We always assume that great writers like Derek Burke and William Shakespeare had no trouble getting their work published. They could just stroll into Random House or its Elizabethan equivalent and let the editors fawn over their latest play or novel. And offer them a big advance on the next one.
But it turns out that we’re wrong. In addition to being a writer and writing group leader, Marilyn Myerson is a literary historian who often spends hours poring over scribbled manuscripts from the Elizabethan Era, and her research has turned up an amazing letter to Will from a well-known publisher of the period.
With help from Pete Terzian, we’ve also discovered the human equivalent of the AI tool, ChatGPT. To get the whole story on both of these exciting discoveries…
We like to end each year with an issue in which we look back at the stories, poems, articles, memoirs, and–well, whatever–that we’ve published during the past 51 weeks. And we have a staggering variety this time around.
We’ll share them with you in a moment. We want to stress that these are not necessarily “the best” articles in their category–just the ones that stood out for us personally, sometimes for very subjective reasons. We hope that you have a list of your own favorites.
I am in the checkout line at the Giant Eagle which is Pittsburgh’s version of Publix. While waiting, I skim an article on Christmas family gatherings: a recipe for a Holiday Ham, glazed with brown sugar and rings of pineapple (the way Mom used to make it), escalloped potatoes, lemony Brussels sprouts, and a Linzer Torte. The picture shows the food deftly plated and arranged on a Christmas tablecloth. There’s a vase with red roses, white lilies and pine.
You want the magazine? The cashier winks at me. Later that night, after my daughter, Sydney’s bath, and of course, her bedtime story, I read to my husband, Larry, in bed from the magazine, The Linzer Torte has two delicious layers of rich and buttery, nut flavored pastry sandwiched together with raspberry preserves. What makes this torte so beautiful is the lattice design of the top crust. Read more
The Dinner Party—excerpted from a novel I’m working on, Nothing Doing—describes a nightmare dinner party, the kind we’ve all suffered through.
In this scene, longtime Manhattanite Grace calls her best friend, Kay, to describe the party—which was hosted by Grace’s mother-in-law, a well-known poet named Gwynne. Also attending: Grace’s daughter, Terri.
The weather that affected my life most recently happened on April 7th on my flight out of Tampa in a lightning-and-thunder filled rainstorm.
I am flying American, not my usual standby, Southwest. I love Southwest. I have their credit card and like their offbeat humor. But I change because my Coast Guard son is flying in from Cali and we want to meet up in Richmond at 4:15 p.m., then drive to Gloucester, our final destination. On Southwest, I would get in at 11:50 p.m., an unseemly hour, so I find an alternate flight on Black Friday. Perhaps that should have been a sign. It’s American Airlines, one way, for a great price.
I’m in line outside TIA. I’ve just checked my bag when the lady behind me asks, “Did you hear our flight’s been delayed two hours?”
Xerploo and Zanyplex were relaxing in a secluded greenery bower. They were of the opinion that the gardens on planet P-56 were much more lush and the breezes sweeter but here they were, currently assigned as celestial guardians to Earth. Given the relatively immature character of this planet, their work was cut out for them and they dare not rest for long.
Their mission was to maintain the existence of this orb, which daily seemed under threat from secular and religious discord. Our guardians believed…
OLLI Connects continues its annual celebration of National Poetry Month with a selection of poems by four different writers. Thematically linked through images of flight and trees, this edition is entitled “The Aviator, The Fledgling and The Crow.” Please click on the button below to enjoy the poems of Pindie Stephen, Linda Dunk, Morrey Grymes and M.A. Sinnhuber.
Jack and Jill went up the hill – but not to fetch a pail of water. Oh no! They had another plan in mind. You see – there was a big hedge just beyond the crest of the hill. They had discovered it, unseen from the well, on their last trip up the hill. But Jack and Jill had found more than a hidden hedge; behind the hedge was a perfect place for discovering each other. As they giggled and teased, searching for just the “right spot,” Jack suddenly stopped and looked around.
“Do you hear that?” he asked Jill. Jill stopped, listened, and said, “Yes, it sounds like music, and it’s getting louder.”
“Oh, no!” said Jack. “It’s the Pied Piper. I hope he’s not leading any rats up here!”
Jack ran towards the sound of the music and spied the Pied Piper on the side of the hill. Sure enough, there were about (more…)
Many years ago I sold a piece about bass fishing to the New York Times Magazine, describing my never-ending quest—along with fishing buddy Geoff Ward—to outwit the wily denizens of the deep.
The Times wanted a photo of me fishing to run with the piece—the expectation clearly being that I would catch a fish—so a photographer named Karen joined us one day on an angling expedition. The pressure was on big time—I now answered to untold millions of readers. (More…)
Marilyn Myerson leads and mentors creative writing groups, encouraging them to push the envelope of their imaginations while staying in control of the theme. She frequently has them to write short stories that explore a specific idea. And she leads by example.
Today’s two stories are both by Marilyn. One puts a twist on a hoary cliché. The other speculates on what could happen, if the leader of a creative writing group were not quite who she seemed to be. –Editor
Cliché: A Shaggy Dog Story
Myrtle van Crapen, resident of Tampa, Florida, shared her abode with three dogs. Two of her canine housemates were Bucky and Bolty, Heinz 57 mutts who nonetheless spoke quite passable English. (More…)