January 2012

The Reluctant Grown-up by Fred Amram

Swastika symbol on army equipment

In 1938 I was five years old and I could already feel my childhood slipping away. Mutti first noticed my developing maturity one day when a loud demanding knock frightened her. Mutti’s face tightened and she pursed her lips. The Victorian pallor, in which she prided herself, seemed especially white. We both looked at the door as if awaiting a miracle.

Switched at Midlife by Sharon Carmack

rotary phone and cell phone

I wasn’t expecting another daughter. I was expecting a mother. But there comes a point when mothers and daughters switch roles. Her voice on the phone: “Hello, Sharon? This is your daughter.” I smile. “No,” I say. “I’m your daughter. You’re my mother.”

Confirmation by Nikki Foltin

close up of old style wodden church pews

November rain drummed the stained-glass panels of St. John’s southern exposure—not with the intruding rat-ta-tat-tat of a snare, but the low, rolling of a bass drum, more of a feeling than an actual sound—like the third cello in an orchestra, whose part is only appreciated in absentia. On any other day I might not have given such weather any consideration, but, on this day, I worried that the rain might somehow distract or detract from the service.

Debbie Did by Deborah Thompson

blank nametag on woman

Forty-seven years ago my parents named me Debbie. The birth certificate says Deborah, but the intention was always Debbie. They said the name was unusual at the time, and that their choice had nothing to do with Debbie Reynolds. It was a good Jewish name—but not too Jewish. It just felt right.

The Writing Life: the unruled page by mensah demary

open moleskine with blank unlined pages

i allow myself many vices: cigarettes, more cigarettes, various Apple products [my apartment is wired to Apple’s hive mind], and Moleskine journals. while i don’t believe in the so-called “writing life,” there is value in journaling one’s thoughts. i guess. still, i buy Moleskines because somewhere in my reptile brain, a $17 journal makes me more of a writer than, say, a $0.99 notebook from Walgreens.

Insider Tips: Nathan Evans

blue keyboard key with i

… it would be easy to say that’s why I read for the magazine – because they published me, or because they asked me, but actually there’s more to the answer than that. The reason why I read for Hippo is because I really believe in what it’s doing and the sort of writing it seeks to publish and promote.

The Writing Life: Tastes by Hilary Meyerson

chocolate chip cookie ingredients mix and egg in a bowl with bowl of chips

I’ve been involved in a love triangle for almost twenty years. My two loves have never met, but the time is coming. My first love is the man with whom I’ve shared my public and private life; the other is my writing, a more private love. One would think they would be easy to introduce, but I have not found it so.

The Patriotic Chicken by Krista Creel

Silkie Chicken fuffy white with gray beak

Riding in my Sunday dress in the passenger side of a well-equipped Cadillac Deville down an old gravel road, I was feeling the kind of sublimity that not even my small town southern preacher could’ve gleaned from me that day. Why? Because I had a rooster on my lap.

Learning to Swim by Angelle Scott

african american young woman in pool doing backstroke

Most people learn how to swim when they are young. It’s easier for children because they haven’t become as aware of their mortality as adults have. They may be afraid of water, but they aren’t afraid of drowning to death, like some adults are. I was in my late twenties when I took my first swim lesson.