Author Archives: Anita Sullivan

Born under the sign of Libra, Anita Sullivan cheerfully admits to a life governed by issues of balance and harmony. This likely led to her 25-year career as a piano tuner, as well as her love of birds (Libra is an air sign), and love of gardening, music and fine literature (beauty). She spent years trying to decide if she was a piano tuner who wrote poetry, or a poet who tuned pianos. She traveled a lot without giving way to a strong urge to become a nomad; taught without becoming a teacher; danced without becoming a dancer; and fell totally in love with the high desert country of the Southwest, and then never managed to stay there. However, Sullivan did firmly settle the writing question–yes, it turns out she is a writer, but not fixed into any one category. She has published two essay collections, a novel, two chapbooks and one full-length book of poetry, and many short pieces in journals. Most recently she published Ever After, a novel that takes place after life but before death, mostly on the Greek island of Ikaria. Every incident in the book happened to her in a slightly different form: she always writes from direct experience. Even more recently (November 2016) Sullivan published a chapbook of poems, And If The Dead Do Dream. True to her Libra roots, it has a theme of parallel worlds.

There Will Be No Worms in Gilead

“Isn’t there something deeply wrong with this picture? Yes, because it’s probably true. Those of us who take scientists like Guy McPherson seriously, we know the days of Happiness by Worm are on their way out. It’s enough to turn you into a raving maniac, into a person who comes out to yell at robins […]

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What is the Heart?

“In ancient Greece, the epics of Homer did not really have a word for the human body. Not as a whole, only as an assembly of various limbs—and especially the ones that are routinely wounded in war. The ‘chest’ was one of those limbs, and about as close as he came to talking about the […]

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How to Escape the Flu & Other Responsibilities

“For years, I have kept a set of file folders in the back of the ‘General Reference’ drawer of my four-drawer, salmon-colored file cabinet, and inside these folders are classroom assignments for a perfectly wonderful imaginary class I am always preparing for, to let students know that the biggest secret about language is that it’s […]

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Spiritual Impressions Upon An Autumnal Shroud

“I pace my living room, imagining myself as a photographer: a person with a real, adjustable camera, a tripod, various lenses and light-focusing gimmicks (not too many), but nothing changes. There is nothing to keep the scene across my driveway from being just part of something larger that is flowing endlessly through streets and into […]

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The Untangler

“I would be the official who took care of hopelessly messy piles of straps, strings, ropes, nets, electrical cords, and even roots and weeds. To untangle them. To turn hopeless knots back into soft and docile streams, using the magic trickery of my intelligent fingers, with very little input from my brain. I was the […]

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A Giant Swore at My Demise & Tai Chi Time

“Tonight I tried to rescue a tiny insect clinging to the side of the tub, before I turned on the shower, but it was likely too frail to withstand my usually quick and gentle trick of tucking it inside a tissue and whisking it away, so I’m pretty sure it died. I was not meticulous […]

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Peaking Out on Cognitive Dissonance

“My body was flooded with an almost archaic exultation. I had just been witness to a small intrusion of The Original Wild. This is a moment for celebration. You hardly ever see this rare species manifesting itself in American cities. Plenty of weeds, yes. And plenty of carefully managed urban beautification units dotted hither and […]

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On the Pleasures of Writing Mediocre Literature

“Because you’re in a hurry and there’s no time for research, you re-invent the street names in downtown Portland, or pretend to have inside information on the corporate structure and jargon of the film industry in southern California, or make up a new century in which the telephone booth went obsolete. You become truly giddy […]

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The Summer of Two Eclipses

“There we were, a bunch of strangers in a random field, all facing the same direction as if we were sitting on the beach. But our heads were tipped back and we were wearing these silly grey glasses that looked like we had cut them out of a coloring book. Almost as soon as we […]

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The Physicality of Language: From Hand to Mouth (Best of WH)

“Speaking as a poet, I have come to recognize that raw emotions are like rare natural resources: they must be actively mined through some extraction process with tools. They do not obey ordinary verbal commands or cues any more than volcanoes and hurricanes do and, like weather gods, their powers should not be fooled around […]

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