More Chinese Brevity

November 28, 2017 § Leave a comment

china_brevityWe posted yesterday about Brevity magazine’s new availability in Chinese translation, specifically on the Chinese social media platforms Zhihu and WeChat. Today, we are happy to share four more essays-in-translation:

The Ten-Year Wake by Sue William Silverman: (WeChat) (Zhihu)

The Shape of Emptiness by Brenda Miller: (WeChat) (Zhihu)

Anniversary Disease by Diane Seuss: (WeChat) (Zhihu)

What Bad Owners Say at the Dog Park by Lise Funderburg: (WeChat) (Zhihu)

Meanwhile, If you missed yesterday’s post, the details are here:

For Chinese readers, Brevity will go under the name One Leaf. Tong Tong, part of the translation team, explains: “We intend to translate ‘Brevity’ into ‘一叶 yi ye’ in Chinese. Its literary meaning is ‘one leaf,’ and it’s an abbreviation of a Chinese idiom ‘一叶知秋,’ which means that one can sense the advent of autumn via the changes on one leaf. We think that it shows the power of brief writing. In addition, it is a homophone of ‘一页,’ which means one page of paper. We hope you like this name!”

We very much like the name, and we are happy to share the first three postings, including the editor’s introduction to our 20th Anniversary Issue:

“On Turning Twenty”:

And these essays:

Ira Sukrungruang’s “Invisible Partners”:

Rebecca McLanahan’s “The Birthday Place”:


Brevity in Chinese Translation: Welcome to ‘One Leaf’

November 27, 2017 § 5 Comments

one_leafBrevity magazine is now available to Chinese readers thanks to a translation project undertaken by Tong Tong, a graduate student at Boston College, and Yumeng Yao, an MA student at University College London. The literary translation team is posting essays from Brevity‘s 20th Anniversary Issue two-at-a-time, using the Chinese social media platforms Zhihu and WeChat.

For Chinese readers, Brevity will go under the name One Leaf.  Tong Tong explains the reasoning here: “We intend to translate ‘Brevity’ into ‘一叶 yi ye’ in Chinese. Its literary meaning is ‘one leaf,’ and it’s an abbreviation of a Chinese idiom ‘一叶知秋,’ which means that one can sense the advent of autumn via the changes on one leaf. We think that it shows the power of brief writing. In addition, it is a homophone of ‘一页,’ which means one page of paper. We hope you like this name!”

We very much like the name, and we are happy to share the first three postings, including the editor’s introduction to our 20th Anniversary Issue:

“On Turning Twenty”:

And these essays:

Ira Sukrungruang’s “Invisible Partners”:

Rebecca McLanahan’s “The Birthday Place”:

The Ten-Year Wake by Sue William Silverman: (WeChat) (Zhihu)

The Shape of Emptiness by Brenda Miller: (WeChat) (Zhihu)

Anniversary Disease by Diane Seuss: (WeChat) (Zhihu)

What Bad Owners Say at the Dog Park by Lise Funderburg: (WeChat) (Zhihu)

Louie’s New Truck by Emry McAlear: (WeChat) (Zhihu)

Wishbone by Marilyn Abildskov (WeChat) (Zhihu)

Abandoned by Bob McGinness
Good Faith by Lee Martin

And here is a bit more about our translators:

Yumeng Yao graduated from Kenyon College with a history and Asian studies double major. He is currently attending the MA history program at University College London. He enjoys reading about early modern East Asia, wandering on the streets, and going to Cat Café.

Tong Tong is an MA student in English at Boston College. Interested in short stories, essays and modernist novels, she looks forward to working in translation and publishing and to bridge the gap between Chinese culture and the English world.

Many thanks to Ton Tong and Yumeng Yao for helping us expand our readership.

Brevity’s Twentieth Year & A New Issue

September 18, 2017 § 8 Comments

brevit20ylogoxx1Twenty years ago I had an idea for a magazine that combined the swift impact of flash fiction with the true storytelling of memoir, and Brevity was born. To be honest, I expected it to last a year.

But here we are, with our 56th Issue, marking two decades of providing fine flash essays to readers, students, and teachers. To celebrate, we specially commissioned authors who have appeared multiple times in Brevity over the years to return to our pages, and when you read the work of Lee Martin, Diane Seuss, Brenda Miller, Sue William Silverman, Rebecca McClanahan, and Ira Sukrungruang in this issue, you may detect a common theme (or at least a common word).

A large part of Brevity’s mission remains providing a venue for new writers, sometimes writers who are previously unpublished, often writers who are just starting out. You’ll find these folks in our new issue as well.

​Plus a trio of fascinating craft essays from Karen Babine, Nicole Caron, and Jill Talbot.

Thank you to all of our authors over the years, to our readers, and to our staff of brilliant volunteers!

— Dinty W. Moore

P.S. — Brevity is staffed by volunteers, and paying the bills can be a dicey proposition, but still we pay our authors and are proud of that. Whatever assistance you can provide will help us to expand and strengthen our upcoming issues. ​We are a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization, and as such all of your donations are tax-deductible. You can donate here:  YOUR SUPPORT IS GREATLY APPRECIATED

Writers Conferences: Doodling HippoCamp 2017

September 16, 2017 § 8 Comments

By Rebecca Fish Ewan

1 hippocamp17 donna

1. HippoCamp, the brainchild of Donna Talarico-Beerman, in its third year, three-plus days of focus on creative nonfiction. p.s. Donna has way more amazing hair than shown here. I tend to put a little of myself in all my portraits and my hair sucks.

2 hippocamp17 Beverly

2. So funny. Waiting to forget the movie plot, so I can enjoy reading Riding in Cars with Boys by Beverly Donofrio, serial memoirist.

3 hippocamp17 Dina and Melanie

3. Dina Honour’s voice still resonates in my head. Keep an eye out for the army of women she’s amassing. They will save humanity.

4 hippocamp17 Joanne Lara Alexis

4. All of the readers that followed Dina brought their own brand of awesomeness, reading from their debut books. Google them: Melanie Brooks, Joanne Lazar Glenn, Lara Lillibridge, Alexis Paige and Lisa Smith.

5 hippocamp17 Lisa and panel

5. Their panel after the readings set a tone of generosity, humor and serious investigation of craft that echoed throughout the conference.

6. hippocamp17 Gabriela

6. Gabriela Pereira presented a VITAL analytic for finding your groove as a writer. p.s. You don’t have to write 2,000 words a day just because Stephen King says so.

7 hippocamp17 Lara

7. I love hybrid work, so duh, I’m going to this session. Lara Lillibridge cracked my head open even more.

8 hippocamp17 Penny and Alexis

8.  Penny Guisinger & Alexis Paige. Flash CNF. Take off. Compress. Embody. Reflect. Land.

9 hippocamp17 Allison

9.  #AllisonWilliamsishilarious&platformsmakemewanttobarf

10 hippocamp17 Athena

10. Athena Dixon’s advice: “Be Brave. Explore new avenues of yourself. Don’t exclude people. Put yourself in the shoes of marginalized writers/people. Be a voice for people who are marginalized. Don’t make people tokens.” Bingo! (Yes Bingo! we made our own bingo squares).

11 hippocamp17 John

11.  If I only remember 11 out of 20 words, should I go see a neurologist? No, because memory is a construct that we reconstruct all the time, so next week I’ll believe I remembered all 20 words. Huge relief.

12 hippocamp17 Donna and Tobias

12.  I love when famous people don’t act famous. I love that Tobias Wolff admitted he can spend many hours alone in a chair “taking semicolons out and putting them back in again.”

13 hippocamp17 Elane

13.  I wish I had doodled everyone on the Flash Panel I was on, but first (Lisa Cottrell) I was too nervous, because I had to present next. Then I had to doodle Elane Johnson and her BALLS. Then I worried, if I sketch (Kate Meadows and Lisa Romeo), the audience will think I’m rude and not paying attention.

14 hippocamp17 Sam

14.  Then I saw this amazing nose (Sam Schindler) in profile and had to draw it.

15 hippocamp17 essays and articles panel

15.  Okay, by now my head is about to explode from all the thinking and learning it’s been doing. Shh, shh, listen. Dina said this. Okay. Platform. Pitch. Twitter. Acceptance 10%. Rejection 90%. Bottom line: write, submit, repeat. Find your voice. Find its place. Both exist.

16 hippocamp17 Agents and Editors panel

16. This is advice gleaned from the list of mistakes writers make when querying/sending a proposal: Have a strong concept, a strong voice, a complete and polished manuscript, consider publishing costs, use spellcheck, listen to the agent/editor, match the execution to your pitch. p.s. Platform.

17 hippocamp17 Dinty

18.  When Dinty feels inadequate as a writer, he worries that his nostrils are too big. I couldn’t see his nostrils from where I sat, but just want to point this out, so you know even Dinty W. Moore frets about silly things as a writer. He gave tons of sage advice that I hope he publishes somewhere soon, but I have enough words left here to pass this on: “Don’t hold anything back. Life is too short.”

18 hippocamp17 Donna and Kevin

19.  Donna and Kevin. Seriously. Totally adorable. But underneath their exterior of major kind cuteness lies dedication and commitment. Donna has done the heavy-lifting for HippoCamp 15-17, helped out by a team of volunteers, including local rock star Kevin Beerman. Bravo Donna!

P.S. HippoCamp returns to Lancaster in late summer 2018. Details Here.


Rebecca Fish Ewan is the founder of Plankton Press (where small is big enough) and creates Tiny Joys & GRAPH(feeties) zines. She is a poet/cartoonist/professor/mom/writer and teaches in The Design School at Arizona State University. Her publications include work in Brevity, Femme Fotale, Survivor Zine and Hip Mama. She has two creative nonfiction books: A Land Between (JHUP, 2000) and By the Forces of Gravity, a memoir of cartoons and verse about a Berkeley childhood friendship cut short by tragedy, forthcoming from Books by Hippocampus. @rfishewan

Brevity Rolls Forward, a Bit Older, a Bit Wiser

September 12, 2017 § 6 Comments

brevit20ylogoxxBrevity’s next issue, rolling out next week, will mark our 20th year of publication, an anniversary that is both wonderful and unexpected, given the tenuousness of literary publishing.  Let’s just say we are glad to still be around.

In addition to the excellent essays and various other surprises we have in store for you in next week’s Issue #57, we have two special blog features rolling out this month.

One is termed The <750> Project, wherein Guest Editor Shane Borrowman asks past Brevity authors to return to their piece and take on the task of either shortening or expanding it. Ann Claycomb took the scalpel to her essay “WQED, Channel 13: Programming Guide,” from Brevity 31; Steven Church took “Lag Time,” Brevity 33, and built 411 words to 806; William Bradley trimmed “Julio at Large” from Brevity 32 nearly in half; and Emily Franklin doubled the size of “Semi-Significant Moments in Googleland; Results of My Top Three Searches,” from Brevity 18. Shane Borrowman tackled the task as well, cutting his 2009 essay “Icky Papa Died” down to the bone.

The authors also reflected on the process of cutting or expanding, and the results, we think, are perfect for classroom use (and just darn interesting to read and ponder.) Watch this space.

Speaking of the classroom: Our second special blog feature, Teaching Brevity,‘ edited by our Special Projects Editor Sarah Einstein, features Kelly Kathleen Ferguson, Amy Monticello, Penn Guisinger, Heidi Czerwiec, Frances Backhouse, and Lisa Romeo discussing the various ways in which they use the magazine in teaching, some of them focusing on the whole Brevity enchilada, others on particular essays they love to teach.  Watch this space for that feature as well.

Meanwhile, in just one year we’ll be old enough to buy our own drinks.  If you feel so inclined (and want to help us notch 20 more years), we could use some beer money.

William Bradley, a Brilliant Essayist Gone Too Soon

August 29, 2017 § 11 Comments

wmbBy Dinty W. Moore

The nonfiction community lost a bright intellect and fierce advocate yesterday with the death of our friend William Bradley.

William wrote of his battle with cancer and the love he had for his wife Emily this past December here on the Brevity blog, and authored the flash essay “Julio at Large,” a beautiful mediation on freedom and “shitty coal mining towns,” for Brevity magazine in 2010.

He was endlessly curious, funny, generous, and enthusiastic about life and the world. His essay collection Fractals demonstrated all of that, as did his many essays, creative and scholarly, appearing in SalonUtne ReaderThe Chronicle of Higher EducationCreative NonfictionFourth Genre, The Normal School and everywhere else.

Two years back, with the help of his friend Christian Exoo, he one-upped me in the search for the origins of the term creative nonfiction, because he was tireless, and so so smart.

I’m giving his good friend Christian the last word here:

He was the model for the man I wanted to be. Bill was one of the best friends I’ve ever had. He was kind, he was generous, and he loved Emily Isaacson more than I’ve ever seen a husband love a wife. He was smart and funny and truly a beautiful human being. I’m deeply grateful that I got to be his friend for the last 18 years. My hope is that he is remembered fondly as a writer and friend.

Goodnight, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Speech to the Kenyon Writer’s Workshop Upon the Occasion of the Midweek Writing Doldrums

July 7, 2017 § 4 Comments

zz EuniceBy Eunice Tiptree

With workshops all morning, afternoon talks, and readings every evening, the eighty writers attending the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop in Gambier, Ohio, had little time for the terror of the blank page, no time to wallow in self-doubt. The Kenyon summer classes are “generative,” meaning that participants are asked to sprout new work each day over seven days, from prompts designed to jar you out of your comfort zone, producing “seedlings” that grow into full works over the months that follow.

But it was mid-week, and my group, the eleven tired souls gathered around the workshop table in Rebecca McClanahan’s literary nonfiction section, were starting to flag. As someone who has attended the Kenyon Workshop since 2004, I well knew the signs. Our group needed a boost.

As it turns out, Rebecca’s assignment provided the vehicle. Her instructions were to “Choose a non-literary text, pattern, or template from commerce, art, music, contemporary culture . . . Then, either employ that pattern as a shaping device, or incorporate the pattern into your piece in some way.”

Taking a walk in the afternoon on the bike path by the small Kokosing River winding below campus, my mind sifting and rejecting ideas, I felt trapped in my own doldrums. Then as if a gift from a cloud-free afternoon and the swirling water of the river, the perfect template appeared to inspire my fellow writers. We needed to hear a speech, and not just any speech, a speech in the style of Winston Churchill:

Speech to the Kenyon Writer’s Workshop Upon the Occasion of the Midweek Writing Doldrums

Winston_Churchill_during_the_General_Election_Campaign_in_1945_HU55965I say to those who joined this workshop, we have before us an opponent of the most testing kind, our fatigue and self-doubts.  We have before us many, many long hours before this workshop ends.  You ask, what is our aim?  I can say it:  It is to write, by day and night, with all our might with all the strength that God can give us; to write against the monstrous effects of fatigue and burn-out never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human frailty.  I can say to this workshop, to all those who have joined us in this struggle, “We have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their best, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defeat the storm of incoherent and shapeless language, and to outlive the menace of the blank page, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do.  That is the resolve of this workshop.  That is the will of the Kenyon Review family.  We participants and instructors, linked together in our cause and in our need, will defend to the death the cause of writing, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of our strength.

Even though large tracts of our minds and many old and famous tropes have fallen or may fall, we shall not flag or fail.

We shall go to the end; we shall write in the halls and cottages.

We shall write with growing confidence and growing strength; we shall defend our craft whatever the cost may be.

We shall write on Middle Path.

We shall write in the fields and in the streets

We shall write in the hills.

We shall never surrender our talents, until, in God’s good time, our growing capabilities stride forth to produce polished and complete drafts.


Eunice Tiptree transitioned from fiction to literary nonfiction at about the same time she began transitioning from male to female in 2010. Her essays have appeared in BrevityCrack the Spine, Weave, and elsewhere.  She has also published poetry in Straylight, Rock and Sling, and Inscape Magazine.  Before transitioning, she was a journalist specializing on the space program.  She currently is putting the finishing touches on a memoir of her transition, three years in the making.

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