My Real Life Modern Family

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Road Rage!

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 9:45am

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University of Baltimore MFA student Nancy Murray describes the morning that Baltimore rush hour traffic sent her over the psychic edge.

Even if everything had gone perfectly I would have been about five minutes late for work. I didn’t call to make excuses to my boss because the chances were good that he wouldn’t be there either. It was entirely possible that he would never know I was late, but it was imperative that I get there as quickly as I could. There would be hell to pay if I were just unbuckling my seatbelt when he pulled up. Read More →

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Waste Not, Want Everything

9 Written by: | Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 9:27am


Baltimore writer and cabinetmaker Danielle Ariano describes her mother’s super strict policy never to waste anything edible–and how it has affected her own approach to food and life.

My mother washes out plastic baggies. Not the kind that they give you at the grocery store checkout, the kind you buy. The kind with zippers. Sometimes when I visit, I’ll find one drying in her drain board, looking like a dead jellyfish. Read More →

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Road Trip

23 Written by: | Wednesday, Jul 02, 2014 9:58am


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University of Baltimore MFA student Terri Steel recalls the childhood road trip that changed her forever.

Another one whizzed by; we’d been passing them for hours. Bright yellow bubble letters against a black backdrop reading “SOUTH of the BORDER” and “CATCH Pedro IF YOU CAN!” The signs were a welcome sight, standing out against a monotonous stretch of landscape unadorned aside from the occasional nut shop dotting Interstate 95. I looked down at the bag of Stuckey’s pecans I had been munching on since morning. “How much longer until we get there, Mom?” Read More →

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Hidden Nerve

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 9:46am

photo by Judith Krummeck

photo by Judith Krummeck

Baltimore writer and beloved voice of classical music radio (WBJC) Judith Krummeck describes her sense of place — in the U.S. and Africa — and her sense of longing for each land she’s called home.

A hidden nerve is what every writer is ultimately about.

–André Aciman

I was born in Africa. I am an African. But, because of the color of my skin, I am not truly African. Strictly speaking, because I was born in Africa and I am now an American citizen, I am an African American. But, because of the color of my skin, I am not truly African American. In the truest sense, I am neither African nor American. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

The Worst Dates Were Probably All My Fault

3 Written by: | Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 12:00pm

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Writer/television producer Jeff Dugan’s been on some great dates, but he learned more from the bad ones.

Everyone has few good horror stories of dates that went awry. As I look back on mine, I have to admit the problems seemed to stem from some oafish action or oversight on my part. Here are my top 10 worst dates, in chronological order. Please, learn from them. Read More →

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Memories of Early Target Practice

1 Written by: | Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 10:06am

robin-hoodUniversity of Baltimore creative writing MFA grad Timmy Reed reflects on the drama of his very first play date.

I have this memory of being about four years old in our old sun porch with my father and my new friend, Garrett Kennedy. I always referred to people by their first and last names back then as if I was unsure whether my parents, the only people I ever talked to, would believe they existed otherwise. In my memory, Garrett is dressed like a G.I. Joe with a tiger-striped scarf. I look tiny in my turtleneck and paper Indian costume. But I know that is not how we were dressed. That image is from a Polaroid my grandmother took years later on Halloween, in a different room, in a different house. The photograph still exists in a messy box in one of the houses where pictures of our family are still kept. We have divided ourselves a few times since the day in my memory. Read More →

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Roll Call: The Girl Who Didn’t Come Home

6 Written by: | Wednesday, May 21, 2014 11:22am

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University of Baltimore MFA writing student Lisa M. Van Wormer recalls the day her fellow soldier failed to answer the repeat call of her name. Hear Lisa read the piece on WYPR’s “The Signal” this Friday at 7.

You are about halfway through your year deployment to Iraq at this point, just enough time to make routines and gain a sense of security in the day to day. You are at a satellite site away from the majority of your unit when you hear the news. Once granted permission you are on the next convoy to travel the 40 miles down IED alley to the base that it happened at, to be there for your surviving friends—for roll call. The feeling this day at the base is far different from any other you have experienced. For one, everyone is in full battle rattle (flak vest with shields, Kevlar, slung weapon, eight 30-round magazines), even off guard duty, which is not the norm for this secluded base. Secondly, there’s no milling around or open chatting—the whole base is silent and somber. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Poppa Tyler…or The Secret Writings of Sigmund Freud

3 Written by: | Wednesday, May 14, 2014 10:25am

chaplinUniversity of Baltimore MFA student Tyler Mendelsohn’s grandfather Poppa, the analyst patriarch in a family full of psychoanalysts, is “exploding with ideas,” a good thing — sometimes, though, he’s a very, very close talker, which proves more challenging.

The person whose company I most prefer at family functions, my grandpa—or Poppa, as we call him—has halitosis. And he’s become an increasingly close talker, as his hearing goes. Every family event, I face a strange dilemma: I can choose to have my brain tickled, while my nose suffers in olfactory agony, or I can ignore Poppa. My fondest memories, needless to say, are of conversations we had while sitting across very large tables. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

A Part of Us

4 Written by: | Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 11:00am

Robert_Ettinger_Soldier_WWIIBaltimore writer Caryn Coyle says goodbye to her war hero father, but finds he’s at her side in striking ways.

When my father died, I was holding his hand.  I could feel the Marine Corps ring that he always wore on the third finger of his right hand.   The ring has a large ruby, set in gold with globes of the world etched on both sides.  Two eagles — wings spread — are perched on each globe.  Because the ring is worn, stars that circle the eagles and globes have almost disappeared. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

On the Tenure Clock: A Cautionary Tale

3 Written by: | Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 10:22am

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As Goucher writing prof Kathy Flann endured five years of tenure-track hell, her health fell apart and she began to question her own creative work–you won’t guess what happened next.

When I landed what’s known as a “tenure-track” job teaching creative writing at Goucher College, it was the culmination of long and arduous quest. There were so many fiction writers clambering for university teaching positions that several hundred people would sometimes apply for an opening. Read More →

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