Last month, a New Yorker short story, 'Cat Person' by Kristen Roupenian, went viral. [. . .] To me, the story is about how we all understand sexual consent and how such decisions/choices are based on intricately-nuanced and deeply-rooted cultural conditioning. [. . .] So, for this month's selections, I went on the hunt for stories about consent. They are not necessarily the definitive "best" but they are very good, free to read online, and by these writers: Joyce Carol Oates, Susan Minot, Tracey Slaughter, Lori Sambol Brody, and Lynn Steger Strong. I must apologize this is not as diverse an anthology as I would like, particularly as people of minority groups — based on ethnicity, race, religion, gender identity, sexuality, etc. — have very different experiences with the matter of consent. And while those diverse stories are out there too, sadly, they are not published, highlighted, applauded, discussed, or awarded enough. Yet. Also, though I tried to stay away from actual sexual abuse/violence and focus on "consent" as the main theme, as you can see from the stories, it is a slippery slope.
It is that time of year when extreme weather conditions in some parts of the world make us all wish for our favorite season. What is it about the weather and how it has so much influence on our sense of wellbeing and emotional moods? Beyond vitamin D and seasonal affective disorder, there is just something about the regenerative effect of a change in the season that alters our outlooks too. So here are a few poems I had shared in the past for various times of the year. We have winter by Timothy Steele; spring by Horace; summer by Mary Oliver and Kamala Das; and autumn by Carl Sandburg. Pick your favorite or read them all. Let them transport you to another time/place or deepen your enjoyment of the current weather you are experiencing.
I have written before about the old practice of journaling and why people (including myself) maintain them. I have also shared how journaling helps sustain both a reading habit and a writing habit. And I have described how the diaries/journals of writers can be like writing instruction manuals if read properly. [. . .] So here is a new monthly series on journal prompts for those who like or want to start this practice. Of course, it helps if you create your own but, sometimes, we all need that little nudge to think outside the box. If these do not appeal, there are plenty out there in google-land.