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.

Bittersweet

On Tuesday, August 21, 2015, after a 12-½ year battle with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), including almost four years’ separation, my husband, Patrick, now with U.S. Legal Permanent Residence (LPR) status, landed at SeaTac International airport.  Our 8-year-old son, Solomon, and I were waiting anxiously and I sobbed with elation and relief…

Seeking hoogly

My mom was the one who told me, after hearing it from Betsy Brown, a close friend in Atlanta. “It’s just so hoogly,” she said, describing that perfect cozy feeling when you’re snuggled right where you want to be with the exact people you want to be snuggled with. Betsy told her it was a…

Last light

It’s late afternoon on a winter Saturday, and I’ve taken my children to the beach for an hour of fresh air, an hour of running around and tossing beach stones into the water before the day is gone. What light we’ll get today in the northwestern corner of the country has already crested and is…

Getting some help with hygge

No one but me thought it was a good idea to hire a live-in maid and nanny. My mother reminded me that she had raised three kids and worked full time, and still managed to keep a cleaner house than mine, all on her own. My mother-in-law pointed out that neither of my sisters-in-law had maids, and they could actually afford…

Pizza and my place in the order of things

I need a single bowl of tomatoes for dinner, but the plant is overflowing with the delicate orange orbs. It’s the end of an extravagantly fertile summer that began with a slow spring and plentiful rain, a rarity for our high desert climate. My garden has responded to the weather, heavy with produce. As I…

Presence

Think of that feeling when you are cozy. Lit candles are scattered around the room, good food is in your belly, and a hot cup of tea is in your hands. Maybe you are alone, on a no-work day, sitting on the couch with a good book and no bra on under your old, tattered…

A love letter to You: on coldness and warmth

July 2018 Hi, You.  It’s the middle of the week, and I’m calm. My to-do list sits mostly empty, as I’m expecting family for the weekend. There won’t be enough beds to sleep in, but sugar consumption and late night conversations will keep us awake in any case. Your name will come up, as it…

The paradox of gifts

My Love Language results will tell you. Any astrology description of my sign, Leo, “the prideful lion,” will corroborate it too. I love gifts. I love everything about gifts. I enjoy the art of finding the perfect gift just as much as I love writing the thank you notes for the ones I’ve received. The…

The cost of a lucky penny

I wouldn’t call myself a superstitious person. I love the whimsy behind the notion of a lucky penny, but I’ve never held one as a belief. But last week a penny did make me realize again how lucky I am. A penny that got firmly stuck in my son’s throat. Can anything focus your gratitude…

Map of a hand

How many continents have traveled beneath this flesh Been held in reverence or punctured on demand? How many miles of emotions have rolled like oceans and rough seas Or teased to wonder why? How many stories held safe? How many lies of omission never fully crossed the lifelines, Waiting to be thrown or held back…

Affirming

I got big into affirmations during a time in my life where I was really searching for something. SOMETHING to ease the pain that I felt, something to be the glue to hold me together, something to make sense out of everything that had happened. In the midst of untangling myself from an abusive ex,…

Our turn for a dose of something terrible

We sit in the pre-op area. The temperature is cold and the atmosphere sterile. More waiting. There are others waiting too, separated from us by beige floral print curtains, their privacy maintained by the loud whooshing of recycled air flowing above us. Each patient is prepped and eventually escorted through the sliding doors to the…

Plunge

When she goes between worlds, so do you. This is where I live. ❖ In the days weeks months after my mother dies, the ocean calls. I am to be reverse-born, back into waters. In the true middle of the Pacific Ocean, there is an ancient green rock that juts out, bearing life on its…

Fearless

I’ve never, ever, by any stretch of the imagination been fearless. In fact, I’ve always had an abundance of caution, too much perhaps, more than the healthy amount that keeps one out of harm’s way. As a child, my mom tells me, I’d always wake up from naps crying—terrified that I was in a room…

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.…