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.

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.…

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…