Last time it was a prompt; this time my impetus was a challenge. My writing buddy Jim & I came up with the idea of trying our hand at a one-sentence essay or story. I thought the breathless form lent itself to this brief  metabolic history. (Later I separated the last bit into a separate sentence/paragraph just for emphasis.)

The result is “Quickly,” published this month by Labletter. Read it here – it won’t take long!

I’d never had the urge to delve into my angst-ridden teens for material. I can revisit stupid mistakes & bad decisions, but what’s the point? What felt traumatic at the time has faded to insignificance.

Then came a prompt. The subject was compression in flash nonfiction, capturing a story or a time by focusing on a specific moment or detail. Write about someone who influenced you, it said, whether well or badly: parent, teacher, bad girls on the stoop…. That’s the part that grabbed me. I wrote “the twins” in the margin of the book.

Double Jeopardy” is the result, just published in the excellent Watershed Review from CSU Chico. Read it here!

My mother is still on my mind, appearing once again in the true story of my hair. Spoiler alert: I’m not a natural redhead. This piece was written a couple of years before “Lena,” so it was a surprise to me to realize as I readied it for publication that it contains some of the same images of her.

Here’s “Ruby Fusion” in the latest issue of (em): a Review of Text and Image. It’s a pdf of the whole issue–I’m on page 10.

I find myself thinking about my mother a lot these days, and the best thing I know to do with all that rumination is to write it down.

“Lena and the Bank of America” draws on memories sifted through time. I’m delighted that the fine journal Lunch Ticket has chosen it for publication. Link to it here.

When my friend Lou sent me a piece about his first cigarette that he wrote for a writing exercise, I thought it would be fun to recall and record mine. The result is “The First Time,” which was published last week by one of my favorite blog/journals, Tell Us a Story. My story – which is true in spite of the “Flash Fiction” tag – is the second of two posted together, so link here and scroll down.

Now there’s a dynamic duo – what writer can resist? Not this one. Once I got started, the memories and the meals came flooding back, and I just had to grab them and get them on paper as they went by. And dig out a few old recipes.

The result is “Catch of the Day,” which you can read here. It was just published in Issue 3 of the print journal, Killing the Angel, “a literary experiment inspired by Virginia Woolf.”

That’s the title of the cover art on The New Yorker issue that arrived in my mail today. It shows a woman with a fabulous tattooed back and arms. She has red hair, a mean expression and is holding a glass of sparkling wine. “What a fantastic image,” I thought; “it’s a sign.”

My essay, “Permanently Cool: A Tattoo of One’s Own,” was published this summer in the gorgeous print journal, Soundings Review. I put off posting it here while I savored its paper presentation, but now, almost exactly a year after the doing of the deed in question, it’s time to share the story of my latest rite of passage.

Read “Permanently Cool” here.

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