Author’s Note: “Elm Trees” started as my memory of watching the daily removal of the last trees destroyed by Dutch Elm Disease. Period photos of Clinton County, New York show the damage to the landscape caused by the disease. Soon even long-time residents would have only a vague memory of elms. As I wrote each draft during the height of the pandemic, the trees took on a haunting sense of fear and helplessness... [Continue Story]
Author’s Note: I started writing “From Here” years ago in Los Angeles, on the trip that the piece is about. I was processing a breakup, helping my sister move to a faraway place, and generally figuring out how to be alone. The piece is about gathering strength to live life for your own sake—and finding the courage to go forth into the unknown... [Continue Story]
Author’s Note: “The White Egrets,” from my new book, Blue If Only I Could Tell You, reflects life in an isolated place in the country. The scene specifically draws on where I live in the upland regions of Hawaii Island, but other readers may recognize treasured places of their own. Here I am emulating the style of classical Chinese and Japanese poets like Du Fu and Basho... [Continue Story]
Author’s Note: I used to play guitar in college with the late poet David Hickman. We’d workshop songs we’d written. And one day he told me, “Your song lyrics really suck as songs but they might make pretty good poems.” Turns out I’ve rubbed elbows with a lot of musicians since then. Some had the chops to escape the bar scene. I was a hack and never would have made that leap. I had to make a decision and my focus shifted to poetry and fiction. This poem is the possible road not traveled by a failed singer-songwriter... [Continue Story]
Author Note: I dreamed of being an actress since I was five. My grandmother took me to a production of Annie Get Your Gun at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. At some point in the play, the... [Continue Story]
Author’s Note: I’ve always thought that daylight in the month of October in North America has a special, glorious quality which can’t be quantified. October is also a time of intense back-to-school... [Continue Story]
Author’s Note: Still coming to terms with his failed marriage and estrangement from his son, a middle-aged man finds a small cave on a beach while staying nearby. Its secluded, shrine-like quality ...[Continue Story]
Author’s Note: During the pandemic, I wrote roughly 60 poems about Betty; it was interesting to be so absorbed in her world. She is a person of marginal means living in an occupied village somewhere in the rural United States sometime in the future. Betty’s background is similar to mine, but she is hardier and more realistic. In this poem, she is reviewing her physical inheritance and the lives of her relatives... [Continue Story]
Author’s Note: "Song, Luminescence" comes from the unheard words that came one morning, long after Dad had died in Florida, and Mother in Oregon. I was sitting out back, very early one morning, when I ... [Continue Story]
Editor’s Note: The best “flash” or very short nonfiction connects with readers on several levels by compressing writing, inviting one’s imagination to expand meanings and feelings from the author’s evocative words. Billie Pritchett’s piece is a compelling example.
Author’s Note: In this story, I try to capture a little of what it was like when I was a boy growing up poor in western Kentucky. Material poverty created in me a poverty of psychology. Now I know the only way to combat the poverty mindset is whatever pride I can muster and proximity to good people. Father never discovered the second option for himself, unfortunately.