The Story Behind “The Suicide Dogs” by Telaina Eriksen

Telaina flowers glasses smallToday’s post is written by Telaina Eriksen. We published her essay “The Suicide Dogs” in our Spring 2017 issue. 

The Suicide Dogs” was one of the most difficult essays I’ve ever written. How do you attempt to sketch a portrait of two beloved people in a minimal number of words, but also talk about the reality (sometimes the horror) of life after them, including the duty of caring for their canine companions who meant so much to them? And, how to do all of this without sounding like a Hallmark card, or sounding so dark no one will ever want to read anything you’ve written ever again?

I worked on the essay in fits and starts. I sent it to writer friends, whose opinions I trust. I struggled with writing about Lorin, who was not my relative, and how much of her story to tell. This is always an inherent question in creative nonfiction. How much of this story is yours to tell? How much is someone else’s? What are the ethics in writing about those who have died, and their families who survive them? A couple of writer friends told me the title might be a bit much, a slap in the face before the reader even started reading. But this was one of those titles that came to me at the very start of the essay, and whenever I thought about the essay I knew it was called “The Suicide Dogs,” and I knew it couldn’t be called anything else.Continue Reading

The Story behind “Creatures” by Beth Sherman


Today’s post is written by Beth Sherman. We published a piece of her flash fiction, “Creatures,” in our Spring 2017 issue. I feel like I spend an inordinate amount of time searching for story ideas. For me, figuring out what to write about is the hardest part of the writing process. My life is pretty […]

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The Story Behind “bind” by Chris Murray

CMurray Headshot

Today’s post is written by Chris Murray. We published two of her poems from ‘bind’ in our Spring 2017 issue.  ‘bind’ is a short book, that is not quite a chapbook. It is set on peripheries, within self-imposed psychic borders and it is limited by human psychological boundaries, concerns that operate in silence for the most part. ‘bind’ takes […]

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The Story Behind “Layers” by Lita Kurth


Today’s post is written by Lita Kurth. We published her poem “Layers” in our Spring 2017 issue.  In 1996, the year she won the Nobel Prize, I found Wislawa Szymborska’s “Some Like Poetry” on the Xerox machine at the university where I worked. Captivated, I promptly used it in my Composition classes to illustrate how the […]

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Seeking Submissions for Our 10th Issue—Fall 2017


Ten. Our tenth issue. Ten. October 2017. Ten. 1 + 2 + 3 + 4. Ten commandments. Ten plagues. Ten years—a decade. Ten. The completion of a cycle. Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing is now considering submissions for our tenth issue—Fall 2017. We’re on the lookout for pieces that address the theme “Ten” […]

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Introducing Our Spring 2017 Contributors


Our Spring 2017 issue is now well under way, and we hope to launch very soon! If you’ve submitted work to us and haven’t yet received a response, your work is being considered for our Fall 2017 issue. We’re always reading, so send us your poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, photography and art anytime. Submission guidelines can be […]

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The Story Behind “Across Which the World” by Laura McCullough

Laura McCullough Photo

Today’s post is written by Laura McCullough. We published her poem “Across Which the World” in our Fall 2016 issue.  It’s hard to discuss my own work. I think if I could say what I needed to say in another form, I would. A poem is what I write because I can’t say something any other […]

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The Story Behind “Shepherding” by Michael Overa

Michael Overa

Today’s post is written by Michael Overa. We published his short story “Shepherding” in our Fall 2016 issue. Memory has always struck me as a rather tenuous thing. Even the healthiest minds muddle and jumble and transpose memories. Inevitably, I struggle with the idea of memory primarily because of my own love-hate relationship with it. I’ve no […]

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The Story Behind ‘Love Letters’ by Mary Leonard


Today’s post is written by Mary Leonard. We published her flash fiction “Love Letters” in our Fall 2016 issue.  Really, “Love Letters” is based on true experiences: the toilet would not flush, a mouse would visit every night, the air conditioning could not be regulated. I never did meet any of the employees of the Physical Plant but […]

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The Story Behind “Two Poems” by Lynn Otto


Today’s post is written by Lynn Otto. We published her poems “Marcescence” and “And After” in our Fall 2016 issue. When my friend Dave read someone’s claim that it’s impossible to write any more good poems about the moon, he wrote a poem about the moon. Someone has probably said something similar about trees. But I […]

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