Utne Blogs > Literature

Creative Nonfiction Gems in Baltimore's Urbanite

 by Julie Hanus


Tags: creative nonfiction, reader-submitted writing, Baltimore, Urbanite, the Sun, What You're Writing, Readers Write, short essays,

Urbanite Baltimore’s Urbanite is a favorite here in the Utne Reader library. It’s a local/regional magazine, yes, but the sheer spunk and variety of its coverage propels its relevance right across the Mississippi. (If anyone further west cares to weigh in, please do so!)

Over the past year or so, I’ve come to think of its reader-submitted “What You’re Writing” section in the same breath as the beloved “Readers Write” section published by the Sun, winner of a 2007 Utne Independent Press Award for best writing. We’ve culled short pieces from both of them for reprint in our magazine—Denise Herrera’s “The Purloined Library,” and Terri Solomon’s “I Just Started Smoking. Again.

This month, I’m particularly taken with Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson’s mini-essay for Urbanite. She begins:

“Turn off the lights,” he’d say—leaving me in the dark.

“Keep the heat at 62,” he’d say—turning the thermostat to the left.

“Don’t flush the toilet every time.” I’d ignore that edict, even if he did not.

My father was not a conservationist. He was cheap.

Read the rest of it on Urbanite’s website.