Category Archives: Publications

S1:E4 “Pathétique”

Today the fourth episode of my ongoing series was published at Corporeal Clamor. I think of it as “Trumpian Gothic,” a love story for these strange times. I’ve woven classical music throughout, and Beethoven’s “Pathétique” is one of my favorites. I’ve included a recording of myself playing the Pathétique about halfway through the chapter, or you can watch the warm-up on Facebook.

Thanks for reading – I’ve been so appreciative of your enthusiasm for this series.

“To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.”
― Ludwig van Beethoven


 

We watch. The dog cocks a scraggy yellow ear behind him, listening for the door. Waiting, probably, for Tala to return. So we have this in common.

I kneel so slowly it’s hardly movement, but the dog drops his head and backs toward the front door, eyes locked on mine. Is it anger or fear? I don’t know dogs, and seeing as Tala has left him in my care, she doesn’t know me. I hold out my hand and his nostrils flare. He cranes his thick neck a few inches forward toward my fingers –

A muffled ring:

my body understands the sound before meaning registers, a hot surge through my arms. I shriek and the dog darts behind the couch. On the second ring, I turn and tear past piled papers and boxes and plates and books, pull the keyring from the side table drawer. On the third ring, I scramble with the tiny key, fiddle with the padlock on the door to the hidden cupboard beneath the stairs. The padlock pops, on the fourth ring, I throw open the door, duck and crawl, and as the fifth and final ring begins, I reach for the old yellow phone –

“Hello?”

Read S1E4 “Pathétique” here.


Publications

S1:E3 “Moonlight,” Corporeal Clamor

S1:E2 “The Introvert’s Guide to Impeachment,” Corporeal Clamor

S1: E1 “Lock Her Up, Corporeal Clamor

These Days, Corporeal Clamor.

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

Subscribe

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S1:E3 “Moonlight”

I see now that it was a mistake. I saw it the moment she stepped through, that I was somehow both over and underprepared, and badly. Tala’s off duty look was unchanged from her service call uniform. Jeans, boots, vest, a blue and grey checked flannel, hair a dark halo around her shoulders. I chose a maroon skort for the occasion, thinking it would be ironic, but as she stood in the doorway, the corduroy chafed at my thighs. When I moved to take her vest, she shrugged it off and hung it on the coat rack herself.

Tala was the kind of girl I used to follow around at school, silently willing her to let me carry anything, literally anything, like a backup stick of gum – the girl who gave a half smile like she knew I was there but didn’t actually mind, nor would she strike up a conversation.

“Hey,” she said. She put her hands in her pockets, and grinned, and I saw that I had been staring.

“Please,” I mumbled, and gestured behind me. “Sit anywhere.”

She paused long enough for me to see what she saw, that the coffee table was a tiny island of sanity in this house, and the fact that I hadn’t been able to see that clearly for myself was only the beginning of what I missed. The books stacked high along the edges of the living room wall, the unopened mail, the layer of dust – these were all things that might have passed as eccentric, and that was fine, but the wine and candles seemed ridiculous, no, presumptuous, which was just –

“How’s the piano?” She stood at the piano, one hand on the lid, peering up at the gash in the ceiling. “Seems like you dodged a bullet.”

I flinched. “It’s fine.” Crossed my arms, fixed my eyes on the wall.

Read the third episode of my fiction series at Corporeal Clamor here.


Publications

S1:E2 “The Introvert’s Guide to Impeachment,” Corporeal Clamor

S1: E1 “Lock Her Up, Corporeal Clamor

These Days, Corporeal Clamor.

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

Subscribe

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.

S1:E2 “The Introvert’s Guide to Impeachment”

I pace the floors at two and three, a ghost in my own home. If I step here, the boards will creak – and there, someone has placed a chair where there should be nothing. But if I kneel, if I press my tongue to the dark wood and lay inside the dust, I can pour through the cracks and find myself again.

The second sleep is thick, full of repeated words and winding places. I wake in pieces, a dull heaviness behind my knees. When I kick at the blankets, my hand settles inside a round spot the temperature of baked bread. It’s back.

*

I fill the pot with enough coffee for four and make the motions of breakfast. “Cup,” I whisper. “Saucer. Bowl.” Behind the blinds at the door, the paper is thrown below the front steps in a fresh layer of snow. I tie an old peacoat around my flannels, pull a wool hat over my eyes, and retrieve the news.

For more than an hour, I perform surgery on the headlines. I slice and rearrange them, making them say what they don’t say, giving them second lives. Last month it was the prelude, but after the leak tore a hole in the ceiling, I can’t face the piano, not yet. Sometime before lunch, my thoughts settle, and I focus on my correspondence.

*

To:  TV Guide Magazine <letters@tvgm.com>

Subject:  ARTICLE I: OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

 

Re: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Sun. Dec. 24 at Midnight ET (TNT), “the Dr. Seuss tale about the Whos and the despicable Grinch, the villain with a heart two sizes too small and a plan to steal the holiday. Boris Karloff narrates this 1966 classic.”

 

Suggested revision: When caught in the act of stuffing the family tree up the chimney, when the Grinch is confronted by Cindy Lou Hoo:

 

“Santy Claus, why?”

 

“Why, my sweet little tot,” the fake Santy Claus lied.

There’s a light on this tree that won’t light on one side.

It’s just like I felt when I fired the head of the FBI

He was crazy, a real nut job, just a terrible guy.”

 

Then he went up the chimney, himself, the old liar.

On their walls he left nothing but hooks and some wire.

 

Read the second episode of my fiction series at Corporeal Clamor here.

 


Publications

S1: E1 “Lock Her Up, Corporeal Clamor

These Days, Corporeal Clamor.

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

Subscribe

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.

“Lock Her Up” (New Serial Fiction)

S1:E1 “Lock Her Up” is the first “episode” in my new series of hybrid fiction and music at Corporeal Writing. Think Victorian gothic meets 45 meets broody Russian classical plus romance: “The first three notes tell you everything. Two hands, four grim octaves, played in fortissimo. Not so much a melody as a warning…”

Serial fiction? You will see these characters again.

Music? Played by me, best as I can (linked at the bottom of the piece).

Victorian gothic serial novels have been praised as a form that fostered “digressive literary wandering” at a time when society was increasingly organized around capitalism and the rise of the middle class. Serial fiction often portrayed everyday life as imperfect and supernaturally surreal. Plot lines developed more organically than traditional novels as a result of increased reader engagement and participation as the series evolved.

Consider this an invitation.

“We did not ask for this room or this music. We were invited in. Therefore, because the dark surrounds us, let us turn our faces to the light. Let us endure hardship to be grateful for plenty. We have been given pain to be astounded by joy. We have been given life to deny death. We did not ask for this room or this music. But because we are here, let us dance.” – Sadie Dunhill

Excerpt: S1: E1 “Lock Her Up”

“The first three notes tell you everything. Two hands, four grim octaves, played in fortissimo. Not so much a melody as a warning.

I’ve only just begun the seventh measure when the water starts. A fat drop bounces off the piano lid and I lean forward, feeling it’s a sign – at last, I have managed to play each note with such accuracy and purity that something has been moved. The next drop slips between F and G, followed by two more drops in quick succession.

I remove my glasses and look up.

An ancient crack runs at a diagonal across the ceiling, splintering on its way to the chandelier. Back along the crack, water pools from a quarter-sized patch of plaster above the piano.

Upstairs, to the most obvious origin of the leak. The bathroom tiles are the same shade of avocado they were when I inherited them, dry as I left them this morning, so the next obvious place – yes, there, beneath the vanity. The leak drips in soft, regular intervals from the pipe beneath the sink, a dank place I’ve never faced in all this time. I jiggle at the hot water handle, then the cold, poke around the faucet, push my finger inside the old spigot.

The name for the thing that could fix it. I don’t know, a wrench? A plier? A socket? In all that’s wretched about this year, there’s been nothing like this…”

[read “Lock Her Up” here.)


Publications

These Days, Corporeal Clamor.

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

Subscribe

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.

NEWS / New position @ Corporeal Writing

I’m thrilled to share that for the next six months, I’ll be the new Curator and Editor of “Corporeal Clamor,” a weekly literary publication at Corporeal Writing, the online teaching home of bestselling author Lidia Yuknavitch. I’ve invited three brilliant writers to join me as monthly columnists, and I’m beyond grateful to Lidia Yuknavitch and Zinn Adeline for creating new territories for women’s voices in this world.

Here’s more about the writers who will be joining me:

megan-ainsworth_bio-e1509649768665.jpgMegan Ainsworth is a Southern United States essayist and memoirist who teaches writing and literature at a community college in Jackson, Mississippi. Her work has been published in the Brick Street Press 2008 and 2010 Short Fiction Anthologies, on Elephant Journal, The Good Men Project, and on her blog site; she was a finalist in the “Lorian Hemingway Short Fiction Competition.” Madgirl Elegies is a six month installment column for Corporeal Clamor. She is interested in gender politics and race relations, particularly at the intersection of faith and spirituality in the Deep South. She shares a home with a precious and precocious four year old daughter, three rescue pups, and a fish named Steve. She is completing a memoir and a novel-length work of fiction. Read Megan’s first piece, “Rebel Yell,” here.

Amital_bioAmital Stern writes theater, film and more in Jerusalem. She earned an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Hebrew University, and studied screenwriting at the Sam Spiegel School of Film and Television. Her plays include: In Waiting, winner of the Fred Simmons Arts Prize; Hunger Artist, performed at the Theatronetto Festival, Jerusalem Fringe Festival, Arab-Israeli Theater and other venues; Aliza, a site specific theater production now haunting abandoned buildings in Jerusalem. Her writing has appeared in Guernica. She is currently working on her first novel.

Shefali_BioShefali Desai is a child of the American southwest, daughter of Indian immigrants, mother of sons, fighter/writer/lawyer, and a lover of mountains, forests and bodies of water. She has been a Rhodes Scholarship finalist, Arizona Supreme Court law clerk, and VONA fellow. Her book-length manuscript was selected by Lidia Yuknavitch as a finalist in the Kore Press Memoir Competition, and her work has been published widely including in Ms. Magazine, the UCLA Women’s Law JournalKartika Review, and the anthology This Bridge We Call Home. She currently is co-authoring a legal paper on federal and state regulatory power over so-called sanctuary cities, litigating an asylum case, and finalizing her hybrid memoir. She lives in the Sonoran Desert with her partner and two children.

Finally, I’ll be writing a new column, a hybrid of short fiction and music. Read all of the pieces in my last series, Secret Circus, HERE.


Publications by Leigh Hopkins

These Days, Corporeal Clamor.

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

PO Box 27771
Philadelphia, PA
19118, USA

Subscribe

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.

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

Subscribe

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.