From Guest Contributors

Our guest contributors are kindred spirits who also have the writing bug. Some are dear friends and some are writers we admire but don’t know personally. Their bios are included at the end of their individual articles.

A stroller story

It was Saturday morning, and tiny pinpricks of early light had just begun to filter into my darkened bedroom. I awakened to the familiar sound of little feet padding across the hallway accompanied by an unfamiliar sound I couldn’t quite identify. The door creaked open, and I peeked sleepily from beneath the covers. Standing before…

The Phoenix

TRACK The Phoenix—Tara Ward with Special Weapons Song and vocals: Tara Ward Song arrangement, synths, and sounds: Matthew D. Chism (aka Special Weapons) Mixed by Lacey Brown at Nervous Breakdance Studios, Seattle WA Artwork: Cecelia Romero Likes LYRICS See her fly above the seas Inexperienced not she Any constraints—she’ll break free And find a truer…

Lytle Beach

  Afternoon sun, cutting sharp shadows on clamshell, white pebble, gray beach glass, green (such familiar things), warms each March beachgoer, including the heartless seagulls dropping helpless mussels from the sky to open them. Down across the sand an unlanguaged man – vocal tic, facial twitch – stands in the mudflats going “hum hum hum”…

Thirty-four years new

I’m celebrating my thirty-fourth birthday. As a parent, I love watching my kids enjoy their birthdays. They’re thrilled by all the “new” that is coming their way: Five means getting ready for Kindergarten; thirteen means you fit in that teenager category, no longer a kid; and sixteen means new independence and the possibility of driving.…

The call of the wild

Pit toilets are a dismal attempt to domesticate the mountains. The stench hit my nostrils as I rounded the corner and came in view of the toilet, a simple wooden throne with a single step up to it and a hole in the middle. Flies hovered over the opening, which looked half rotten, drenched in…

New

Bare branches clutch the dying moon, coyotes mourn and call Poor attempts to hold this moth drawn to the beloved Flame Though she shall be reduced to ash then thrust forth born again Jamie Maciejewski belongs to Wordways, a group of women on the Olympic Peninsula who write and share pilgrimages of faith and life.…

Springtime in the Northwest

I grew up in the northern desert where long, harsh winters were followed by dry, hot summers. My siblings and I spent whole days outside building, swimming, exploring in the summer. Our winters were spent huddled around the pellet stove, making snow forts and sledding down the ditch embankment. Later my husband and I lived…

Keep looking up

I close my eyes, fighting against the tears. Sam is below me, his hands tight around the rope, his voice soothing and patient. “You’ve got this, come on.” I take a deep breath and try again, finding a solid place for my right foot. My fingers cram themselves into a small crack system, and I…

New mercies

I am typing this on a borrowed laptop. The ceiling paint above me is cracked and peeling, tainted with yellow stains. The bedroom door won’t shut into a door frame deformed from years of settling. I can see out the window because several of the blinds are cracked or missing, but the view is incredible.…

Rediscovering foods you used to hate

I was not your typical high schooler. While other girls spent their teen years at the mall with their friends, I much preferred wandering the aisles of the grocery store with a signed check from my parents to make the purchases I needed for the week’s meal planning. It was during those years that I…

So I married an alcoholic

Hello. My name is Danielle, and I married an alcoholic. It’s been 10 years since I divorced him for his substance and subsequent emotional abuse. I naïvely believed that somehow that meant I could begin again, that his problems would be his problems. But I was wrong, and now things have reached a boiling point,…

A beginner’s mind

I’m staring at the blond fuzzy hair that covers his newborn head and trying to take it in. Maybe I can imprint this image in my mind forever. I smell his head (doesn’t everyone tell you to?) and yes, there it is—the smell of a newborn—a mix of soap and sweat and sweetness that should…

Comic Conomenon

When I sat down to write this article, I could not think of a single new thing in my life. Same job, same house, same brand of coffee (Major Dickason, you delicious, brooding devil, you). Luckily, a quick perusal of my recent photos quickly reminded me of a ginormous, 90,000-person new thing that I just…

In the blood

As we walked the field webbed by early century water lines, I noticed in moments of stress, he’d lift his hat with a hand on his head, favor a leg, and take a deep breath. I used to wait, like a kid who lit a firework, for the explosion. But, the explosion never came and…

My friends are stars

Sometimes when I walk home at night, I see people I love under the lights of surrounding businesses. Around this time of year they are bundled up, cardboard boxes, umbrellas—whatever they can use—surrounding them to offer some amount of protection and privacy. Often, it can feel as though I am walking through a tiny secret…

Surprises of the body

43rd Time’s the Charm: In a Thriller, Wozniacki Wins Her First Grand Slam Title The headline of an article in the Sports Section of the Sunday edition of the New York Times reads like a poem. I cut the article out and, hanging it on the fridge, forget it almost immediately. Months later I sit…

I remembered the tree and the tree remembered me

We sat in the car, a full country’s length away from our normal. Years of marital problems had come to a head in the preceding weeks and, after an agreement to work on these problems and an understanding that they weren’t going to be solved overnight, nearly tangible tentativeness and awkwardness hung in the air…

The Blur

It’s been a blur. My reflection in the glass. For the last seven years. So much so that if you asked me what I looked like, I couldn’t tell you. No matter how long I stand here trying to catch a glimpse of who I am, it plays out in pixelated streaks across my mirror.…

Amongst the grays

Don’t define your world in black and white because there is so much hiding amongst the grays. —Unknown “How old was she when you got her?” I look up from my young daughter’s partially tied shoelace to see a friendly blond mother smiling at me expectantly. It’s preschool open house, and parents all around us…

Play

Hands poised, I felt brave and silly. How could I have not played before? All those moments I’d spent walking by, watching my kids and husband, I had not even once considered that I needed to play, too. She stands proud in my living room, daily offering her love to me, and I hadn’t realized…