This is for anyone who isn’t sure what side of the social unrest they should be on

Image by Nour Chamoun on Scopio

The past few weeks of the United States have been devastating. I’ve struggled — I’m still struggling — with how to relate to these events as a white person, and as an expat, no longer standing on American soil but still deeply connected to its legacy. The wrong side of its legacy. I’m not alone in that.

Of course, America is not the only place where racism is a major problem. I know it exists here. But I’m American: the United States is where I’ve been most complicit in the violent systems and where I learned the toxic perspectives.

In…


Sorry, glossy mags. Mindfulness will not cure my depression.

Image by ilya bogdanets on Scopio

I have gone years without feeling joy.

During those periods, I was not constantly miserable. I was not contemplating suicide. I did things, I laughed, I had positive and negative reactions to events and other stimuli in my presence.

But when the slow wheel turned again, the little planet of my soul finally rotating back into the sun, the actual feeling of joy knocked the wind out of me. I’d been down so long I didn’t even realize how far down I was. My low state was long past being the “new normal.”

Depression steals energy and color. Anxiety soaks…


There must be some kind of way outta here.

Illustration by author

Nazlı spins around so hard she damn near gives herself whiplash. There they are, standing at the bottom of a staircase in the corner of the room. They’re leaning over something, heads bowed, speaking quietly in words lost to the low noise of other people returning to their private moments after the spectacle ended.

Before Julian can get her name out, Nazlı tumbles out of her seat and charges toward the couple.

“What the fuck do you people think you’re playing at?”

Mr. and Mrs. Lubbock look up in tandem, startled and backing away from their assailant.

“We’re still getting…


Multiple projects — and multiple types of projects — can keep you on track toward all your goals

Image by Casey Otto on Scopio

Along with being a writer, I’m a knitter. I’ve been knitting for a long time and I’ve come to understand that, really, the major limitation of my skills is patience. I can knit complex and challenging things. However, I’m a sucker for easy, relaxing projects. I can stuff them in my bag and whip them out on the bus or in front of the television without counting stitches or referring to the instructions every other minute.

Easy or otherwise, knitting taught me a lot about the value of learning and handwork. Having something you can hold in your hands, or…


Love makes us curious, dedicated, and brave: the secret keys to achieving fluency

Image by Holland Yeaton on Scopio

How do you integrate into a new country? No matter what brought you, if your tenure is not temporary, the most important thing is to learn the local language. Not only do you need to communicate with people, but you need to understand something of the world on their terms. With their terms.

I touched down in Norway at the end of a one-way ticket that slung myself and two terrified indoor cats out of Chicago and across the Atlantic. My soon-to-be-husband had prepared the flat for our arrival in advance: a spacious litter box, a bag of cat food…


Are your instructions actually good for anyone who isn’t in your specific situation?

Image by Khusen Rustamov from Pixabay

Re-arrange the title of this article any way you like. You can put in some other number that’s higher than the price of one dinner out and replace “as a writer” with “as a freelancer,” “by blogging,” or “on Medium.”

The sentiment is everywhere. As a new freelancer, I’ve spent a lot of time doing research about, well, being a new freelancer. All these questions boil down to their simplest essence as “how do I make it?” Making it, necessarily, involves earning some kind of living wage. The living wage of a freelancer — like any self-employed person — is…


Plunged into the underworld, the team encounters a dubious new “friend”

Illustration by author

It takes Nazlı longer to adjust, for that dizzy effect of crossing over to wear down and reveal herself to herself again, than it does for Julian. He travels the breaches a lot more frequently than she does because of the simple fact that he’s gifted with the sight of them. That’s not a skill she’ll ever learn.

Magic, at least in Nazlı’s view, is not inherently given to some people on the good green earth and not to others. …


Navigation masterlist for Resurrection Road

Welcome, readers! Resurrection Road is an urban fantasy/horror web serial that updates weekly. While the latest stories and episodes will always be easily accessible on the publication page, this is a full table of contents for easy navigation. While Res Road is semi-episodic, I suggest starting from the beginning! All illustrations by author.

Strange Cargo

Nazlı Kelis and Julian Faith retrieve an unusual artifact, soon learning they’re not the only ones after it. (3 chapters.)


Internal consistency is the way to get — and keep — your readers on board

Image by mobinovyc from Pixabay

Many years ago, the length of an in-progress manuscript I was working on came up in conversation with a non-writer friend. His eyes widened. He said, “Jesus. That’s as long as my thesis.”

I said, “Yeah, but I just made it all up.”

He was still impressed. On the one hand, sure, I could just write whatever I wanted from page to page. On the other hand, I had to make it all up.

I’m not here to debate the comparative difficulty of fiction versus academic writing. And I appreciate my friend who recognized the effort I put in to…


What are you comparing your efforts to and is it fair?

Image by Sanna Jågas from Pixabay

One of my dream jobs is to provide the haunting high soprano vocals you encounter in certain flavors of metal and industrial music. I own the corsets and the tall black boots and more than half a dozen black lipsticks. I’m completely prepared. Hit me up.

I get lost in music. I’ll never give that up, but there is one profound hazard lurking back there in the shadows like Gmork from The Never Ending Story. She talks like this:

“No matter how hard you work, you’re never going to sound like this.

Soaring vocals floating through expertly tuned harmonies. An…

Marie Raven

American expat in Norway. She/her. Wants to help you to make more art and feel better about doing it. Also working on scary stories and sci-fi stuff.

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