Favorite Creative Nonfiction: 3rd Quarter 2021

Amazing Clouds on an Ordinary Day ©Charlotte Hamrick

Life is amazing even when it’s not. Even when it’s another ordinary day filled with ordinary chores and responsibilities. Because….because….one small, seemingly insignificant thing can happen to turn it all upside down. These six stories, all set within ordinary days, have a thing that turned them upside down and made them amazing reading for us. Enjoy!

If This Bar is a Power Ballad by Jillian Luft in Schuylkill Valley Journal

heads thrown back like well-dressed wolves toward the mirror-balled moon, all hair and teeth and hearts, splayed and torn and worn, on acid wash sleeves, on frayed flannel, on soft, soft leather, tattooed love boys flinging themselves against the hard edges of the night, bodies building to a pathetic crescendo while you sink into the bridge,

We Carry Our Father’s Ashes by Jaya Wagle in Bending Genres

We carry our father’s ashes in an old Amazon box that delivered my one-year-old niece’s Pampers. She, who used to crawl all over him when he laid down to rest his tired neck that hurt through the bones, his blood getting colder by the day.

Get Me Out of this Essay by Maxwell Suzuki in Anti-Heroin Chic

I met God at a Los Angeles bus stop once, a chuck of meat skinned from her shin. I did nothing, my writer did the same. Both of us too afraid to approach the lady on a layer of used blankets. There is a difficulty in confronting people whose shoulders are cupped in God’s palm.

Everyone Eventually Leaves LA by Heidi Seaborn in Hobart

In LA, I don’t remember ever looking someone in the eye, the way I’d been raised to do. Maybe it was the sheen of the Pacific—how it hurt to look, then look away. Or the glare of Wilshire Boulevard. Doormen in Ray Bans, whisking in the dog walkers and waving along limos. Or the faux glitter of oiled bodies around a swimming pool while eating lunch al fresco at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I lived in sunglasses for a decade.

Umbilical Cord, Unlikely, Unafraid by Jamie Etheridge in Mothers Always Write

One day they will be women and my actions now will show them how to be strong, capable, and dauntless. To not be cowed by anything – neither men nor sky high challenges strung between trees. One day, maybe they will look back on this tree climbing and remember only fierce determination, not the image of me dangling 20 feet above the ground like a wet bra slung over a clothesline.

Dead House Assembly by Gabriel Rogers in Still: The Journal

When the three families first moved into the old house, the former residents told them there was a ghost. Their little girl had seen it in the upstairs bedrooms. They’d also been notified when they’d first moved in. Mrs. Graham had said that she just couldn’t deal with Mr. Graham’s presence anymore, the way he would come to her rocking chair late at night and brush her hair away from her face so he could kiss her. My dad saw Mr. Graham’s ghost one time, on a night when the other adults were out and the kids were all in bed. It was outside near the root cellar, a luminous figure fading away down the legs, not meeting the ground. There’s nothing left for you here, he thought toward him, you should go ahead and move on.

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