Short fiction, non-fiction, & poetry: award winning SF, essays on "coming out" & disability, poetry on immigration

Going in a bit of a different direction, I wanted to share some shorter pieces I've really enjoyed recently--short stories, essays, and poetry. All available for free online, in various places, and the non-fiction pieces chosen as much for being striking pieces of writing as for their content. I hope you find something you really like here, too.


Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™ by Rebecca Roanhorse
"You maintain a menu of a half dozen Experiences on your digital blackboard, but Vision Quest is the one the Tourists choose the most. That certainly makes your workday easy. All a Vision Quest requires is a dash of mystical shaman, a spirit animal (wolf usually, but birds of prey are on the upswing this year), and the approximation of a peyote experience. Tourists always come out of the Experience feeling spiritually transformed. (You’ve never actually tried peyote, but you did smoke your share of weed during that one year at Arizona State, and who’s going to call you on the difference?) It’s all 101 stuff, really, these Quests. But no other Indian working at Sedona Sweats can do it better. Your sales numbers are tops."

Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand by Fran Wilde
"Remember the way we turned to bone and stone when you looked at us on the street? Froze, waiting to see what you’d say? Imagine the pain of it, the hardening of each joint when you thought that word, the non-scientific one, the one that rhymes with eek. You feel it, don’t you. That chill down your spine, the hardening? Yeah, we know. That’s why you pay your dime.

So we’ll stay quiet and let you look."


We Will See You Now by Fran Wilde (companion piece to Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand)
"Sometimes I look in the mirror and see only my eyes. I’m practicing keeping emotions out of them. Keeping pain out of them. I’m practicing smiling. I have to be in public again, and I don’t want the smile to accidentally look scared or hurting or too angry, even though I am all three.

I don’t see any other part of me—which is better, I think, than seeing disjointed arms and legs, not attached to any recognizable whole."

Between the Coats: A Sensitivity Read Changed My Life by Sarah Gailey
"I grew up standing just inside the open door of the closet, like a cat looking out the window at a bird and thinking she’s outside. The door was open — my queerness wasn’t a secret, that’s what I told myself. The door was open, but I was tucked between the coats, breathing shallow and hoping no one asked any questions. Sometimes people knew and sometimes people didn’t and often people forgot, forgot for years at a time, forgot even though we were coworkers, parishioners, friends, best friends, relatives, married.

I let them forget. A big part of me wanted them to forget, because, let’s be honest: I wanted to forget, too."

How to Coexist with Mice in 10 Steps by Amy Tibbetts
"Admit that your home is occupied territory. New droppings have appeared every morning: buried like land mines between stacks of papers on your desk, strewn across the keyboard where you are not writing your novel. Research extermination methods until your mother, a science teacher who keeps turtles and frogs in the classroom, calls you and insists on mercy for all creatures."

Children, Learning, and the 'Evaluative Gaze' of School by Carol Black
"The 'evaluative gaze' of school, I have come to believe, does something similar to children’s experience of learning. The gaze is like the Midas touch: it changes everything it comes in contact with. In my case, it’s not that I was worried I would not get a good grade; I was an obedient, diligent child, and as far as my teachers were concerned, everything I touched was gold. But as Midas discovers the hard way, gold is a dead thing. The life is gone out of it."


"I recognize you in me and
me in you and I believe with our back
toward the White House we face each other
The dead and the living
Inside our shared political economy
Which is our back to the nation state"

Home by Warsan Shire
"no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark.
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city
running as well
your neighbours running faster
than you, the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind
the old tin factory is
holding a gun bigger than his body,
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay."


Popular Posts