online magazine for short, good writing

Category: News

This Week in Words — January 20

by Treehouse Editors

by Rachel Bondurant

When I sat down to write this new (surely long-awaited) installment of TWIW, I spent an embarrassingly long time debating whether to make a fuss over the return of Treehouse. But, alas, no words came. Instead, what arose in my mind every time I tried to start this piece was the theme song to Welcome Back, Kotter.

Just…”Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back,” with the emphasis on a different syllable every repetition.

So. Thus, I begin.

With the turn of a new year comes, inevitably, a new assortment of reading (and—behold: writing!) challenges. In 2017, I entered an arbitrary number into my Goodreads Reading Challenge: 52. Not so arbitrary, it turns out. I failed.

Ehhh, sort of. I have a habit of rereading much beloved series that I own, and I didn’t count those. So probably I blew through that 52-count finish line, but I did it by cheating.

This year, I’m taking a different approach. I own a lot of books. And almost 40 of them, I’ve never read (see: previously mentioned rereading habit). So my 2018 reading challenge is to read as many of those books as possible. Take my idea, if you want. Seems a pretty obvious challenge, I admit, but feel free to name it after me anyway.

Speaking of books to read, this month is a pretty solid one for new releases. Quite appropriately, a collection of previously unpublished Denis Johnson stories, The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, was released this week. Nearly six years ago, just after Treehouse launched (the first time), we featured a retrospective of Jesus’ Son. Nice of his work to make a reappearance just as we do. (Bonus: You can read the titular story of the new release here.)

(As an aside, I’m also stoked to read Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists and Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan.)

I’ve recently made the rather daunting—and more than a little reckless—switch from Person Who Writes to Professional Freelance Writer. As encouragement, a friend gifted me a book of collected blog posts from John Scalzi’s aptly titled blog, Whatever. The book, You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop, features a few handfuls of posts about the professional writing life. Some of it is advice. A lot of it is funny. All of it is useful. One would think you can find the same posts on his blog, but (speaking as someone who didn’t pay for the book) I do enjoy having the highlights handed to me in a tidy little bundle.

And, finally…please enjoy this shameless self-serving shout-out:

Treehouse’s current Brief Encounters theme is, without irony, “New Beginnings.” We’ve raised the curtain unto our own new beginning; now tell us about yours. Born again? New job? Recently awakened as a human-sized cockroach? We want to hear your story. Give it here.

Treehouse: Reloaded

by Treehouse Editors

Dear loyal fans and newcomers,

Today marks the official re-launch of Treehouse after a long hiatus and a call for submissions for our Winter 2018 issue! This grand re-opening was originally planned for October, but we ran into some problems reclaiming our website domain and reactivating our Submittable account, which is now back up and running. Our new web address is (as of right now, the old URL still redirects to this site, but this is subject to change).

We’re currently accepting submissions in all genres and plan to begin publishing within the next few weeks. We also have a new monthly prompt for Brief Encounters submissions: New Beginnings. To celebrate the new year and the rebirth of our magazine, send us pieces 400 words or less related to changes, transitions, new relationships, rebirth, the start of fantastic voyages, or however you interpret the concept of “beginning.”

In addition, we’re delighted to welcome two new editors to the Treehouse team: Joanna Davidson for Poetry, and Bella Hugo for Genre Benders and Brief Encounters. Read more about them in our updated Staff Contributors section. Lastly, thank you to everyone who has continued to express interest and support for Treehouse throughout our hiatus; your patience is greatly appreciated. We look forward to reading more good, short writing!

Laura Casteel, Managing Editor

Notice about Submissions

by Treehouse Editors

Hi everybody!!

We’re very excited to announce that beginning August 16, 2014, we will only be accepting submissions via Submittable.  (Don’t worry: it’s still free to submit!)

As of today, July 24, 2014, we ask that you please hold off on sending us submissions until that time.  This gives us adequate time to seamlessly make the switch without the risk of new incoming submissions getting lost in the fray.  If you have recently sent a submission via e-mail, please know it is still being reviewed and will not be neglected as a result of the submission manager change.

We hope moving to Submittable will make it easier for you to submit your pieces to us for review.  We also intend for the switch to help cut down on the delay in response time.

The link to our Submittable site is already on our submissions page, but again, you will not be able to submit until August 16, 2014.  Submissions sent to the e-mail address previously listed on our submissions page after this date will not receive consideration.

All of the same guidelines for submitting creative material remain the same.  The only change is where you’ll send it.

Please note: Submissions for the currently active Brief Encounter prompt are not affected by this change.  You may continue to send Brief Encounter submissions for review to treehouse[dot]editors[at]gmail[dot]com. 

New book from Sarah Kay

by Treehouse Editors

Treehouse contributor Sarah Kay has completed a new book of poetry, No Matter the Wreckage. You can get it directly from Write Bloody Publishing, or you can find it on If you loved her poem Yolk in our seventh issue, you’ll be happy to see it in her new collection alongside many other phenomenal poems.

Congratulations, Sarah!

Description from Amazon:

book cover

No Matter the Wreckage

Following the success of her breakout poem, “B”, Sarah Kay, in collaboration with illustrator Sophia Janowitz, releases her debut collection of poetry featuring work from the first decade of her career. No Matter the Wreckage presents readers with new and beloved poetry that showcases Kay’s talent for celebrating family, love, travel, and unlikely romance between inanimate objects (“The Toothbrush to the Bicycle Tire”). Both fresh and wise, Kay’s poetry allows readers to join her on the journey of discovering herself and the world around her. It is an honest and powerful collection.

5 New York City Moments

by Treehouse Editors

from John Oliver Hodges, author of How We Solved the Problem:

  1. At the Decamp Bus Line window in the Port Authority, I leaned over to order my tickets. I said, “Tree ticketa Montclair Date Uniberdity pleeea,” into the circular vent in the glass, and the homeless-looking dude standing nearby said, for the second time, “Excuse me sir, can I have a dollar?” As the lady printed my tickets I looked at him and said, “No,” and he said, “Your life is gonna be fucked up!” I said, “Too late,” and he laughed.
  2. I was walking down the sidewalk in Greenpoint with my usual chocolate doughnut, what I buy daily from Peter Pan Polish Bakery. Often as I walk along eating my doughnut, I will hold it out to somebody, and say, “Would you like a bite?” Once, I said it to a Korean girl, but I asked her in perfectly pronounced Korean. She laughed.
  3. Another time as I walked along eating my doughnut, I was really getting into the doughnut, slobbering on it real good, and this guy wearing a uniform like what phone technicians wear, saw me eating my doughnut. As the gap between us closed, I held my slobbery doughnut his way. Didn’t he want a bite? He stopped in his tracks. I kept walking. “You trying to be funny?” he called after me. I was turned his way, crumbs falling from my lips. I said, “No, it’s real good,” as if the offer was still open should he change his mind. Now he walked after me so I just walked faster backwards and then, as it turned out, I had to turn forward and run a little bit to get away from him.
  4. There was this homeless guy in the Port Authority who kept making loud fart sounds with his mouth, and each time he made the loud fart sound he jerked his pelvis forward as if he’d just let go a humdinger, and he would turn his head back like What’s going on here?and then fart with his mouth again and repeat the scenario. I liked it so much that I, too, do it on occasion.
  5. I don’t know why, but for some reason when I’m walking around in New York City, I love to say, “Maaaaan, dey got some creeezy people in heah!” I say it all the time out on the sidewalks, and especially I say it when I’m hanging out underground waiting for the E train, or the G train, or the 7 train. I say it loud enough for the people around me to hear, but nobody ever says anything back. Perhaps the voice doesn’t match the awesome image I cut from the day, or maybe my words are garbled. Either way, the other night inside the Port Authority, at about 11pm, I was headed down to catch the E and this longheaded guy was on the tiles with his back against the wall, his skinny legs poking out across the floor. I said my thing as I passed him, out of habit more than anything else, and he said, bobbing his long head up and down, “Yeeah, and you about the craziest motherfuckah in heah!”

This Week in Words – March 8

by Treehouse Editors

by Rachel Bondurant

Aaand we’re back!  Just a couple of announcements today.

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome three new readers to our crew:

Nancy Conger has an MFA in Creative Writing and used to be a reader for the Vermont Studio Center.  She’s been published and has worked in editing and publishing, so she knows the drill.

Christine Houser reads, writes, studies, and teaches creative nonfiction in Seattle.  She also blogs at Flash Memoirs, where she’s featured past Treehouse contributor Kerry Headley’s story, “The Rooster.”  You can follow her on Twitter @flashmemoirs.

Simon Alford is sixteen and loves to read and loves Treehouse.  What more could you ask for in a reader than that?

We’re thrilled to have you all on board, and we’re excited to work with you!

As I’ve already mentioned on Twitter, submissions are back open.  And we’re bringing you brand new never-before-seen creative material on Monday.  All is once again right with the world.

Happy holidays from the Treehouse crew!

by Treehouse Editors

We hope you enjoy yourself this week with friends, family, and—most importantly—good things to read.