Travel notesIssue 08 | February 2010

Channeling Ferlinghetti’s ‘Autobiography’

by Natalie Parker-Lawrence

I am leading a quiet life in Memphis every day, watching the Latino cooks making the fried catfish po-boys, wolfing down sweet potato fries in Midtown, and I have read somewhere, probably in Siddhartha, the Meaning of Life yet have forgotten just exactly when to use the essential details. But I am the writer here, and I’ll be the writer there in those faraway places to rediscover their recurrence. And I may cause the ears of those who are deaf to listen, learn, and follow directions. And I may throw my writing notebooks into the paella pan near Montpelier, at the bull ranch in the Camargue, or the debris pan in New Orleans, or at Mother’s Restaurant at Poydras and Tchoupitoulas.

And I may write my own epitaph, illuminated in the taxi signs, screeching and squeaking to a hard stop at the intersection of Memphis and Everyplace Else:  It’s like you’re always stuck in second . . . second . . . second . . .

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About the author

Natalie Parker-Lawrence’s is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of New Orleans.  She lives in midtown Memphis in a 100-year-old house. Natalie’s new full-length play is a collection of non-fiction monologues about insomnia, Cover Me at Dawn.  Her essays have been published in The Commercial Appeal, The Pinch ,Tata Nacho Press, and World History Bulletin.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok