What I Learned in Workshop Hell

Aimee LaBrie

In graduate school, I took a nonfiction course taught be a woman who was (and still is) a very established and widely published New York writer (we’ll call her Brenda). Like her writing, her teaching style was brutal and painfully honest. It was clear from the start that she did not enjoy teaching. On the first day of class, she looked at all of us gathered hopefully around the conference table with our notebooks and pens and said flatly, “There will be no tears in this class. Anyone who cries fails.” I laughed. She glared at me, but didn’t go so far as to ban laughter, though I suspect she would have liked to.

From the Editors

Sharon Sood

For someone who loves to read and thinks that authors are like rock stars, it was a natural fit for me to become involved with Philadelphia Stories when I accepted the position of Director of Development. This has allowed me to actively share my passion in a professional capacity, by helping to build a community of readers, writers, and artists.

Local Author Profile: Josh Emmons

Marc Schuster

[img_assist|nid=849|title=Josh Emmons|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=150|height=237] Few writers walk the line between the real and the fantastic quite like Josh Emmons.

His first novel, The Loss of Leon Meed (Scribner 2005), reads like a cross between the works of Philip K. Dick and Jonathan Franzen. His second novel, Prescription for a Superior Existence (Scribner 2008), has been described as “a wicked skewering of religious cults and a finely wrought testament to their power.” Fresh off a stint at Yaddo, the renowned artists’ community, Josh sat down with us to discuss writing, faith, and inventing one’s own religion.

Allison on New Year’s Day

Peter McEllhenney

Brrrrrrrrupt! Brrrrrrrrupt!” A muddled fanfare penetrated Allison Reed’s sleep. She rolled over, hoping she was dreaming. She was pleasantly hot under the heaped up blankets and vaguely aware that she wanted to keep sleeping. But a few moments later the sound repeated – “Brrrrrrrrupt! Brrrrrrrrupt!” – followed by a bellowed “God bless the Mummers!” in the street below and Allison was awake and knew that it was New Year’s Day.

Love, Vincent

Nina Bennett

I start to delete the e-mail from Vincent, not
anybody by that name, when I realize the address
is my father’s.


Kathryn Pilles-Genaw

The lot
was stones
and corners,
rafters shafts
of stars
and certainty.

Sea Legs

Scott Hammer

You never hear the people
who jump.

Their steps echo on decks
above in consonants spit after


Peter Dabbene

If you asked me ten years ago if I thought my life would be like this, of course I would have said no. Most likely, I’d have shown great disdain toward the idea of playing in what I would have then referred to as a “glorified cover band.”

Life is just a series of little decisions, though, and it goes from just trying to keep the dream alive until you get that legendary big break, to one day waking up and realizing that the only reason you’re still able to get paying gigs is that you’re playing someone else’s songs the exact same way they did three decades before.