Category: Blog

Women’s History Month Author Highlights: Diary of a Mute Girl (excerpt)

By Khanh Ha   

Today’s blog post recognizes Khanh Ha with an excerpt from his novel Diary of a Mute Girl. Ha was recently selected as the winner of the 2020-21 James Knudsen Prize for Fiction, awarded by Bayou Magazine and the University of New Orleans. We are proud to count him as part of the Solstice family! Please enjoy this piece, and don’t forget to share!

Women’s History Month Author Highlights: The Water Cracker

By Rani Neutill   

For Women’s History Month, Solstice is highlighting several of our authors from the Winter 2020 issue who are women and/or who celebrate women in their writing. Today’s post is a piece of nonfiction from Rani Neutill. Enjoy, and please share!

Black History Month Author Highlights: Cracked

By Ruth Mukwana   

The next featured Black author in honor of Black History Month is fiction author Ruth Mukwana and her short story “Cracked.” Please also visit the links to listen to her latest podcast episode.

Black History Month Author Highlights: The Uprooting

By Tatiana Johnson-Boria   

As part of our ongoing celebration of Black History Month at Solstice, we will be highlighting Black authors who have been published in both our print and online magazines over the past several years. The first blog features Tatiana Johnson-Boria and her nonfiction/poetry hybrid piece “The Uprooting.”

Blue Friend

By Grace Desmarais   

Graphic Lit contributor Grace Desmarais brings us a very personal comic about mental health.

The Babes in Head-Hopper Land

By Nance Van Winckel   

This Graphic Lit piece is a mashup of a public domain children’s book, The Adventures of the Three Bold Babes, by S. Rosamond Praeger, published in 1897 and blog advice on dealing with toddlers’ tantrums—and includes erasure and collage.

The Color of Fear

By Anne McGrath and Casey Taylor   

The Color of Fear, tackles some of the emotions many in our community felt in recent weeks. The author, Anne McGrath collaborated with artist Casey Taylor on this raw piece of flash fiction which arcs from despair to hope.

Kyle Harabedian

Dining in

By Kyle Harabedian   

The first post in a new Graphic Lit blog series, this wonderful new blog by Minnesota based comic artist Kyle Harabedian. Dining In is an intimate look at quarantine life which is masterfully conveyed through Kyle’s unique art style.

Morgan Dykeman

Gerrymandering and the Youth Vote

By Morgan Dykeman   

2012 was the first year I was eligible to cast a vote for President. I was 20 years old, a student at a small liberal arts college that was proud to boast about 1,000 students total in a rural swath of Western North Carolina, just south of Asheville. We were as far left as they… Read more »

precinct #2

By David Janey   

the stale smell of adolescence lingers still in the varnished wood floors and bleachers of my high school gymnasium. Memories aged fifty years now are just that: faded but not gone, like a scar from an ancient wound or the sting of a racist slight. Only on election days do we come here, only to… Read more »

The Advantage of Citizenship

By Christina Baquero Dudley   

Let me take you on a trip. It’s right about the turn of the century, and I’m a 15-year-old engrossed in everything normal and expected: blink 182, school, friends, and boys. Except there is one aspect that’s not so normal in my suburban upbringing: my father is not a U.S. citizen. And that didn’t mean… Read more »

Michael Ansara

1968 and Now

By Michael Ansara   

My 28-year-old son turns to me, “You failed, you failed.” We are attempting to discuss the morality of the moment. Is violence against police morally defensible? Is there any case that can be made to not vote? I am attempting to pass on lessons from my youth. He is having none of it. “You failed completely,” he hurls at me in bitter condemnation. “Completely.”


By Kelvin Kellman   

Like every school boy, I was cultured to dine with fine silver;piercing steak with polished tines and cutting with the right. Because eating bare hands in the manner of my forebearsmirrors the manners of every other primate shooting from tree to tree. I recite the rosary, venerate men (now saints) that lookzero like me, did… Read more »

The Rage Will Continue

By William Torphy   

A deadly disease infects us all. We acquire it from birth. It threatens lives and incites fear. The disease is racism. Black Americans have been subjected to brutality—physically, spiritually, and economically—since their ancestors were forced into slave ships and transported as chattel to this continent. From the “slave patrols” that subjected slaves to prohibitive surveillance,… Read more »

Automatic Affronts(?): Brown & Black Bodies & (a Lack of) Compassion

By Maria Luisa Arroyo Cruzado   

The few times that I’ve walked into the Big Y in Longmeadow, MA, the supermarket closest to the university, at which I teach, I steel myself against the barbed gazes. This is a predominantly white market situated in a predominantly white, affluent suburb. I am less than a stranger. I am a walking abomination, a… Read more »

Essential But Disposable

By Eduardo Mendieta   

Essential: adj. 1: of, relating to or constituting an essence <voting is an ~right of citizenship> <~ oils> 2: of an utmost importance: INDISPENSABLE…Synonyms IMPERATIVE, NECESSARY, NECESSITOUS—essentially adv.  Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Eleventh Edition My mother is now retired, and I am glad and thankful, but today were she not she would be an “essential worker.” Before… Read more »

“lost promises” and “usually”

By David Janey   

lost promises imagine you’re in a class, a class withno instructor, only a syllabus, only oneassignment; describe these troublesometimes, explain our collective cruelty, untangleour web of deception, describe – us – to astranger, a stranger as close as a twin alsoin a class with no instructor but on a distantplain, in a parallel universe far… Read more »

America’s White Lie

By Doug Canter   

Three days after George Floyd’s unjustified murder in Minneapolis, I read a frustrated plea from a fellow teacher at Western High School in Baltimore City where I teach tenth grade English. The email’s subject line, “Trigger warning,” captured the pain and frustration of my colleague who wrote: “As we are inundated with the unavoidable and… Read more »

Welcome to the Neighborhood

By Lisa Braxton   

They stepped out of front doors, proceeded down spacious brick pathways to the foot of their manicured lawns, and with the precision of a military unit, pivoted to face us. All of them were white—men and women—homeowners in a leafy enclave in Fairfield County Connecticut suburbia anchored by raised ranches, Dutch Colonials, and split-level homes.… Read more »

“Braids I Never Had” and other Poems

By Donna Weaver   

Braids I Never Had They tell her, “You always be lyin’, Tisha.”Tisha looks like she knows how to have sex. Her face doesn’tneed any makeup. And I like that sound the beaded braids make when she shakes her head,‘No’. She doesn’t want the white people music in this store.She scratches her scalp between braids. They… Read more »

Why Should I Be Grateful for Minimum Wage?

By Tessa Clare   

When I was sixteen, my mother told me to be grateful for any job that I could get. As a woman of color, I was raised to believe that opportunities were scarce and that I should make the most of any one that I could find. It didn’t matter that my mother spent the majority… Read more »

No One Would Ever Know

By Kristian Macaron   

At seven A.M. on a Saturday, I was making coffee and my doorbell rang. On the other side of it were two police officers. I grew up and have spent most of my life in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which has the one of the highest violent crime rates in the U.S., and is also an… Read more »

Souls of Black Folks

By tina scott lassiter   

Pleasure is found on the grounds of a garden estate that I frequently walk and photograph. When the pandemic restrictions began to lift, I received a members only invitation to visit; I immediately made an appointment for the first hour on opening day. It felt strange driving through Rock Creek Park to this best kept… Read more »

Food Writing in Quarantine

By Margo Gabriel   

The pancetta crackles in the pan as I dice shallots. This dish won’t taste nearly as delicious as it would if I enjoyed it alfresco at MIDA, one of my favorite Italian eateries in Boston’s South End. On this night of quarantine, I settle for a homemade version of carbonara and a glass of wine.… Read more »

Coronavirus as Depression

By Melissa Jenks   

An article came out recently exploring the idea that some people, during the coronavirus, especially those consistently and chronically afflicted with anxiety and depression, have had their illness lift during the crisis. The author explored several theories as to why, including the concept that the worst has already happened, so what else is there to… Read more »

Writing as Nourishment

By Caitlin T.D. Robinson   

In the age of the coronavirus, fear, sadness, and suffering prevail. Unemployment, illness, and death are just some of the trials we face in this global pandemic. Amidst these difficult times, flowers bloom and humans find new ways to connect. A great deal of tenderness and meaning can be experienced when we look for it. … Read more »

Those Who Can’t Travel, Cook

By Shilpi Suneja   

When the pandemic erupted like a cursed piece of do-it-yourself Ikea furniture, I was planning to travel to Rome with my mom. The trip was to be her seventieth birthday present. To date, I have done very little to mark her birthdays: no surprise diamonds, no cruises (thank god!), no large family gatherings. It’s just… Read more »

Experiencing Homelessness in a Pandemic

By Kangsen Feka Wakai   

T.M. leads the walk towards his new apartment at the end of the hallway on the first floor of his new home. Fidgeting with the keys, he struggles to fit the key into the lock. He shakes his sweaty head, smiles nervously, and wiggles the key again.  Maybe he is overwhelmed by the enormity of… Read more »

Another Day

By Nadia Ghent   

By Nadia Ghent I’ve always done my work at the kitchen table, an oversized, blonde, oak pedestal table that was one of the first pieces of “grown-up” furniture my husband and I bought for our new house almost thirty years ago. The gouge marks are still there from our two cross-country moves, New York City… Read more »

Lexicon of a Pandemic: Language as a Virus

By Eduardo Mendieta   

In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle provided us one of the most important definitions of what it means to be human, namely that we are “zoon politikon” –that we are political animals. Aristotle added some nuance to this definition when, in his Politics, he said that humans, in addition to being political animals, are also “zoon echon… Read more »

pandemic blossoms

By tina scott lassiter   

I am one of many entrepreneurs who watched an invisible nemesis whisk away current and potential business as the coronavirus moved across the map. Add to that the disappearance of funds from my retirement portfolio. One morning, I woke with tears in my eyes that led to a good sob before I began my daily… Read more »

Sober and Single in Coronatimes

By Lindsay Hosmer   

In early January I was struggling to quit drinking again after a relapse. I would go for a week, twelve days, then find myself walking into a liquor store and buying four nips of Absolute vodka. Yes I’m an alcoholic, my purchase affirmed to the clerk. I had given up caring. Whoosh, the first one… Read more »

Something That Must Be Said

By William Torphy   

Forty-seven percent (that’s 47%) of Americans do not have $400. in cash available for an unexpected emergency.      This is a statistic that has stuck with me for a very long time, one that reveals most directly a dysfunctional economy, and now with the Covid-19 crisis places at least half of all Americans in deep financial… Read more »

Ungovernable Little Savages: Belief in a Time of Pandemic

By Lori Michas   

Living mere blocks from the university where I work, it is easy to see the vast generational divide in how we view and are experiencing the COVID-19 virus pandemic.  Online, a colleague made a post to Facebook pleading with others to join in calling Idaho Governor Brad Little’s office to urge for more stringent social… Read more »

Dispatch from the Covidicene Era

By Robbie Gamble   

I’m a nurse practitioner and I’ve been working at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program for twenty years. Yesterday, March 25th, I was called in to work at our main facility, on a floor where one wing is hastily being transformed into a COVID-19 unit, where we can receive homeless folks who have been… Read more »

What to say when there is no one to blame, or is there?

By Herman Axelrod   

To think about the implications and permutations of the coronavirus is a daunting affair with no clear-cut solution.  The thought of being volitionally incarcerated in one’s home would have been inconceivable a few short months ago. Perhaps a few short weeks or even days ago. The point is, according to most credible intelligence, commit to… Read more »

Interview With DeBorah Gilbert White On Homelessness

By Francis Annagu   

Talking with DeBorah Gilbert White, founder of HerStory Ensemble: an American NGO, which supports the empowerment of women who’ve experienced homelessness, or are at the risk of homelessness. HerStory Ensemble promotes education, awareness, economic development, and advocacy to end homelessness. In this exclusive interview with DeBorah Gilbert White, we talked about critical issues on homelessness in America,… Read more »

Aaron Wallace

The Duplicity of Hiring Veterans

By Aaron Wallace   

America’s current obsession with veterans and supporting them has seeped into our daily routines since the initial invasion of Afghanistan almost twenty years ago. Eateries and oil change shops offer discounts; furniture stores back their commercials with rippling red, white, and blue graphics; and there is always a pro-military bumper sticker in the afternoon rush… Read more »


By Ruth Hoberman   

“Is it not strange that sheep’s guts could hail souls out of men’s bodies?” Benedick asks as he listens to Balthasar sing and play his lute in Much Ado about Nothing.  “There’s part of me, lying on a page,” I sometimes think reading a poem, feeling delight, wonder, and perhaps a touch of envy. “Why… Read more »

Rooster Man

Rooster Man

By Buff Whitman-Bradley   

On the way to the demonstration to protest the big-business theft of water from indigenous peoples, I passed by a crowded bus stop and noticed in the clutch of waiting commuters a grimy, disheveled man carrying a magnificent russet and black rooster perched on his forearm, a bird of tremendous dignity and aplomb. A bus… Read more »

Greta Gerwig Was Not Nominated for Best Director: Why It Matters

By Eileen O'Connor   

Little Women is nominated for an Oscar for best picture and writer/director Greta Gerwig for best adapted screenplay. This recognition by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is well-deserved. But it is not enough. Gerwig deserves a nomination for best director. If Little Women wins the 2020 Oscar for best picture, the award… Read more »

The Trans Woman in the Library by Marie Manilla

By Marie Manilla   

She was a big girl. Over six feet with enormous hands. She wore a skirt, silk blouse, and oversized pumps. Black hair framed her face like curtains. It was 1994, long before Caitlyn Jenner put a famous face on the puzzle my English class was trying to solve. The library was transitioning to a computerized… Read more »