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Sometimes when I write it feels as if twenty minutes have gone by when in actuality it is 2pm and I’m still in a robe.

When I first started writing this unnerved me.  After all, I could spend all those hours writing, alone, and in the end have nothing, or very little, to show for my time.

“But the writer in the midst of a story needs to find a way to keep her head there. She can’t just pop out of the cave, have some fun, go dancing, and then pop back in. The work demands our...

Conrad, my main character in "Equinox", barely existed in the first drafts of this story. He was supposed to be a teenager dealing with his dad going off the deep end, but instead he was somewhat shy, somewhat hesitant, somewhat sad and confused. He was barely a side character. I tried pushing him into an ending–forcing him to blow up on his dad—but that ending didn't make any sense at all. I didn't see Conrad making that decision–and worse, because he was only “sort of” sad and...

I don't like to drive so I was surprised to find, sometime in my 30s, that I enjoy writing there; I park with a view of water or crooked trees, keep a backpack in the passenger seat with my favorite notebooks and pens. In winter, I bring a sleeping bag, sometimes even a pillow so I can dream.

In my car, I don't worry about what I haven't done; I don't think about unpaid bills or unwashed dishes; I don't accidentally answer the phone or find that a neighbor has stopped by to discuss a...

For our year-end Salon meeting (please don’t call it Book Club), we members assigned ourselves the task of making dioramas of a scene from a favorite book. Here’s mine. Can you guess?


I’ve been sending out a lot lately—submitting my work like wet spaghetti flung hot onto a wall—seeing what sticks. Recently, I learned I was a contest finalist—whoot. First prize was publication in a top-notch lit. mag, one thousand dollah-make-you-hollah and the opportunity to read at a conference. Did the website detail 2nd- and 3rd-place prizes? Yes. Did I read them? No. I figured (wrongly) that if they were giving $1000 for the 1st place then, like every other contest I’d ever read about...

Thursday Throwback featuring Susan Terris with "Before Cortéz" from issue 295.2

Susan's poem "Before Cortéz" was a finalist in the James Hearst Poetry Prize in 2010.

Thoughts from the author: "I'm always interested in the plight of women past and present and in women's potential for power. I have an inordinate admiration for women who find a way to use this power to change their lives. Yes, I admire the  women who do not simply Ophelia-like cave in and choose servitude or death...

& so what.

This is personal. In 1993 & again in 1994 I was pregnant. By two different guys. One was my guy ('93) & one belonged to someone else ('94). Before I knew I was pregnant--pregnancy one & pregnancy two--my parents knew. My dad dreamt about fish & my mother looked into my face. By pregnancy two it didn't affect me, that someone could dream my pregnancy into...

Happy New Year from us at the North American Review! Holidays this year are being just perfect with falling on all these Throwback and Flashback days. Bobbie Ann Mason's story "New Ground" was published in issue 268.2 back in 1983. Here's to another awesome year! Cheers!


I’ve been thinking lately about fiction and nonfiction, how they can merge and separate until one becomes the other.  Especially I’ve been thinking about the technique of pause in nonfiction, a liberal stepping outside, pausing the narrative, to pursue a possibly fictional what if this had happened?


Happy Holidays from us at the North American Review, to you! It's that time of year when we think about what Christmas means to us and why we do what we do for Christmas. We dug into the archives to find this gem. Avis D. Carlson's "Our Barbaric Christmas" was published in issue 231.1 back in January of 1931.  They talk about how they wish for Christmas to be a little more "civilized".



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