Beanery Online Literary Magazine

April 27, 2010

Tips on How to Write



     The first two newspapers I worked for basically took the articles I submitted and published them “as was.” Errors, incoherencies, and all.

     Then I met Paul Heyworth, editor of the Fay-West section of the Greensburg Tribune-Review (PA). Having recently moved to Connellsville, Pennsylvania, I hadn’t been motivated to approach the newspaper about writing for them until I signed up for a conference on gangs. In my previous community, where I headed a family support program and was a pastor’s spouse, I had often submitted articles to two newspapers on conferences and seminars I attended. I believe it’s called “multi-tasking.”

     I set up an appointment to speak with Paul—I believe it was an “interview.” He told me to bring in several clips. When I arrived, he used speed-reading to evaluate them before asking me how many articles a week I was planning to submit. I only intended, at that point, to write the one.

     After getting by that bump in the interview, Paul told me he expected me to be in the news office when the articles were edited.

     In a very early submission, he questioned a word I used.

     “Don’t you think that word is too large for Fayette County readers?”

     I said that I was a county resident who read the paper, that not all readers were unable to understand that word. Not all readers were uneducated.

     “Besides, don’t you think that some readers will look the word up in a dictionary and learn something?”

     After that, I made certain there was one challenging word in each article I submitted. These words were never removed.


     This is a roundabout way for me to introduce a post I read: 11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing. And in using “larger” words, I violated Tip number (more…)

April 21, 2010

A Family Grows in Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Greensburg, PA, as seen from the top of the Courthouse




(Southwestern Pennsylvania)

Sarah K. Byrne-Houser

       While I never quite pictured myself evolving into a minivan-maneuvering soccer mom, I spent my childhood playing on a cul-de-sac in a streetlight-free township east of Pittsburgh. Suburbia and I came to know each other well. 

     Brooklyn born and bred, my fiancé possessed no true understanding of life outside a city.  Apparently, he harbored some serious delusions upon his relocation to Greensburg in Southwestern Pennsylvania. 

     We moved from our college campus in Baltimore, Maryland to an apartment near my old high school. The apartment was a standard beige-and-white two-bedroom cheap enough for recent grads. His adjustment to Greensburg would take some time, we both knew.  After all, his new “city” operated a very limited (more…)

April 14, 2010

A Stranger




     You bother me, in a strange way.

     Not damaging, but the tears seem to flow.

     And I recall all the tears

     that were shed for you,

     fell softly to the earth,

     and were soaked up by the dry sand. (more…)