Wrapping Up Volume 12: HOME

On this cold and snowy spring morning, we wanted to take a (very belated) moment to thank everyone who submitted for Vol. 12, and to the contributors who were selected to share their work. The interpretations of the theme “home” varied widely, and we enjoyed reviewing each and every piece.

Check out the full post below for a recap of the volume (and our thoughts on these amazing submissions).

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Vol. 12 HOME: David Comfort - “The Kiss”

"This is a story about an elderly widow who loses her home during a home invasion, but gains something far greater."—David

She was taped to her high-backed chair at the dining room table. There, in front of the bay window, beside her husband’s military portrait over the mantelpiece. Scattered on the floor was the Sunday newspaper she had just walked up the lane. Lying next to the paper was her cane and her Audubon calendar. She put everything on her calendar. The little white boxes were filled with her meticulous print. She included the weather, when her boys drove home, when she visited the cemetery. 

She was beginning to lose sensation of her right hand now. They had wrapped the tape tighter on this. It had been the first one. She didn’t recall them taping it. When she had opened the back door, carrying the paper, they had been behind it, waiting. Then she heard the explosion. Later, she had opened her eyes, as if from sleep, to the sound of panting behind her.

Now, the tall one was already upstairs, in her bedroom. She could hear the sound of telephones being torn from the walls and smashed. Of lamps falling to the floor. Of her dresser drawers being thrown open. The other one, the shorter one, was standing beside her. He wore a stocking over his face, with three holes. He had kind, gentle eyes.

When his partner disappeared upstairs with the gun, he put his hand lightly on her shoulder. He wore thin white rubber gloves. The medical kind.

"You believe in Jesus?" he said. "You believe he is the Savior?"

She tried to look around again. Behind, her Labrador retriever was lying on the kitchen floor eyes open, legs quivering, blood pouring from his mouth.

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120 Seconds With….Liz L. Lyon

Liz is the author of "Caressing the Butterfly".

  • Day job: Executive assistant.
  • 3 favorite authors: Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey, C.S. Lewis, Rilke, Pablo Neruda…
  • 3 artists you most admire: Mary Cassatt, Franz Kline, Edgar Degas.
  • How have you changed as an artist since you began creating/writing? I think that the point of being an artist is to see everything as mutable and manipulatable, and to guide one thing’s transformation into something else entirely. That new something should elicit a response from the reader/viewer, ranging anywhere from pleasure to disgust. I’m still learning how to do that; it’s a continual process.
  • Describe your dream studio/workspace. A space with lots of light and a view.
  • Where do you feel the most “at home”? In a place where I can take off my shoes and snuggle into the couch, with a blanket and some chamomile tea, where I don’t have to speak to anyone unless I want to.
  • Something you never leave the house without: Unimpressively, I never leave without my keys and phone.
  • How do you unwind and get in the mood to create/write? It’s a combination of staring at the notebook, doodling, remembering, and skimming the internet for some added juice. When I get an image, feeling, or idea that I like, I respond to it in some way.
  • Tell us about a favorite holiday/wintertime tradition. Decorating for Christmas - Handel’s “Messiah” blaring throughout the house, countless trips down to the basement and back up again with arms full of kitschy Christmas gear, the excitement of Christmas and the imminent gathering of family.
  • Name the last song that got stuck in your head. "Let’s Go" by Matt and Kim.

120 Seconds With…Dan Beatty

Dan is the author of "Roots".

  • Day job(s): Clinical Social Worker, Outpatient Therapist, Adjunct College Professor.
  • Three favorite authors: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Joyce Carol Oates, Mark Brazaitis; Honorable Mention: my 11-year daughter Kenzie Beatty.
  • Three artists you most admire: Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Vincent Van Gogh.
  • How have you changed as an artist since you started writing: I now can hardly read a good novel for pleasure, I am becoming more interested in their writing style than the plot. Hopefully, that won’t last forever.
  • Describe your dream studio/workplace: Isolation and beautiful scenery. This can be anywhere as long as these two elements are present
  • Where do you feel the most “at home”: When I’m with my wife and daughters, no matter where. And I love driving around my hometown of Chariton, Iowa since I have lived so far away for so long
  • Something you never leave the house without: A diet Mountain Dew
  • How do you unwind and get in the mood to create/write: isolation, a Newcastle beer, and music with great lyrics
  • Tell us about a favorite holiday/wintertime tradition: Going to get our tree with my wife and daughters the Saturday after Thanksgiving (LEAST favorite: trying to get said tree in the door and standing upright, which has yet to go smoothly)
  • Name the last song that got stuck in your head: As I write this, “Under Pressure” by Queen is stuck in my head. And that is OK.

120 Seconds with… Richard J. Fleming

Richard is the author of "Dis Place".

  • Day job: Factotum.
  • 3 favorite authors: Arthur Rimbaud, Thomas Hardy, Ogden Nash
  • 3 artists you most admire: Kasimir Malevich, Giacomo Balla, Franz Marc.
  • How have you changed as an artist since you began creating/writing? I used to be a Classical Poet, now I am catering to Fringe Groups.
  • Describe your dream studio/workspace. Undersea Habitat.
  • Where do you feel the most “at home”? Stonehenge.
  • Something you never leave the house without: Brushing my teeth.
  • How do you unwind and get in the mood to create/write? Beer for Breakfast.
  • Tell us about a favorite holiday/wintertime tradition. Book burning.
  • Name the last song that got stuck in your head. Cars 4 Kids.

120 Seconds With…J’Sun Howard

J’Sun is the poet behind Home.

  • Day job: Grocery Store Associate.
  • 3 favorite authors: Toni Morrison, Haruki Murakami, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
  • 3 artists you most admire: William Kentridge, Pina Bausch, and Bill T. Jones.
  • How have you changed as an artist since you began creating/writing? Then I didn’t know what I was writing. I just know I had to put words to page as it felt the right to do in my own self’s solidarity as I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. A constant has been to master haiku, but overall my voice is not as narrow as it was in the beginning. I have listened, observed and listened more to appreciate how subtle language is, and how to choreograph it such a way that germinates emotion. Opening to the potentiality of the world around me has strengthened my sensors to create and write.
  • Describe your dream studio/workspace. Not to far from a city, a cabin that has pastures of great beauty and serenity (there must be a waterfall somewhere in the forest behind the cabin somewhere only a few people know about), a studio for choreography, a farm that I can nurture, spaces for fellow artist to come to rest and create, a library that is connected a state of the art writing lab, has the ability to go off the grid when technology is not being used, and every Sunday would be church over brunch with an established artist we all admire…just the easy living we artists deserve, essentially.
  • Where do you feel the most “at home”? Cooking for the people I most care about
  • Something you never leave the house without: My backpack that has everything in it; you never know when you may have to get up and run away from something.
  • How do you unwind and get in the mood to create/write? Usually after taking a walk to let my mind decompress from the tortures of the day.
  • Tell us about a favorite holiday/wintertime tradition. The best one would be watching childrens’ animated films and gauging when my aunt will fall asleep, through it as she is the one to corral everybody together to watch them.
  • Name the last song that got stuck in your head. "Dancing on My Own" by Robyn.

Vol. 12 HOME: J’Sun Howard - “Home”


is once upon a time- transient dreams of new light,
radio, and illusory skies; an upper left hand corner
to a house too close to a yellow poplar
that if severed by a lick of lightning its branches
would retard those dreams. think something sweeter
than nightdark and transit through it: a soul maybe..?
imagine a ghost trundling, ambling in a cemetery
lying down besides all those that are gone for a perfect fit.
what he’s seeking has been lost all along, loveloss.
no hairy chest to lie his bewildered head on. just like
a monster calling home. recalling lord aizen, dear
trickster, deceiving those who knew home could be
elsewhere. deception comes as a knock on a door-
the music is too loud. dad says, “you don’t need to come
back here.” the monster hardly ever calls home.
which doctrines prove the heart ahouseunbuilt?
is this when the handgun debuts? and why would
you not keep one as you sprint down those long
red corridors? please know that when you see
“chris was here” scored into the walls deep in there
that it’s not a wound but where home should be.
for all that is known, there is no holiday for saying
goodbye; no memory joyful enough to elicit tears;
no foursided structure climbing to a peak
to imprison you from living; no dust; no porchlight
to alert when outside playtime is over; no more
sneaking out of bed to lie in the hallway to watch
wrestling with mom as she waited for dad; no more
stale mcdonald’s either; nothing; no; only
the efficacy of knowing that there isn’t a key needed
when death plugs in the nightlight and tucks you in
to sleep for foreverness once upon a time when
home lived in breath.

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120 Seconds With….Colleen Maynard

Colleen is the author of the poem Shared Room.

  • Day job: Pastry chef.
  • 3 favorite authors: Haurki Murakami, Louise Glück, John McPhee.
  • 3 artists you most admire: My dear friends—so many of them are artists, writers, and craftspersons!
  • How have you changed as an artist since you began creating/writing? My writing and visual artwork have grown more intertwined and balancing of each other, and I can interchange them depending on what I need to be doing at the given moment. I have a lot more faith in my processes of writing and art-making, so once I jump into a project I can work on it for a long time without getting bored or exhausting the matter. As a dual writer and artist, I’ve also learned that at times I’m just going to be focusing more on one body of work than the other, and that doesn’t mean that I’m neglecting my other “child.” I love them equally and dearly.
  • Describe your dream studio/workspace. Either a small room with a door; or a humming, old-timey diner with decent coffee and good people-watching.
  • Where do you feel the most “at home”? In my studio and outdoors.
  • Something you never leave the house without: My bicycle!
  • How do you unwind and get in the mood to create/write? Bike hard, run fast, walk and photograph, or simply force myself to sit down with pen and paper.
  • Tell us about a favorite holiday/wintertime tradition. I try to make at least a few of my Christmas presents each year. Recently I’ve made a walnut cutting board, a hand-drawn calendar, and drawings of friends’ stuffed animals that they’ve kept since childhood.
  • Name the last song that got stuck in your head. Whitney Houston, “How Will I Know”.

Vol. 12 HOME: Clare Rosean - “Looksee”


"I’m very much a homebody, and home feels very secure to me. The narrative behind Looksee is a child home alone, concerned that someone may have gotten into the house, or maybe her parents have just returned from their night out. First, she checks to make sure the door is locked, and then looks out the window to see if their car is there.”—Clare

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120 Seconds With….Paul Brucker

Paul is the author of The Breeze and the Dark.

  • Day job: Marketing communications writer. I put a lid on poetry writing when I went to graduate advertising school at Northwestern University in a questionable attempt to think like a business man and earn a decent income. Many years later, however, I was compelled to start writing poetry again.
  • 3 favorite authors: Louis Simpson, early John Barth (“The Floating Opera”) and early James Joyce (“Dubliners”)
  • 3 artists you most admire: Edvard Munch, plus film directors David Cronenberg and Fredrico Fellini
  • How have you changed as an artist since you began creating/writing? I’m now more honest about my feelings (particularly sadness and fear). Alas, that, along with my ingrained pessimism, limits the scope, direction and power of my writing 
  • Describe your dream studio/workspace. I always wanted to have a fancy tree house, perhaps like the one in Fellini’s “Juliet of the Spirits”
  • Where do you feel the most “at home”? The place that I loved the most was a stretch of woods in Falls Church, VA. I walked through that wonderland, when I skipped study hall in high school. Unfortunately, that place was “undeveloped” land because it was earmarked for the construction a new part of Rt. 66. Eventually, the place was bulldozed and now is part of the highway.
  • Something you never leave the house without: My hat during the freezing winter. It has ear flaps. I’m an overprotective father to that hat.
  • How do you unwind and get in the mood to create/write? I do self-hypnosis
  • Tell us about a favorite holiday/wintertime tradition. Putting all the cool Christmas ornaments we’ve got on our pencil-neck cactus
  • Name the last song that got stuck in your head. “Busy Bee,” a beautiful 1967 psychedelic song by the short-lived British band, Tintern Abbey. Also, last night, I really enjoyed watching a really campy MTV-era video of the Ramones covering the Chamber Brothers’ song, “Time Has Come Today.”