Reading Heat-Moon in Nicaragua – William Fleeson

For a dusty Central American beach town, San Juan del Sur has a ton of history. The former fishing village once offered passage to Forty-Niners on their way from the US east coast to California. Cornelius Vanderbilt grew his fortune by running a waterborne transit line for that gold rush: faster than overland travel, the…

The Trials and Tribulations of Route 17 – Zahira P. Latif

I stood at the bus stop, waiting for the number 17 into Birmingham city centre. I had been waiting for over 20 minutes, and the queue at the stop had now built up to well over 20 people. I can drive, but car ownership had lost its appeal. I was tired of having to cart…

My One of The Kind Relationship to Chinese Food – Chris Liberato

Before I became a more adventurous eater in my late twenties, my appreciation for traditional Asian food consisted of the bowls of phở that my friends would seek out when we visited Boston. I was fascinated in particular with how my chef friend Charlie approached his noodles: requesting his steak served raw on a side…

Mick Jagger Used to Call Me Mum – Jacqueline Ellis

When I was little, the dark staircase between the front and back rooms of my grandparents’ two-up, two-down terrace house had been a mountain. Each step a jagged, granite foothold; the shadowed landing a dark cloud hiding a kingdom of giants, or a castle encased in twisted branches. Their bedroom glowed yellow; the edges of…

Acknowledging the River – Natalie Timmerman

“Everyone has anxiety.” “Be thankful for what you do have.” “Others have it worse.” When I sunk chin-deep into my anxiety, when I waded through life with a churning stomach, pale skin, and clenched jaw, these phrases thickened the current; they made the wading harder. Sure, they varied in words, tones, and intentions, but they…

Oysters – Lynne Golodner

The oysters arrived on a paper plate, craggy half-shells pooling ocean brine. A server slung a basket of napkins, vinegar and cocktail sauce on the table. Dan lifted a shell and slurped. I forked one and bit into the softness, closing my eyes. I breathed in through my nose to taste more fully. These were…

The Unbearable Brightness of Being – Laura Swan

I’ve taken photography up again for the sake of my fictional avatar. She’s about to start university in Dublin and, unbeknownst to her, she will buy a camera in her second term in an attempt to digest, dissect, and process the world around her – a world that has become intensely disorientating, a world she…

Community and Creativity in New York in Patti Smith’s Just Kids – Jasmine Choice

The prolific New York art scene gained momentum in the 1950s through the subversive Beat movement and the experimental first-generation New York School of poets. Both celebrated community and were integral in inaugurating a defiance of the mainstream and the innovation of art as collaborative. These artistic coteries shared geographical proximity; personal relationships; and similar…

Little Big Stories Everywhere – Jen Schneider

With each dawn, dialogue, and downturn – downpours, too ergonomics and economies dictate energy. Economic impacts expand far beyond employment and stories drop – downstairs in the kitchen, too. Hope blooms eternal, the saying goes. Spring, too. Perennials – candy cane sorrels and blue grape hyacinths. Annuals – geraniums, impatiens. Patiently impatient. Waiting for the…

A Perfect Cadence – Sinéad Price

There is an art to falling. Sacrificing soul, limb and touch to the whim of this tempest. To cross that distance, to breach that space is not the effect of passion, but of passivity. It is the ultimate paradox. To shut off all senses but one, to enfeeble the power of the ever-wandering mind, until…

Growing Young – Eve Davies

If there’s one thing one can observe in a residential care home, it is the necessity of humour throughout life. It is true that the human body ages in a cycle. Through life we travel the circumference of a circle. We begin a reliant baby, we start to learn, we grow up, become an adult,…

Frickin’ Lion – Ann Kathryn Kelly

Olive the (lion) dog. Image by Andrea Farrow, via Instagram The mane streams behind the dog as it tears across weathered gray floorboards. “Frickin’ lion.” The seven-second Instagram reel auto-loops on my Thursday lunch hour and I become obsessed with this dog that I later find out belongs to my colleague Jessica’s sister, Andrea. I…