Month: November 2022

How to Make an Origami Mouse

by Bethany Jarmul


  1. Visit the craft store. An employee who reminds you of man-who-broke-your-heart explains your paper options.

  3. Avert your eyes as he scans, bags your selection.

  5. Watch a how-to video. Eat a donut and watch the video again. Wipe the gooey chocolate from your fingertips onto a golden sheet of foil paper. Shake your head at yourself.


  6. Fold, fold, fold. Create an ugly rat with enormous ears.

  8. Sigh. Place the creature on the shelf with the half-knitted scarf, misshapen clay bowl, unfinished painting, crumpled-up letter.

  10. Question why you keep reminders that you’re terrible at everything, like he said. Never finish what you start, like he said. That you’ll never find love, like he said.

  12. Google “easy calligraphy.” Write a sticky note for tomorrow: “Buy calligraphy pens. Make eye contact.” Underline “make eye contact” three times.

  14. Eat another donut; allow its strawberry filling to drip down your fingers onto the floor.


Bethany Jarmul is a writer, editor, and poet. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and been nominated for Best of the Net. She earned first place in Women On Writing’s Q2 2022 essay contest. Bethany enjoys chai lattes, nature walks, and memoirs. She lives near Pittsburgh with her family. Connect with her at bethanyjarmul.com or on Twitter: @BethanyJarmul.


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What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “How to Make an Origami Mouse”?

This piece was something that I wrote based off of one of the daily photo prompts provided by SmokeLong Fitness. The photo was of several origami mice who appeared to be alive, climbing down a chair. The photo prompt sparked the title “How to Make an Origami Mouse” and the story followed from the title.
The first draft of the piece was about 350 words, but I wanted to submit it to a 100-word submission call, so I compressed the story. Eventually, I went back and added in a few words and sentences that I really loved from the first draft, and that’s how I ended up with this final draft, which tells the story in a few words but still includes some fun sensory details that really make it come to life.


by Suzanne Verrall


When Ian fell off his bicycle and knocked his head he lost the last ten and a bit years of his life. Which is to say all of it, given Ian was not quite eleven. A very nice couple called Mr and Mrs Whittaker took Ian home from the hospital and showed him his room and his clothes and his things and told Ian to call them mum and dad. Then, following the doctor’s instructions, they kissed Ian on the top of his head, being sure to avoid the lump, and left him to it.

Ian took his time looking over the model aeroplane kits and the books about insects and the schoolbag with its red pencil case and primary grade textbooks and an old banana peel at the bottom. He looked in the wardrobe at the jeans and shirts, the school uniform blazer, the shoes. He pulled out a hoodie and put it on over the t-shirt he had worn home from the hospital. It fit perfectly across his shoulders but the sleeves were too short and Ian could see his bony wrists with their fine golden hairs poking out beyond the cuffs. He pulled it off and dropped it on the floor and reached for another hoodie. There was a full length mirror on the back of the wardrobe door and Ian looked at himself as he tried it on. Then, one by one, he pulled every shirt off its hanger. The pile of clothes on the floor grew as Ian worked his way through the jackets and the jumpers, the trousers and the shorts. Not one piece of clothing fitted him right. Not even the pyjamas.

Exhausted and panicked, Ian lay back on the racing car bed with its matching robots sheet and pillowcase set. He fell into a deep and immediate sleep and dreamt of a house with a white front door that he knew he had painted himself, with the brass doorknocker he distinctly remembered buying from the hardware shop and screwing in place. Behind the door, in the house, Ian knew was his wife and children but he couldn’t seem to make it up the garden path. All he could do was watch as a boy about sixteen years old with neatly combed hair and a bunch of flowers lifted the doorknocker and rapped it sharply three times. “Don’t answer the door,” Ian cried in his sleep. “He’s too old for you.”


Suzanne Verrall lives in Australia. She is the author of the poetry collection One Day I Will Go There (Vagabond Press, 2022). Her poetry, flash fiction and essays appear in various publications including Australian Poetry Journal, Southampton Review and The Interpreter’s House. For links to her work go to www.suzanneverrall.com.


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What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Sleeves”?

I once knew a woman who, following a bicycle accident, believed her life had been reset, that somehow she had been given a second chance. What an opportunity to be taken advantage of, I thought. But, like all accidents, not without a measure of risk.

How to Run

by Emily Hockaday


When I say I want to go to the Moon, I mean I can see it there. It is tangible. Why won’t you let me reach out and touch you? When you say Your daughter, you mean, why aren’t you better at this? When I say Put your hand on my back, I am having an existential moment, I am looking at the Moon knowing I will never be there looking at the Earth and it seems very unfair, and then, looking at the baby monitor, while you do (finally!) put your hand on my back, I start to wonder: are you right? Do I deserve to hear your daughter in that tone of voice, just because I left the baby gate open, this once, and you caught her splashing her hand in the toilet? If we were on the Moon, there wouldn’t be any toilet water to splash in. When I say I’m doing my best, I hope it’s true. I hope you believe me. I really hope that I am.


Emily Hockaday’s first full-length collection Naming the Ghost was out with Cornerstone Press September 2022. Her second collection is forthcoming October 2023 from Harbor Editions. Emily is the author of five chapbooks and coeditor of the horror collection Terror at the Crossroads. Her work has been featured in print and online, and she can be found on the web at www.emilyhockaday.com and on Twitter @E_Hockaday.


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What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “How to Run”?

Like the speaker of the poem, I also spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the Moon. All of space, really. (I work in science fiction.) It’s wild that we live on this one planet, when there’s an infinite Universe all around us! I wrote this poem after leaving one of the baby gates open in a rush (although I don’t believe there was any toilet-splashing). You’d be surprised how hard it is to use the bathroom and remember to close a gate while parenting with an early toddler who needs constant supervision. I don’t know if peeing with the door open is fascinating per say, but all of parenting feels superhuman in the midst of it.

CNF: A Lesson on Tattoo Removal

by Adrianna Sanchez-Lopez


When I was a teenager, my mother took a knife to the small cross tattooed on her left hand. She hated her tattoo. She hated how strangers would stare at her hand, sometimes asking if she belonged to a gang or served time. She hated how employers asked her to cover it with makeup. She never told me the story, yet I knew. I saw it in the way she dug her nails into the cross when she thought no one was looking. I felt it in the way her body caved when I asked about girlhood. I witnessed it when she sharpened a pocketknife and cut into her flesh, lemons sliced and ready to squeeze into a freshly opened wound. I remember my mother defying, showing me how to heal from the specters of permanence, from the fear of our past selves.


Adrianna Sanchez-Lopez (she/her) resides in Colorado. Her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bright Flash Literary Review, Prose Online, Five Minutes, The Headlight Review, and elsewhere. Learn more about Adrianna at adriannasanchezlopez.com.


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What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “A Lesson on Tattoo Removal”?

This piece came to life during a generative workshop offered by Chestnut Review. I had bodies on my mind, and, during a short moment of meditation, the image of my mother’s tattoo came to me. In its first draft, this was a 3,000-word essay that just fell flat. I spent the next few months whittling it down, discovering meaning in a moment I’ve been contemplating for nearly two decades.


Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Matter Press recently released titles from Meg Boscov, Abby Frucht, Robert McBrearty, Tori Bond, Kathy Fish, and Christopher Allen. Click here.

Matter Press is now offering private flash fiction workshops and critiques of flash fiction collections here.


Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now closed. The reading period for standard submissions opens again March 15, 2023. Submit here.


05/27 • Claudio Perinot
06/03 • Amanda Chiado
06/10 • John Davies
06/17 • Lynne Jensen Lampe
06/24 • Valerie Valdez
07/01 • Carlin Katz
07/08 • Meg Eden
07/15 • Tim Raymond
07/22 • Mike Itaya
07/29 • TBD
08/05 • TBD
08/12 • TBD
08/19 • TBD
08/26 • TBD
09/02 • TBD
09/09 • TBD
09/16 • TBD
09/23 • TBD
09/30 • TBD