The leaves have almost completely covered

the backyard, and there are leaves to fall.

The wind whistles through its thin teeth

and no one seems to mind.  For weeks we

have watched from windows, seen colors

changing, but not talked about it.  One night,

when we went to gather another load

of wood, we heard the dead leaves crunch

beneath our feet.  Now a light snow has begun

to touch the trees and the woodpile, first

fingerprinting them, then blurring, blending

everything in.  Someday, I may get around

to saying what I’ve been thinking for months.


                        ~ William Virgil Davis


Marcel Rieder (1862-1942)

Autumn’s Way

In their yellow-most goings,

leaves of maple

ride breezes to the ground.

You can hear their sound

each autumn afternoon

as the crisp air cuts

through the trees

and hurries us along

the golden sidewalks



 ~ Charles Ghigha, from A Fury of Motion


“Autumn’s Golden Pathway” by Albert Pinkham Ryder, circa 1880

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,

     Thinks these dark days of autumn rain

Are beautiful as days can be;

She loves the bare, the withered tree;

     She walks the sodden pasture lane.


Her pleasure will not let me stay.

     She talks and I am fain to list:

She’s glad the birds are gone away,

She’s glad her simple worsted gray

     Is silver now with clinging mist.


The desolate, deserted trees,

     The faded earth, the heavy sky,

The beauties she so truly sees,

She thinks I have no eye for these,

     And vexes me for reason why.


Not yesterday I learned to know

     The love of bare November days

Before the coming of the snow,

But it were vain to tell her so,

     And they are better for her praise.


              ~ Robert Frost


“Autumn” by Carl Fredrik Hill, 1877

With November upon us, writers everywhere have stockpiled paper and food and bid farewell to their family and friends and are holed up in their writing caves until December 1.  November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, an annual internet-based creative writing event that challenges participants to write a new 50,000-word novel in thirty days.

The project was founded by Chris Baty in 1999 with twenty-one participants, and the official NaNoWriMo website was launched the following year.  The number of registered participants has grown steadily every year, and the affiliate Young Writers Program and official podcast were developed in 2005.  A summer version of NaNoWriMo (Camp NaNoWriMo) was introduced in 2011.

The novel can be on any theme and in any genre.  However, it cannot be a project already in progress.  Writing of the new novel cannot have commenced prior to midnight on November 1, and the 50,000-word mark must be reached by 11:59 p.m. on November 30.

While I will not be working on a new novel during NaNoWriMo, I will be crafting approximately twenty-five new pages or 7,500 words of my developing dissertation in November.

For a comprehensive list of FAQs and guidelines, visit the website at www.nanowrimo.org.

Have fun, and good luck!


Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.


Out I went into the meadow,

Where the moon was shining brightly,

And the oak-tree’s lengthening shadows

On the sloping sward did lean;

For I longed to see the goblins,

And the dainty-footed fairies,

And the gnomes, who dwell in caverns,

But come forth on Halloween.


                                 From “Halloween” by Arthur Peterson


Illustration of Fairy Ring by Arthur Rackham, 1908


Double, double, toil and trouble,

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Fillet of a fenny snake,

In the cauldron boil and bake.

Eye of newt and toe of frog,

Wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,

Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing,

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.


Double, double, toil and trouble,

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Cool it with a baboon’s blood,

Then the charm is firm and good.


               ~ From William Shakespeare’s Macbeth


“The Three Witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth” by Daniel Gardner, 1775

The prestigious Narrative Fall 2019 Story Contest is currently accepting fiction and nonfiction submissions through the deadline of November 30.  For this award, the journal is seeking short shorts, short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, all forms of literary nonfiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and nonfiction.  Entries must be unpublished, not exceed 15,000 words, and not have been chosen previously as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest.

A prize of $2,500 will be awarded to the winner, with prizes of $1,000 and $500 awarded to the second and third place winners, respectively.  An additional ten finalists will receive $100 each, and all entries will be considered for publication.  All entries are also eligible for the $4,000 Narrative Prize and acceptance as a Story of the Week.

Prior winners and finalists in Narrative contests have gone on to be recognized in prize collections, including The Pushcart Prize – Best of the Small Presses series, The Best American Short Stories anthologies, the Atlantic Book Awards, and others.

For more information and to submit online, visit the website at https://www.narrativemagazine.com/fall-2019-story-contest.



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