What’s On My Nightstand: April 2017


“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


Global Women, by Barbara Ehrenreich

Short Story

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


32 Poems Magazine, 14.2. Fall/Winter 2016

Storyteller Doll

C.A. Chalan, Cochiti, NM


Masters in Fine Arts / Creative Writing, Arcadia University


The New Yorker
The New York Times Magazine
The Week


The New York Times





“You Can Do Anything” (new featured column)


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.

Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted)

My most recent essay, Still Gonna Do (#She Persisted) was just published at The Manifest-Station. Here’s an excerpt:

“White House staff visited our programs and invited us to Washington. When it came time for the final interview that we hoped would lead to funding, I spouted literacy and poverty statistics while stressing the need for the separation of church and state. I emphasized the importance of program quality, replicability and scale. After two hours of questioning, they began to wrap things up.

“One last question,” said the man from the White House. “Is there anything about you that could be potentially embarrassing to the President?”

I squinched my eyebrows. Refocused my attention on the American flag waving at me from his lapel. “Other than being a lesbian Democrat running a faith-based initiative for the Bush White House, I can’t think of anything…” [read the full essay on The Manifest-Station]


The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.

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

COMING FRIDAY! My new monthly column “Secret Circus” will be published on 2nd Fridays at author Lidia Yuknavitch’s Corporeal Writing.


To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.


PO Box 27771
Philadelphia, PA
19118, USA

Postage from Courtney

Courtney, whenever I think of you, I think of your adventures. You seem to be everywhere at once! You don’t know this, but not long after you told me you were training for a marathon, I decided to take up running.

I HATE running.

I hate everything about it  –  the mind-over-matter, all the jostling of the wobbly bits, I mean, the pavement pounding is just hellish  –  but most of all, I was irritated by what I perceived to the overly zealous nature of all the runners I know.

I’m not proud to admit this, but there it is.

(I’m sure you’re not one of them.)

Here’s the rub:  I am a survivor, and yes, like you wrote in your postcard, I AM a dreamer! I do love a good challenge. So at 46, I decided to try running. At first, it was only a few minutes at a time. I thought I’d never make it past 90 seconds. Then a quarter of a mile, then a half. I went along like this, mile by mile, mostly hating it, occasionally liking it, one day even loving it a little, until I did my first 5K.

There is a photo of me smiling at the end of that race, and while I don’t look particularly zealous (in fact, I look very red-faced and exhausted), I do look HAPPY.

It’s been raining all day in Philadelphia, and look – there’s the sun! and whoa, the dog needs some fun, and hey, there are my running shoes by the door…

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” — Helen Keller


Read my latest essay in ENTROPY Magazine.


PO Box 27771
Philadelphia, PA
19118, USA


To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.

What’s on my nightstand: March 2017


“The knack to flying lies in the throwing yourself at the ground and learning to miss.” – quote by Douglas Adams, rock inscribed by my friend Matt

Adult Fiction

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Contents May Have Shifted, by Pam Houston
Dora: A Headcase, by Lidia Yuknavitch


Whip Smart, by Melissa Febos
The Places That Scare You, by Pema Chödrön

Short Story

Bloodchild, by Octavia Butler


Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, by Joy Harjo

Young Adult Fiction

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Children’s Picture Book

A Handful of Quiet, by Thich Naht Hahn


The New Yorker
The Week


The New York Times


The New Yorker subscription card

Lip balm

HURRAW! moonbalm

FullSizeRender (5)

 What is Postage?

Send a
or letter.
Tell a story.
Write a poem.
Ask a question.
Scribble, doodle,
pontificate, divulge.

Be yourself.

When you write to me,
I’ll assume that your post
may be published on my blog.

Subscribe @LeighHereNow
and watch for my reply.

PO Box 27771
Philadelphia, PA 19118

Postage from Anne

Anne, yesterday I saw my first robin, so imagine the happy discovery of your card! You sent it long ago, and I received it just in time for spring. Thank you for sending it. My only excuse is that I’ve been writing, writing, writing. If it’s possible to read too much, I’ve been doing that, too. Letters get slipped inside books and between manuscript drafts, the happiest places I know. If you’re reading this, leave me a comment and tell me what you’ve been up to, and please – come back and visit us at Viva anytime. It’s full of feathers over here.

New here? Are you wondering, “What’s Postage?” Write to me here.

There are just 2 spots left in my Online Writing Workshop here.

Online Storytelling Workshop – class begins tomorrow

Instructor: Leigh Hopkins
$125 for 3 weeks
Begins March 20

If you’re a blogger, memoirist, or storyteller and you love community, join us. Using a simple new online platform, you’ll blend creative writing and storytelling with the mystic traditions of other cultures. Join us for this supportive and dynamic online workshop, including:
  • weekly writing prompts
  • guided journeys and meditations
  • videos and TEDTalks
  • weekly “critiques” (feedback from instructor and peers)
  • an open discussion forum
  • private community
  • suggested websites and magazines for submitting your work
“Sometimes telling the story is the thing that saves your life.” – Lidia Yuknavitch, author

About the Instructor

Leigh Hopkins is a writer, educator, and seminar leader. In 2010, she left a career in social policy and education reform to move to Brazil, where she launched Viva Institute by rigging a satellite dish to a boulder in a banana field. An avid blogger, essayist and poet, you can find Leigh’s work in Elephant Journal, ENTROPY Magazine, Manifest-Station, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Today, Leigh lives and writes in Philadelphia, where she is completing a novel.