Look How You’ve Grown!

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I like to think of Thread as a magnificent tapestry made from the lines of letters that form the words that make these beautiful stories.

But Thread has a story of unto itself. While the writers give Thread its color, texture and dimension, it feels like my job as editor is to keep track of Thread’s own story, marking the important milestones.

December 10 is one of those moments. It’s the first anniversary of Thread’s launch! I can barely believe how much this small online literary publication has grown in twelve months. In just under one year, Thread has published three issues, which has included the work of eighteen writers and five photographers, hosted three readings with full houses, two of which included original music; shot a video, and been featured in Brevity, New Pages and Duotrope.

Plans for 2016 include three more issues, a mega-event with readings, music and spirits at a new, soon-to-be-disclosed, larger venue, a flash non-fiction writing contest, a greeting card line and a few other surprises that will be revealed next year. Subscribers of EBB & Flow will be the first to know, so if you haven’t yet, I urge you to do it now!

Most importantly, I wanted to acknowledge that Thread wouldn’t be what it is without your multi-dimensional love. Thread is a beautiful blending of visual, digital, audible and mobile words and images.

Art, in four dimensions.

So stay close to stay looped into the conversational thread.

Photo by Ellen Blum Barish. Copyright 2015.



Nurturing the Pages


January brought a stunning selection of essays for Thread. Such gifts! Reading them is like being seated at a magnificent banquet, a glorious tasting of my favorite recipes. In less than three weeks, I found six beautiful expressions of the human heart that touch on, among other things, memory, geography and epiphany. I can’t wait for you to read them.

But wait, we must. Because as easy and swift as it would be to copy and paste these writers’ words into the site and insert the images I’ve taken or collected to highlight them, I’ve entered that time in publishing that’s unique to literary publications: edit mode.

That final edit is a reminder of why I’m doing this. Not only because a careful edit reduces misspellings and typos.  Sure, that’s a huge part of the process. But a good edit also brings out what’s best in a piece; it can make the words more true, encourage some of the words to actually pop off the page, to make the whole piece sing.

I’ve certainly posted lightly edited lines on Facebook, Twitter and sent quickly crafted emails. But I’m old school when it comes to publishing.  I think the time consuming, detailed nature of editing is what makes literary publications different from everything else. I think this is why we enjoy reading them. Well edited words leave a trace; a light, fragrant scent of being well nurtured like a fine, hot house plant.

So the Summer issue of Thread is slated for an early April release. The reading will take place in late April, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, April 29th. (Place to be determined but it’s likely to be one of the two Curt’s Cafe locales in Evanston.)

Which means that submissions from here on out will be considered for the Fall 2015 or Spring 2016 issues. To find out more about what I’m looking for, go to the Submissions page of the Thread site. Stay current with news about issues and readings, as well as links to interesting articles about the creative process by liking Thread on Facebook.

In other related news:

Those of you who live in the Chicago area: Come on over to Max and Benny’s in Northbrook later this month for an evening devoted to the essay at the February Chicago Jewish Authors Literary Series. I’ll be reading selections from my book of essays, Views from the Home Office Window, and talking about Thread. The event is free. Monday, February 23rd at 7 pm.

Photograph by Ellen Blum Barish








A Few Minutes and a Well-Lit Screen

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Those who secured an egg salad sandwich or a small plate of veggies and hummus, a chair or section of couch and a spot to see the writers of Thread read their work, know it’s so: Thread: A Literary Publication enjoyed a magnificent launch last Wednesday evening at the cozy Curt’s Cafe.

But you who came out, parked and then couldn’t find a place to put yourself, who knew? I offer you free admission to the next reading!

For you who couldn’t be there, let me set the scene: An overflow crowd of people sat quietly as nine writers read their essays on a variety of subjects from Lee Reilly’s caregiving curiosity about the life of her charge in “Finding Nancy H.,” to the raging hormones of Anne Heaton’s mid-pregnancy in “Crazy Bird” to what it feels like to want to light up a joint in Timothy Parfitt’s “Smoke Screen,” remember something good about one’s not-so-terribly good father in “The Bath,” or be Tom Wolferman in a job, outgrown, in “A Paper Trail.” It was a night of stories reflecting human experiences across the lifespan. A celebration not only of writers and the premiere issue of Thread but an evening devoted to the truth and beauty of the personal essay. My favorite of all the written forms!

Here’s what the cafe looked like before it was filled with story lovers:



And here’s what it looked like after:


And if you wanted to get some air in between readings, this is what it looked like from the street:

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Thread will be hosting three readings a year – the next one in April – to coincide with the release of each new issue. I’m already looking for a larger venue, so stay tuned about that! But for those of you who can’t make it for the readings on a Wednesday night, you’ll just have to find a few minutes and a place where you can read from a well-lit screen to soak up these artful word journeys.

What I love about personal essays is that they are indeed personal – sometimes painfully so – and yet the best ones touch on something in the reader, something universally human, and it has the potency to not only move us but even, possibly, to change us just a little bit.  Take Robert Grubb’s “Imprint.” A connection is made from a grown son to his mother when a memory is evoked by a new puppy who is trying his patience.

Here’s what all of the writers – and I –  looked like after the reading:


I’ll be looking for submissions for future issues beginning in mid-January 2015.  Go to the Submissions Guidelines page of the Thread site for more about that. And so that you don’t miss reading dates and publication releases and posts about writing and creative process, take a minute to subscribe to this blog and to Thread.

Photographs by Jill Howe