“Test Tank” (New Short Fiction)

My most recent short fiction piece, “Test Tank” is up at Corporeal Writing. Read an excerpt below, or read the full essay here. 

Coming in July: If you’re a writer of any kind and you’re looking for community and feedback on your writing, join the newest section of my online writing workshop at Viva Institute. Class begins July 17.

 


 Excerpt: “Test Tank”

 

1.

“I missed my deadline.” It’s the first thought.

 

“Hey.” The sound is thick. “Welcome back.”

 

Drifting.

 

“How are you feeling?”

 

I missed my deadline. Again.

 

“Can you tell me your name?”

 

Ocean glass. Blue-green.

 

“I know it’s difficult, but can you wiggle the finger on your left hand?”

 

Certainly.

 

“Great,” you say. “You’re doing really great.” Warm and soft, the way I love. “Now can you tell me how you feel?”

 

“Like the ocean,” I murmur. “Without the waves.” I stretch my left arm and flex the fingers, swirling. I stretch the right, but it’s all wrong. Stretch left, stretch right – nothing. “Something’s wrong.”

 

The scrape of a chair. “Naia, listen. There’s not much time before we need to send you back, so I’m going to explain quickly, OK?”

 

“Back?”

 

“There’s been an accident.” You clear your throat and start again. “You were in an accident, but you’re going to be OK.”

 

“Back where?” I reach again, but everything is ocean. “Why can’t I see?”

 

“It’s part of the process. Just one of the stages of regeneration.”

 

I wince. From somewhere deep.

 

Thirty seconds, says a voice. [Read “Test Tank” here.]

 

Publications

You say, write something hopeful, Corporeal Writing.

Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul, Corporeal Writing.

You Can Do Anything, Corporeal Writing.

The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.

Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted), The Manifest-Station.

Upcoming Classes

Online Writing Workshop: The Illuminated Narrator – begins July 17

Subscribe

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Postage

LeighHereNow

PO Box 27771

Philadelphia, PA

19118, USA

You say, write something hopeful

My most recent essay, “You say, write something hopeful,” was published yesterday at Corporeal Writing. For the month of June, I have the incredible fortune of living on one of the Dodecanese islands in Greece, and I’ve included some of my personal shots of the places mentioned in the piece below.

Read the full essay here.

 


 Excerpt: “You say, write something hopeful”

Something that makes people feel as hopeful and beautiful as this moment is, and even though that seems like an impossible thing to do, although it actually seems like the very worst thing to do, I say OK, I’ll try, because at this moment the sun has just done a kind of magic trick on the water, everything shimmering layers of gold and blue, and then I wonder how many times people have used the word shimmering to describe sunlight on water, and I stop.

Later, I say. I make a mental note that once we have walked back along the pebbled road, away from the darkening cliffs and spiked green shrubs, past the farmer who herds the goats to their night pasture, bronze bells clanging around their necks as they shuffle and call, once we have stacked the dishes and shuttered the windows and poured two glasses of water for bed, I will make a list of hopeful things, just to remind myself.

But as I stack the dishes, I am thinking of this morning’s hike to a remote beach on the north side of the island, how when a cheerful woman called “kalimera!” followed by “good morning!” (just in case I didn’t know) I slowed my gait and responded in kind, and then, because we are both travelers, I asked the question travelers ask: “Where are you from?” and she smiled “Australia,” and I nodded and smiled, and she asked, “You?” and I answered “The United States,” and I dropped my head. [read more]

Publications

Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul, Corporeal Writing.

You Can Do Anything, Corporeal Writing.

The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.

Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted), The Manifest-Station.

Upcoming Classes

Online Writing Workshop: The Illuminated Narrator – begins July 17

Subscribe

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.

Postage

LeighHereNow

PO Box 27771

Philadelphia, PA

19118, USA

 

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What’s On My Nightstand: May 2017

Stone

“Un arco iris te pinto la piel para amanecer contigo. ¡Amor para siempre!” – de K&M

(Translation: I paint a rainbow on your skin to dawn with you. Love forever!)
 

Adult Fiction

The Book of Joan, by Lidia Yuknavitch

 

Non-fiction

Greek Phrasebook & Dictionary, by Lonely Planet

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar, by Cheryl Strayed

Short Story

Fly Already, by Etgar Keret

Girl, by Jamaica Kincaid

The Shawl, by Cynthia Ozick

Poetry

The Dream of a Common Language, by Adrienne Rich

If Not, Winter – Fragments of Sappho, translated by Anne Carson

Children’s Picture Book

Vuoi essere mio amico? by Eric Carle (when in Rome, Italian version of Do you want to be my friend?)

Flyer

Robert Lax, Lax Archives, St. Bonaventure University

Magazine

The New Yorker

The New York Times Magazine

The Week

Newspaper

The New York Times

 

Lip balm

HURRAW! unscented lip balm

 

About

Publications

Postage

Teaching

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

My newest essay, “Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul” was published today in my monthly column, Secret Circus, at Corporeal Writing. I was invited to create a featured column at Corporeal Writing, a writing website run by bestselling-author Lidia Yuknavitch. Lidia’s newest release, The Book of Joan, was recently featured on the cover of the New York Times Book Review and it’s getting rave reviews. This is my second piece for Secret Circus.

The starlings are back. For each of the past three years, they have returned to gather a chaotic pile of damp grass, peeled bark, and matted bits of twine, threads still unraveling even as they are tucked away. One day a silky puff of cream-colored fur appears, the next, a waxy red leaf. I marvel at their ability to make do with such a seemingly uninhabitable place, an old crook of drainpipe beneath the roof of my apartment building, but this is what starlings do. I watch them, thinking of home.

Twenty-nine places in twenty-seven years. Never allowing myself to need anywhere or anything or anyone long enough to stay.

I think this is not true.

(Maybe it is partly true.)

Starlings are “egg droppers.” When they’re feeling competitive, they swoop into unattended nests and steal eggs, dropping them from great heights. Glossy and pale blue… [read more]

Publications

You Can Do Anything, Corporeal Writing.

The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.

Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted), The Manifest-Station.

Subscribe

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.

Postage

LeighHereNow
PO Box 27771
Philadelphia, PA
19118, USA

Postage from Meghan

 

A koan is a riddle or puzzle that Zen Buddhists use during meditation to help them unravel greater truths about the world and about themselves. The effort to “solve” a koan is intended to exhaust the analytic intellect and the egoistic will, readying the mind to entertain an appropriate response on the intuitive level.”

(Source: Encyclopedia Brittanica)

What is Postage?

Publications

About

What’s On My Nightstand: April 2017

Stone

“There will be rough times but you can never be put down.”
– inscribed by Alexander, age 8

Adult Fiction

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
The Book of Joan, by Lidia Yuknavitch

Non-fiction

Global Women, by Barbara Ehrenreich

Short Story

An Account of the Land of Witches / excerpt from Tender, by Sofia Samatar

Poetry

32 Poems Magazine, 14.2. Fall/Winter 2016

Storyteller Doll

C.A. Chalan, Cochiti, NM

Flyer

Masters in Fine Arts / Creative Writing, Arcadia University

Magazine

The New Yorker
The New York Times Magazine
The SUN
The Week

Newspaper

The New York Times

About

Publications

Postage

Teaching

“You Can Do Anything” (new featured column)

News

I’m excited to share that I have been invited to write a monthly featured column at bestselling author Lidia Yuknavitch’s writing workshop site, Corporeal Writing. You Can Do Anything is my first piece, and you can read my column, Secret Circus, on the second Friday of each month. At a time when government secrets can be revealed in 140 characters and our nation loves a show, Secret Circus blends personal essay with political commentary.

“You Can Do Anything” Excerpt

Lowercase v-a-g-i. Capital N. Lowercase a.

“Can she read?” The policeman asks.

He asks it like I can’t hear, like I’m not right there, sitting on my father’s lap. I want to tell the policeman that there is no time in my memory when I could not read, that there was never a time when I couldn’t put the letters together and throw myself into any world offered to me and disappear, but I stay quiet.

“Yes, she can read,” my father answers.

The policeman slides the report across the kitchen table and hands me a pen.

[Read more]

About Lidia Yuknavitch

Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the national bestselling novel The Small Backs of Children, winner of the 2016 Oregon Book Award’s Ken Kesey Award for Fiction as well as the Reader’s Choice Award, the novel Dora: A Headcase, and three books of short stories. Her widely acclaimed memoir The Chronology of Water was a finalist for a PEN Center USA award for creative nonfiction and winner of a PNBA Award and the Oregon Book Award Reader’s Choice. She founded the workshop series Corporeal Writing in Portland, Oregon, where she also teaches women’s studies, film studies, writing, and literature. She received her doctorate in literature from the University of Oregon. Her new novel is The Book of Joan. Forthcoming is a book based on her recent TED Talk, “The Misfit’s Manifesto.” She lives in Oregon with her husband Andy Mingo and their renaissance man son, Miles. She is a very good swimmer.

About Zinn Adeline

Zinn Adeline is the Creative Engineer for Corporeal Writing, and she is trained and skilled in the design and construction of all things Corporeal Writing. So we made that title up for her. Because we do things like that. Things like disrupt the order of things. Things like invent. Zinn has an interdisciplinary background in Philosophy, Women’s Studies & Literary Theory. While doing her graduate work in creative writing she accepted Lidia Yuknavitch’s invitation to collaborate on Corporeal Writing workshops. Her dream is to build an alternative arts program that dislocates “high theory,” ideas, and the creation of knowledge from privileged university settings and makes it available to everyone. She directs things-creative, education, operations, and develops things-workshops, vision, outreach, and manages things-finances, Lidialand, and communications. Also, she makes really delicious cocktails.

About Leigh Hopkins


Leigh-Hopkins-2017-midLeigh Hopkins 
is a writer, speaker, and educator. In 2010, she left a career in social policy and education reform to move to Brazil. There, she launched a retreat center and founded Viva Institute by rigging a satellite dish to a boulder in a banana field.

You can read Leigh’s monthly column, “Secret Circus,” on bestselling-author Lidia Yuknavitch’s site, Corporeal Writing. Her essays have been published in Elephant Journal, ENTROPY Magazine, The Manifest-Station, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Viva Institute, and at LeighHereNow. Leigh lives in Philadelphia with her wife, a painter, and their jittery Jack Russell Terrier.

Read full bio.