Bringing letters and archives alive through
creative nonfiction, flash narratives, and poetry
Available now from
Family Stories from the Attic features nearly two dozen works of prose and poetry inspired by letters, diaries, photographs, and other family papers and artifacts. Editors Christi Craig and Lisa Rivero bring together both experienced and new writers who share their stories in ways that reflect universal themes of migration, time, history, family, love, and change. Click here to read the introduction.
About the Contributors
Kristine D. Adams lives near enough to the Ohio River to hear barge traffic. Originally from South Bend, Indiana, she thrives with experimentation in new forms of writing, art constructions, photography, gardening, and more. Personal writing includes a fiction novel, based on her direct engagement with families who cope with autism.
Adams studied journalism and design before changing academic focus to psychology and behavior analysis. She’s written and edited newsletters for commercial and nonprofit agencies, and in regional newspapers. Her literary palette features articles for magazines, BETA reading/editing manuscripts, poetry, and copywriting. She’s a featured speaker with journaling and genealogy groups. Visit her website at www.kdadams.com.
From the beautiful Pacific Northwest, JoAnne Bennett has raised her three wonderful daughters, now married, alongside her supportive husband of forty-one years. Although her life journey has been difficult at times, she loves focusing on her passion–writing. Her heartfelt desire as an author is to reach out and encourage others never to give up on discovering their gifts. JoAnne’s work has appeared in a number of print and online publications over the years. Her most recent contribution is in an anthology, I Am Free (2016), and her favorite piece is about making a difference in the lives of young people in the book, Dear Wonderful You (2014).
Aleta Chossek is finding new life through writing. Daring to share family stories with others primarily through Red Oak Roundtables and Judy Bridges’ Writing Workshops has opened for Aleta a world of shared human experience and joy. Writing allows Aleta to reflect on lessons from her family, travel, and working with the people of a small area in Tanzania. A wife, sister, mother, and grandmother, she tries to follow the advice of the poet Mary Oliver, “Pay attention, Be astonished, Tell about it.” Read Aleta’s blog at aletameru.wordpress.com.
Sally Cissna is a retired communications professor, minister, engineer, and perpetual student. She comes from a family of letter writers and packrats, who have left a treasure trove of letters and other documents which she has collected over the years. Besides being the family archivist, she enjoys working on family trees, communicating with friends and family on Facebook, remodeling the home she shares with her spouse of 25 years and a zoo of fuzzy four-leggeds, and refurbishing her Yellow Route 66 PT Cruiser. She also volunteers as a photographer and Facebook coordinator for Repairers of the Breach Homeless Resource Center in her hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Read her blog, “Just Sayin'”, at sallycissna.wordpress.com.
Gloria T. DiFulvio is a public health professional with a special interest in the role of personal narratives and health. She uses participatory community methods such as digital storytelling, documentary film, and photovoice to deepen our understanding of health. Gloria is also a writer of (mostly) creative nonfiction who views storytelling as a tool for personal and community change. Her work has appeared in such publications as Huffington Post, Crossing Genres, and DaCunha where she currently serves as an editor of nonfiction. She lives in Hadley, Massachusetts with her wife, Australian Shepherd, and two cats. Visit her website at gloriadifulvio.com and read her on Medium. (Photo by Linda Hannum)
Julia Gimbel has been lucky to experience a host of different careers over the years — from store planner, to fitness instructor, to jewelry designer, to volunteer — all while keeping the family peace. She lives in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband, Josh, and their two young adults, Lena and Elijah, in a home where the entire family dotes on the pugs. Thirty years after earning her Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she finally has time to sit down and write.
Myles Hopper writes creative nonfiction, and is the author of the forthcoming collection of stories, The Color Red and Other Memories. Elsewhere, he has written, “Memoir is my preferred way of trying to understand my possibly incomprehensible family of origin, including myself.” He has a doctorate in cultural anthropology and a law degree, and has taught in several universities in the United States and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. He also has consulted with nonprofits, and has been a board member of one which serves the families of gravely ill children, and another which serves homeless veterans and their families.
Myles and his spouse live in Shorewood, Wisconsin, and they have two adult children. His website is myleshopper.com.
Margaret holds an MA from Lesley College and an MFA in creative non-fiction from the Solstice MFA program at Pine Manor College. She has taught writing workshops in memoir and essay at various adult educational institutions in the Boston area. Her essays/memoir pieces have appeared in The Boston Globe, The Providence Journal, and The Washington Post.
Amy Wang Manning
Amy Wang Manning is a writer and editor whose articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines, and two anthologies. She is a winner of the Asian American Journalists Association’s first-place award in writing. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Nancy Martin grew up in Kentucky and has lived in Wisconsin over 20 years now. She helped her father-in-law write his memoir, Patton’s Lucky Scout. Nancy was a 2014 cast member of the Milwaukee Listen to Your Mother show. She now leads many senior story telling groups and teaches memoir classes. She is in the process of launching a website Butterfly Drive.
Patricia Ann McNair
Patricia Ann McNair’s short story collection The Temple of Air was named Chicago Writers Association’s Book of the Year, Southern Illinois University’s Devil’s Kitchen Readers Award, and Society of Midland Authors Finalist Award. McNair’s fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in American Fiction: Best Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers, Prime Number, River Teeth, Fourth Genre, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, and other publications. McNair is a book reviewer for Washington Independent Review of Books, and she teaches in the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago. Visit her website at patriciaannmcnair.com.
Carolou Lennon Nelsen
Joanne Nelson’s writing appears in Midwestern Gothic, Redivider, Brevity, Consequence, and other publications. She is a contributor to Lake Effect on 89.7 WUWM, the Milwaukee NPR affiliate, and gives presentations on topics related to spirituality and writing, the personal essay, and creativity. Nelson lives in Hartland, Wisconsin where she develops and leads community writing programs, maintains a psychotherapy practice, and, of course, adjuncts. More information about Nelson can be found at wakeupthewriterwithin.com.
Annilee Newton teaches high school English in Houston, Texas. She is the creator of Cupboard Sundries, a blog about food and life: www.cupboardsundries.com.
Pam Parker is a New England native who calls suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin home. Her work has appeared in numerous print and online publications and has been featured on WUWM, a Wisconsin Public Radio Affiliate. She co-edited the anthology, Done Darkness, about surviving depression. She tries to chip away at the stigma of mental illness by being open about her personal struggles. She has received awards from the Wisconsin Broadcasting Association, the Wisconsin Writers Association and the Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Sciences & Letters. Learn more about Pam and her work at pamwrites.net.
Ramona M. Payne
Ramona M. Payne has been a writer for years and her favorite form is creative nonfiction, particularly the personal essay. With a degree in liberal arts and an MBA, she left her career in corporate and nonprofit leadership to focus on her writing. A pivotal experience was completing the Creative Writing program at The University of Chicago Graham School.
Ramona considers reading, walking, and Pilates as essential practices for her writing. She lives in South Bend, Indiana, with frequent trips to Cincinnati, Ohio and northern Virginia. She is currently working on a collection of essays and enjoys participating in writing workshops and conferences because they build community. Visit her website and blog at ramonapayne.com.
Valerie Reynolds has always been a letter writer — to family and friends, to her four daughters when they were away at college, round-robin letters with a circle of high school friends years later. When she retired from her secretarial job (where she wrote business letters all day long), a writer friend gave her a journal which she’s been keeping since 1984. That was the year she had her first grandchild, too, and now all nine of her grandchildren enjoy her stories about them as they were growing up. She loves her Writers’ Club at Harwood Place where she’s still writing.
Jessica Schnur has a MA in English and Writing from Mount Mary University and a MFA in Fiction from the Solstice program at Pine Manor College. She currently teaches in the Humanities, Social Science, and Communication department at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. She writes fiction and non-fiction and her work has been published in the Sheepshead Review, Door is a Jar, and Litbreak, and she was a Wisconsin Writer’s Association Jade Ring Award winner for non-fiction. She spends her free time reading and running many, many miles – she and her husband are trying to run a marathon in all fifty states.
Meagan Schultz lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband and two young boys, where she writes between naps with reheated coffee. She mostly finds herself musing on motherhood and midlife in the Midwest. Her work has appeared on Literary Mama, Write On, Mamas, and the Brain, Child blog, “Brain, Mother,” and she is a contributing writer for the MKE Moms Blog and Lake Effect on 89.7 WUWM. She keeps up her own personal blog at www.meaganschultz.com when the laundry is finished (which is to say about once a week).
Yvonne Stephens lives with her husband and two children in Northwest Lower Michigan. She has worked as an assistant in the fields of mycology, forestry, and neurology research, volunteered for two years in the AmeriCorps, and most recently was an Artist Residency Coordinator for the Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology. Yvonne is an award-winning poet, and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2015. Her poems have appeared in the Dunes Review and the LAND Creative Writing Journal. Visit her blog at 40eyes.blogspot.com and connect with her on Facebook.
Kim Suhr is the author of Maybe I’ll Learn: Snapshots of a Novice Mom and Director of Red Oak Writing. Her fiction has recently appeared at Midwest Review, Stonecoast Review, Solstice Literary Magazine and others. In addition, her work has been recognized in Wisconsin Writers Association contests. Kim holds an MFA from the Solstice Program at Pine Manor College in Boston where she was the Dennis Lehane Fellow in 2013. To learn more about Kim’s writing, please visit www.kimsuhr.com.
Julie Anne Thorndyke
Australian writer Julie Anne Thorndyke graduated with merit from the Master of Creative Writing program at the University of Sydney. She has published poems and stories for adults and children in many literary journals. She facilitates a tanka-writers’ group, participates in collaborative poetry presentations, and leads creative writing workshops. Two collections of her tanka poetry are available from Ginninderra Press. In 2017, Julie was appointed editor of Eucalypt: a tanka journal. Read more of her work at jthorndyke.wordpress.com.
Christi Craig lives in Wisconsin, working by day as a sign language interpreter and moonlighting as a writer, teacher, and editor. Her stories and essays have appeared online and in print, and she received an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s Family Matters Competition, 2010. Visit her website at christicraig.com.
Lisa Rivero is a writer, book indexer, and the owner of Hidden Timber Books in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She enjoys writing fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. Some of her publications include a food and wellness column, magazine and journal articles, four non-fiction books, a middle-grade historical novel, and a blog at Psychology Today. Visit her online at lisarivero.com.
Kristine D. Adams
Gloria T. DiFulvio
Amy Wang Manning
Patricia Ann McNair
Ramona M. Payne
Julie Anne Thorndyke