“Scrapbooking” by Mary Stone Dockery

Who are all these blondes and where were they my whole life after you left me to this dark-haired family? Here, my dress is navy with long sleeves and a white smock over it. The bride stands in a full white dress, her body covered except the area right above her chest, and then it’s […]

“What Causes the Northern Lights?” By Richard Hackler

There were the Meskwaki Indians of southern Ontario who, when they saw the lights, imagined the spirits of their slain enemies flickering across the sky, furious in their ethereal impotence, aching for revenge. Or the Greenland Inuits who looked up at night—the boundless quiet of their winterlong night—and saw the dancing ghosts of stillborn children, […]

Reflections from Illinois: The Fear

“I understand that fear is my friend, but not always. Never turn your back on Fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.” – Hunter S. Thompson, “Kingdom of Fear” I. I believe in math, in the primacy of data.  I believed the polls in […]

Reflections from Virginia: Signifying A Hospital

The morning after the election, I walked three blocks to my nearest federal government institution, which, luckily for me, is run by the National Park Service—the Chimborazo Medical Museum, a unit of Richmond National Battlefield Park. The hospital at Chimborazo was the largest of the Confederacy’s medical facilities, and over the course of the war, […]

Reflections from Ohio: Battle Scarred

I know last week’s election was about more than who is going to be president. Local races, school levies, marriage, legalization, the house and senate, yes.  But here in Ohio, it felt very much like just one race. The race. The Big One. I’m not sure anyone who doesn’t live in a battleground state can […]

Reflections from Alabama: The Demagogue and the Substitute

I told myself I wouldn’t do this. I was going to ignore the slowly rolling in election results — the incremental light up of the U.S. map into red or blue, like some sort of distorted Christmas tree, with Maine as the tiny tippy-top. There were a million things I could have been doing instead […]

Reflections from Washington State: Love Takes All

11/6,  Election Day 6:00 pm: It is time to stop writing and start watching returns. I park myself on the red couch in the basement and turn on CNN. My partner, Adam, texts from the east coast lamenting how late it is there. We know absolutely nothing about our adopted state of Washington and won’t […]

Reflections from Connecticut: Dear Linda McMahon

Linda McMahon c/o World Wrestling Entertainment 1241 East Main Street Stamford, CT 06902 November 7, 2012 Dear Linda: If I’d left a good job to chase a pipe dream for a few years, the first thing I’d probably do after the whole thing tanked would be to drop by my old break room with a Box o’Joe, […]

“No Oxygen Here” by Stephanie Austin

My husband and I talk around things. We’re at Marketside shopping for my father-in-law, a schizophrenic who’s been on and off drugs and alcohol most of his life. Currently, he is lucid and recovering from a broken hip in an after care center in west Phoenix. He asked us to bring him Rold Gold pretzels, […]

“Have Some Faith in Loneliness” by Geoff Watkinson

For the first time in my life—at the age of twenty-five—I live entirely alone.  No family.  No roommate.  Just me.  I’ve been teaching college writing and taking writing workshops while living in the pool house of a local brewery owner in Norfolk, Virginia for just shy of a year.  The pool house is 1100 square […]