My Real Life Modern Family

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Gracious Receiving 101

2 Written by: | Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 12:00pm


What to do if we receive a Christmas present we hate? University of Baltimore MFA student Melinda Cianos gives it to us straight.

Okay, let’s review. This holiday season you are likely to receive, if you’re lucky and people like you, a nifty gift or two. Please do not forget the appropriate reaction to said gifts in order to avoid the severed relationships and tarnished reputation surely to follow you into the New Year if you do. Below: a few reminders to help you stay in good, gracious standing. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Myra and Mom

8 Written by: | Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 10:27am

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Baltimore writer Gay Jervey remembers her mother’s most enduring–and exciting–friendship.

Not long ago, I received the news that I had been dreading for months: Myra Shannonhouse, my honorary Godmother, ally and bridge to so much that had come to shape me, had died after the long, wrenching free fall that so frequently accompanies illness, old age and the kind of greedy bad luck that just won’t back down. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Don’t Shoot: One UB Student Stands United

2 Written by: | Monday, Dec 01, 2014 10:13am

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University of Baltimore MFA student Nancy Murray recounts her local experience after Ferguson.

“Is there a way to add to the conversation through our art?” she asked. Her eyes scanned the faces of the students. None of us wanted to talk about Ferguson, but we all kind of needed to. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Lessons from a Turtle

2 Written by: | Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014 10:22am

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Award-winning poet Elizabeth Hazen reflects on her ambitious life thus far — the winning, the losing, the waiting it out.

Once at the National Zoo, I watched a pair of giant tortoises copulating, the sound that emanated from their habitat like a sleeper’s distress in the midst of a confusing dream. My son wondered what the matter was. All of the children wondered, the older ones with a slight blush of awareness. The adults chuckled nervously, parents scooting their children along to the next exhibit. Meanwhile I stared with the fascination of a scientist, the brazenness of a paparazzo. How those enormous, armored bodies could fit together—how even turtles could evince pleasure without words! Somehow this was a comfort to me, though simultaneously I was conflicted by my voyeurism and my relentless obsession with things I do not understand. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

What’s for Dinner? (One Mother Confesses)

5 Written by: | Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014 9:50am

overworked momWhen University of Baltimore MFA student Melinda Cianos suddenly realized she’d never shown her family how to serve themselves dinner, she felt called to instruct.

My father worked at Bethlehem Steel for 20-some years and my mother never finished high school. There weren’t conversations around the dinner table, or elsewhere in the house for that matter, about how and why I should attend college, so I didn’t. I started a family at 22 years old; I had more than enough to keep me busy so I don’t how not having a degree found its way in to start gnawing at me, but it did. I looked away from it until I was 34, at which time I thought, “I’m ready.” What I didn’t realize was that I might be the only one in my household who was. Read More →

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Appointment Television: A Bedtime Story

1 Written by: | Wednesday, Nov 05, 2014 10:09am

illustration by Elisabeth Dahl

illustration by Elisabeth Dahl

Baltimore writer Elisabeth Dahl breaks to us gently how TV used to treat people.

I’m going to tell you a story, children. It’s a little scary. It’s about your parents.

Don’t leave. You should know this about them. It will help you understand. Read More →

Lifeline, Links, My Real Life Modern Family

Bad Moon Rising: A Halloween Story

0 Written by: | Tuesday, Oct 28, 2014 10:33am

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My 1979 Halloween was one strange trip. It was my sophomore year of college, already full of freedom and weirdness. That year, every day felt like Halloween as the country was swept up in the mania of The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s twice-weekly screenings at over 230 theaters. And punk rock ruled. It was the heyday of bands like the Ramones, the Cramps and Richard Hell and the Voidoids. I knew lots of people who sported mohawks, wore dog collars routinely and pushed giant safety pins through their lips. But this was Halloween, the freakiest night of the year, and I was eager to blend into the mayhem myself. But I had one mundane chore to finish first. Read More →

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Forget He/She: Going Gender Neutral in the Classroom

13 Written by: | Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 12:00pm Goucher prof Kathy Flann encounters a writing student who wants to remain gender neutral in class, she’s happy to try to comply, but finds it far harder than she expected.

Just before the spring semester, I received an email from a student I had not yet met. We were soon to begin several months together in Introduction to Fiction Writing, a class that attracted mainly first-year students.

I just wanted to give you a heads up on something before class starts. I identify as a genderqueer person and I use gender neutral pronouns. So instead of referring to me as “he/she” or “him/her”, please use the singular “they” instead. It is totally understandable if you slip up a few times as I do often appear quite feminine, but I really appreciate your effort in this as it makes me pretty uncomfortable when people refer to me using female pronouns. If you find neutral pronouns to be overly cumbersome, I would also accept my name used in the place of pronouns. Thank you so much for your consideration. Read More →

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Over the Threshold: The Mystery of My Dad’s Missing Love

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 10:19am

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Baltimore writer Holly Morse-Ellington believes her newly divorced father has a super serious girlfriend–unfortunately, thanks to her dad’s close-lipped nature, her best information source is a tiny barking dog.

My parents’ divorce has been a long road for me. Maybe it’s not my road to travel. But that’s the thing about family. No matter how carsick their problems make you, you’re stuck in the backseat. Hands tugging at the child safety locks activated on the doors. Head hanging out the window and panting, “Are we there yet?” Read More →

Culture, My Real Life Modern Family

Severna Park Hilbillies

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 3:00pm


The monster of Monster Mile.

Writer Lisa Van Wormer shares her first trip to a NASCAR, where she discovers a previously unknown species: the Severna Park Hillbilly.

For my first professional car race experience, I decided to go to Dover International Speedway, also known as the Monster Mile, to watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup.  The internet told me what to expect for my NASCAR weekend: mud-tired American made trucks blaring country music, flags of all kinds including checkered, Rebel, and Old Glory, a multitude of mullets varying by hair length, texture, and even color in a lax open-carry and BYOB atmosphere.

I was looking forward to a super friendly and inviting crowd to watch about 40 cars race around a mile-long cement circle 400 times in the blazing sun.  My trusty friend Google said the “true experience” involved camping all weekend in a parking lot across the highway from the track.  Good old Google had never lead me wrong before, so I rented a pop-up Aliner trailer, stuffed it full with beer and food, hitched it to my black F-150 that was dying to get truly dirty, and was off to be all in for this ride.

Read More →

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