Issue #54, Lost Truths & Family Legends

Winter 2015

Our winter issue is full of family lore--the stories we grow up hearing and the tales we, in turn, tell. Like the night we hit the deer, or Dad's close encounter with a serial killer, or the time Grandma saved the village from the Germans ... Every family has at least one story like this--but is it true? (And, if it's a good enough story, does it matter whether it's true?)

Plus, we explore the special challenges of writing about family; writers travel in search of missing stories; and Rick Bragg reflects on the process of interviewing living legend Jerry Lee Lewis.

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A digital edition is available here.


Table of Contents

From the Editor Lee Gutkind ... read more
Write What You Don't Know Jessica Handler ... read more
Providing the Mortar R. Reese Fuller
The Archivist Emma Rosenberg
List Maker Derek Hinckley
The Hart's Long Life Fritz Swanson
Picking Up BBs J. Anders Gilmore
Five Bathrooms and an Outhouse Shelley Puhak
Sensualiterature Brian Doyle ... read more
When Your Co-Author Is Missing Maggie Messitt
One of Many Maggie Mertens
Visiting the Past Sejal H. Patel
Disparate Ingredients: Creative Nonfiction Exploring Food & Family Marissa Landrigan


Brian Doyle

Brian Doyle was the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland in Oregon and the author of many books of essays and fiction... read more

R. Reese Fuller

R. Reese Fuller conducted this interview for CNF. He is the author of the creative nonfiction collection Angola to Zydeco: Louisiana Lives... read more

J. Anders Gilmore

J. Anders Gilmore is a lawyer and college professor. He and his wife, Trudie, are the parents of eleven children. They live in a small... read more

Jessica Handler

Jessica Handler is the author of Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief and Loss and Invisible Sisters: A Memoir. Her forthcoming... read more

Michelle Herman

Michelle Herman’s new collection of essays, Like A Song, is due out in March 2015, and a book for children, A Girl’s Guide to... read more

Derek Hinckley

Derek Hinckley is a student in the MFA program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is currently working on a thematically linked... read more

Jacqueline Kirkpatrick

Jacqueline Kirkpatrick lives in Albany, New York. Her work has appeared in Nailed, South85 Journal, and Burningword. She is also an editor... read more

Marissa Landrigan

Marissa Landrigan’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Atlantic, Creative Nonfiction, Orion, Guernica, The Inquisitive Eater... read more

Maggie Mertens

Maggie Mertens is a writer and journalist who lives in Seattle. Her work has appeared in Glamour and The Awl and on NPR, among other venues... read more

Maggie Messitt

Maggie Messitt has spent the last decade reporting from inside underserved communities in southern Africa and middle America. Author of The... read more

Sejal H. Patel

Sejal H. Patel is a San Francisco-based writer and criminal defense lawyer. A former federal prosecutor, she is a graduate of Northwestern... read more

Shelley Puhak

Shelley Puhak is the author of two poetry collections, the more recent of which, Guinevere in Baltimore, was selected by Charles Simic for... read more

Emma Rosenberg

Emma Rosenberg is a writer and editor based in Boston, Massachusetts. She wrote this essay while studying at The Salt Institute for... read more

Fritz Swanson

Fritz Swanson is the director of Wolverine Press, the letterpress studio and publisher staffed by MFA students at the Helen Zell Writers... read more