This month we have 1 featured poem and 1 fictional piece! Jump to the poem here!
(For those viewing on handheld devices, please turn your device horizontal to avoid word overlap. Enjoy our writers to the fullest!)
Locally Sourced Friend by Heather Hughley
I leaned my body against the well-worn wooden bar and turned towards the bartender, “The usual, Rog.” Roger grabbed a bottle I knew all too well--brown with blue mountains. My heaven. I looked around and spotted Jon, with someone I didn’t know, across the room. “Bill! Come on over and hang with us, won’t ya?” Jon shouted. “On my way! Who’s your frien…” As I got closer to the table, I noticed something unusual. “Jon, why is there a dressed-up skeleton sitting across from you?” “Oh. Herald? Take a seat and I’ll introduce you.” Curiosity overcame me and I couldn’t help but take a seat next to my friend. Half expecting to see Herald suddenly spring to life, I slowly turned my body to face the fully clothed skeleton and stuttered out, “Umm… hey Herald.” “Oh my gosh, Herald! You’re too funny! He uses that joke every time he meets someone new! This guy! I can’t get enough!” Jon was in stitches over the echoing silence of our table. “Jon, he didn’t say anything.” “What do you mean he didn’t say anything? Herald, don’t mind Bill. He must’ve had a long day and isn’t much fun yet.” “Hey, Jon, where did you and Herald meet?” “We met over on Erie and 10th.” “You mean Eerie Manor? The graveyard?!?” “Well, yeah, Bill. Where else would I meet a man like Herald?” “Jon, I need you to answer me honestly here. Did you dig up Herald and dress him like this?” Jon scoffed at me and handed over a folded-up piece of paper, “Clearly you haven’t seen the new AD in the newspaper.” This Halloween Season don’t buy plastic skeletons from the store! They’re bad for the environment! Come to Eerie Manor and get a locally sourced friend for your holiday season! “What the hell is this about, Jon?” “Bill, our Earth won’t last much longer if we keep using all these plastics. And our local community gets that!” “BUT THIS IS A REAL SKELETON!” “Bill, please lower your voice. You’re embarrassing Herald and me.” “HE’S NOT REAL, JON!” “I don’t know what has gotten into you tonight, Bill, but you’re being quite rude. Herald is a locally sourced friend from Eerie Manor who has agreed to sit on my porch for the month of October before taking his annual nap from November 1st-September 30th. And for you to act like he isn’t real and that his job is not important is just plain rude!” Jon stood up. “Now, if you’ll please excuse me, gentlemen, I need to use the bathroom. Too many blue mountains have entered my gullet tonight.” My mind was whirling. Do I have to send my best friend to the looney bin? I turned my head towards Herald. Herald turned his head towards me. “You’ve been friends with him longer than me, Bill. Does that guy ever shut up? I can’t get a word in edgewise and it’s nearly killing me! Get it? Nearly killing me!” I’ve never run faster in my life. The End
My name is Heather Hughley and I am a Senior at UWS. I will be graduating with a degree in Communicating Arts with a minor in Writing. I am a fiction writer who is inspired by ordinary moments that turn into something fantastical. With Lake Superior at my toes and the great Up North at my fingertips, there is a story waiting to be discovered just around the next bend. This is my debut to publication and I hope you enjoy reading this piece as much as I did writing it.
Pandemic, Sixth Month by Sarah Monahan
I. Uncertainty, mixed with dread for any number of scenarios that may or may not unfold, breeds anxiety. Negative effects of anxiety on brain and body are well-studied, well-documented: include cortisol levels and neurotransmitter analysis, a lengthy list of symptoms and ills manifesting in myriad ways in individuals, groups, and populations. To combat this collective trauma underway a host of resources are readily available: yoga and other exercise, meditation, medication, detachment from expectation, staying present to the moment, mindful of sensation, aware of the body in space, in context. Each must explore and decide what will work to make it possible to persevere. II. What, then, is the opposite of dread? A possible antidote to perpetuating anxiety in the face of our current paradigm? We can’t remove uncertainty, which is the only certainty, but what would it do to a brain and body to anticipate some handful of delightful and satisfying experiences that may or may not manifest? Anecdotally I’ll say that the effect of whatever this state is called creates space enough for sunlight and starlight, butterflies and fireflies, room for wonder and mystery, a welcome space in which to dwell, to rest a spell, to gather strength for moving into the next steps on the road. Pursuit of pleasure may be salvation in these times.
Sarah Monahan’s intrusive, territorial nature comes from being 1/16th Mermaid. She writes in the car, on the beach, under blankets, or sitting at picnic tables, mostly furious and unfocused lines of thought. She studied creative writing at the University of MN. She is a Speech-Language Pathologist who focuses on leadership development and lives in sight of Lake Superior with a man and two boys.