Posts tagged "voice"
Identity Theft (Side B)

Identity Theft (Side B)

Origin Story Smoke-thin memories penciled fast as you can while your mother breathes ghosts from the end of a line you can feel cannot touch the words on the paper reaching like seeds seeking like roots for who you are who she was and why you left your left ear goes numb to the sudden...
A Black Hairstory Lesson

A Black Hairstory Lesson

There was the year micro-braided, brokenhearted girls sang Ashanti in prayer circles, their sopranos trapped in their sinuses, the incantation to be unfoolish neutralized by the next shape-up with a pair of Butters. Then the year triple-X-tee’d boys-will-be-boys broke down the name of Osama bin Laden into call-and-response, pounding the battered faces of lockers to...
Dear Editor, Who Made the Remarks About Not Wanting Walmart Poems

Dear Editor, Who Made the Remarks About Not Wanting Walmart Poems

The first thing I thought of was writing an Ode to an LOL, these little dolls that come in ovals that you open to find a different one (surprise!) that my six-year-old daughter is obsessed with and that my wife sneaks off to Walmart to find in the check-out line and bring them home and...
Midnight Baseball

Midnight Baseball

Mrs. Dufek says if people could travel at the speed of light we could go from one side of Earth to the other in the time it takes to snap our fingers, and even though I’ve never left Wisconsin and I’m no Jeannie saved from a bottle on a deserted island by my very own...

Chasing Our Elusive Voice

My writing partner of ten years was frowning. “The voice,” she began. “It’s formal and distant.” She stared at the manuscript I’d slaved over for months. “I can’t explain—it just seems off.” My friend had struck my literary Achilles’ heel. Voice is an aspect of writing craft I’ve struggled with for years. One of the...
Shana’s Father Wins a Monkey

Shana’s Father Wins a Monkey

Our friend Shana… her… father… well, she wasn’t born yet. But her father won a live monkey at a drive-in movie. [Sniff.] No time to talk about the… it’s got too many distasteful details in it … nothing bad happens to the monkey, don’t worry. The monkey dies, but of natural causes at an old...
Autophagy

Autophagy

At first, I read and tried to write how the mother octopus is so dedicated to her newborn children that she will stay with them as long as needed until they can survive on their own, neglecting herself past starvation, past wasting, and she will eat her own arms in what I want to tell...
Are Now All That Remain

Are Now All That Remain

The way he slid Dylan from its cover and fingered the vinyl onto the platter. The way he picked up the needle, more than once, to make sure we heard the sizzle before the song. The way he shuffled into the kitchen in his socks. The hardwood floor of his living room dull and dark....
Misinformation

Misinformation

When I was young I dressed like a boy, though I became irate when misidentified as such. Even now I am sometimes called sir. I object less. When I was young, the boys I loved wore their hair in the style of a bowl cut. I enjoyed the mushroom shape rimming round their heads. Now...
New Year’s Day 2016

New Year’s Day 2016

Feeling better because I looked up the verb to watch in the dictionary and its root is to awaken which isn’t sinister and since I was trying to figure out why it creeps me out so much that an old boyfriend is watching Latvian girls on his computer who do what he asks and answer all...
Meme 11

Meme 11

I was cast as one of two narrators in the kindergarten play. Hutchison Elementary, 1983. The Tawny, Scrawny Lion, adapted from a Little Golden Book. The script was ditto’d in landscape format, and sent home weeks in advance; the lavender lettering Mrs. Bunting was careful to highlight for each student. Tiny Erica Kuzma was Narrator 2....
Advance Directive to my Future Roommate at a Yet-to-be-Named Care Facility

Advance Directive to my Future Roommate at a Yet-to-be-Named Care Facility

For it will come to pass at some appointed hour, that you will sense from behind the pulled curtain of the room we share an agitation of the air, a perturbation of the light, and then a trickle of language, soft babbling you might first guess vaguely Pentecostal, until, breaking forth into raucous splendor, my...
All or Nothing, Self-Portrait at Twenty-Seven

All or Nothing, Self-Portrait at Twenty-Seven

It’s all empty beer cans and skinny dipping. (Bud Light and chlorine.) A guitar player with a beard who won’t let go as hard as you do. It’s teasing the strings of your orange bikini while he tosses his trunks onto the stone. It’s the ease of your body through dark water. The day he...
This Moment

This Moment

This is it. This is the moment our lives crack wide open like a pomegranate and all its bloody bits spread long and wide. One month before my daughter turns sixteen, I stand by the hospital bed, look her in the eye, and ask why. She stares blankly at the ceiling, fidgets with the D-rings...
A Thousand Mary Doyles

A Thousand Mary Doyles

There she is, Mary Doyle, and another right beside her. Heads turned for one last view of land before the Cork coastline slips out of sight. Dishwater strands pushed behind her ears, yellow curls pulled up under a hat, dark frizz flying in the wind. She is seventeen. She is twenty-two. She is just yesterday...

Can You Hear Me Now? How Reading Our Writing Aloud Informs Audiences and Ourselves

In this Craft Essay, Kate Carroll de Gutes uses special characters (up and down arrows) to indicate how to score our own writing to improve our vocal delivery.  She suggests symbols to show us—at a glance—where we want to slow down, speed up, pause, emphasize.  Because WordPress cannot handle the specialized symbols, this essay, “Can You Hear Me...
Overpass Into Fog

Overpass Into Fog

One winter morning after dropping my daughter at daycare, I took the 180 overpass arching into thick fog and, though I knew it well, I couldn’t in that moment be sure where the road actually ended. Suspended between past and future, I disappeared into language and place, weather and love, and I wondered how close...
Breathless

Breathless

I was eleven almost twelve but I looked thirteen when I walked across Orlando toward my father’s apartment on Orange Avenue. (I told him telepathically I was on my way. I can’t stand living with her anymore!) I was thinking: French toast, snuggling with the funnies. I tried different ways of walking: fugitive style, fancy...