Why I Wear My Hair Long by Ryan Heilman

“By the end of my high school career, I was so sick of everything to do with high school. The kids were violent and stupid, the teachers were jaded and broke, and I was just exhausted.”

~Why I Wear My Hair Long~

This is a nonfiction piece by Ryan Heilman that I relate to so much. I may not be male but I certainly have long hair. I didn’t stand out much in high school, even with long hair. Just like Ryan, I kept mostly to myself. I had a few good friends and avoided the rest of my graduating class. I went to a tiny school up in a tiny town where people had tiny dreams. Go figure why I didn’t like high school.

Nobody has ever bothered me about cutting my hair though. I read this piece not knowing what to expect. I was glad I didn’t know. Reading a new piece of nonfiction is akin to getting a look into a person’s life. Here, we have Ryan’s sarcastic attitude coming through and I appreciate it. Most people try to hold back what they’re really thinking. Ryan is completely honest.

He doesn’t cut his hair because he likes it long. I don’t cut my hair because I think I’m ugly otherwise. To each their own.

I highly suggest reading it, you can find the piece here.

Haying by Kori Flowers

“And, on one occasion, where I had to make a necessary left turn and then make a difficult jump to the next trail of hay, I pulled it off perfectly. I stood up in the seat and cheered, then looked back and saw my dad laughing at me.”

~Haying~

This is a nonfiction piece by Kori Flowers. She talks about her family dynamic and everyone’s role on the farm. Kori doesn’t paint it pretty. It’s gritty, hard work and she’s filthy before the day is half over. Taking all this into account, it seems to me that she loves it. It’s what she grew up doing and she’s used to that lifestyle.

The self sufficiency of her parent’s is rather ingenious. When you have land that can be farmed that’s a constant job right there. It makes me a little envious and glad all at the same time. Envious, because I’ve always wanted to be self sufficient and glad because I don’t have to constantly work as she does.

As a narrator Kori makes this very interesting to read. I’m not the farmer type. I don’t necessarily care about things like this. However, I greatly enjoyed reading this. I suggest anyone to read this, especially if you don’t know anything about farming. Kori also included personal pictures of herself and her pigs. All though, I would have liked to see the horse that she mentioned early on in the piece.

Here’s the link. Go read and enjoy it!

Footprints by Jed Anderson

“The ground you stand upon is worth more than you.”

~Footprints~

Jed Anderson is a marine and that in itself intrigues me. This is a nonfiction piece about his recruitment into the Marines. He doesn’t sugar coat his language. He doesn’t make it  seem cleaner in any way. The new recruits are taken off the bus and the abuse begins. Which is typical in a military setting. You must be broken down to be built up stronger.

We follow Jed on this journey and I trust him as a narrator. Everything he says, I believe to be true. He’s a great guide for this world. There was a section where he talks about the equipment and then explains what it is. He sends a letter to his parents and doesn’t mince words. I feel bad for Jed and what he went through but that’s the process for becoming stronger. That’s what the Marines stand for.

“Footprints” is a great nonfiction story.

If you’re interested in reading it, you can find it here.

In the Darkhouse by Sarah Dahlheimer

“My stomach twists with excitement as I scan the interior where the walls have been spray painted black.”

~In the Darkhouse~

This is a short passage written by Sarah who talks about going to the darkhouse on the lake one day. It is very interesting to me whenever people talk about ice fishing or spearing in Northern Minnesota. I am paranoid about standing on frozen water. So I don’t do to well when standing near the center of the lake right next to a three foot hole. That is not my cup of tea.

However, I’m grateful that she wrote it. Sarah was out with James trying to spear passing fish. Because the inside of the darkhouse is painted black, you can see straight to the bottom of the lake. It’s a remarkable concept because in the wintertime the ice can get to be very thick. Thick enough to drive cars and trucks on.

The pictures that Sarah took are worth looking at. Ironically, smelly fish are actually gorgeous. The colors of the scales are iridescent even when the world is white.

Come take a look at her picture gallery and short passage here.

What should we do? by Leah Fleming

This poem by Leah Fleming is free verse. When read out loud, there aren’t many pauses. One line bleeds into the other until the reader comes to the end, trying to absorb all that has been said. This is a great example of what poetry can do with a little experimentation. Reading this poem is like sliding down a ride at a water park. It’s fast paced, and you as a reader are forced to process all the imagery thrown at you.

Here’s an example:

subtle forms of self-
mutilation
Like women who starve
themselves and mar
their skin
Some with razors
and some with jewels and ink
To paper words and intricacies
of black,
such as fishnets and lace

Leah talks about self-mutilation like starving and cutting but then she moves into piercings and tattoos. The  latter being things I wouldn’t categorize as self-mutilation. Before you can fully process the imagery she moves on to writing love letters and the fishnet stockings. To full appreciate this piece you should read it out loud and then wait. It’s a really interesting poem.

If you want to read the full poem, you can find it here.

Sisu by Audrey L’Amie

“Great,” I laugh. “Now I don’t know if I am self-confident or self-delusional.”

~Sisu~

This is a really great piece for how short it is. The readers open on a scene with a grandmother and her granddaughter picking tomatoes. It’s nice to see how witty each woman can be with the other. The granddaughter is having financial difficulties which worries her grandmother, of course.

The granddaughter has a plan that is very sneaky and it reminds the grandmother about an old Finnish story. I won’t ruin the surprise for anyone. You’ll just have to read it for yourself! It’s a lovely piece that I can’t help but laugh at. I think it’ll be hard for people to dislike it. Everyone should read it so they might know for sure if they are self-confident or just delusional.

If you’re interested in reading the piece, find it here.

Interview with Kelsey Sutton

~Kelsey’s Interview~

I had the fortunate pleasure of knowing this young writer while attending college in Bemidji State University. She’s a bright young woman who has published a young adult novel called, Some Quiet Place. Her book will be out in stores on July 8, 2013. This interview always reminds me to keep pursuing my love for writing. It’s inspiring to know that someone so young can have a published book coming out. It’s rather exciting.

In the interview, she seems very driven and down-to-Earth. I like her simplistic approach to writing. She says, “If I’m working on an idea that I lose my enthusiasm for, or if I’m forcing myself to open that Word document, I know it’s not the right one.” Which is very true. Whenever a writer tries to force a piece or even writes to quickly, it turns into a mess. An amazing idea for a story can easily be swamped by few character developments, plot holes, and just lack luster writing.

I know how I am when trying to write a story. I’m glad this interview came out because it brings me hope. One day I’d like to be a published writer.

Read the whole interview here.

Song by John Murillo

“Of us, like scotch, into daylight. Dusk. Rush hour. This long trip home. Praise it all. The dead miss out on summer.”

~Song~

I found this poem by John Murillo in the Pushcart Prize 2012 version. I was reading it and felt so happy to not live in a city where rats run along subway trains. John takes us on a journey with him as he thinks on the nature of love. That there are lonely men in the world who would beg for a woman’s love. Even for men who claim to be lonely, those who are begging, there is a type of joy in begging.

John thinks of the woman who is waiting for him at home. He imagines she’s in an old t-shirt sitting on the bed. It’s a poem about the nature of relationships. The ever tumultuous cycles that all relationships go through. He’s riding on a subway, in dirty and unsafe conditions, but he’s happy. Happy to be alive and happy to have a woman to come home to.

It’s a poem that reminds us all to be a little more grateful in everyday things. But most importantly, to feel blessed that there is love in our lives.

Saturday Night: Single Digits by Yami, Amanda, Kelsey

“Inside I smelled of smoke and a little bit of dirt that I used to rough up my dress in attempts to look more authentic.”

by: Yami Blanford

“Saturday Night” is a compilation of three authors who’s pieces were printed together.They are all nonfiction pieces and were created by the staff from Cre8, an online literary magazine.

The first nonfiction piece takes place at a Bioshock Infinite release. Yami Blanford has dressed up as a Little Sister, a child character, from the previous two games. She expects there to be a massive turnout but is disappointed with the number of patrons that actually show up. The looping BioShock trailer almost makes her change her motto for life. The readers will be entertained with her head banging and silly antics.

~

“Their small child runs to the vending machines with a handful of change to pick out a laundromat dinner of Cheez-Its.”

by: Amanda Pearson

The second piece is created by Amanda Pearson. For her piece, Amanda went to Downtown Laundry in Bemidji. She filled this scene with a lot of details. She describes the decrepit Pac-Man machine and fake plants. At the very beginning, the reader is greeted with the warm smell of detergent as she walks into the laundry mat.

She renders the people in the piece but doesn’t add to much of her opinions about them. It’s in the nonjudgmental way that she notices the man doesn’t help his wife with the laundry baskets. It’s a clearly written piece that is very easy to visualize.

~

“Every time Randi recounts their conversations, her eyes burn and her jaw clenches.”

by: Kelsey Sutton

The final piece in this section is done by Kelsey Sutton. She takes us to the movie theaters with her and her friend Randi. I read this story and thought about relationships between young people. Randi is in love with a guy friend but never has the chance to tell him. It’s a quirky piece that I really enjoyed reading. Kelsey never comes out and says what movie they went to see.

She describes the images of witches and monkeys and yellow roads, which is one of the audience’s clue. Another one is that Randi wants her female competition to be flattened by a house. Then the audience knows for sure that they went to see, “The Wizard of Oz.” I like that she didn’t come out and tell us. It leaves a little mystery. I also enjoyed the fact that she ended the piece on a humorous note.

If you’re interested in reading this collection, you can find it here.

Fantail by Hannah Solheim

“You watched her eyelids that had creases in their blue eye shadow. They looked like the lines of rivers on maps.”

~Fantail~

“Fantail” is a unique fiction piece because the story is written in the second person perspective. It’s about ‘you’ going to Walmart at 11 pm at night in order to buy fish. How odd is that? The story is really simple to follow. You go to buy fish and meet this girl who happens to be mucking up the fish tanks with her grimy fingers. The annoying girl, whom you deem as Amber, is most assuredly going to get on the readers’ nerves.

As readers, we get this main character’s personality mostly through past fish she has owned. It’s an unusual way of creating a character portrait but also very unique. Instead of highlighting interactions between people, interactions are shown with a variety of fish. This character that I’m talking about happens to be ‘you.’

This piece is very interesting and well written. I think people should read it to see how to successfully write in the second point of view.

If you’re interested in reading the piece, you can find it here.