Some of you will remember the old ads: women in the costumes of professions that were in the realm of impossible or highly unusual for women then–firefighter, astronaut, brain surgeon, symphony conductor, football player, &c–clad in some recognizable trappings of their ‘wannabe’ aspiration (helmet, stethoscope, baton) and provocatively posed to reveal their lacy, pointy undergarment (as if that was the kind of support we needed to achieve equality).

When I first started to write about not going to U.C. Berkeley in the ’60s when I woulda/coulda/shoulda and about my later political awakening, I tied my ruminations to this bizarre recollection, symbolic of the many preposterous things that were in the air back then. Many drafts and a couple of years later the underwear was gone and the essay became ‘Berkeley Revisited,’ in homage to one of my favorite books, Brideshead Revisited.

I’m happy to say the essay is now in print and online at Adelaide Literary Magazine, and you can read it here.

Go Bears!

 

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz Alice Lowe.jpgBy Alice Lowe

You hate writing from prompts, because you’re no good at it, because despite the human brain’s instantaneous capacity to absorb new input and coordinate an appropriate response, you cannot put pencil to paper with any degree of intelligence or coherence. Within seconds of hearing a prompt—prompts like “write about saying goodbye” or “riding the all-night train” or “a pool of blue water”—all potentially interesting and challenging topics—you’re at a loss, stammering internally, increasingly anxious as a fleeting memory or opening line evades you, as any possible direction remains out of reach.

You look around the table—prompt-writing usually takes place in a small group around a table—you look around as the prompt is being read, and at the dropped voice, the sound of the concluding period (or ellipsis) ending the prompt, it’s as if a starting shot has been fired, heads down, pens and pencils moving in notebooks with seeming constancy…

View original post 684 more words

How did I come to write about 19th-century Arctic exploration? It started with a song, as I explain in my essay “The Idea of North.” One thing led to another, and I was off on a tangent of research & reading, trying to make sense of such a diverse body of findings.

Surely, some might think, she’s not going to be able to fit Virginia Woolf into this one! But my work has a strong literary component, and Woolf belongs by virtue of my quest starting while I was staying in her home village and by a not-surprising-when-you-think-about-it connection in A Room of One’s Own.

The result was this piece, just published in The Baltimore Review, but my fascination with the subject continues, and I continue to read about polar ice and cold and the people who pursue it from the safety of sunny San Diego. Read “The Idea of North” here.

I doubt that many people, while taking in a panorama of brilliant coral flamingos, would focus on two homely gray squawking creatures sharing their enclosure, but that’s how I discovered the Crested Screamers.

When The Drowning Gull, a charming new addition to the world of lit journals, announced that its second issue would feature “encounters with nature,” I had a feeling I’d found a home for the story of my encounter, “The Cycle of Life.”  Click here and scroll down to my piece. 

And in case you wonder what the little darlings look like:

Image result for crested screamer image

I don’t know what made me decide to write about defrosting my freezer–I’ll credit Nora Ephron, who said “Everything is copy.” It’s a throwback to the past & worth capturing for posterity–I don’t know anyone else who does it. And there is something zen-like and spacy about the experience, making it timely with the current craze of “mindfulness,” whatever the hell that is. Finally, ’tis the season for chipping away in a winter wonderland.

The resulting piece, “In Praise of Simple Living (just add ice cream),” has just been published in the provocatively-named journal of creative nonfiction, Embodied Effigies. Click here–I’m on pages 27-28 as the e-book turns (19-20 of the actual magazine).

 

 

My daughter’s fondness for lobster didn’t come from me, but it’s in the family. I readily recall my mother relishing every morsel as she dabbed at the butter dripping down her chin. I wrote about their shared passion as a quirky, perhaps unique recessive trait, like red hair and twins, in “Lobster Tales,” which was published this summer in  Oasis Journal 2016. The almost-500-page annual is available in print from Amazon, but you can read my contribution here.

I should post a photo here of myself blushing, my eyes cast down demurely. So many of us go through life believing it’s bad form to toot our own horns, but hey, if we don’t, who will? I had two honors this month and learned about them on consecutive days, putting me on a cloud of cushioned cashmere. I want everyone to know & share my joy, so humility be damned.

First–and this one’s been my dream and goal since I started writing–my essay “My Quarrel with Grieving” was named one of the Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction in the Best American Essays of 2015. Permafrost, the journal in which it was published, has posted an announcement on their website. And here’s a link to the essay.

Then I was notified by The Tishman Review that they had nominated my essay “Solo in Seattle” for the Best of the Net Anthology. Here’s the good news from the horse’s mouth, and a link to the essay .

Now picture me taking a bow….