Thursday Jan 27

Robert Clark Young Family is the theme for my creative nonfiction selections this month. Family in dysfunction, in happiness, and in humor.

There’s nothing like a good sibling rivalry. I give you “Sticks and Stones” by Lois A. Engel and “Baby For Sale” by Lily Stejskal. In the first instance, the things your sibling says about you can’t hurt you; in the second, you can’t get money for a sibling you’d like to dispose of. Both stories involve putting a mean note on your sibling’s bedroom door. This must be a lot more common than I thought.

We all enjoy a good story about family dysfunction. But stories can focus on the positive aspects of family life and still be engaging. “On Mattresses” by Michelle Menting is one such tale. This is a tour de force, ostensibly focusing on sleeping arrangements over the years, but managing to say a tremendous lot about a family’s history and relationships.

Finally, much of what goes on in families is humorous. Sometimes what’s happening is more than a little humorous. Thus, I give you “Packing Grandma into the Wagon,” by Lois Red Elk. What is it about? It is about packing Grandma. Into the wagon. You’ll enjoy it, no doubt, more than Grandma did.

Finally, if you are a creative nonfiction writer yourself—or working in the closely allied genres of narrative nonfiction or memoir—please do submit your work to us, up to 10,000 words. Perhaps we will not only publish it, but also hail you as one of our best writers of the year in next year’s retrospective issue. Please submit your work directly to me at [email protected].