As promised in my last blog entry, here’s a sampling of the outstanding writing that occurred during last weekend’s Women Writing for a Change Up North (WWFAC) retreat. At the beginning of the weekend, I gave each woman a welcome card with a writing prompt in it- an Elvis sticker! In short order, Christina Ryan turned the prompt into yet another incredible piece of work.

This woman’s writing is simply amazing!

I’ll share additional works from the retreat in the weeks ahead.


By Christina Ryan
July 2008

Remember that pot hole on Henry Street, the one that always filled up with smelly water when the river ran high and we’d either have to step in it or break mamas back with a giant step over?

Petey liked to splash our tights all polka dotted and mama’s set to scrubbing them clean for Sunday?

Remember that day we walked home from St Mary’s and all the Daddy’s were holding their heads on the front stoop at Porter’s and then we found mama on her knees underneath the clothesline. The radio static barely drowning out her sobs, her face looked just like Petey’s when Old Man Tucker chased him with the Louisville after he busted out his window?

Aunt Carlene’s Pall Mall burned to the quick—hanging from her lip like a trucker. She forgot to put the car into park and it rolled straight through the bougainvillea and the engine revved and the cousins, all wild and red haired, smacked each other as we sat staring while she hugged mama and wiped away the tears from her cheeks.

We took Necco Wafers to the tree fort with our flash light and watched them listen over and over to “Love Me Tender” and cry…

In the morning, our tights hung from the clothesline to dry… but mama let the crickets sing us to sleep the rest of that summer.

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