Spring update

I’ve been so busy with Tangled Locks Journal. We just published our spring issue and we are already reading submissions for three projects. We are also offering services to writers to help them meet their goals. We are providing developmental feedback for works in process, editing, website development and social medial marketing planning. It’s been exciting to partner with so many writers.

I have also been investing in the craft of writing. For me, learning is a lifelong pursuit. I feel blessed to have found programs that feed my desire to learn. My favorite is Ariel Gore’s literary kitchen creates a space where you can strengthen your individual voice and tell your unique stories.

The thread that ties all of this together is building community. For me, writing is solitary but I thrive in community. So I continue to reach out, connect and partner. Twitter is my main platform but I also use Instagram and Facebook. I’m experimenting with ways to use these platforms to connect with more people. If you are on Twitter, please connect with me at @teresaberkowitz.

Happy spring. Happy writing!

New Issue and Call for Submissions

Tangled Locks Journal just published our Fall Issue. In our second issue, we feature new works by VJ Knutson, Dominique Margolis, Stephanie Parent, Tacheny Perry, Niles Reddick, and R.L. Terrell. You can read the issue online here.

We are also seeking submissions for our October MoonBite.

MoonBites are designed for social media and we partner with our writers to promote the works on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

We are looking for very short works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction that we will pair with images. It’s short notice but if you have a work that you feel creates vivid images in the mind of your readers, please consider submitting.

To view past MoonBites, please click here.

To find out more about submitting your work to Tangled Locks Journal, please click here.

Just wrapped up our first MoonBite

My vision when I launched Tangled Locks Journal was to partner with writers in a deep way to gain visibility for their work. Our monthly MoonBites takes that collaboration to a deeper level.

We know that there are vibrant communities of readers and writers on social media including the image-based platforms. For our MoonBites, we select one work and develop a visual slide deck to share on social media. We work with the writers to find images that bring out the themes of the story. We implement social marketing strategies together. It’s a wonderful experience to work so closely with one of our writers.

For our first MoonBite, I had the pleasure to work with Tangela Williams-Spann. I love her sweet flash memoir, Midnight Snack.

If you are interested in becoming a Tangled Locks Journal author, please check out our submission guidelines.

First issue of Tangled Locks Journal is available.

It’s been an incredible three months. I had to learn so much to publish our first issue, from publishing agreements to web design. And I read so many amazing works that inspired me. It was difficult to narrow it down to six writers but there was a reason behind my desire for a small, manageable number of writers per issue. I want to partner with the writers to get visibility for their work.

I also want to support and build the writing community. Stories and poems build empathy and connection. I love what good stories do to my soul and want to share that with readers.

Here’s a link to our first issue. Please enjoy.

Our First Issue is Live

Social Distancing

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Are there more birds? the man thought. Or is there more time to notice them?
The birds sing all morning demanding his attention but nothing more. But he has so much to give. He sets up bird feeders even though his yard is filled with fruit trees and berries. He shoos away neighborhood cats and worries about the nests on stormy nights. He has so much time now.

Everyone does.

The woman is new to Maine She arrived in the last few days before COVID-19 pandemic. She bid her daughter goodbye as the movers unloaded her last box into the small bungalow. A tiny house before tiny houses were a thing. She chose Portland because it was smaller. She was tired of being invisible in a large crowd.

She walks her dog and remembers different times. She remembers other cities, other sidewalks. She remembers the dense fog of summers in San Francisco. She remembers the sweltering heat of New York City.

It must be easy being young now, she thinks, envious of their ease with social networks. Her nephews befriend gamers in other countries while never knowing their real names and never seeing their faces. They must never be lonely. Of course, she knows it’s not that simple.

The man decided he is not returning to his job when this is over. For the first time in years, his body has found peace. The tending of the garden is so much more rewarding than the tending of the business. For decades he had invested his time in his career, honed his presentation skills, developed his teams. He always joked that they were going to have to drag him away with his fingernails clawing his mahogany desk.

On zoom, he tells his son that the 100 days of quarantine helped him break his addiction to work. He notices a subtle eyeroll and knows that he pushed his son too hard all these years. His granddaughter is climbing all over his son like a jungle gym. Alerts chirp away on son’s phone. “Sounds great Dad. Got to sign off. My phone is blowing up.”

The sun is burning off the dew. He grabs his gardening gloves and clippers and heads out to the yard.

The woman passes a cape with lovely gardens filled with fruit trees. A mourning dove coos lets out its long plaintive call and she remembers her small window box in her Nob Hill apartment and how she tended the rosemary and lavender she planted there. The shrubbery seems alive with small birds.

She remembers her younger self, outgoing and confident. She sees a man tending his shrubbery. “Lovely gardens.” She calls loudly. Her dog barks a greeting as well.

The leaves of the bushes explode with started birds.

“Mind the birds!” he calls out gruffly as he turns to the woman.

Her dog is pulling hard at his leash. The woman’s face is flushed and he regrets his harshness. Being alone is a habit too.

“I’m sorry.” He says as he walks over to her.

They stand twelve feet apart for good measure.

About this piece:

“Social Distancing” was first published in the “Paul Bunyan Wears A Face Mask” anthology, an Imperative Press publication. On Monday, May 24, 2021 masks will no longer be required in Maine and occupancy limits will be removed. It’s a milestone we have been waiting for thanks to high vaccination rates in Maine. For many, the covid pandemic changes us in surprising ways. We found ways to connect even though we were physically distanced. Wishing good health to you and your love ones.

Instagram writing community

I’m not a big Instagram user (yet) but I have been hearing about the writing community on Instagram so I decided to give it a try. Part of the reason is that I am committed to increasing the visibility of writers on Tangled Locks Journal and part is because I have a deep love for graphic design.

So I took a climate change essay I wrote and made an Instagram deck. I’ve pasted the images from the deck below.

I feel like the images brought that essay to life. This essay was a deeply personal perspective on #climatechange that haunts me. It was a finalist in this years 350 Madison essay competition and was written so quickly that I didn’t have a copy when it was selected. I wrote it into the submission form. But really, I had been a writing in my head on every walk and every storm.

I took most of the photos myself over the course of a couple of years. When designing the piece, I cropped the photos to make the water take up at least two thirds of the images to add tension to the images.

We have a few weeks left for submissions for our first issue. The response has exceeded my expectations. I am honored.

I would love to hear if you are on Instagram. If you are, I would love to follow you!

On Editing and Revising

Why does the written word trick us into thinking our work is finished before it is? A sculptor would not mistake a rough for her sculpture. Perhaps it’s because words can be polished before the piece is.

Rewrites are the writer’s chisels and pumice.

ZORACH, W. (1935). TOOLS AND MATERIALS: IIC: CARVED SCULPTURE. The American Magazine of Art, 28(3), 156-160. Retrieved May 6, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/23933026

I have been enjoying Brick Literary Journal’s YouTube Series, The Craft of Editing. The videos are beautifully produced discussions between writers and editors. The videos often include a close reading of the work before and after editing. The work being read has already been revised and yet, the final edits are sometimes quite small and always quite powerful. The videos have me thinking about my own writing process. I often create polished sounding first drafts that have gaps in the story. Polished words come easier than the cohesive story. I think that’s because sometimes what ends up on the page is prose shorthand for the deeper, more complex story in my mind. Reader’s questions help me see what is missing or confusing. But the hardest thing for me to do is let go of language that I love (even when it pulls the reader from the story).

The videos also have me thinking about the role I play when critiquing the work of other writers. I am an active member of critiquing circles and enjoy giving and receiving feedback. There’s an art to both. When giving feedback, I try and ask questions and share my experience as a reader so the writer can see if their work is having the intended impact. When my work is being read, I listen carefully for places of confusion or boredom. I also try to get multiple perspectives on a piece and look for patterns. That stops me from trying to rewrite for a single reader. Such is the curse of a writer with people pleasing tendencies!

I am also thinking about the role I will play in this first round of submissions for Tangled Locks Journal.

Would love to hear about how other writers feel about editing and revision. And if you have short prose or poetry that you would like to submit, submissions will be open through May.

Building Community!

I love the wordpress community! Such great writing and encouraging words. I’ve also been working in building community in other platforms.

There’s a growing community of writers on Twitter. Common hashtags include #Writing, #WritingCommunity #WritersLift #AmWriting. If you are on twitter, I would love to connect! My twitter handle is @teresaberkowitz

Because I am also looking for writers for TangledLocksJournal.com I also spend a lot of time reading short stories and poetry. Each night, I highlight one author, story and publication that I have come across in my daily travels. I post that under the #BedTimeReading.

Here’s tonight’s post:


Unhurried, without shaming. Care so gentle that she forgot her place in time.

Through clouded eyes and deafened ears, she recognized her mother, long deceased.

With cool fingertips, her only unwrinkled skin, reached out to touch.

The resemblance uncanny.

Thanks to Amisha Nakhwa for making this photo available freely on @unsplash

Weekend writing prompt: https://sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/2021/04/17/weekend-writing-prompt-205-uncanny/