Standing in the ICU by Shane Neilson

Standing in the ICU, anagram of incurable, and listening to Hoobastank (worst name since Rainbow Butt Monkeys) and “The Reason” coming from a little radio sitting at the head of the gondola (bed.) Yes, “The Reason” and listening to the staff listen to me recite the system-by-system, the (it-doesn’t-matter) lab results.He goes Mmph, hmmph, ummph,and … Read more

Nice and Fat by Telaina Morse Eriksen

“Tell me exactly how you did it,” she says. I covertly look to the right and to the left—as if a Star Trekesque escape pod will suddenly appear and I will be rescued from this conversation. No luck. I can’t just walk away. I see this woman at the gym three days a week. I … Read more

Light by Denise Emanuel Clemen

It’s getting dark when the road curves into Moab. My twenty-two year old daughter is with me on my cross-continent divorce odyssey. Six weeks ago, her dad told me our thirty-year marriage was over and my life feels as stark as the landscape that surrounds us.I’ve made a reservation at a swank place called the … Read more

Drive-by Beauty by Wendy Hudson

210 Freeway Eastbound Los Angeles seems to reinvent itself after a good rainstorm.  With days of dreary downpour finally over, the sun is out, the sky is a shade of blue I don’t recall, and the mountains show off now that their veil of smog has been removed.  I want to roll down all my … Read more

Are They Real? by Virginia Silverman

“Are they real, Mommy?” My daughter was staring at my bare breasts one morning last month as I got dressed for work. The incisions from my double mastectomy were quiet now, having faded to a mildly aggravated pink over the past six years since my surgeries. “Well, baby, in a way,” I answered. “Remember when … Read more

Forever 18 by Casey Cohen

            July 2nd, 2008. Truth be told, I’ve never been much good at remembering what the date is. Of course this affliction is exacerbated in L.A., where the seasons are vague at best, and I’m hard pressed to know what month it is let alone one of its numbers. In fact, at 78 degrees and … Read more

Without Words by Philip C. Barragan, II

              The sound of our footsteps echoed through the hall. Dozens of faces too ill to smile stared at us as we tried not to look into their rooms. Hushed conversations mingled with the odors of Lysol, bleach and fresh flowers. We arrived at our destination.  My mother asked for my handkerchief to dry … Read more

Dichos, and the Things my Mother Told Me by Philip Barragan

    A Thousand Sad Pieces        Golden light created a soft waterfall through the dense canopy of trees in the mountain village, filtering through the early morning mist rising from the valley below, falling sporadically on the roof of his adobe home. It crawled gently down the walls looking for the window … Read more

The Masked Boxer by Marykate Linehan

It was 13 years ago. I am 9 years old. It is a sweltering summer. The ocean breeze arrives right before sundown. The neighborhood children and I have gathered to play Flying Colors. We are choosing teams. A younger, filthy boy (resembling Pig Pen) walks up to me. “ Girls can’t do anything!” Hunter says … Read more

Making Movies by Martha Woodroof

I was 21, living in Houston, and appearing in a play called Fire, when Robert Altman came to town to film BREWSTER MCLEOD, a now mostly-forgotten movie that was now mostly-forgotten actor Shelley Duval’s debut. Rumor had it Mr. Altman had plucked her from behind the cosmetics counter at Foley¹s department store. Well! I thought. … Read more

Hatchet by Devin Galaudet

Sheer striped-print curtains that hung from cheap white curtain rods blew softly in an April breeze. I remember that day well. Dad and I lay on our bellies, watching Vin Scully, the voice of the Dodgers baseball while eating from a tray of Ritz crackers and a jar of Skippy Peanut Butter on the bed … Read more

I’ve Known Rivers by Joseph McGonegal

For a boy to know his father he must travel upriver, far upriver—until the upping and the river become one, until the boy is the river and the father is no longer the source. Able and his father loved rivers, loved being near them, loved to talk about them, loved finding the beginnings of them, … Read more

Incurring by Telaina Morse Eriksen

I walk into my dad’s hospice room and I know that rent has come due. I have mortgaged air, and called it hope. There isn’t any home here, for either my dad or I, but we’re both still paying. Mary Doria Russell wrote in Children of God, “And love was a debt, best left unincurred.” … Read more

Rain Season by Loretta Williams

I think rain is as necessary to the mind as to vegetation. My very thoughts become thirsty, and crave the moisture. – John Burroughs Autumn 2006 There is a day every fall when the air goes slack and my forehead throbs and I know that rain is on its way. I fret at the back … Read more

The Farm Fresh Egg Hunt By Eileen Hodges

After moving to Nowhere, Michigan (my 20 year old son once said “If we go in decreasing circles we should find the middle of it”), I started looking for farm fresh, free range, no hormone eggs. I am not too much of a country girl, so I figured it’d be no problem finding fresh eggs … Read more

Jody A. Forrester: Creative Writing 101

Creative Writing 101 *** Welcome, writers! From this day forward, you are a WRITER! No longer a student, a doctor, a lawyer. Say it! “I am a writer!” Again, “I am a writer”! All right! Let’s go! Micro-fiction, flash fiction, sudden fiction, short fiction, short-short. (“Get black on white”, Guy de Maupassant). Know your characters … Read more

JC Jaress: Three Immeasurables

Three Immesurables *** The boy grips and re-grips the bat. He cannot remember if he is any good at baseball. He remembers playing in a summer league when he was eight- or nine-years old. He played centerfield, which, at eight or nine, is the equivalent of saying “Please stand over there so you don’t get … Read more

Emily Rapp: Work It, Own It

Work It, Own It *** As an amputee, buying shoes is not a simple matter and never has been. I wore a man’s foot until I was in my teens, because prosthetic companies did not make feet specifically for women or girls. My parents bought two pairs of shoes — one sometimes two or three … Read more

Sean Ryan: Thanks, David Sedaris

Thanks, David Sedaris *** I’ve been an entertainer for as long as I can remember. I’ve thrilled audiences world wide with my amazing talents. I’m a multiple Grammy Award winning musician and have received Academy Awards for best director, best original screenplay, as well as best performance by an actor in a leading role. My … Read more

Hazel Kight Witham: Visiting Hours

Visiting Hours *** One evening in mid-July I find myself in the hills above Chavez Ravine near Dodger Stadium in downtown Los Angeles. I had gone to a friend’s birthday picnic in a park near the stadium. When I get on the freeway I realize I am close to the hospital where I stayed all … Read more

Deborah A. Lott: A Family Dictionary

A FAMILY DICTIONARY* Selected Definitions, with Annotations * Every family, though it may appear to speak the language common to the culture in which it resides, develops an idiosyncratic vernacular of its own. Stuffy (adj) Definition 1. describing an atmosphere that lacks the free flow of air; stagnant. May be marked by an odor, usually … Read more

April Fitzsimmons: Cartwheel Soccer

Cartwheel Soccer After he dumped me, driving away from Los Angeles was like yanking my hand away from a hot skillet. I climbed up the I-5 through the grapevine and past the sign for Andersen’s Pea Soup. I’d always wanted to try that soup, but there was no more time for lollygagging through the countryside. … Read more

bUrCu: Letter to My Mother

Letter to My Mother February 14, 2005 Los Angeles Dear Mom, Writing you a letter across America, the Atlantic, and the Aegean Sea feels very awkward. I should have been back home about a year ago. Under the deep shadow of Mt. Gume’s snowy peaks, we’d be laughing at old family photographs over grilled chestnuts … Read more