Volume 6, Issue 1 is here!

The issue is available here as a PDF.

The optional theme is A Day That Changed Me.

Contributors: Stephen Barry, Susan P. Blevins, Heather M. Browne, JW Burns, R. J. Cardullo, Samantha Chasse, Ranjabali Chaudhuri, Susan Taylor Chehak, Jenny Coates, Mirana Comstock, Heather Cook, Margo Davis, Leslie Dianne, Kristin Kowalski Ferragut, MacGregor Frank, Tom Franken, Carolyn Geduld, Kathleen Gemmell, Brian Glaser, John Grey, Andrey Gritsman, Deborah Guzzi, Benjamin Harnett, Jack D. Harvey, Julia Hatch, Kevin Hogg, Zebulon Huset, Anthony Koranda, Lori Lipsky, Jeanne Lutz, Sean Lynch, Jennifer Makowsky, Delvon T. Mattingly, K. McGee, Bob McNeil, Rachel Medina, Cameron Morse, Louisa Muniz, Marianthi Papadim, Melanie Petrandis, Jenna Pini, John Raffetto, Robin Ray, Marguerite Maria Rivas, David Anthony Sam, Becca Saul, Joe Seale, John Sheirer, Adrian Slonaker, John L. Stanizzi, Wylie Strout, The Rotten Poets, Richard Weaver, Julie Weiss, Thomas Wells, and Bill Wolak.

Reviews: Kind Chemist Wife: Musings at 3 AM by Sarah Bigham, Slide to Unlock: Poems by Julie E. Bloemeke, Skeleton Parade by Mela Blust, a broken exit by Goirick Brahmachari, Escaped Housewife Tries Hard to Blend In by Karen Craigo, Emily as Sometimes the Forest Wants the Fire by Darren C. Demaree, Here, We Bury the Hearts by Dom Fonce, Boys by Daniel Edward Moore, Verses of Realness by Bob McNeil, Love_Is_Love: An Anthology for LGBTQIA+ Teens edited by Emma Eden Ramos, and Ghosts of You by Cathy Ulrich.

The Magnolia Review Ink Award: Becca Saul, “Lines of Me,” chosen by David Anthony Sam.

Kristin Kowalski Ferragut–Interview

Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

I write primarily in the Nook of my bedroom looking out on a hill and four thin pines I pretend I own, although it’s really just the back of my condo. I find I write particularly well when I go away to a remote airbnb or retreat. I dream of finding a more permanent, isolated writer’s space, maybe a cabin or shed in the woods. 

I also enjoy writing in coffeehouses. One of my favorite things to do with friends is to meet to “parallel work,” which largely means to hang out and ignore each other between smiles and short conversations. Not all of my friends enjoy this pastime. 

What kind of materials do you use? Do you write by hand or type? What is your favorite writing utensil?

I primarily type on my laptop although I love pens, especially colored, erasable gel pens these days for outlines and notes.

What is your routine for writing?

I’d like to say I wake up early every morning and write; that is usually my plan and sometimes a habit, but my routine is more typically random. I’m typing these responses at 3:00 am after drafting a poem. I see nights like this as writing between two naps.

How long have you been writing? When did you start writing?

I started most of my creative writing after college, when I began identifying as a writer. I lived what I considered a good writer’s life–traveling and collecting experiences, but not spending enough time writing or editing. I rarely wrote when my children were little, but started writing seriously in 2015. My children, now 11 and 16, are supportive, which helps inspire me.

Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?

I know that I’m supposed to have an audience in mind, but I don’t. I have faith that most of what I put out there needs to be read by someone, but I don’t usually imagine who that might be. I write primarily for myself. At times, I might write something as a gift to someone, but even then, it’s my wanting to capture feelings, ideas, and phrases primarily to study, understand, or celebrate for myself.

What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?

I’m a better person when I write. It’s how I process the world and it helps keep me centered. So any manner of hardship or crisis inspires me to write. As Philip Roth said, “Nothing bad can happen to a writer. Everything is material.” With that said, when life is too chaotic or rushed, it’s hard to find the mental space and stillness to write. At those times, things that help include a day off, a walk in the woods, and a good scented candle.

What other things do you do besides writing? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

I paint a few pictures every summer to enter in the county fair. I sometimes imagine I’ll keep it up year round, but never carve out time for it. I play guitar. I’ve been playing on and off for years, but got serious with it last spring and am nearing competent now. I’m working on writing songs too.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

My favorite part of the creative process might be the window-staring. Also, it’s wildly satisfying when I struggle with a piece and think it may be one to give up on, but stick it out and Voila! It comes together. Usually my writing is slow and steady, and I have more than my share of work I’ve trashed, but sometimes it comes together in the end. How it does sometimes astounds even me. And sometimes it’s easy, the work just writes itself, which calls to mind all sorts of mysterious notions I enjoy musing about.

I always feel grateful to be writing, even when it’s not going well, even when it’s difficult. I never take for granted the time and space and presence of mind writing requires. It’s all a great luxury.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

When I reflect on why I produced so little in my 20s, despite having lots of time, I conclude that I cared too much about what other people thought and took feedback poorly. I now regularly seek feedback, and it consistently improves my work, but I don’t take it too seriously. So I guess that would be my advice to aspiring writers, not to take any of it too seriously–criticisms, expectations, yourself. They’re only words after all, easily deleted, trashed, or erased.  

Check out Kristin‘s work in Volume 6, Issue 1.

Kristin Kowalski Ferragut

Kristin Kowalski Ferragut has been a featured poet at local readings including Words Out Loud at Glen Echo, Evil Grin in Annapolis, DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry, and Third Thursday Poetry Reading in Takoma Park. Kristin participates in local poetry and prose writing workshops and open mics, in addition to reading, hiking, teaching, playing guitar, and enjoying time with her children. Her work has appeared in Beltway Quarterly, Nightingale and Sparrow, Bourgeon, and Mojave He[Art] Review among others.

Midlife Legacy, Path of Lightning, Teacher Training, Change Takes Energy, Whispers Enough, and The One There Behind Me, Volume 6, Issue 1