Author Archives: Leigh Hopkins

About Leigh Hopkins

Writer, educator, polyglot, feminist.

These Days (New Essay)

My latest essay, “These Days,” was published on Friday at Corporeal Writing, home of author Lidia Yuknavitch’s world-shaking writing workshop. In recent weeks, when I wanted to look away, this piece pushed me to keep looking.

Excerpt, “These Days”

These days, no one wants to talk about it. The answer is “I can’t talk about it.” The same five words released in a warm, slow leak, uttered in the same, tired inflection.

November 9 picks up Twitter and scotch. It learns boardroom and braggadocio out of a need to understand. It wears the same shirt until the words wear off. On the eighth day, it puts away the pins and the shirts and the stickers and the signs. It wears mourning whites and throws on shovels of dirt.

December waits for the truth.

January and February march. They vow Next Time. They swear Never Again.

When April, May, and June ask “how are you,” no one is ever OK. They find new ways of talking. They ask questions like “when was the last time you held a blade of grass between your teeth?” or “who was the last person to show you kindness?” They look to each other to remember softness. [read the full essay]

This is the 6th piece for my monthly column, Secret Circus. If after reading this, you’re looking for some reasons to keep standing up, read this and this and  this. As the writing muses at Corporeal Writing say: “We are the rest of you.”


Publications

You are the Rest of Us, Corporeal Clamor.

Over Everything, Corporeal Clamor.

Test Tank, Corporeal Clamor.

You say, write something hopeful, Corporeal Clamor.

Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul, Corporeal Clamor.

You Can Do Anything, Corporeal Clamor.

The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.

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

 

Postage

LeighHereNow

PO Box 27771

Philadelphia, PA

19118, USA

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What’s On My Nightstand: August 2017

Adult Fiction

Men Without Women, by Haruki Marukami

Home Fire, by Kamila Shamsie

Young Adult Fiction

Cathedral, by Raymond Carver

 

Non-fiction

How to Love, by Thich Naht Hahn

Rules for the Dance, by Mary Oliver

 

Short Story

The Hanging of the Schoolmarm, by Robert Coover

The Best American Short Stories (2016), edited by Junot Díaz

So My Mother, She Lives in the Clouds, collected stories by Christopher DiCicco

In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried, by Amy Hempel

Second Language, by Lidia Yuknavitch

 

Essay

Four Castaways Make a Family, by Rene Denfeld

Total Eclipse, Annie Dillard

Foreign Body Ear, by Amital Stern

 

Poetry

Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, by Joy Harjo

Why I Wake Early, by Mary Oliver

 

 

Magazine

Lesbian Connection – Free to Lesbians Worldwide! “but the suggested donation is $7 (more if you can, less if you can’t)”

The New Yorker

The Week

 

Newspaper

The New York Times

Lip balm

HURRAW! Sunbalm SPF 20

 

Paperweight

“The knack to flying lies in throwing yourself at the ground and learning to miss.”  – Douglas Adams

 

Computer Glasses

Pixel Eyewear

 

About

Publications

Postage

Teaching

“You Are the Rest of Us”

My most recent piece, “You Are the Rest of Us,” is up today at Corporeal Clamor. This is the 5th piece from my featured column, Secret Circus, on Corporeal Clamor.


Excerpt: “You Are the Rest of Us”

The artist is filling the town with ghosts. She stacks cinder-block statues in forgotten chain link corners and adorns them with sun-bleached agave skeletons, colored glass, and rusty tools from the belly of the desert. She gives them faces like saints. The artist says sometimes people need a place to keep their secrets, so she builds them altars with gated chambers where the secrets cannot be retrieved. “If we could just have a place to put them, other than our minds, it might help us to be free of them.”

You pull a notebook from your pocket and fill the pages with everything you have been holding, and few of them are your own.

I stole my grandmother’s car and left it in LA when I ran out of gas. I save my used dental floss in a Ziploc bag. I have everyone else’s bad thoughts about me before they can even have them. Whenever I hear the song “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” I feel so terrified I have to leave the room. When I have sex with my husband, I roll my eyes – I do it for me. I have to buy exactly 2 of everything at the grocery store. I pee in the pool. When I’m driving alone, I read all the billboards with an Australian accent. I use my sister’s loofah to clean my teeth.

When you slip the folded papers inside the Secret Keeper’s womb, the sound is an aria, it’s how Earth sounds from space, it is the breath of a thousand bees…

[Read the full essay]


Publications

Over Everything, Corporeal Clamor.

Test Tank, Corporeal Clamor.

You say, write something hopeful, Corporeal Clamor.

Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul, Corporeal Clamor.

You Can Do Anything, Corporeal Clamor.

The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.

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

Postage

LeighHereNow

PO Box 27771

Philadelphia, PA

19118, USA

Subscribe

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.

What’s On My Nightstand: July 2017

Adult Fiction

A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan

Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay

 

Memoir

Abandon Me, by Melissa Febos

Sunshine State, by Sarah Gerard

 

Short Story

The Swan as Metaphor for Love, by Amelia Gray

Housewife, by Amy Hempel

The Huntress, by Sofia Samatar

Aubade, by Joy Williams

Unlikeable, Deb Olin Unferth

 

Poetry

Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur

32 Poems Magazine

 

Magazine

Lesbian Connection – Free to Lesbians Worldwide! “but the suggested donation is $7 (more if you can, less if you can’t)”

The New Yorker

 

Lip balm

HURRAW! sunbalm, SPF 20

 

Children’s Picture Book

The ABC’s of Thomas Merton, by Gregory Ryan and Elizabeth Ryan (read my review)

 

 

About

Publications

Postage

Teaching

“Over Everything” (Short Fiction)

My most recent piece, “Over Everything,” is up at Corporeal Writing. Read the full essay here.

Coming on Monday: If you’re a writer and you’ve been looking for feedback and community, join me online for “Transformative Storytelling” at Viva Institute. Class begins July 17.

“I’d studied with Leigh before and found her as kind and compassionate as she is industrious, witty, and gifted at bringing out the best in everyone around her. Interesting, thoughtfully-planned lessons led to assignments that hardly felt like work at all. As I participated, it was fascinating to discover not only that my story had a way of telling itself and I was just its ‘keeper,’ but that my voice seemed to simply be awaiting my call for it to venture out. I was truly surprised at just how uplifted and inspired I felt receiving the positive, helpful comments and feedback – and respond with a very heartfelt thank you.” – Kelly, Minnesota


Excerpt: “Over Everything”

She rolls over. Summery skin soft and dark against the curved line of shirt sliding beneath sheets. Before morning pulls me under lushdelicious, I push my mouth against her shoulder, wrap an arm and drape a leg.

“Morning,” she mumbles. Her skin shimmers warm in the morning light.

“You glow,” I sigh, and go under.

When I open my eyes who knows how long later, the dog has weaseled his way onto the bed, curled between us. At the low rumble of thunder, he gives a convulsive quiver and tucks his nose beneath his back leg. I scratch his ears and Kabob untucks and gives me a grateful look. Before he tucks back in, I notice a bright smudge, glowing on the bridge of his nose. I rub my eyes and lean forward, spreading the thin fur on his snout with my fingers, like I’m looking for ticks. Where the fur separates, the glow follows. [Read more]


 

Publications

Test Tank, Corporeal Writing.

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

Postage

LeighHereNow

PO Box 27771

Philadelphia, PA

19118, USA

 

Subscribe

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.

What’s On My Nightstand: June 2017

Adult Fiction

Love Medicine, by Louise Erdrich

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins

Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie

 

Non-fiction

Greek Phrasebook & Dictionary, by Lonely Planet

The Law of One, Book III, by Carla Rueckert, Don Elkins, and James McCarty

Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths, by Charlene Spretnak

 

Short Story

A Love Story, by Samantha Hunt

The Size of Things, by Samanta Schweblin

 

Essay

The Work You Do, The Person You Are, by Toni Morrison

Listening for the Country, by 

 

Poetry

Poems, by Robert Lax

The Light, The Shade, by Robert Lax

An Old Story, by Tracy K. Smith

 

Magazine

The New Yorker

 

Lip balm

HURRAW! sunbalm, SPF 20

 

Computer Glasses

Pixel Eyewear

 

About

Publications

Postage

Teaching

“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

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.

Postage

LeighHereNow

PO Box 27771

Philadelphia, PA

19118, USA