• Kitchen SInk by Aaron Dargis

    Kitchen Sink

    on Nov 13, 17 with No Comments

    Aaron Dargis https://youtu.be/m-m4yX3rv8U It’s noon and eggshells are scattered about the sink. I haven’t cleaned a pan in days. I can’t think of a good reason to sweep the floors. I won’t see him until he is drunk and pleased. I envy shared glee for gardenias, like...

  • Daughter4254-Leigh-Statham

    Starting a Creative Revolution: Leigh Statham and Daughter4254

    on Oct 27, 17 with No Comments

    Mel Sherrer Leigh Statham, a writer who has served on South 85 Journal‘s staff, is currently touring with her new YA book, Daughter4254, which will officially be released by Owl Hollow Press on November 7.  We caught up with her for a few minutes for a sneak preview of...

  • Letter from an Undocumented

    Live a Quiet Life or Do the Work:...

    on Oct 20, 17 with No Comments

    Katie Piccirillo Sherman During this past Converse MFA summer residency, nonfiction mentor Jim Minick asked students to write a letter revealing a secret they’d never told anyone. Minick provided a number of samples, one of which was written by all-star nonfiction student...

  • Mel Sherrer and Liz Valvano

    Meditations on Togetherness

    on Oct 9, 17 with 1 Comment

    Mel Sherrer https://youtu.be/aw2WvKWNoq4I RitualMy expectation is to rise every morning with a Texas dawn ripping my eyes open like a sweaty Sunday shirt. I expect the complaints of abused bones creaking in marriage with cartilage I expect the ache of every hour ago. Expect...

  • Debby DeRosa making an announcement

    South 85 Journal Launches a YouTube Channel

    on Sep 25, 17 with No Comments

    Debby DeRosa South 85 Journal is launching a YouTube Channel to help us promote contemporary literature.  Starting October 9, we will release one video poetry reading a month.  To get everyone excited (and to test some features), I created this video announcement:...

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  • Rebooting Your Brain

    on Jan 26, 12 in Blog by with Comments Off on Rebooting Your Brain

    What do you do when you get stuck on a story or run out of motivation or creativity? How do you refresh it? How do you get inspired?

    I’ve been wrestling with these questions lately because my imagination has been quite stingy. Just last week, while I was working on a short story, my brain froze up. Instantly, I felt stupid and incapable of forming complete thoughts. I couldn’t figure out why this was happening or what to write next or how to form the second half of the piece. Every idea I came up with seemed obvious or lame. It was extremely frustrating and I went three days without writing a good word (and this is bad because I have some deadlines coming up).

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  • The Well-Worn Book

    on Jan 22, 12 in Blog by with No Comments

    As a young girl, my grandmother would take me to pick out fabrics for the dresses she would sew for me to wear. My fingers loved to browse through bolts of soft cotton, rough tweeds, linear corduroys, and ethereal gauzes. I would hide within the racks, all the while feeling each pattern, each texture, each subtle pick of fiber. 

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  • The Importance of Writerly Friends

    on Dec 22, 11 in Blog by with Comments Off on The Importance of Writerly Friends

    I have a few hundred Facebook friends. Out of all of them there are maybe thirty or forty who have any semblance of an interest in writing or literature. Fewer still actively write, and I would only consider sharing my early drafts with a handful of them. These ‘writing friends’ are not only writers whose work and opinions on craft I admire, but they have also helped me in many ways. They’ve pushed me through drafts I thought were dead in the water, broadened my reading horizions with books I never would have picked up on my own, and helped me improve my writing as a whole. I’m always happy to look at a manuscript they might be working on, or to be a sounding board for their new ideas for novels or short stories. These kind of relationships are the ones that have gotten me through the more difficult times of being a writer. Not that family and loved ones aren’t great, but there’s no substitute for a friend who is right there with you in the thick of it.

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  • Life on Mars with My Father-in-law

    on Dec 16, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    A fellow-writer once told me that the ending of a story should be “surprising yet inevitable,” meaning unexpected, but not outside the realm of possibility. I’ve found in my own writing that the easy part is to come up with a good start or interesting concept but wrapping it up takes much more than a few hours, or days, or even months.

    I was reminded just how important a clean ending is over the last two months or so. Every Sunday my father-in-law made me, my wife, and my mother-in-law watch a show called Life on Mars. It started as an alternative to watching him watch NASCAR but quickly moved to a ritual we looked forward to. Since the whole series only has 17 episodes, we moved through it fairly quickly.

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  • Queuing Up Quiet

    on Dec 3, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    My husband and I were driving home from dinner the other night, our toddler snoozing in her carseat behind us, when the shuffle on my husband’s phone queued up one of my favorite songs, the Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four.”  As I sang along (a little too enthusiastically), one of the lines struck me as it hadn’t before.  McCartney suggests that on Sunday mornings, he and his partner could “go for a ride.”  Suddenly, I was trying to remember the last time I took a car ride recreationally.  The closest thing I could think of was a few years ago during our house-hunting phase, but even that was goal-oriented driving.  Not even our annual Christmas lights cruising really counted since we always have a plan, an agenda. 

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