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21 Allen Drive

Story by Diane Gottlieb (Read author interview) September 19, 2022

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The way the deer gathered at dusk. The way the kids lay still on the trampoline, counting stars. The way the tall, thin pines stood so close their roots touched. The crisp night snows of November.

The Have-A-Hart traps for field mice seeking shelter in our home. The wide, sweeping windows, facing the woods. The vines and robins our painter stenciled on the dining room walls. The rooster he painted onto the kitchen table. Eggshell blue cabinets, butcher block counters, hickory boards underfoot.

I can still hear the tapping of woodpeckers, the yelps of wild turkeys as they charged our fearless terrier. I remember the soft tiny bat who made her home on our windowsill. The howling coyotes, alerting their pack of a kill.

The way my throat closed when I turned onto our long country driveway. The lights had not been turned on. The way my heart pounded when I opened the garage door to the empty spot where his Honda should have been. The way the house let us know. It was dark and silent, save the answering machine, screaming out flashes of red.


About the Author

Diane Gottlieb‘s writing appears or is forthcoming in Atlas and Alice, Bending Genres, Barrelhouse, The Rumpus, Split Lip, Brevity blog, 100-Word Story, and Hippocampus, among other literary journals, as well as in several anthologies. She is the winner of Tiferet‘s 2021 Writing Contest in nonfiction and is Prose/CNF Editor of Emerge Literary Journal. You can find her on Twitter @DianeGotAuthor.

This story appeared in A SmokeLong Summer 2022 — Special Issue of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly A SmokeLong Summer 2022 — Special Issue

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"The Shape of Things: Movement, Momentum, and Dimension in Flash CNF" with Steve Edwards

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From sentence-level craft concerns to questions of overall approach, this 90-minute webinar will explore strategies for adding shape, intensity, and depth to your flash creative nonfiction.

Steve Edwards is author of the memoir BREAKING INTO THE BACKCOUNTRY, the story of his seven months as caretaker of a 95-acre backcountry homestead along federally protected Wild and Scenic Rogue River in Oregon. His work has appeared in Orion MagazineThe Sun MagazineLiterary HubElectric LiteratureThe Rumpus, and elsewhere. He lives outside Boston with his wife and son.