I read a craft tip recently from the poet Maggie Smith (author of The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, Tupelo Press 2015, among other works) that really resonated with me:
Sometimes the best thing I can do to improve a poem is to loosen my grip on it. It sounds a bit counterintuitive, but if you tie up every loose end, if you scrub all the strangeness and wildness out of it, you can revise the life right out of a poem if you’re not careful. You can put its light out.
This past winter in Washington, DC was a season of closures. Schools, businesses, government offices, and public transportation all shut down for several days amid a series of snowstorms. Even after the last pile of snow disappeared, the area’s ageing metro transit system has had to undergo repeated closures for trackwork repairs and assessments.
For me the season was a blessed time for going nowhere. Snowed in and stranded, I took to my own repairs and assessments. I wrote, I waited, I wrote more. Continue reading →
We started with the little things: scraps of junk, things of no import or stuff we could do without. But soon we had to burn the things we needed, the things we loved. By the end, we let go of just about everything around us we held dear. We tossed it into the flames and watched it smolder.
My short story, “All That We Burned, All That We Loved,” about the 1992-1996 siege of Sarajevo, will appear in Carve’s upcoming fall issue among the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest 2015 winners. I am so thrilled to see my first published work of fiction and to be selected as editor’s choice for the competition!
Every one of these stories is about the descent into the depths, the belief that these mothers feel alone and at fault, and then their recovery. Each story has power on its own, but the essay collection as a whole really drives home to me how many women suffer, how similar their suffering is, and how it’s a tragedy that they think they are the only ones going through this and it is theirs alone to bear.” ~ Lisa Belkin, author and journalist
As a contributor to the newest anthology by The HerStories Project, I hope these stories bring hope and healing to mothers who might feel overwhelmed or alone in their struggles. Mothering Through the Darkness: Women Open Up About the Postpartum Experience is forthcoming in November by She Writes Press. Check out the contributor bios here; to pre-order the anthology, please use this link.
It’s an honor to be included in the top 25 shortlisted stories in The Reader Berlin’s short story competition of 2014, judged by Laura Hassan of Guardian Faber, Florian Duijsens (SAND, Asymptote) and author Brittani Sonnenberg (Home Leave, Grand Central Publishing). I’m looking forward to reading the top ten finalists in the forthcoming anthology! Follow The Reader Berlin here for more information on its publications, classes and events.