Michelle Valois
Human Resources

Michelle Valois - Human Resources

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Michelle Valois lives in western Massachusetts with her partner and their three children. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming… Read more »
Seth Sawyers
Lettuce and Rabbits

Seth Sawyers - Lettuce and Rabbits

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Seth Sawyers has had essays appear in The Baltimore Sun, online at The Morning News, and in the literary journals… Read more »
Stephen J. West
The Drive from Morgantown to Baltimore

Stephen J. West - The Drive from Morgantown to Baltimore

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Stephen J. West lives, writes, and teaches in Morgantown, West Virginia. He is also a columnist and creative nonfiction editor… Read more »

The Drive from Morgantown to Baltimore

Stephen J. West

I walk out to the street with coffee in hand, climb into the car and turn the ignition. My wife quickly buckles her seatbelt and tunes the radio. It’s 5:33 am. We’re leaving three minutes late. As we make our way through the empty streets of Morgantown to the entrance ramp of 68 East, I think about how difficult it is to see in twilight, how each streetlamp is a stage prop spotlighting things we color with emotion. I think about the drive ahead, and the reason we have to make it.

We accelerate onto the highway and begin to carve our way across the rugged geography of Appalachia. No words pass between us. There’s no need; we’re accustomed to the drama of this landscape, to its weary mountains in various states of recovery, like the people who huddle among them. We speed through a collage of the backwater and ramshackle; of faded and tattered billboards bolted to rock outcroppings; of rusted automobiles and smoldering tires; of sagging gas stations and their announcements for cigarettes, beer, ammo, bait; of boarded windows that don’t necessarily connote abandonment, and so many other vignettes that remind us what people think when… Read more »