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Michelle Elizabeth

Everything a book on writing won’t show you.

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I have a problem with most books on writing. They don’t help new writers. I’m talking about the people who have never taken a writing class in their lives. The people who have a story in them but have zero ideas about how to get it out. They wander into a store, find a book on writing, and hope that it will show them how to get started. But it doesn’t. Instead, it waxes poetic about the author’s writing career and may throw in a few gems of advice if they’re lucky. …

1 book + a little magic = endless possibilities

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It was just a normal day. That’s usually how these sorts of stories start, with the narrator waxing poetic about how today was no different than the day before it. I went through my normal morning routine without a hiccup and made it to the Metro on time. The train was late, as usual, and conveniently empty. I went to the back and found a seat opposite a person who immediately caught my attention.

Normally, I don’t notice people on the train. Usually, I have my headphones on listening to my favorite podcast, Lore. I guess what caught my attention…

And it saved us from the brink of divorce.

Photo by Christiana Rivers on Unsplash

A gap year is typically used to describe the year high school students take to find themselves. During that time, they work or travel in an effort not only to discover themselves but to figure out what they want to do with their lives. But when we inadvertently applied that same logic to our marriage, it brought us back from almost getting divorced.

We didn’t start with the idea of taking a gap year. Our marriage wasn’t working. And if I’m honest about it, we hadn’t been us for years. …

A story about a woman living a double life. Warning: Explicit language and violence.

Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

I remembered the tape this time. A month ago, I had to improvise. It was not pretty or elegant. But I was in a hurry. That all too familiar itch rose to the surface, and if I didn’t get it out, if I didn’t satiate the desire, the fire would consume me.

I surveyed my backpack for the most important items.

Rope, check.

Tape, check.

Sleeping pills, check.

Mallet, check.

I grabbed the black Jansport backpack and added a few new things that recently appealed to me, I didn’t know if I would use them, but the idea that they…

Before you tar and feather me, take a moment and read.

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Every February, the school librarians take out the same autobiographies. They start with George Washington Carver and his bag of peanuts. Then they move on to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. After that, they finish with Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement like that’s all that black people are.

Black people are more than a twenty-eight-day blip that starts with slavery and ends with the Civil Rights Movement. …

Understand first, love second.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

All I need is understanding
A desire
To know the real me
The person I don’t have to hide
In fear of not being understood

I wish people could see just me
I’m a good friend to the few I have
I’m loyal to those who don’t deserve my loyalty
I’ll love you until you break my heart
And then I’ll cry over the broken pieces
That never fully get mended.

I’m silly
I play with words and ideas
The way little kids build with Legos
I leave pieces of me, everywhere
I’m smart
I can finish an anecdote about Lucy
Throwing in her scientific name…

When I think about growing up in South Philadelphia, this is what I remember.

Photo by Master Wen on Unsplash

Concrete jungle. That’s what most people think of when they imagine an overpopulated city filled with the working poor. My mother was a master of the lost art form of making a dollar out of fifteen cents. She robbed Peter to pay Paul. Living paycheck to paycheck was the way of life you could set your watch by. Every first of the month, the lines would travel out the door at the local corner store as people handed over their food stamps for cash. …

The universe works in mysterious ways.

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

I’m in a stalemate with myself. I don’t know where I’m going or what I want to be when I grow up. At forty-one, you’d have figured that I would have decided that by now. But like most people, I did what I had to do. I got a job to pay the bills, and I never stopped to think about it. I did what I had to do.

The dreams of childhood make miserable adults.

When I heard that saying for the first time, I felt it deep within my soul. All of my unfulfilled dreams had made me…

It’s easy to look at all of the bad things that happened this past year, but in doing so, we don’t acknowledge the good.

Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez on Unsplash

The year 2020 has been described most eloquently as a dumpster fire, but I would argue that this year has pushed every single one of us out of our comfort zones, and that is a good thing. If I were to pick three words to describe 2020, they would be resilience, introspection, and gratitude.

For me, 2020 started like any other year. We took down the holiday decorations and got back to work. I began planning our upcoming yearly vacation and travel to see loved ones. But I started the year feeling burnt out. I didn’t rest enough over winter…

Michelle Elizabeth

MFA|Essayist|Author| I give 1 minute critiques on TikTok @thewriterchick| Email:

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