Tag Archives: Secret Circus

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

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

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“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.