On Podcasts, Glitches and Endings

By Shawna-Lee I. Perrin

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I’ve taken to listening to podcasts while I clean one thing or another or drive solo somewhere. When I find one I love, my kitchen sparkles and I run lots of useful errands. My favorites are fiction. Whether they hook me or not, each one teaches me something about telling a story, building a world, developing characters and their voices. When I get through a series, they teach me a lot about endings; what’s effective, and, just as educational, what isn’t. Respectively, I’m thinking of two podcasts in particular: Wolf 359 and The Black Tapes. Some spoilers ahead, but I urge you to listen to them (whether you read the rest of this piece or not) and decide for yourself.

       I don’t know anyone in real life who listens to the same podcasts I do, so Reddit has become my proverbial water cooler for such things. Last year, I discovered The Black Tapes while it was on a brief hiatus and shortly before it was due to end. Many on Reddit had listened since the show started a couple years earlier, so their wait between episodes and seasons was considerable, especially compared to my latecomer’s instant gratification up to that point. It was so good – scary, haunting, and smart. The longtime listeners had a lot of time and energy invested, which likely had an effect on their reactions to the short third and final season in general, and the final episode specifically. It didn’t really resolve – well, anything, but that was how the writers chose to end it. When the final episode finally came out, I paused my steel-wooling of dried-on beans from a pot, looked at my little speaker, and said, “Huh. Well. OK.”

       When I checked in at Reddit a day or two later, I quickly realized that fans were, to put it mildly, not pleased. People swore they would never give money to this group of storytellers or any of their other podcasts again. They said they would try to pretend that there hadn’t ever been a third season, and if anyone ever asked them about it, they would say just listen to seasons one and two, and just stop there. They said the finale’s writing was lazy, slap-dashed and half-assed. Amateurish and insulting and negated everything that they had previously loved about it. And goddamn it, we trusted them, and they do this.

       A typical episode was anywhere between 33 and 47 minutes; the final episode was only 27 minutes, 18 seconds. And that included three rather long advertisements plopped in the middle in two different spots. In retrospect, they did leave us hanging. There was a near-constant threat of world annihilation in the world of The Black Tapes, but they didn’t ever actually tell us the outcome. I’d bet that a certain sock company’s revenue decreased after that one.

"I tend to trust the storyteller. Whether or not I like the ending of something is irrelevant; once a thing is out there, how it ends is how it ends."

Conversely, Wolf 359’s finale clocks in at just over two hours (and they never ran ads – just did the Patreon thing). Not everything wrapped up as nice and comfortably as we listeners would have preferred, yet people almost universally adored the ending. The writers clearly took their time. They resolved important threads while unraveling another, and they did tell us what happened regarding the threat of world annihilation. We have no idea where these people will end up, but their story began, middled, and ended in a specific context; that context is really all they needed to resolve. I may have cried, but just a little.

       All of this got me thinking about what readers and/or listeners feel are owed to them in an ending. In these days of instant feedback and the possibility for interaction with people writing or voice-acting on something like this, we listeners can sometimes feel like we’re part of it. The reality is, we are not.

       I know what it’s like to see or hear or experience something arty and instantly feel a pull, a connection. Be it a book, music, a stand-up comedian’s set, or an exhibition at an art gallery, it’s like, “This is a something that I never even knew I wanted or needed, but now I do, and it’s in me, and I’m in it.” It’s powerful.

       I tend to trust the storyteller. Whether or not I like the ending of something is irrelevant; once a thing is out there, how it ends is how it ends. I see people calling bullshit on different endings (Twin Peaks, Lost, even the original Dallas – which, well, ok, actually, yeah.), and they always have reasons for their opinions, usually very well thought-out ones. But I always find myself thinking, “But how do you know that? How do you know better than this thing’s creator(s)?” And I really do want to know how they know that. Because I’m at a loss.

       There’s a significant character in Wolf 359 that’s an AI (Artificial Intelligence) autopilot for the space ship (trust me, they make it make sense). Her name is Hera, and when her computer voice speaks, it glitches sometimes; it sounds sort of like a stutter. And here’s where you should really skip the rest of this paragraph if you don’t want a spoiler from episode 41, “Memoria.” In this especially poignant episode, we find out that Hera’s programmer – the one who created her to not only know vast amounts of information, but also to kind of think for herself – hardwired the following two phrases to play in a loop in Hera’s brain/code: “I can’t do this. I’m not good enough.” Hera’s creator did this as a way to “clip her wings” if she started thinking for herself too much. Turns out, it caused the vocal glitch. It also caused Hera to not pull things off that she was actually perfectly capable of.

       What an insight into human nature! What a thing to identify completely with as we try to write, as we try to get better, as we try to get other people to believe in us and help us get our work out into the world. To get people to trust us, the storytellers.

       In my own writing, I know that what I need to do is trust my training, my reading, my knowledge of my characters, my connection with creativity and inspiration as much as – actually, more than – I trust other story tellers. But it’s so hard.

       At 47, I’ve completed writing and [for now] revising my first novel. I’m proud of it, and I’m trying to get it out into the world. Yet there’s this annoying glitch in my brain... Even if I wrote a scene that touches someone, or maybe even a couple or a few, if the ending isn’t what they would have done, will they feel let down? Will it negate everything that came before? The parts they liked or even maybe loved? I hate letting people down. But I gave it everything I had, I followed the characters into sometimes uncomfortable-to-me places, and I did my best to be true to them. And that’s all I can do.

       Podcasts are not just an escape, just as stories aren’t just an escape: they have the power to make us recognize things in ourselves, in humanity, and even the universe. They have the power to disappoint as much as enlighten and satisfy. What a wonderful and terrifying pursuit this is! And, like Hera, all we can do is recognize that glitch that makes us undermine ourselves, move the hell past it, and keep writing. Keep getting better. And if a few people are disappointed, so be it; let them try it.  

I’m Melting: Thoughts on Reading Your Work in Public

By Jillian Avalon

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           I am not a nervous speaker. I believe it was Seinfeld who said that most funeral guests would prefer to be in the casket rather than give the eulogy. However, I never experienced the paralyzing fear of public speaking so many people suffer, as anyone who knows me will testify.

           I was a performative child, as most children begin and many children outgrow. I danced, sang, acted, and spoke without fear of my audience, no matter the size, age, or setting, and I could not identify with professional performers who admitted to vomiting before every show. What was there to fear?

           It took me twenty-six years to experience stage fright. I signed up for a Friday reading slot at my MFA residency. I selected a reading I felt good about, and I practiced it meticulously. Muscle memory is essential to a good performance, no matter how good or bad the material, and I was determined to have this piece ingrained. Friday, I resolved, would be nothing.

           The symptoms began before breakfast: muscle tightness, stomach flipping, occasional trembling whenever I thought about the reading. I started second-guessing my selection. Was it the right tone? Had I picked a section that was a poor representation of the voice of my character? Was it well-written at all? I waded through my work for the day, increasingly worried that I had made a mistake, either in my selection or in signing up to read at all. I imagined that horrible smattering of polite applause, which sounds suspiciously like normal applause, but with a measured, muted quality that signaled no one actually liked the performance.

"Three minutes of my life did not feel like three minutes. I was still shaking when I sat. I took deep breaths, rubbed the sweat from my hands on my lap, listened and applauded the other readers. My stomach wouldn’t settle."

The half hour before I was to read, I was well past anxious. I felt carsick. My hands were shaking. My too-empty stomach flipped and squirmed. I could see where the sweat from my hands smudged the pages I was to read.

           My friend told me it would be fine, and I knew she was right.

           “It would be fine,” I told myself. I would go into auto-pilot, read my piece as I’d practiced. I would not die if I got polite applause. But it felt suspiciously like death.

           My hands still shook when I took the podium. I worried my voice would sound as queasy as I felt. In the winter, the teacher who had worked on my piece wasn’t present, but he was in the summer. And worse than simply being present, he is one of those listeners whose body language telegraphs listening and draws the eye. I looked up the first time at the audience, as trained, and I saw him leaning forward, and I felt dizzy.

           Three minutes of my life did not feel like three minutes. I was still shaking when I sat. I took deep breaths, rubbed the sweat from my hands on my lap, listened and applauded the other readers. My stomach wouldn’t settle. I told myself it would pass by the end of dinner. A bit of a boost to the blood sugar, some time for the adrenaline drop to level out. It would be fine. Some people would say they liked it and I would feel better.

           The food did not settle my stomach. The trembling didn’t stop. I did get compliments, but it mysteriously made things worse. Each compliment from a professor made the nerves spike on the scale again, and I admitted to one that I still felt a mess when I left dinner early and hurried back to our meeting place for the next event.

           She assured me this was normal. She said reading is her least favorite part of the program. Coming in the previous summer, I would not have understood her, but walking beside her with my stomach doing incomprehensible acrobatics and my fingers vibrating like a plucked guitar string, I knew exactly what she meant. I paced alone for half an hour, and even then my nerves only settled to the levels from breakfast.

           It wasn’t all bad, though. I got good feedback on the section, and I slept better that night than any other during the week. And I was left with an important question to mull over. Why was reading my words so different from every other performance I’d done in my life?

           At first, I thought it was something about the stage. In dance and theatre, I usually had bright lights blocking the audience from view. But this wasn’t always true, and almost no musical performance I’d done had this benefit. I certainly had never had a public speaking engagement where I couldn’t see faces.

           Then I thought about content. With dancing, acting, singing, playing, I am taking content created by someone else and sharing it with the world. I am a vessel for someone else’s expression. If it doesn’t go well, I perform something else and move on.

           But my writing is mine. It is what matters most. If ithe reading doesn’t go well, if people don’t like it, it isn’t a matter of performing something else tomorrow. Those words are a bit of my soul, which I’ve spent years forming and crafting and imagining.

           I'm still not a nervous speaker. I'd still rather give the eulogy than lay in the casket. And I'd still describe myself as performative. I wouldn't stop forcing myself to read, because I think it is good for me. But I have resigned myself to a life of hours of before-and-after agony on a reading day, and I do not imagine it will go away. In fact, I am fairly certain this is one of those things that only gets worse with practice.

Jillian Avalon is a current degree candidate at The Mountainview Low Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction.


By Danielle Service


In the winter of 1995, shortly after I’d graduated college but was living on in the dorms as a Resident Director, I spent one long night on my couch talking to a handsome man who looked and acted just like George Peppard in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – same demeanor and half-smile, same calculated, lilting amusement. He held dramatic pauses in our conversation, carried with ironic and writerly phrasing. He was exactly my type, a friend of a friend, and as the night drew on interspersed with bong hits (ah, 1995) and deep revelations the intimacy grew. You’d think this story ends with a steamy hookup on a winter night in Atlanta but it doesn’t. He asked just one question, very late:

     “Can I hold you?”

     I nodded, and he did as we continued talking. I don’t remember if we kissed. We probably did, but all I remember is the talking.

     I drove to Washington D.C. the next day to visit a friend, then went home for Christmas. When I came back I expected a continuation of sorts but he held a hand up to the endeavor, pled friendship mea culpa – he still had the hots for an ex. I was disappointed, not crushed. We hung in groups together, partied, did Whip-Its by the train tracks, watched The Doors over and over and over. That was then. We drifted. I moved.

"He sent me pictures of his gun collection and told me he wanted to kill himself. He had started writing suicide notes. Wanted to know if I would read one."

Facebook is the best and worst of all social interaction, like Vegas is the best and worst of all of America’s entertainment. The social network drives you back into arms that would otherwise wave in the wind, the way Vegas showcases talent and vice for the taking that, perhaps, should be left untouched by the commoner. Facebook, the opener of doors that are meant to stay closed. Or not. As society hurtles toward the next tier of technological existence who’s to say how our relationships will navigate? There used to be closed endings to almost all of them. Now they are mostly open. It could be the universe’s way to ensure we will all remain connected. But this is hardly the point.

     So Facebook reconnected us twenty years later. I watched him get married, have a baby boy. Get divorced, unravel. We started talking again on a thread about Stephen King’s It, of all the damn things. Then we started writing. Then he told me he was under indictment for felony charges of embezzlement and wire fraud and was looking at serious prison time. He sent me pictures of his gun collection and told me he wanted to kill himself. He had started writing suicide notes. Wanted to know if I would read one.

     I know a lot of people who talk about suicide like the day’s flavor, just by virtue of the circles I run in. Recovered addicts, alcoholics. Sometimes writers, neurotic types prone to depression and empathy and insight. The thing about suicide intention and idealization is that you can’t freak out when someone suggests it and to be honest there’s not a lot you can do if someone’s bent on it. I read once that suicide becomes an option when pain is greater than the available coping mechanisms for it. So one either breaks or looks for an outlet. I’ve learned to listen and hear people out, not act like they’re crazy or that I have to do something to stop them.

     So I read his suicide note and suggested that in prison he would have so much time to write, and that maybe he could be like Denzel Washington in Flight and take responsibility for his actions instead of killing himself, and he could help other people when he got out. That life would be ten thousand times better once he navigated the swamp of this shitshow. That I’d had myriad students who just wanted their parents around regardless of what the parents had done: kids love their parents no matter what, and his son would too. That maybe a cool book idea would be that he write a collection of suicide notes that chronicled the progression of his recovery and journey through prison.

     I have a dear friend who called a suicide hotline in her sophomore year at a prestigious college. She’d been admitted young and was at the end of her rope. The voice on the other end of that hotline answered, then put her on hold, as in “Suicide hotline. Will you please hold?” When she told me that story I howled laughter, slid my back down the wall while I held the phone. “Oh Christ,” I said, when I could speak. “That’s just too damn good.”

     “But it was that that did it for me, girl,” my friend said. “That’s when I realized that deep on some level that no one gave a shit. Well, not that they didn’t give a shit, no – that it was up to me to pull it together and that the world would go on if I didn’t. Her putting me on hold was a slap in the face.”

     That’s the thing. You never know what’s going to do it. I know I’m good at listening, so that’s what I do.

     My other friend and I continued talking, on and off. I left him alone some, reached out at other times. A couple months ago he told me the charges had been pled down to just wire fraud, a year max in white-collar prison. “I decided not to kill myself out of sheer pride,” he said. “What kind of pussy kills himself over a wire fraud charge?”

     “Fair enough,” I wrote. “I’ll come see you on my road trip this summer if I go that way, before the indictment.”

     “Promise me,” he said. “Promise you’ll come visit.”

     I did. I make it a habit to keep promises as part of my recovery, so I went (slightly) out of my way to hit the mid-sized, southern city where he resided. He was not the same as I remembered. Still smart, sharp-tongued, but sweaty, fraught, desperate. Frenetic energy. He told me I looked great, better than my pizza-delivering ‘powder phase’ days. I don’t have many people in my life still who remember me from that time.

     He asked if he could hold me. I nodded. I let him rub my back. We did not kiss. He had another girl coming over at seven.

Danielle Service is a graduate of The Mountainview Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction. She currently teaches seventh grade Language Arts and yoga in New Hampshire. 

Bloodline, Barbados

By Amira Shea


I skipped down the plaster steps by two’s and stood, shielding my eyes from the bright, early afternoon sun.  On such a small island, the salt smell of the sea was everywhere, filling my lungs. To my left, an old man leading a donkey cart was making his way up the slight hill. One weathered hand loosely held a thin switch, but it wasn’t needed. The animal was well-fed and sturdy, with large, clear, if somewhat miserable looking eyes. One hoof clopped in front of the other as it continued straight ahead, looking neither left nor right. It hauled a wooden pallet jerry-rigged with large bicycle wheels and laden with fresh fruit and vegetables. Banana, mango, coconut, green onion, tomato, papaya. Observing the gentle beast as it passed close enough for me to see the little flies on its coarse brown and gray pelt, I thought, no matter how well you were fed and treated, no matter how bright the sun and how salt the air, it must still suck to spend your days harnessed and dragging produce.

           My thoughts about the donkey lasted as long as it took for the man and his mobile business to get about 20 feet up the road. Turning right, I slowly started to make my own way up the hill. Fine grains of dark, clay-colored dirt immediately entered my sandals and surrounded my toes. Little pieces of white coral, more prevalent than pebbles here, joined the dirt from time to time. I would stop and shake them out absently.   

           I passed a few houses on the right. Like that of my grandparent’s, these were mostly built of concrete and cinder blocks, with plaster facades brightly painted in tropical reds, aquas, and yellows. In addition to the dwellings, each small, functioning lot held fruit trees and a few animals – goats, chickens, ducks and a dog or two. The odors of their bodies and waste mingled with the salt and the perfume of copious flowers. The resulting bouquet was unique to the island, and not unpleasant. A few of the houses were made from wood and in various states of disrepair, identifying the family as old, or poor, or both.

"Observing the gentle beast as it passed close enough for me to see the little flies on its coarse brown and gray pelt, I thought, no matter how well you were fed and treated, no matter how bright the sun and how salty the air, it must still suck to spend your days harnessed and dragging produce."

My destination was the corner store set at the top of the hill. One side of the store abutted the road I was on, and the other fronted the perpendicular main road through the parish. At one point, it used to be someone’s home, but the downstairs was now given over to various sundries, canned goods, ice-cream, bags of chips, and a rather anemic magazine rack. Faded Coke-a-Cola signs, the kind you seem to only see in the Caribbean, hung outside over peeling paint. The white swirls were greying and the red fields were practically pink. The signs themselves almost melted into the yellowing cream of the wooden exterior. I stepped through the dark green screen door onto cracked and worn speckled linoleum. A lone, long fluorescent bulb illuminated the space. The shopkeeper was nowhere in sight, but guaranteed he was watching.

           Despite the age of the place, everything – even the floor – was meticulously clean. Not that any of that mattered to me. I was happy to be there, to be anywhere really, on my own. I would have been equally happy to walk up the road and visit a large hole in the ground, as long as I was allowed to go it alone. Even back home, in Hawaii, there were few places my mother would let me walk or ride my bike to unaccompanied. Recently, some of my friends had started to take the bus by themselves, or in groups, all the way to the large downtown mall. Though I’d guessed the futility of floating such an idea to my mother, I tried nonetheless. It was shot down in a stinging rebuke. I tuned out shortly after hearing no, but I was sure there was mention of “prostitutes, drug addicts, and homeless riders, caked in urine and just waiting for gullible 13 year-olds to board city buses.”

           Whether it was because my mom was more comfortable on this island where she was raised, or because it was actually a very small place where crime was all but non-existent, I couldn’t be sure. All I knew was that during this last week I’d had more freedom than ever before. 

            I had only intended to buy a soda or a push-pop, but I was in no hurry to end my solo outing. I meandered through the one aisle and finally stopped in front of the magazines. The skateboarding and hair-metal fads of the late 1980’s had made it all the way even to this small corner of the Caribbean, and I selected a surprisingly current edition. On the cover were four men, each in denim and each sporting impossibly blond, long, and teased tresses. Maybe that’s what gave me away.

            I soon felt eyes on me. Different from those of the yet-to-materialize shop-keep, these were the eyes of someone my age. Pretending not to notice, I kept flipping through the magazine without paying any attention to the content.

            “You’re American, aren’t you?”

             I turned to face the boy. He was skinny, like me, with knobby knees and elbows and feet that he had yet to grow into. His white tank top and yellow running shorts were worn, but not dirty or holey. They were well-favored after school clothes, as were his rubber flip-flops. The same dust that clung to my toes rested comfortably on his ankles and shins. We both wore the ashiness of young black children who had not yet fully incorporated lotion into their daily routines.

              “Yes,” I said, with an accent that confirmed his suspicions.

              “I thought so. Why did you come to Barbados?”

              “My mother is Bajan. We are visiting my grandparents.”

              I was flipping the pages of the magazine as I spoke, round chin slightly raised, trying to affect a breezy, carefree manner. Standing with my left foot leaning perpendicular up against the side of the other, left knee bent, I tried to envision myself as one of the laughing, skinny young women in the Virginia Slims commercials: I’d come a long way, baby! They were always hanging out by the pool or a municipal fountain and having a great time with their friends and cigarettes. They laughed open-mouthed, and as a group. Even though I hated their preppy clothes and the bright colors, I had to admit, those girls seemed to have it going on. I put my foot down to wiggle my toes some more, stubborn sandy dirt still clinging to them. The boy scratched the dry peppercorns on his scalp and smiled crookedly.

              “So if your mom is Bajan, that means you’re Bajan too!”

              “Yeah, I guess…”

              I was still trying to play it cool and nonchalant. If I’d been chewing bubble gum, I would have smacked it, but I wasn’t and instead just licked my dry lips instead. I wasn’t attracted to the boy in particular, nor was I nervous about talking to the opposite sex in general, however, I could count the number of times I’d had a one-on-one conversation with a boy on one hand and have four fingers left over.

              My life up until this point involved frequent moves and a permanent sense of otherness. My family was, in fact, preparing to leave Hawaii for a three-year assignment in Japan. They weren’t sure when they’d be able to make it back to the Caribbean, so had decided to pay a parting visit to my mother’s parents. The boy’s simple assertion I was Bajan too, was the first time I could remember being claimed by any group. I was Bajan too! Joy crept over me like the afternoon sun forming a long rectangle on that cracked linoleum.

Amria Shea is a graduate of The Mountainview Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction. She lives in Oahu, Hawaii, where she operates Paradise Writinga community-based, full-service writing company that utilizes updated technology to assist clients from across the globe.

Missed Treasure

By James Seals


On a Monday morning, my girlfriend and I sat in my car, staring out the driver’s side window, scrutinizing a rainbow. No rain fell and the sun had abandoned the sky. But still, a rainbow appeared. I wondered what the phenomenon looked like to my girlfriend. Nationalgeographic.com (NG) states that every person sees their own rainbow because light bounces off raindrops and reflects at different angles so no two people see it exactly the same.

       I found the end of a rainbow, once, I said.

       My girlfriend’s big, brilliant eyes widened and her smile gleamed. Tell me, tell me, she said.

       One high school day when on the football field practicing, I noticed a rainbow inside a wooded area 100 yards away. A few of my teamates and I still believed in the old Irish leprechaun’s secret: a pot of gold waiting inside at the rainbow's end. I wanted those riches. We raced toward the gold. Our cleats flung dirt. A defensive linemen tossed an offensive player to the ground. A running back stiff-armed facemasks. I hurdled a diving player. Hoots resounded.

       I entered the woods first and stood within the rays--although NG says that nobody can ever reach the end of a rainbow because as you move the rainbow moves too. But I was inside of it. My friends told me so. I had no reason to disagree other than having failed to find riches. I had searched everywhere: I turned leaves; I flipped logs; I dug my fingernails deep into the black soil; I found no gold, no evidence of the German myth of God’s bowl--nor did I transform into a woman, as early Europeans believed happened when one passes beneath a rainbow.

       For years I felt annoyance; I was cheated out of treasure. How many people find the end of a rainbow? I had stood upon Greenland’s belief of the hem of God’s garment. I had stood in God’s promise that terrestrial life would never again be destroyed by flood (Genesis 9.13-15). I had destroyed insects’ homes within the gates opened by Saint Peter to allow another soul into heaven. But I have lived an emotional kind of hell without my treasure.

"My rainbow should have shown me how to make marriage my top priority: wife first, children second, work last. My rainbow should have told me to not keep score, to play with my partner, to forget ifs and buts."

The treasure that I really needed in high school was the knowledge of how to cope with my father. How to manage his swinging hands and slashing belts. How to hide the bruises and cuts. How to overcome his pushing, choking, grabbing, and kicking my mother and sisters. Today I can simply visit kidshealth.org to read: How to Handle Abuse. But that article has come too late for me as I now fight my own temptations to use these learned tactics.

       In early adulthood, I needed advice on ways to keep my first then second wife happy. My rainbow should have shown me how to make marriage my top priority: wife first, children second, work last. My rainbow should have told me to not keep score, to play with my partner, to forget ifs and buts. Men can visit menshealth.com for such advice: 8 Simple Ways to Make Your Marriage Last. Perhaps my wife would not have sought a better partner during our marriage if I had read that piece.

       Today, I wish my rainbow had taught me to deal with grief. There are about 644,000,000 web results that can assist in handling loss. I have struggled with the emotional suffering in being an absent father. I may never truly know my kids. They live in different parts of the country, near their mother. I have missed their first day of school--their first crush, dance, driver’s test. So much more. I know our distance is because of me. I have promised to make things right. But I have failed at that too. Though I have accepted all blame for our detachment, I still have bouts of sadness; I have tears. 

       On Saturday after scrutinizing the rainbow, I pondered my missed treasure. My conclusion: I hope nobody happens upon a pot of gold, some secrect stash of riches. I believe the absence of something material gave me the strength to deal with life events. Riches would have allowed for me to buy something to mask pain, like many people I know do. My treasure-less rainbow has forced me to grow. It has now become the same representation as the 16th-century German Peasants’ War rainbow flag: a sign of a new era, of hope, and of change.

James Seals is a graduate of The Mountainview Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction. He currently teaches adult education in Austin, Texas.