ESSAY | CAROL D. MARSH
“I’m Sorry, Monica” is a letter to Monica Lewinsky. In it, the author, Carol Marsh, takes a soul-searching look at how she reacted to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal in the late 1990s. She explores the roots of her feminism and the family dynamics that affected it, and shares how the MeToo movement jarred her into examining how she and other women unfairly excoriated Ms. Lewinsky.
FICTION | PATTY SOMLO
A former dancer and about-to-retire choreographer is surprised to receive a letter from a foreign country. The short, handwritten note rekindles memories of a love affair, and a separate friendship, decades before in Nicaragua. Her recollections spark insights that hadn’t been apparent to her so long ago.
MEMOIR | TERRY BARR
The 1970s in Birmingham, Alabama, was a time fraught with racial tension and confusing questions of identity. Author Terry Barr found the music of that era confusing, as well. Southern rock competed with Glam and Disco, and for a long-haired guy like Terry, finding his place, his sub-culture, and the accompanying music wasn’t easy.
MEMOIR | SARAH K. LENZ
After Sarah Lenz’s father gives her a creepy antique photograph depicting her three great uncles who were struck and killed by the same bolt of lightning in 1914, she sets out to discover their story and figure out why postmortem photography haunts her. “Lightning Flowers” is a thoughtful and moving meditation on what it means to remember the dead and confront one’s own mortality.
MEMOIR | BETINA ENTZMINGER
“The Beak in the Heart: True Tales of Misfit Southern Women,” is a collection of dramatic portraits of the author’s “misfit” female ancestors and a candid, intimate memoir about family secrets and breaking free of the narrow confines of being a “proper” southern woman. In this excerpt, Betina Entzminger tells the story of two of her “misfit” aunts who had the strength to handle the blows dealt to them by adversity, disappointment, and heartache in the South of the 1950s. This is a touching story about finding love, freedom, and fortitude.
MEMOIR | ROBERTO LOIEDERMAN
In this brief memoir, Roberto Loiederman recalls a night in San Francisco, in the summer of 1965, that he spent with Hunter Thompson, the half-mad, cosmic prankster, and creator of gonzo journalism. For Roberto, the early days of the counterculture — the days of psychedelic rock, drugs, and free love — weren’t quite as romantic as they are remembered.
MEMOIR | EMLYN CAMERON
Misfire is a story about a day when a friend takes Emlyn Cameron shooting. They leave the suburbs of Northern California with a shotgun, two handguns, a 22. calibre rifle, two AR-style rifles, and a black powder muzzleloader, to go shooting in a remote location. It looks to be a simple holiday lark, until things start to go awry.
FICTION | FRANCIS DUFFY
In this beautifully told story, Francis Duffy’s main character reflects on a boyhood steeped in dogma, patriarchy, and racism. His alcoholic father is often absent, and his admiration is for his “lioness” of a mother who never missed work, and put three kids through parochial schools. Before welfare, Ms. Magazine, and #MeToo.
MEMOIR | RANDY SPENCER
In the 1990s, there was astronomical research that showed that Washington County, Maine was second only to area 51 in Nevada for UFO sightings in the U.S. This story about mysterious phenomena in the night skies of Grand Lake Stream, Maine is from master fishing guide and award-winning author Randy Spencer, excerpted from his new memoir, “Written on Water: Characters and Mysteries from Maine’s Back of Beyond.”
In the 1950s, Jerry Vis had an uneventful, blue-collar, stickball-in-the-street childhood in Paterson, N.J. That is, until his father, who had been no more than a vaporous, bring-home-the-bacon presence, nearly killed himself with alcohol and suddenly got religion.
This humorous story is about all of the masks we wear to fit in with people whose masks look a little bit shinier than ours under the library lights at a PTA meeting in the affluent neighborhood of Encino, California. And it’s a story about how, deep down, we are all insecure middle-schoolers. This is a fictionalized version of true events.
ANDREA THORNTON BOLDEN
Recently in America, issues of race have dominated the news. This short, powerful essay is a reflection on all of the small adjustments and considerations Black people make to keep themselves alive — what author Andrea Thornton Bolden calls “correcting for whiteness.”