In Search of Yarn, Stitched with Color



“Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color.” W.S. Merwin


The spindle of June has turned, allowing me to catch up on Thread submissions, update the site and rev up for my new publishing project within a publishing project, Stitch.

Stitch celebrates the short-form essay, otherwise known as flash non-fiction. It’s a magnificent mix of personal narrative and poetry; a challenging hybrid to write, but oh so satisfying to read. I’m choosing the 100-words-or-less variety and today, July 1st, I’m opening up the site for submissions, hoping to publish at least one new piece each month.

How do we define flash nonfiction? Because it’s art, there’s very little agreement. But I offer two articulate attempts:

In the introduction to The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction, (2012), editor and essayist Dinty Moore writes that flash nonfiction is “individual, intimate, exploratory, and carefully crafted using metaphor, sensory language, and precise detail.”

Essayist Bernard Cooper writes that short nonfiction requires “an alertness to detail, a quickening of the senses, a focusing of the literary lens … until one has magnified some small aspect of what it means to be human.”

I especially love Cooper’s line about being human. This idea is central to my essay sensibility. Thread explores the moments that expose and connect us and what it means to be human.

I was over the moon when Thread was reviewed recently and the writer noted this, saying that the pieces “describe every day events kissed by a haunting sense of larger meaning.” Yes! That’s exactly what Thread is going for.

So have a sensational summer, but don’t stray too far. I’ll be keeping you posted in my blog (you can subscribe for free here) and on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo by Ellen Blum Barish. Copyright 2016.



Braiding Life into Art


At the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference back in April, I had the great pleasure of meeting Dinty Moore, editor of Brevity just before he facilitated a panel. I had the chance to tell him about Thread and he invited me to be a guest blogger for the Brevity Blog.

I was delighted to be asked because the assignment gave me a chance to think about what prompted some of the decisions that helped stitch Thread together. In today’s blog post, I write about the decision not to go with themes for Thread and why. Don’t miss the link to the first Thread video by Jasmine Huff.

My deep appreciation to Dinty for the chance to reflect on this and to spread the word about Thread, and to my friend and esteemed colleague Kate Hopper for introducing us.

Photo by Ellen Blum Barish (It’s the accidental photo referred to in the blog post.)