Memoir Mixtapes Vol.4, Track 15

Lana Del Rey’s “Ride,” Cancer, and the Struggle to Be Free by Anya Silver

To read this piece, click on the album cover below.

About the author:
Anya Silver is a poet, and has published four books of poetry, most recently Second Bloom (Cascade, 2017). She is a professor of English at Mercer University, and lives in Macon, GA (birthplace of Otis Redding) with her husband and son.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.4, Track 14

Escape from Paradise by Stephanie Valente

To read this piece, click on the album cover below.

About the author:
Stephanie Valente lives in Brooklyn, NY. She has published Hotel Ghost (Bottlecap Press, 2015) and waiting for the end of the world (Bottlecap Press, 2017) and has work included in Susan, TL;DR, and Cosmonauts Avenue. Sometimes, she feels human.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.4, Track 13

Summer Heat/ Every Breath You Take by Stephanie Feuer

To read this piece, click on the album cover below.

About the author:
Stephanie Feuer has been published in The New York Times, Organic Life, The Forward and in numerous anthologies and literary magazines. She is the author of the YA novel, DRAWING AMANDA (HipsoMedia, 2014). Stephanie lives in New York City and has read at KGB, The Bowery Poetry Club, The Museum of Motherhood, Sarah Lawrence, and other venues. Find out more at

Jon Recommends: “Cold Desert” by Kings of Leon

Enter me: 19, high on regs purchased from a 17 year old Dota pro.

Faded navy jacket — check.

64 ounces of Mountain Dew — check.

Lip full of dippin’ tabaccy — you bet.

Crippling uncertainty — most definitely.

Sitting on the outskirts of my own life, watching the actors in the scene and wondering which one was going to yell cut.

Only by the Night was something else in that time. These fuckers just lined up, with their alternative southern “I’m a sensitive edgy soul” rock thing…and got me.

I may not have been screaming about how Ohio Is for Lovers anymore, but I was still pining for something I didn’t ever know I was missing. And Kings of Leon sang it right out of me.

Sometimes (most times) you don’t get the girl. The dream job falls through, the scholarship ain’t coming, and the only foreseeable future is one spent living your entire life within 10 miles of where you were born.

But if in that sometimes you are left with a bike and a chance to ride it through an empty, plastic town at 2am — ride. And maybe let songs like “Cold Desert” light the way.

(Song recommendation by Jon Johnson)

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.4, Track 12

More Than This by Mary Thompson

To read this piece, click on the album cover below.

About the author:
Mary Thompson lives in London, where she works as a freelance tutor and teacher. Her work has been long-listed, shortlisted, placed and published in journals and competitions including Flash 500, Fish Short Memoir, Writing Magazine, Retreat West, Reflex Fiction, Ellipsis Zine and the Cabinet of Heed, and is forthcoming at Spillwords and Fictive Dream. Follow her @MaryRuth69


Memoir Mixtapes Vol.4, Track 11

Bottle Rockets by Hillary Leftwich

To read this piece, click on the album cover below.

About the author:
Hillary Leftwich resides in Denver with her son. In her day jobs she has worked as a private investigator, maid, repo agent, pinup and tattoo model. She is co-host for At the Inkwell Denver, a monthly reading series. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in Civil Coping Mechanisms (CCM), The Missouri Review, The Review Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Matter Press, Hobart, WhiskeyPaper, NANO Fiction, Monkeybicycle, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Sundog Lit, Heavy Feather Review, Literary Orphans, and others. Her first book, Ghosts are Just Strangers Who Sometimes Knock, is forthcoming from Civil Coping Mechanisms in 2019.

Kevin Recommends: “Los Angeles” by X

People here in Calgary ask me all the time, “Why would you ever want to move here from LA? It’s like you gave up paradise.” One of the answers I always give, right after “pollution” or “overcrowding” or “the Orange Menace” is “it’s actually pretty racist there.”

I didn’t grow up in Los Angeles proper. I grew up mostly in a suburb now called Jurupa Valley, sitting on the edge of the Inland Empire, which, for the unfamiliar, is the interior part of Southern California. It’s a place where a bunch of Okies washed up during the Dust Bowl in order to work better land. In many cases they carried socially conservative, often racist ideals with them, which led to an abundance of white racists putting down roots in sunny California (fun fact: one town over from mine, Fontana, drew so many white supremacists to it that it was considered to be official territory of the Ku Klux Klan). The Inland Empire was, and to an extent still is, a bastion of racism and hatred.

After a while, though, they got hit by a wave of cultural diversity expanding ever outward from Los Angeles. It’s led to some changes in the IE for sure — these days our member of the House of Representatives, Mark Takano, is an openly gay man of Japanese descent (woo progress!) — but it still ain’t perfect there by any means. Can’t have growth without significant pain I guess.

Today’s recommendation, “Los Angeles” by X, has some pretty damn problematic lyrics (white folks using racist epithets, which is a subject to explore another time) and, as such, comes with a warning. The lyrics use this hostile and racist language to explore the mind of exactly the type of person I was sick to fucking death of being around when I moved away from Jurupa Valley. Punk rockers gonna punk rock with their lyrics, and these dudes pull no punches when providing a portrait of a bigoted woman (rumored to be frontwoman Exene Cervenka’s roommate at the time). You have been warned.


(Song recommendation by Kevin D. Woodall)

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.4, Track 9

80s. Love. Song. by Tom Stern

To read this piece, click the album cover below.

About the author:
Tom Stern is the author of the novels My Vanishing Twin (Rare Bird Books, 2017) and Sutterfeld, You Are Not A Hero (Rare Bird Books, 2015).  His words have also appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, Monkeybicycle,and Hypertext Magazine. Tom holds a BA in Philosophy from Eckerd College and an MFA in Film Production from Chapman University. He writes and lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Cheryl, and his daughter, Ramona.