Author Archive | Sylvia Allen

Sheet Music

I grew up not allowed to sing.  My father was a jazz musician all his life. He started playing professionally when he was 15, and was still doing that two or three weeks before he died, at age 86. He was a perfectionist, very critical, highly respected in his community, the west coast traditional jazz […]

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Bar Mitzvah

Hi, friends. I’m back! Sorry for not posting for so long. This is the transcript of a spoken-word story I told at a Voices for Change concert last year, posted here now by request. The characters are Lily and Ezra of Like Light From Stars, and the story is from a teenaged Lily’s point of […]

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The Conference

The AWP conference is the biggest writers’ conference in North America. It happens in a different city every year and this year it was in Portland, so I went. I asked my favorite fashion-maven Liz Smith for shopping help so that I wouldn’t show up at the conference in my jammies. I am fashion-impaired and […]

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Magic

My mother, Marguerite, was very bright, absurdly literate, pathologically insecure, and a poet. As a young mother she gradually became aware that her first and most loved child was a psychopath, and believed that recognition of his defect would destroy her life. She could lose everything she loved most, both her son and her husband. […]

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Mrs. Schultz’s

I was disappointed when I didn’t get to go to the writing conference in San Francisco last weekend, but it’s possible that I was even more disappointed that we didn’t drive down Highway 101. We were planning to do that to avoid the snow on the pass. I was so looking forward to visiting the […]

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Why Won’t They Talk to Me?

I thought it would be easy. Don’t we old people love to talk about our memories of the past? You generally can’t get us to shut up. Yet so far I have not managed to interview anyone at all. Why won’t they talk to me? I asked respectfully and carefully. “Nancy, I’ve so enjoyed your […]

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