Follow Jen!


My work can be found in the following journals, as well as in many other publications.

 "The Distraction of Conscience"

About Place Journal, Infinite Country Issue: Deepening Our Connection to Place, Culture, and One Another

"What if the change that’s needed is not global in scope, but personal: If I am Narcissus, how do I stop distracting my own conscience?"

"This Could Be Anywhere, I Could Be Anyone"

Maryland Literary Review

"I leave the store after a small, middle-aged domestic thrill: A good deal on bathroom rugs ($14.99 for two). As soon as I walk across the parking lot to my car, I know I’ll return them tomorrow. I don’t need them, but I need something."


"Small Offerings"

Hippocampus Magazine

"In 1995, I was living in a tent in the southern Appalachians trying to stay sober. I was twenty-eight years old, working at a camp for the summer, keeping notes of it all. During the day, I lifeguarded by a lake, teaching young girls how to save themselves and each other from drowning." 

"The Metronome"

The Loch Raven Review

"The wife drank beer every night while her husband played his saxophone. He stood in the kitchen near an uncurtained window, pale and thin in his underwear, and blew his sax toward the refrigerator as if he were playing to a packed crowd, the crowd of condiments inside the door." 



Faultline, Vol. 23

"Dad is dying. He shuffles around his kitchen with a plastic tube coming out of his stomach. It’s connected to a clear bag that hangs from the waistline of his pants. The tube is filled with bubbles of partially digested food that move as slow as a slug into the bag. It’s mostly liquid, light brown, and lumpy. To look at it requires a tough stomach, the ability to suppress revulsion."


"The Reunion"

Baltimore STYLE Magazine, online

"Brenda talks to the mirror. “Why, yes. I’m a floral designer,” she says to an imaginary acquaintance. “I create arrangements for some of the most high profile weddings in town.” This is only partially true, but it makes her feel good to say it." 

"Lawrence Loves Somebody on Pratt Street"

[PANK] blog, Beautiful Ashes series

"When I come to the door, Aunt Gloria’s got her rosary in one hand, thumbing through it like she’s shelling beans. She says she saw it on the T.V. about Lawrence’s unit. “They been hit over there in that big sand pit,” she says. Then she wipes at her eyes with a tissue. She rocks forward in her chair for momentum and leans all her weight on her cane to lift herself up. She hobbles over to the T.V.  “Aunt Gloria, don’t you get up. Make JJ switch the channel for you. He’s sitting right there.” Aunt Gloria don’t say nothing. She changes the channel and waits for the next news to say something different. She wants the first news to be a mistake.


Sententia 4

 "They said, “We understand your concern. We want to help if we can, but don’t call us unless it’s an emergency. Psychotic episodes are normal,” they said. “They’re not emergencies. Your husband might start drinking too much. Don’t call us about that either. Don’t call us unless he wakes you up in the middle of the night with his hands around your neck. Or with a knife at your throat. Or if you pass out. Something like that. That’s when you should call. But don’t call us unless that kind of thing happens. He’ll have flashbacks, that’s totally normal,” they said."

"The Black Male Identity Project"

Little Patuxent Review

" I Am A Black Man.That’s what’s printed in big white letters across my chest. Except, I’m not black. I’m not even a man. I’m a white woman wearing a t-shirt in support of the Black Male Identity Project. (Full disclosure: I’m the Administrator of Art on Purpose, a community arts organization that has launched and supports the Black Male Identity Project.) I don’t wear this t-shirt all the time. I just happen to be working today, standing behind a table at a booth during ArtScape—America’s largest free arts festival—and I’m attracting a lot of attention."

"My Life As A Mermaid"

The Sun Magazine

"I get another letter from my sister who is in Honduras riding mules and skidding around the muddy mountain roads in a pick-up truck.  The roads have curves sharp enough to tempt death, sharp enough to see yourself leaving.  When the priest drives, she writes, he is the real danger, his faith too big to be reasonable or safe.My sister, Kay, has learned to hope for days when the truck breaks down. Otherwise, she and the other relief workers cower in the open bed as the priest speeds through the countryside; they lean all their weight towards the mountain to keep the truck from sliding off the washed-out roads." 

"What Girls Leave Behind"

Other Voices

"How did the rubber band bracelet snap?  I don’t remember, but I can picture it in my head.  Hear it.  All the confusion, a swirl, a smash.  Noisy girls running in my apartment, my daughters on visitation.  Afterwards, a string of things left behind: purple socks and stains, a blue, fuzzy bumble-bee and soggy pretzel sticks, plastic juice cups half filled with red Kool-Aid. Those nights, weekends—when sometimes I was drunk and sometimes I was angry—those nights are caught in the amber of blackouts and scotch.  My memory has condensed the years into slow-moving stick-figure cartoons, like the kind we drew when we were kids.  The outlines of motion.  Occasionally, I remember a startling fragment that makes me jump as if a bug has flown in my mouth and is caught in my throat.  I don’t want to swallow it."

"End of August"

Little Patuxent Review

"We were alone together at the pool swimming and resting in the sun. It was the slow end of August. The leaves were dark green, the sun running out. We hadn’t seen each other for many months though we had been in love once. That afternoon we were trying to be friends again somehow— perhaps in vain— and spend time together casually, as if the change between us had been slight, had been a shadow lengthening."

"All That is Seen and Unseen: Negative Space in Fiction"


The Writer's Chronicle

"When I was a figure model years ago, the artists preferred me to pose in ways that created angles, opportunities for shadow and light. Maybe I'd place a hand on my hip to form a triangle between my arm and my body, or draw my knee closer to my body to create another triangle between my leg and the floor... In fiction, however, negative space is more difficult to point to.  It's more of an idea than an easily mapped-out triangle.And yet, by examining different writers, I found compositional ways to build negative space in fiction."

"O.K., Goodbye"


Indiana Review

"Let’s say the first time she tries to walk out she loses her car keys in the front yard at night.  She’s sassy, maybe a little drunk.  She tosses her keys in the air but misses them on their way back down.  The next thing she knows, she and her husband and the neighbors’ kids are on their hands and knees on the front lawn, feeling around for keys.  Wet pieces of mowed grass stick to her legs as she crawls in the dark."






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