In my favorite picture of my mom, she's painting the walls of the apartment on Hemlock Ave. We moved a lot back then, Hemlock being one of seven different places we lived between third grade and my senior year. This was back when you could knock on a door and talk to a landlord instead of dealing with a property management company, so getting out of a lease didn’t have to involve lawyers. Mom never said so, but by high school, I’d figured out the reason we moved so much – it was the only Read more [...]


Agnes was still peeved about the comment, though she couldn't put her finger on exactly why. Phil had said it loudly to everyone within earshot, not to her in particular, but there was a glint of mischief in his eyes when he glanced her way. She'd seen the same expression in a student a few years prior when the kid slyly slipped “hucking fell” into his oral report on Mark Twain. The kid said it was an accident, but Agnes saw that it wasn't. In Phil's case, she was just as certain he meant Read more [...]


If Winterset were to be buried Pompeii-style, every life stopped mid-moment and preserved for scientists to uncover and assess, future archeologists might expect the sheer bulk of the materials affixed to the Lawson’s family fridge to form an accurate snapshot of daily life in 21st century Iowa. They would attempt to piece together the ephemera as if it was a puzzle that could be solved, looking for a narrative thread that connected all the pieces, unaware that the layers of paper had grown Read more [...]

One Star

Business:  Pike Place Fish Company, Seattle Washington Reviewer:  Victor A., Hillsboro, OR Rating:      * * * * * Tell Readers More: Some things aren’t what they’re made out to be – and Pike Place is one of them. If you watch one of those Pike Place propaganda pieces on the Travel Channel or Food Network, you’ll think the place is like a game of bombardment played with fish, that it’s start-to-finish fun. In reality, those stories are like some people’s Facebook Read more [...]


Trey I’m going to keep sitting here until someone says I can’t. Call it trespassing if you want, but that’s not how I see it. I’m reclaiming what’s mine, what’s everyone’s, and if some bastard comes down here to give me shit, I’m gonna let ‘em know I’m not budging. Seriously, ever think about the idea of owning land? This guy bought it from the previous owner, who bought it from the previous owner, on down the line, but at some point, someone didn’t buy it – they just Read more [...]


Amy's Fodor’s Travel New Orleans guide was blooming with colorful sticky-notes and bookmarks, each tab color-coordinated to various highlighted lines on the 9pt font, single-spaced, legal-sized pages of her intended itinerary. When Amy showed the completed agenda to her mother, her mom glanced at the dense, rainbow-striped text and said, “Wow, I’m exhausted just looking at it.” Amy took it as a compliment. Shannon was also daunted when Amy giddily explained her fastidiously documented Read more [...]
November 23, 2016Permalink 1 Comment


Astrid bought the Voigtlander at Ms. Fischer’s yard sale the summer after Mr. Fischer’s funeral. All winter, Ms. Fischer – she had never invited anyone to call her by first name – had kept the home exactly as it had been when her husband departed, and as old as she was, neighbors expected she’d keep it that way until she joined her husband in the hereafter. Thus, it was a surprise when the tiny old woman knocked on Astrid’s door and asked if she knew anything about hosting a yard Read more [...]

The Key

It was only a matter of time before they turned on each other, and 40 minutes into the search, that time had come. This was their third day at the no-frills cabin they'd rented through a classified ads in Sports Afield. “Outfitted for the real outdoorsman”, the description promised, which they learned on arrival meant it had all the amenities of an ice fishing shack. When Earl expressed his disappointment, Ray declared, “Did we come here to play house, or to fish?” As soon as they Read more [...]


Lacey wanted to get the walkway done before Jenna arrived. If she did, she could say Phil did it earlier and Jenna wouldn’t make a thing about it. Unfortunately, she was still shoveling when she heard Jenna’s Honda crunching the snow at the curb behind her. She turned to see Jenna, still in the driver’s seat, pointing her phone at her. “I know that’s my good side, Jennabug,” Lacey said as her daughter got out of the car. “But I prefer when you include my face in the photos.” “Mom, Read more [...]


James focused on the waves washing over his feet, whisking the sand from around them, the world slipping out from under him. There wasn’t much to enjoy about the water in Oregon, frigid on the even the hottest days, but he reveled in this. Wave after wave sinking him in tiny increments, his feet settling further into the sand. Even as the holiday crowd with their Frisbees and Pomeranians and tablet cameras encroached in every direction, he found solitude in the soft swirl of the sand and water. Read more [...]