

Stephanie with her mother on her 4th birthday.

. . . .Every single night I dreamt of the day, that I would finally be able to leave my mother’s house. The day I would finally be free to be myself without being judged or ridiculed. The years went by painfully slow; my infancy felt like an eternity. My childhood felt like a prison sentence. My mother was the prison warden, and I lived in her somber shadows of destruction....


Young Criminals

Susan Grant

© Copyright 2018 by Susan Grant

Photo of a firecracker explosion.

This essay is about the free spirit we have during our childhood that sometimes goes amuck. Visit the crime scene and have a laugh or two with the Young Criminals.

If “Most Wanted” posters existed for kids of middle school age and younger, my three siblings and I would have been plastered up in post offices around the country. My parents realized early in our lives that they were raising a bunch of young criminals. . . .


Close Encounters of the Squirrel Kind

Michelle Staloff

© Copyright 2018 by Michelle Staloff

Photo of a squirrel eating a french fry.

Nature has always been an important part of my life, but I have mostly experienced it at a distance. I am pleased to share this story of an encounter I had with a wild animal. . . .

Clarion Call

Dorcas Iliya Itse

© Copyright 2018 by
Dorcas Iliya Itse 


Photo of the author.

Living in a country and hearing on a daily basis the kidnapping and killings of commuters on the road and the road crash accidents that claims so many lives is enough reason for one not to have any interest in travelling. Consequently, denying one the opportunity to explore, learn and create new things in his or her environment. . . .


Accidental Vagabond

Samantha Scrivens

© Copyright 2018 by Samantha Scrivens

Photo of a Budda in Kauai, Hawaii.

I never meant to become a vagabond. While reading Rolf Pott’s guide to the rolling stone lifestyle, I romanticized the notion of long term travel and seeing the world without agenda like one might fantasize a Roman holiday with a rainbow array of gelatos and Vespas. But only to find the Trevi Fountain swarming like a big box store on Black Friday with tourists clutching cameras, elbowing each other for the best Instagram angle, there was an unexpected dark side to vagabonding. . . .


Breathing Deeply

Heather J. Kirk

© Copyright 2018 by Heather J. Kirk 


Photo of lilies.  (c) by Heather J. Kirk

(c) Heather J. Kirk

. . . .Celtic Christians called them “Thin Places,” locations where the membrane between heaven and earth was thinner than other places. I found mine speeding across the Caribbean Sea, looking at waves reflecting the most amazing blue, against alternating sandy and rocky shores, edged with the protected, lush green forest of the Dominican Republic. Suddenly a combination of joy and peace touched the top of my head, filled me up, then with a whoosh, pushed out through sandy toes. It was as if the Breath of Life had just passed through me. Or, I had passed through it. The thought paired with this joy was, "I need to live here.”. . .


Song of Love

Anisha Dutta


© Copyright 2018 by Anisha Dutta

Photo of pink and red lilies.

True story based on my own emotional involvement.

PRELUDE: Love flows forever

I was enjoying short stay in Uncle’s house. In afternoon, while chatting, crackling sound at garden gate distracted me. I cast a glance, time made a pause.

Bright was entering. Under sudden intense restless turbulence of mind, my heart beats accelerated. . . .


Fables and Fertility: Pobiti Kamani

Koji A. Dae

  © Copyright 2018 by Koji A. Dae


The magic circle of th estone forest of Pobiti Kamani.

Pobiti Kamani is my favorite place in Bulgaria. As a tiny desert, it feels like home to me. When I feel lonesome and miss Arizona, I return to Pobiti Kamani to help ground myself. The amazing tales I've heard about the geological formation since my first visit have only increased my appreciation for this land formation. . . .

The Fifth Grade Girlfriend

Eileen W. Fisher

© Copyright 2018 by Eileen W. Fisher


Photo of two theatre tickets.

Rejection of one’s friendship hurts at any age, but it was especially painful to me as a lonely fifth-grader trying to extend a school friendship beyond the confines of the schoolyard. I want to share this story in the belief that others have experienced similar situations as myself when I was struggling to understand how others perceived me. I have come to perceive of myself as a worthy person. . . .

A Global View on the Concept of Immigration

Chika Obi

© Copyright 2018 by Chika Obi

Photo of a poster about a Nigerian celebration in Houston.
This is a piece buttressing the point of the universality of the concept of immigration. It also details the various angles to it – with relevant statistics and extrapolations.

In the contemporary world, the concept of globalization is so tangible, that it cannot be dismissed. In fact, all other issues appear to revolve around it. According to Pedro Nicola da Costa, “Humankind has been globalizing at one pace or another, ever since it first walked the planet"[1]. This goes on to support the notion that globalization, is not anything close to a new concept. . . .



Evelyn Hootman

© Copyright 2018 by Evelyn Hootman

Photo of students taking a test.

This story is when I just started high school and one (history) class changed me immensely as a person.

Perfection. Is it the constant success on any subject or being free from error and flaw? Does it pertain to each individual or can it be grasped as one ultimate end goal for all? . . .


Frank McCloud

Diane Martin

© Copyright 2018 by Diane Martin

Photo of Diane and her father.

A tribute to his fortitude, perseverance, and compassion, this biographical essay references events in my late father's life covering fifty years. This piece was first published in New London Writers in 2017.
Frank McCloud had discovered two discarded, dead babies in his life, one close to its beginning, the second near its end. The first of the unbearably tiny creatures had been drowned, the other smothered. Each granted only the slightest breath of brief beginning. . . .
The Place We Now Live

Chika Obi

© Copyright 2018 by Chika Obi

Photo of a poster about a Nigerian celebration in Houston.

My siblings and I were born into an environment that made us bother less about the exuberant side of life. We were born and bred in a town called Ihioma; located in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State – one of the five eastern states in Nigeria. Such an apparently low-class town, with far-fetched signs of development. The streams were the main sources of water supply and the power supply then was obviously epileptic. But that was the haven of activities, we came to know. . . .


Notes from Old Nevsky Prospect

Diane Martin

© Copyright 2018 by Diane Martin

Photo of 93 Nevsky Prospect.

Achieving my life long dream of moving to St. Petersburg, Russia, I learned first hand that Dostoyevsky was as pertinent as ever. This piece of creative nonfiction pays homage to his story, Notes From the Underground. It was first published in 2017 in Open: Journal of Arts and Letters. . . .


Resting Place of Anton Sviridenko

Diane Martin

© Copyright 2018 by Diane Martin


Photo of Anton Sviridenko.

 In this account of a rather unorthodox trip, my young Russian friend and I, in loco maternis, journey to discover the site of his great-grandfather's war grave in Germany to fulfill a promise to his grandmother. We find that in war, as in other traumatic disruptions, nothing is straightforward. . . .


Pets of the Humanoid Kind

Glad McGough

© Copyright 2018 by Glad McGough

Unidentified Australian animal.

I want to tell you about our pet varmints. We live in a hills suburb of the capital city of Western Australia – nothing too exclusive about that – except for us, we love it. Although we have houses next door and both ways along a highly used road, opposite and around various corners, and behind us is another conclave of houses – so I guess you could say we live in a built-up area where dogs live next door and behind us, a stray cat meows past occasionally sussing out a free meal; but actually, I think she lives over the road, and at times the bird twittering’s are joined by a rooster’s crow, so we live in a quiet un-intrusive community, where you would only know your immediate neighbours, but, yes, we love it and so do our family of varmints. . . .


Making History - Ciao Italia

Desiree Kendrick

© Copyright 2018 by Desiree Kendrick

Photo of Desiree's daughter, Ana, at Pompeii.

This  is a snapshot of three generations of women traveling together in Italy. A contemporary journey initially planned to experience our ancestral roots. It remains one of my favorite holidays. The aromas, the tastes, the architectural wonders jotted in my travel journal. However, it was the shared laughter and unexpected mishaps that made the trip memorable.

We called it our trip of a lifetime. Four women and one girl headed to Italy. Mother had recently turned eighty. Daughter Ana was barely twelve years old. My two sisters and I lay somewhere in between. Suitcases packed we unzipped our sense of adventure. . . .


An Episode for Myself

Maryam Iftikhar

© Copyright 2018 by Maryam Iftikhar

Photo of a sunrise.

I am a citizen of Pakistan. I am a twenty years old engineering student doing undergraduate degree from International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI). I am a student of Software Engineering. I am the only sibling, my father is a school principal whereas my mother was a house wife. I come from a separated family that is why I live with my maternal aunt. Moreover, I aim to render services for my country and I am interested in philanthropy. Additionally my hobbies include, writing and watching movies. I also read a bit and like to spend time with my family. . . .


The Dog, The Desert, and Me

Doug Sherr

© Copyright 2018 by Doug Sherr

Photo of a poodle in the desert.

It was early morning in the Mojave Desert as my girlfriend Judy and I were in her truck heading to California after a season of skiing. Just over a gentle rise, the road was painted with a long black arcing skid mark. Bits of torn aluminum around the dented guardrail spoke of a shredded motor home. In the middle of this scene sat a tiny, white poodle. This Life Magazine image came in a passing flash at sixty miles an hour. In that instant, Judy and I exchanged glances and knew we had to help the poodle. I braked and then backed up near the poodle. . . .

South Meadow

Doug Sherr

© Copyright 2018 by Doug Sherr

Photo of a coyote howling at night.

It was the third, maybe the forth night up on the hill—ten thousand four hundred-feet up the backside of Ajax, called Aspen Mountain on maps. I had finished my late evening brandy and Swiss Miss, doused the fire, and crawled into the pup tent and the warm nest of my sleeping bag. Snug in the tent, I felt that smugness of right place—right time. Just as sleep was easing up the sound of a dozen banshees screaming exploded around the tent. The wailing, screaming seemed to be inside my skull. It went on and on—the gates of hell had opened. I think I levitated. Actually, it was coyotes. I yelled out. Off they went down the hill yipping all the way. I’m not being anthropomorphic, they were laughing. Welcome to the neighborhood. . . .


Dirty Nails

Minh Vu

© Copyright 2018 by Minh Vu

Photo of woman having their tonails done.

I was born in my family’s nail salon. It was in the waxing room, and my first swaddle was made up of giant waxing strips. Normally, they’re used to tear the hair off people’s pubes. For me, they were warmth and protection.  

I was raised within glass doors kept shiny with diluted Windex, among towering boxes of acetone, and atop giant pedicure thrones. Such was my childhood kingdom. Alphabet blocks were replaced by white Arial stickers I used to spell out “JEL MANICURE” and “BIKIKNEE WAX” on the price board. Instead of bicycles I rode bumper cars with the pedicure stools. And the rest of my time I spent trying to fit my toddler toes into the pastel foot separators that looked like mini combs. . . .


Jungle Time

Doug Sherr

© Copyright 2018 by Doug Sherr

Photo of The Lost City of La Laguna.

. . . .The Choco called the Cuna, “The Silent Ones.” While we talked I felt that we were characters in a Joseph Conrad short story. I bought him a beer and we talked of his childhood in the jungle. He was in his late fifties and had been raised in the old ways. He was rich by tribal standards, but he was thinking of retiring and didn’t know what to do. He really didn’t belong in either world. I bought him another beer and left him thinking about his future and maybe whether he would look silly if he started wearing a loincloth again. . . .


Don Shook

© Copyright 2018 by Don Shook

Photo of a Texas ranch gate.

 This story is based on an ongoing relationship between father and son which was fairly typical of small-town North Texas during the 1950's.  Affection was expressed by a silent bond, assumed rather than expressed.  But it was strong and stable...carrying over into adulthood.  One that would seem unrecognizable by today's standards. . . .


Minh Vu

© Copyright 2018 by Minh Vu

Photo of a cigarette burning in an ash tray.

Childhood memories of my father are hazy. They remind me of the cigarette smoke that filled the car every morning on the way to school. These swirls would always dance to my finger’s conducting, then slowly evacuate through the tiny window crack. I thought these swirls were what wind would look like if it weren’t invisible. . . .


Life on the Road without any Brakes

Don Carter

© Copyright 2018 by Don Carter

Photo of a water hole with a warning sign.

More reliably than anything else on earth, the road will force you to live in the present.” Gloria Steinem

It’s not like I thought I was going to die.

My canteen had run dry the previous day, the last of my granola two days before that. I desperately missed the water, the granola not so much. Sure, I was in a desert without food and water, dehydrated, exhausted, a Barry Manilow tune stuck in my head, but I didn’t think it would kill me. By the thirtieth chorus I only hoped it would. . . .


Into the Stormtroopers

Don Carter

© Copyright 2018 by Don Carter

Hinckley with photo of Hitler.

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

George Orwell, 1984
As a younger man I seldom gave thought to motivation or consequence. I felt compelled to take risks – to seek out the dark places and walk with the beasts – but the nearest I got to reflection was when I inevitably picked myself up, checked for injuries and wondered, “What the hell was I thinking?”. . .


Love, Religion, and Douglas Firs

Kathleen Bustamante

© Copyright 2018 by Kathleen Bustamante


Photo of t he Oregon coast.

Oregon captured my heart as a young child, and as a teen I determined that one day I would make a home near the craggy coast and among the douglas firs of this magical corner of the Pacific Northwest. This narrative recounts my journey between continents, into and out of love, and around two religions that eventually brought me home.  

I'll admit it. I'm not an Oregon native, but I should have been. Physically I've lived here for 14 years, but my heart took up residence when I was a small child. . . .


Unusual Luck

Lauren Stein

© Copyright 2018 by Lauren Stein

Photo of women and children at Auschwitz.

 It describes my grandmother's unusual and lucky (in terms of both good and bad) life and experiences.

 One of the few surviving historical photos of my family depicts my grandmother as a little girl, crowned with a bow the size of her head, posing with her parents and three of her elder siblings. This was only half the family – the older four children were elsewhere. The photo is in black and white and their expressions are all very solemn, as if they are already aware of the grim destiny awaiting them. Only one of those four children died a natural, age related death. Sometimes I look at that photo and I wonder, how was it decided which one got to live? . . .


Silent Night in Vermont

Mackenzy Phillips

© Copyright 2018 by Mackenzy Phillips

Photo of author and her dog.

Leaving the city early proved to be the right decision. The traffic on the way up on I-87 was very heavy, I suppose everyone else in New York had had the same idea. It was early March and we thought we’d get some late skiing in. As we listened to country music in the SUV, the automated traffic reports kept breaking in; “Weather Advisory Alert for Wyndham County, and Windsor County. Nor’easter due to reach the greater Boston area, New Hampshire and Southern Vermont. Do not travel unless absolutely necessary”. . . .

Walk on the Wild Side

Mackenzy Phillips

© Copyright 2018 by Mackenzy Phillips

Photo of author and her dog.

I had left England behind and moved to the beautiful region of the Dordogne in Southwest France in October 2015. After days of unpacking clothes and kitchenware and artwork, I decided as it was a beautiful October sunny afternoon I would take myself and my soulmate; Doodles out for a walk to enjoy our new surroundings. It seemed a good idea to immediately start familiarizing myself to the local villages with a long term view to finding the perfect renovation project to buy as our home. . . .


Doubtful Heart

Mikaela Law

© Copyright 2018 by Mikaela Law

Photo of a water lily bud.

I am not me. It takes a long time to find yourself, sometimes I wonder if some people ever find themselves. For a while, I had thought I knew exactly who I was, who I wanted to be, and I thought it was easily attainable. That's not how it goes at all. One day I thought I knew who I was, and the next I realized there wasn't one true thing I could tell you about me. I had become who I thought I was, who I thought I needed to be. I was not me. I am still not me. But I'm trying to find her. I think if I want to find myself, I first would have to figure out who I was, who I’m becoming. . . .

Citizen God

Valerie Marcley

© Copyright 2018 by Valerie Marcley

Photo of Limelighters album cover.
Lou with residents of Morning Star Ranch.
God Made may have made the World, but Can He Own It? The Joke was on the Almighty when Folk-singer and Guru Lou Gottlieb Deeded Him his Hippie Commune and the State of California Ruled that God was Not a Responsible Party.

For some California state officials, the quip, “loved the sixties, but can’t remember them,” might be rephrased, “loathed the sixties and don’t want to remember them”. . . .


The Ghosts of Yesteryear

Sarah Howard

© Copyright 2018 by Sarah Howard

Photo of man the original Mercy Medical Center.

While I have never been a ghost hunter and usually do not entertain the idea of such elusive beings as ghosts whisking through the air, there are times, such as this, that almost tempt me to do so.  In a strange and completely real turn of events, a hundred-year-old building came to life in more ways than one.

Some old buildings are drenched in mystery, regardless of their intended purpose or how many times they have been remodeled. I have often considered that the grand, century-old, empty building down the street was no exception, and furthermore, I stick to the opinion that I have been proven right. . . .


The Picture in the Pink Purse

Sarah Howard

© Copyright 2018 by Sarah Howard

Photo of man in pink dress shoes.

This narrative is one of many opportunities I've had to hear peoples' stories – simple, quick interactions with ordinary people whose lives have deeply touched mine.

A conversation I remember as one of the most memorable of my retail career involved myself, an elderly lady, and the mutually beloved color pink, during the month when the frozen greyness of winter finally gives way to the fresh bloom of the new season. The woman, who looked about 75 years old, arrived at my register, clad in pinks of different shades, busy but stylish, and asked to purchase a shirt. Used to making small talk with my customers, I commented on her pink purse and wallet, explaining that I loved pink and had just purchased pink mixing bowls and spatulas. . . .


Beyond the Binary

Sapphire Cianfriglia

© Copyright 2018 by Sapphire Cianfriglia

Drawing of the yin yang symbol.

This is a story of personal discovery. Sometimes we go through life wondering things about ourselves, but never bother searching for the answers to those questions. For those of us who do go looking, surprising things can be found. These things not only reveal profound truths about ourselves, but of all of humanity. If you've only ever thought that a person could be a man or a woman, you're in for a shock. This and more you can discover if you read on. This is my life. . . .


Walking The Cat

Tamzin Whelan

© Copyright 2018 by Tamzin Whelan


Photo of a Korean message in sticks.

I moved to South Korea to teach English in my mid twenties. The people I met and worked with were warm and kind, but I was lonely nonetheless, living by myself at the foot of a mountain on the outskirts of a small city. This encounter in the capital changed my life in Korea and helped me feel at home in the land around me. . . .


The Cat, The Car, and The Cousins

Douglas Courtney

© Copyright 2018 by Douglas Courtney


Photo of a black kitten with white socks.

Unlike my wife I don’t care for cats. Not that I don’t like them. I just don’t care for them. My wife thinks they are cuddly, cute, smart, and playful. Me? Well they are cats. They crawl on you, claw you, and bite you if given the chance. And those are the ones that like you. Cats are tricky, stealthy and not to be trusted. They demand to be treated on their own terms, including when and how they get petted or fed. Reminds me sometimes of dealing with women. Guess that’s why cats are so associated with the female gender. . . .


Remembering Al-Andalus
(Taken from yet-to-be-published Ebook “Whistle-Stops” by Husna Kassim)

Husna Kassim

© Copyright 2018 by Husna Kassim


Photo of the Alhambra grounds from the Palacio del Generalife.
      Photo of the Alhambra grounds from the Palacio del Generalife.

Remembering Al-Andalus” is about a short journey the Author undertook to the long-gone era of Moorish Spain in the spring of 2016. Travelling through Spain presented opportunities to discover fine architecture & lyric poetry, a Moorish legacy, which, looking back, triggered a sense of melancholy & a longing for time past. The Alhambra is one of Islamic World’s most beautiful creations, a result of intricate blend of the elements of Islamic art & architecture in combination with enchanting gardens and fountains. Deciding to watch a bullfight in Madrid and soaking up flamenco music in the gypsy caves of Sacromonte, all on a whim, was truly liberating. Caught in a myriad of colours of Sunday’s congregation at Cordoba’s Mezquita-Cathedral was unforgetable. . . .


The Sun Will Come Out

Caitlyn Martin

© Copyright 2018 by Caitlyn Martin

Photo of a dark sunrize.  (c) 2003 by Richard Loller.

Life isn’t lived without challenges, difficult times, or disaster. These could be losing a loved one, failing grades, relationship problems, economic strife, or a lack of faith in oneself or their future. These are just natural occurrences that must be endured as we go through our existence just as we experience things like happiness, contentment, and peace. That doesn’t mean that they are easy to deal with, however, and all too often the stress from them are too much for people to handle. . . .


The Seeds of My Family Tree

Elyse Kallen

© Copyright 2018 by Elyse Kallen

James and Molly, a match made (maybe literally) in heaven.

I’ve always been fascinated by genealogy, but it’s the family stories that bring the names on dusty pages to life. In this piece, I recount some of my relatives’ more interesting love stories and take a closer look at how romance has changed—or stayed the same—in the decades between us.

It is a truth universally acknowledged...that in many cases, you can’t choose your family, and once you have them, you’re stuck with them, warts, high cholesterol and all. But as Jane Austen knew better than most, the one exception for many of us is when we choose a partner with whom to start our own family tree. . . .



Judith D. Galleros

© Copyright 2018 by Judith D. Galleros

Photo of Bruno.

You've got a friend in me...

He joyfully sings those lines from the Michael Jackson song while busy brushing his tattered denim. Between lines he pauses and occasionally makes sighs though not long but a number of times. Somewhat, there are questions he wants to ask but can’t figure them out verbally. . . .


All I want is to settle and live happily and prosperously in my country, but why can’t I?

Baltazar H. Sabado Jr.

© Copyright 2018 by
Baltazar H. Sabado Jr.

Photo of a travel poster for Japan.

This is a story of our family of four of whom were all born in different countries and have one way or another experienced living in a country other than our birth place except for our youngest who was born in the country where we are currently living; Japan.  This story is about how we transitioned to a new life in Japan and the major challenges our family faced during our moved to Japan, our first year in Japan, our day to day living in Japan and how we assimilated to the Japanese society. . . .
River of Turquoise

Deon Matzen

© Copyright 2018 by Deon Matzen


Photo of old houses in Fenghuang.

I stand in a river of turquoise, turquoise as bright and beautiful as the roofs of old temples in Tibet. I am in a mountain valley, narrow, quiet, and surrounded by azure mountains soaring behind the village which lines the banks of this blue-green river. There is the babble of people talking on the banks and the slapping sound of washing being beating against rocks. . . .


Mars: Dreams, Predictions, and Reality

Svetlana Zernes

© Copyright 2018 by Svetlana Zernes


Photo of a crater on Marz.  Credit to NASA.
For centuries, people created their ideas and visions about Mars. Some predictions finally came true, even more did not.

Let’s take a look at the accuracy of famous (and infamous) historical ideas about the Red Planet. . . .


Grandma's Stories
Tupa's Indian Stories and Me

Shelley Marichal

© Copyright 2018 by Shelley Marichal

Photo of Shelley's great grandparents, Francois Suprenault and Sophie Stinweskit.
Francois Suprenault and Sophie Stinweskit., Shelley's great grandparents.

. . . .My grandmother was a product of Okanagan and Blackfoot Indian and French background. The wisdom passed on to her from her parents and grandparents transcends time and brings new meaning to my life as I continue to grow and experience the world around me with my own family.

As a child, I used to love to sit and listen to the stories of the past that my grandmother would pass on to me. To my knowledge they have never been written down and have been stored away in my memory of treasures. Whether they are 100% truth, I don’t know and it isn’t important to me. I often reflect back and realize that sometimes she had a glint in her eye with a smile breaking through under her story telling. I am sure that she elaborated on certain details just to see me squirm. . . .


Fluorosis the Mystery Disease

Kavitha  Yarlagadda

© Copyright 2018 by Kavitha Yarlagadda


Photo of children suffering from Fluorosis.

A quiet village, people going around their daily chores in a mundane way, all seems well, but as you go further into the village, we come across young children limping around, a crippled man dragging himself on the ground to move around and a stooped woman going about her work, this is the sight that greets us, as we enter Cherlapally, in Nalgonda District, a small village hardly 100 km from the famous city of Hyderabad, with around 1050 families. Around 50% of the people of this village are suffering from Fluorosis of both types dental and skeletal fluorosis. . . .

When Round Trip Becomes One Way

Victoria Blakey

© Copyright 2018 by Victoria Blakey


Photo of the author.

I was so excited but wondered how I’d fare on the long flight and road trip to my destination in Gambia, West Africa. My right leg still ached from a torn hamstring and sitting for such a long time surely would irritate it I thought. I planned this six-week vacation for a time to relax, explore and heal. What I wasn’t excited about was the tedious journey to get to my destination. My route included a two-hour flight to New York, a seven and one-half hour flight to Dakar, Senegal, West Africa, and over an eight-hour road trip to reach Gambia. . . .

Your Roots Are Showing

Amie McGraham

© Copyright 2018 by Amie McGraham


Photo of flowers and a lake in the sunset.

This story goes beyond a typical cross-country road trip travelogue; it’s a deep exploration into the soul of a family caregiver. I wrote snippets of the trip as I drove across country, eventually ending up at my childhood home to care for my mother with Alzheimer’s. It took time and courage to piece it together, and like most of my writing lately, the words are woven together by the inescapable thread of dementia. . . .

A Delicate Balance

Sara Etgen-Baker

© Copyright 2018 by Sara Etgen-Baker

Photo of the  Chihuahan Desert.

This is a true account of the move my husband and I made from my native North Texas to the Chihuahan Desert near El Paso, Texas. Although I agreed to support my husband in relocating, I was bitter and resentful and wanted to turn back. But within hours of our arrival, the dusty terrain and simple landscape of the Chihuahan Desert taught me an invaluable lesson. . . .

The Stranger in the Box

Sara Etgen-Baker

© Copyright 2018 by Sara Etgen-Baker

Photo of Grandpa Etgen.

This is a true account of my experience years ago when I was given the key to my grandmother’s attic. I set about exploring her attic, curious about my family. I was not disappointed for her attic was a treasure trove waiting to be explored.

I approached the door leading into my grandmother’s attic. Using her skeleton key, I turned the lock; opened the door; and stepped inside, the floor creaking beneath my feet. I fumbled my way across the dimly-lit attic toward a nearby dormer window and wiped the grime from it, letting the morning light stream in. . . .

The Phone Call

Cheryl Ferguson Bernini

© Copyright 2018 by 
Cheryl Ferguson Bernini

Photo of Cheryl and her mother.

My mom, Anne, was diagnosed with a rare heart condition when I was 15 and a sophomore in high school. Due to this illness, she was always speaking with a doctor or laboratory. What you are about to experience is one of those conversations. As you can see from the picture, my mom was a genuinely fun-loving woman, and we had a great time together while she was here. . . .


An Evening of Unfortunate Events

Karina Kamran

© Copyright 2018 by Karina Kamran

  Photo of sea waves.

In a big white house on a quiet street, a pen furiously attacks each blank page. Wielded by a magician on the rampage, her stories must be told and their magic needs to be spread. Smiling as she weaves another tale, her desire for caffeine is real and her stomach’s demands for pizza ought to be met. . . .


The Hill

Bill Cox

© Copyright 2018 by Bill Cox

Photo of female roe deer with fawn.
I was born in Aberdeen, a busy Scottish city that sits on the coast of the North Sea. After some youthful travels I returned there and now live with my partner Hilary in a cottage on the edge of the city. Our home is surrounded by crop fields where wheat is grown for the whisky industry, but on the edge of our small horizon we can see the housing estates of the city’s Bridge of Don suburb. In reality there are only three fields between us and suburbia and I have no doubt that one day the housing estates will come out to meet us. There’s a certain inevitability to it, like a rising tide.

For now though, we live in the countryside and not the city. Our surroundings are given over to farming, but five minutes walk from my front door is a small hill that has, over the years, become our own little nature reserve. We call it the hill, but it barely registers on an Ordinance Survey map. However, its contours are such that putting it to crop is more trouble than its worth, so it is left as a small piece of wild land surrounded by industrially farmed fields. . . .


The Eagle Lesson

Judith Nakken 


© Copyright 2018 by Judith Nakken   


Photo of a flying bald eagle.

What did I know from bald eagles? The national bird, right? Had I ever seen one? Geez. While Nancy stood there waiting for my answer, I searched my mind through a whole disastrous train trip from Whittier to the San Diego Zoo during the mid-60’s with another woman, five kids under ten, and a hellacious hangover. (And the bus ride back, straight through the Watts Riot, thanks to my bleary-eyed reading of the train schedule. But, that’s a story for another time.) Monkeys, giraffes, foxes, snakes bounced to and fro in my memory banks … no eagles. . . .


Roaring Into Bulawayo's Royal Treat

Ndaba Sibanda

© Copyright 2018 by Ndaba Sibanda

Rhino viewing at Matobo National Park.

It was an inspiringly cool August afternoon when the Boeing 767 carrying Ahmed landed majestically in the center of the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport runway, 25 km to the north of Bulawayo. That Friday I was glad that Ahmed, my former student from Kuwait, had finally arrived in Bulawayo. After exchanging some warm and excited greetings, he remarked,” “Beautiful airport. I like it!” I smiled, “Though small in size, it is our gateway to such amazing world heritage sites as the Khami Ruins and the Matobo Hills”. . . .

Goodbyes, Anticipated and Unanticipated

Paul Dominic

© Copyright 2018 by Paul Dominic

Photo of sun rays behand clouds.

. . .“Is your mother alive?” The question invariably came up when an individual or group interacted with me personally. For years it brought me certain pain. So I would answer simply yes, though with an obvious reluctance. As years passed I learnt to give another answer, more comfortably. I remember one occasion in the opening exchange with 30-odd retreatants at Shillong, India. A British Sister, the Principal of their College, asked me, “Are your parents alive?” I answered, “Yes, alive, fully alive.” I noticed that she looked puzzled, as also many others! So I repeated, “They’re alive… yes, fully alive in Heaven!” That was more than satisfactory, if surprising, to my audience; it elicited their spontaneous smile! . . .



Elana Renata

© Copyright 2018 by 

Photo of a red tail hawk.  (c) 2018 by Audubon.

I became enraptured with raptors such as Red Tail Hawks, Great Horned Owls, Peregrine Falcons, and Bald Eagles when I started working at the veterinary clinic at the University of Minnesota.

Henry and I met through Maggie, the first year Red-Tail Hawk.  She sat proudly on his wrist at the Midwest Falconer’s Meeting held at The Raptor Center.  A dark morph, red plumage tinged with gold, she flapped her wings and stamped her talons impatiently on Henry’s fist. . . .


The Hatchet Man Cometh

Joe DiMiceli

© Copyright 2018 by Joe DiMiceli

Photo of an AA sign.

 You’ve probably read or heard a gazillion first person stories by alcoholics or their families describing the heartbreak of addiction. But have you ever seen a narrative from the employer’s (or his agent’s) point of view? I worked for the New York office of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) from 1978 to 1985. My title was Administrative Officer, but my work was closer to Human Resources Officer, hiring, firing, discipline and training and I want to relate my experiences counselling alcoholics, but first we need some background. . . .



Virginia Strickland

© Copyright 2018 by Virginia Strickland

Photo of a dark city park.

A shadow began dancing towards my bench. Every night I sit on this bench and wait for someone to show up. Well, two people to show up. They are different every night. There is no way that the same people could be reused. The shadow seemed to be swaying back and forth with its arms moving to and fro. Its owner came shortly after, walking away from the streetlight. There was my second person. . . .



Claire Frances Maley


© Copyright 2018 by Claire Frances Maley

Photo of two ginger kittens.

Timely ripped from her Mother’s womb, Pol entered the world one snowy November morning. She nearly killed her Mother. “What a bruiser! She’ll play Hockey for England.” The nurse said.

As soon as Pol could stand, she pulled open the net curtain and waved Dad off to work. He’d laugh, wave and blow kisses back. She continued to wave until long after he’d driven out of sight. Upon returning home, Pol waited on him, cooking him an imaginary feast in her plastic, toy kitchen.

At three and a half, Pol craned her neck and stepped on the hospital wall pipes beside the glass crib to meet her newly born brother. Why was Mother speaking to this white, wriggling, strange creature with unusual tenderness? Why did he have an orange cast where hair was meant to be? “Your brother is going to have red hair like your great grandfather,” said Dad ruffling Pol’s blond curls. With his face scrunched, her brother let out an almighty squeal. . . .


On Coping

Carolina Williams

© Copyright 2018 by Carolina Williams

Photo of a child's hand held by an adult.

If ever there was something easier said than done, it was being a kid. Adults wearing stiff blazers recline in their brown leather office chairs and welcome any wave of nostalgia that takes them back to childhood, when they were carefree and overflowing with enthusiasm for weeds that resembled flowers and dreams that were mistaken for reality. But, unknowingly, they now view childhood through a lens of sentimentality — an excessive fondness and tenderness that masks the physical struggles and emotional pitfalls that frequently explode in the day to day life of a kid. . . .


The Snowdon Panther

Rachael Bates

© Copyright 2018 by Rachael Bates

Photo of Burt, a wild gaur, the bison of Southern India.

Not many people grow up with a pet bison. We called ours Burt. The locals were always telling us about bison aggression towards humans, but Burt, enormous-hairy-Burt, seemed content to watch us from the forest behind the backyard fence. He visited us a few times a week and we grew rather fond of him, learning to recognize him by a chunk of flesh missing from one of his ears. On occasion he snuck into my mother’s vegetable garden and created havoc with his hooves, or tore up our lawn with his eager grazing. Other than that, he was a welcome addition to our bevy of animals, which included horses and ponies, dogs and cats, chickens, and the occasional baby bird. In all my time living in Ooty, a town perched high in the mountains of South India, Burt was perhaps the largest bison I ever saw. . . .



Chris Smith

© Copyright 2018 by Chris Smith

The Peaceable Kingdom, a painting by Edward Hicks.

One of the meanings of peace is, freedom from turmoil and war. One of the definitions of turmoil is, a confused or agitated state. Furthermore, peace is freedom, which is to be released and set free from turmoil, confusion, agitation, hostility, and conflict. . . .

A Ladybird

Laura Labno

© Copyright 2018 by Laura Labno

Photo of a ladybird beetle.

I was sitting on a park bench. It was a warm and pleasant day. It was early in the evening and the setting sun was still gently hitting my back. I could smell all the good things one could smell during such a day; the fresh evening air, green grass and spring flowers. Yes, it was a good day, a beautiful day indeed but I wasn't able to apprecite it. My head was filled with thoughts that were dark and gloomy and even the brigteness of the sun wasn't able to overcome their depth. I was holding my notebook in my hands and all I wanted was to express all these things. . . .

The Best Word

Sharon Hodson

© Copyright 2018 by Sharon Hodson

Photo of Sharon and grandchildren.

I’ve worn many hats in my almost 58 years on this earth. I’ve been a daughter and a granddaughter. I’m still a niece and a cousin. I’m a sister, an aunt, a great-aunt. I’m a friend and  a co-worker.  I’m a mom. I’m a grandmother.   

My favourite season has always been fall. Fall is beautiful and colourful. Where I live here in Edmonton, Canada, the weather in September, even October,  can be wonderfully warm. Sometimes it’s even hot (well, hot for Edmonton, Canada - in fall) in early to mid-September.

Almost 58 years old - could be considered the ‘fall’ of life, or at least late summer.  It feels like it to me - beautiful, colourful and warm. This is the story of how I came to cherish this part of my life. . . .

The Illusion of Inspiration

Erin Darby Gesell

© Copyright 2018 by Erin Darby Gesell


Photo of moon setting over the ocean.

I am a runner. In the physical sense—I train for and compete in ultra distance races on the regular, and I wish it were socially acceptable to run everywhere I go rather than walk—and in a less literal sense in that I need to skip town as frequently as possible.

In an emotionally complex chain of events that I am only just now beginning to realize, contradictory to everything I am, I bought a house five years ago. I think that this decision was an attempt to anchor myself. I did it in my way—white girl from small town Nebraska buys a beautiful old house in North Omaha, a predominately black neighborhood, alone. In committing myself to that house, to Omaha, to Nebraska, places I was so desperately escaping each weekend, I lived in total rebellion with myself. . . .


Travel with my Father

Winston C. Pagador

© Copyright 2018 by Winston C. Pagador


Photo of Winston and his father.

I wanted to see travels through my father’s perspective, and perhaps to discover something new.

Seated in the window, I found him staring the vast Malay Peninsula that lay spread beneath us, his eyes taking in the small dotted islands that seemed swimming against the blue ocean and then buildings, roads and houses visible as the aircraft decreased altitude, readying its final descent. ‘How is it possible that at six in the evening, the sky is still bright enough here?’ said my father. His face beamed with excitement and disbelief. . . .


Too Close to a Rhinoceros

Josephine Jones

© Copyright 2018 by Josephine Jones

Picture of a charging rhino.

Georgina had asked me, while we were sunbathing on the beach, if I would make a foursome, with Bob a friend of Frank's and herself for a weekend in a game park. It was soon after Frank and Georgina had met, at a hotel dance. He joked that he had picked her up. Then he had asked her out for a day trip. As a good friend, she replied that she had arranged to meet me, he suggested I went along and he would bring his friend. He and Frank were working as electricians in the Matchbox Company. The outing had gone very well. Frank was tall, dark and good looking but Bob was shorter than Georgina who was shorter than me. I was five foot five and a half. . . .


In The Steps Of Ernest Hemingway

Josephine Jones

© Copyright 2018 by Josephine Jones

Statue3 of Hemingway in Havana..

I wanted to go to Cuba because it has an interesting history, from the overthrow of Spanish rule and slavery to a communist state which allowed Catholicism and now permits private enterprise and encourages tourism.

Next I tried to get books written by Ernest Hemingway from the Library. The only one I could find was Islands in the Sea, set around islands off Cuba.
Then I looked on the net and found several of his books for £8 inclusive, from the Book People. I had already read The Sun Also Rises, a novel about Italy in the Second World War. I also enjoyed For whom the Bell Tolls, about the Spanish Civil War. Both had been made into films which I had seen.

So a trip to his house and the bars where he drank was a must for things to do in Cuba. And now I was thrilled to be actually in Cuba after I had read so much about it. . . .


Gay Young Couple In Alice Springs

Josephine Jones

© Copyright 2018 by Josephine Jones

Duke and Dutchess of Kent.  Approx. 1969.

That was the headline in The Centralian Advocate on Thursday 28th August 1969.  Of course, Gay did not mean then what it does now. Earlier that year July Neil Armstrong had set foot on the moon. Television had not yet reached the outback of Australia so we had seen a film of the landing in the Memorial Hall. This film had been provided by the Americans from the nearby secret Space Base which everyone knew about.

The week before there was great excitement in Alice Springs, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Kent were coming on an official visit from England. . . .


The Defector

Rod Martinez

© Copyright 2018 by Rod Martinez

Map of the island of Cuba.

This is the true story about my mother-in-law. It follows the story of a shy teenager from a small town in Cuba who defected to the USA via missionary work. Should this timid island native never have had the guts to make such a brave move, I would have never met my wife. . . .


Create it Away

Katie Danis

© Copyright 2018 by Katie Danis

Photo of Katie (twice) playing a uke.  (c) by Katie Danis 2018.

"Create it Away" explores my lifelong experience with Tourette Syndrome. It focuses on how the condition intertwines with my memories of childhood, approaching a frequently misunderstood topic with humor and hope.

The first time I got my leg stuck in a broken drainpipe, I was naked. As my preschool teacher dismantled the pipe to free my entrapped (and freshly nude) limb, a new crease crept from her cheek to her chin. She was twenty-five and had eight wrinkles. When school began she had zero. (In my defense, I held direct responsibility for only seven, and I contest the validity of the evidence that charged me with three.). . .


Lone Wolf

Ellen Gunnarsdottir

© Copyright 2018 by Ellen Gunnarsdottir

Photo of a winter scene in Iceland.

In the early eighties, when I was a teen, my grandfather gave me a summer job as a receptionist at his Reykjavik eye clinic. The clinic was on a street that runs from the pond to the harbour below the hill where ugly timber houses built by Danish merchants cast an oppressive pall over this wide space continually swept by the north wind from the Esja mountain. My grandfather’s clinic consisted of four rooms that ran along the length of a dark building, a lonely place where I never saw any other inhabitants on the staircase. The rooms were carpeted and the window openings were broken. They had their particular smell of disinfectant mixed with old textiles, dirty shoes and sweaty bodies wrapped in coats. . . .



Dina Toyoda

© Copyright 2018 by Dina Toyoda

Photo of a San Francisco taxi.

The street was endless. It seemed like it's been hours since we boarded a Paratransit taxi in front of the hospital in San Francisco, where my mom, finally, heard her diagnosis.  

All along we suspected the worst, but it didn't stop me dragging her from one doctor to another. It took them months to come up with the verdict. 

Afterwards, as we waited for our ride, a small group of would be passengers gathered at the curb.  Paratransit cost almost nothing, but it was a shared ride, and we'll have to wait for the driver to drop everyone off at different locations. When the taxi arrived, it was a smallish sedan, and all four of us had to fit in. . . .


I Write This For You

Krystal Song

© Copyright 2018 by Krystal Song

Photo of a violinist's hands.

There are so many words she will never say to him.

Ziyin was sixteen years old when she met Zhao Heng. Her roommate Cao Jie twisted her ankle, so Ziyin went alone to the classical music concert they had planned to attend together.

It was her first time stepping foot in Jiao Tong University. The campus was much larger than her own, and Ziyin soon found herself lost. She paused, then approached the security guard by the gate. . . .

Of Rainy Days, Library School, Guide Dogs, and Police Cars

David Faucheux

© Copyright 2018 by David Faucheux

Photo of Alex Trebek on Jepordy.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Café Des Amis

Janet, a friend, came to pick me up for lunch. We met our friend Sarah at Café Des Amis in Breaux Bridge. En route, I gave Janet the book China Dolls, by Lisa See. She may read it quickly or return it to the library and check it out under her own name. As noted earlier, Ms. Lydia brought it to me last week. I thought that Janet, who is of part Asian extraction, would enjoy this story of three Asian girls in San Francisco just before and during World War II. She has mentioned enjoying books by this author.

I enjoyed my alligator sausage and savory cheesecake with crawfish cream sauce. I even shared it out and got to taste Janet’s fried eggplant with crawfish topping and Sarah’s grilled crab cakes. The white chocolate bread pudding was good. The outing was sort of a pre–birthday lunch for me. It was so thoughtful of them to ask me where I’d like to go. . . .


The Push

Margaret Ann Gordon Valenta

© Copyright 2018 by Margaret Valenta


Photo of frightened eyes in rear view mirror.

. . . .When it comes to my sense of direction I’m at a loss. When I should turn right, I am positive I should turn left. Noticing the houses were getting scarce, and little or no traffic, I soon realized I was lost. (In 1955 we had no cell phones so we had no way of contacting anyone in an emergency.) Coming upon a car stopped in the road, with the driver standing outside his car, I pulled up behind him, got out, told him I was lost, and asked for directions.

He smiled and said, “I’m Bill Potter. I need a push to get my car started. My battery won’t turn the engine over. If you will give me a push, then you can follow me to where you need to go.”. . .


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