For the last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers. The blog is currently on an indefinite hiatus, but will continue highlighting the many pieces that have been published over this time. Please read them, enjoy and share!

Archive for the ‘Non-Fiction’ Category

Dog Days and Starlit Nights By Angie J. Mayfield

It was love at first sight. He was ambling alongside the road with a McDonald’s French fry box in his mouth, and something about those big sorrowful eyes, copper brown and pleading, tugged at my heart, and the steering wheel, forcing me to pull over and offer him a ride. The scene was straight from a chic flick movie. I called out. He turned. He dropped the box and ran to me, his tongue outstretched, his tail wagging, rushing into my arms and delivering a big, slobbery kiss right on the lips. I was his heroine, his savior, and he gladly jumped into the truck and sat beside me as though we were destined to be together. The stretch of… Continue >>

Build a Memory. Build a Bear. by Bryan Currie

There’s a copper-toned Queen in New York Harbor who, until recently, happily greeted visitors to the shores of our promised land. She now sits on Ellis Island politely checking green cards and work visas, reminding the huddled masses to wipe their feet on the way in, worried they might stay too long. One of my roommates, Eimear, arrived in America three weeks ago from Ireland. She didn’t arrive by boat and has yet to visit Lady Liberty. In fact, Eimear isn’t even planning to say long, but would like to work while she’s here. In order to work in the United Sates, however, non-citizens need three things: 1. Valid identification 2. Work visa 3. United States social security number Even… Continue >>

Bipolar, Lithium, Suicide and The Lost Years of My Life by Jason D. Hill

When things are illuminated, life is beautiful. Luminosity is, indeed, a wonderful thing. You are anchored in your body and that body is easy to please. You only have to honor the integrity of your senses. The bad smells bad, and the good is to be luxuriated in. You feel your senses acutely and realize you were blessed with them because they make you into a deep participant in life. Others have their senses too and you share yours with them. Social intercourse is your way into earthly heaven. You are not alone. Life belongs to you. Life can be shaped according to your vision and by the grace of its better possibilities. You love life and intend to affirm… Continue >>

On the Way Down by Gabriel L. Nathan

Sometimes the name they give you is all wrong. My paternal grandmother’s name was Nava, which, in Hebrew, translates to “beautiful.” In the biblical Song of Songs, it says, “Thou art beautiful [nava], O my love, as Tirzah, beautiful [nava] as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.” By the time I met my Nava, she wasn’t quite beautiful, or terrible. She was essentially a shriveled up little raisin in a modest, tweed skirt and thirty-five-year-old glasses. She was certainly sweet and cute, and raisiny, but I’m not sure she was beautiful. I suppose at one time she was—her husband certainly thought so anyway. One day my father and I were talking about names, for some reason, children’s names; what… Continue >>

Vacations Spent Searching by Matt Landau

It was reasonably late in my life that I discovered there was a name for my fear of crowded places. And more specifically, the term agoraphobia, upon stumbling over it recently in my Spanish-English dictionary, gave validity to what my family had always considered a silly and embarrassingly illogical concern. Agoraphobia- Fear of crowded, public places like markets (or in my case, beaches). I was fortunate enough as a child to entertain wild and dreamy ideas when it came to planning holiday vacations. When asked where this year’s Christmas break should be spent with my brother and parents, I’d regularly contemplate the most recent grand prize Bob Barker had given away on The Price Is Right. “How about a relaxing… Continue >>

Three Years by Katya AaltoTanssija

Things were so very, very different. I was so much more than three years and thirteen days younger. I was a decade younger, perhaps two, neck-deep in a world of money, privilege, international travel and blissful ignorance of so many things. My older brother was invincible, good at everything, impeccable in every way. He was what we all wanted to be, an example forever shining before us. Sometimes I wanted to kick him in the shins, for being so impossible to stack up next to. No matter how hard I trained, how many hours I sunk into my sailing, into anything – he would always come out on top, graceful and un-phased. As if it were all nothing, nothing at… Continue >>

A Fonder Heart by Erin G. Ellia

My husband’s making me nuts. Don’t get me wrong. I’m making him nuts, too. But since I’m the one writing this essay, I get to do the talking. And I say I want him to disappear. Not forever, just for a week or so. Ten days, maybe. Two weeks? See, every winter since before Johnny and I met, I’ve visited a friend in California (or Georgia, Florida, Arizona – wherever she happens to be living at the time). And every fall, Johnny’s gone to Ireland to see his mum. But Johnny’s mum died last year, and my friend is in the throes of finishing her PhD. Neither Johnny nor I have anyone to visit and, as he would say, we’ve… Continue >>

Thanks to my Cancer by Jan Bianchi

My heart would not have migrated so deeply within me if it had not been for my breast cancer. The experience of having gone through a mastectomy and breast reconstruction shaped me in ways that would change my life forever more. My heart fell into a free fall much like an autumn leaf that is released from the branch it had grown upon after my initial diagnosis. The leaf descends to the ground graciously and without much effort. My heart’s perspective twirled and changed colors in its descent moving more deeply into my true heart where the deepest gift of heart lives resoundingly by the strong presence of my tenacious spirit. I discovered many inner treasures yet to be revealed.… Continue >>

Because I Haven’t Got the Legs for Dancing by Mike Calahan

Why do I write? I’ve been asked to explain this on more than one occasion, often in a Yuletide forum by relatives who want only what’s best for me. These questions are presented with a roll of the eye or an unassuming furrowed brow and often contain the words ‘what’, ‘in’, ‘the’ and ‘hell’. Each time the question is posed, the more difficult I find it to answer. As time passes, the reasoning that once seemed so black and white, morphs more and more into a menagerie of Freudian color and malformations, looking less like the once straight forward presentation and more like the aftermath of a drunken war of paintbrushes between Pollock and Neiman. As a child, the stories… Continue >>

The Gift of Compassion by Jan Bianchi

As I have grown older I have come to learn compassion is something to mature into and is not readily acquired. Compassion is cultivated like the pearl that comes from an oyster. The pearl is refined in the darken womb of the oyster over time, as compassion is empathy cultivated through the exercise of lived experiences that have been overshadowed by the power and intensity that has been shaped and purified by the fire of pain. It becomes the ultimate expansion and expression of unselfish love. It is also the outreach of personal growth where adept wisdom is brought forth from the intuitive self that sheds the light of heightened awareness that directly comes from the heart. I grew up… Continue >>