Tag Archives: Secret Circus

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

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“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.

 

 

“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.

“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.

“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