Six-Sided Life

Six-Sided Life

Hands Held up in a defensive position in baby photographs, clenched. Were raised against me. Looked like they were planted in the ground and nibbled on by tiny voles. To measure with, when a horse was sixteen hands of blackness. My husband’s—the feel of sunbaked mud, always hot in the...
The Wild Horses of Tybee Island

The Wild Horses of Tybee Island

We strike out in search of wild horses along the shores of Tybee Island. It’s early February—too cold for shores—but my wife and I have traveled 1300 miles from Wisconsin to Georgia, and we won’t be turned away. We slip on sweatshirts, remove shoes and socks, and walk past the...
Ghost Story

Ghost Story

One fall I was a ghost in my own house. That time, when divorce was imminent but my husband and I were still living together, only the children could see or hear me. The laundry floated downstairs to the basement, then floated back up to the second floor, washed and folded....
Depredations

Depredations

We buy the sheep on impulse, a pair of them, at auction. They are tufted round with autumn fluff, white-grey fleece with pink skin by their ears and nostrils, wafting the oily tang of lanolin. After two seasons of raising skinny, worm-ridden goats, shelling out for the overpriced sheep feels...
A Reverse Chronology of the Body In Motion

A Reverse Chronology of the Body In Motion

26 years old. My husband and his friend David run together. They also take up indoor rock-climbing. They invite me, but I decline, remembering how awkward I feel in gym settings. An anxiety of taking up physical space lives in my body. They tell me that I would love rock...
Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate

Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate

“District officials were alerted early today that on Saturday Snapchat alerted the FBI that a threat had been made against Lakewood High students,” an e-mail informs me on a Monday morning. The Catholic high school down the street was evacuated for a similar threat the previous Friday. I had blown...
160 Things That Scare Me

160 Things That Scare Me

Written collaboratively by Professor Jill Kolongowski’s Spring 2019 creative writing class at the College of San Mateo, ages 18-32. Clowns. Forgetting my order at a restaurant. Wool thread in my teeth. Gum. Patterns of small holes. Being recorded in a safe space. Losing my phone. My dog attacking me. Things...
Middle Child

Middle Child

I was meant to be the middle child. A boy came first, or so my mother believed. She met my father at the L.A. radio station where he wrote some jingles, and she typed the scripts. He was moonlighting from teaching. Trying new things. He rode a bicycle up the...
Slumgullion Pass

Slumgullion Pass

I struggle to keep up with my husband Jack as we whack our way through smothering brush somewhere along Slumgullion Pass between Lake City and Creede. My lungs are working hard in the thin mountain air. Alferd Packer, the man this area is best known for, weighs heavy on my...
Solipsism: A Story

Solipsism: A Story

Victim mentality, he told me, means sitting with your back to the door anywhere at all, even – I was learning – while sipping a Red Bull and surrounded by tourists at the hotel Buffalo Bill named after his youngest daughter. I’d be more likely to leave my house without...
The Chicken Whisperer

The Chicken Whisperer

Back when our oldest son was a girl, we called him the Chicken Whisperer. He had this gift of stepping up to unruly roosters—the ones that chased his brother to the carpool in the morning, zeroing in like cruise missiles, the ones that made our grown house-sitters sob and sniff—and...
This Abortion is an Act of Love

This Abortion is an Act of Love

For crows. For the robins bathing in my potholes. For cacti, for succulents, for shade. For the 7.5 billion people on this planet competing for access to fresh air, clean water, nourishing food, good love, and safe housing. For the planet’s three trillion trees, for the sheer improbability of trees....
This is How a Robin Drinks

This is How a Robin Drinks

The birdbath that gets the most action is accidental. It’s just a big plastic saucer forgotten on the driveway, but found and filled by summer storms. The dog loves it, the red wasps love it, as do robins, doves, and cardinals: birds comfortable on the ground. Between it and me...
Friday Night Mariachis

Friday Night Mariachis

The Guadalajara restaurant’s sidewalk marquee boasts Live Mariachis! but the band is only two older Mexican men toting battered guitars and strolling between tables, taking requests. Their black slacks are shiny from wear; one of the men is missing a few teeth. As they approach, my two children urge me...
The Closet of Many Heads

The Closet of Many Heads

My father’s mother has worn the wigs for as long as he can remember, and even my father admits he’s only seen her without one once. She lines the wigs industriously on her closet’s only shelf, each atop its own Styrofoam head. Each ash-blonde pixie cut seems identical to its...
Latest Issue
Issue 63 / January 2020

Issue 63 / January 2020

Our newest issue features crisp, provocative essays from Maggie Smith, Lara Lillibridge, Joanna Brichetto, Natalie Rose, B.J. Hollars, Kelly Shire, Marcia Aldrich, Robert Julius, Natalia Rachel Singer, Amie Whittemore, Margo Steines, Matt Donovan, Mary Zelinka, Doug Lawson, and Jill Kolongowski and her Spring 2019 creative writing class. Photos by Mike McKniff.
Craft Essays

Craft Essays

New in our Craft Section, Jen Corrigan, Jennifer McGaha, Mary Ann McSweeny, and Sonja Livingston discuss impatience and restlessness in writing, the necessity of discovery, the role of compassion in nonfiction, and how to bring a bit of Nancy Drew into your essaying.
The Brevity Archives

The Brevity Archives

Readers, writers, teachers, and students can find essays and craft-focused discussions under a number of useful category headings: traditional subjects, such as aging or nature; varying modes and subgenres, such as the profile or meditation; as well as various techniques and literary conventions, such as dialogue and diction.