Wednesday, September 27, 2017

"The Door of No Return" in South Carolina Review

My story “The Door of No Return” has been published in The South Carolina Review. There’s no link online at this time, but why not support a wonderful journal and buy a copy (see below)?

This story came about when I was part of a group writing to pieces of visual art. We were given a bunch of images and asked to pick four we could write about. I liked this picture because I’m often drawn to doors and paths. Plus, it was pretty. Plus-plus, I was certain I’d get my first or second choice. BUT circumstances led to me being assigned my fourth choice, which sort of annoyed me at first, and then stressed me out as I studied the artist’s work and realized that this “pretty picture” was part of a series about the Middle Passage. I knew I had to think hard about my approach to this image to do it honor, and in the end, I'm grateful for this assignment which pushed me out of my comfort zone…and I’m grateful to the South Carolina Review for publishing this piece.

More information about the artist, Keith Morrison:
Keith Morrison’s Middle Passage series:

Okay, if you’re desperate to read this story, send me a sweet email and I’ll send you a file: lesliepietrzyk AT gmail DOT com

Thursday, September 21, 2017

REVERSING THE RIVER: Serialized Novel Available

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my historical novel is being serialized this summer. REVERSING THE RIVER is set in Chicago, on the first day of 1900, when the city is completing a major engineering feat to reverse the flow of the Chicago River so the sewage moves downstream instead of into the city’s drinking water.

There are only a few more chapters to go, so now is a good time to jump in and get caught up.

You can find REVERSING THE RIVER on Medium:  There’s a small fee to register for Medium, which is LESS than the cost of a book AND gives you access to all of Medium’s great content. There’s also an audio file.


You can download the Great Jones Street literary app on your phone/iPad; look it up in the Apple Store/Play Store.

Friday, September 15, 2017

My Fall Classes....Space Left for YOU!

I’m teaching two classes at Politics & Prose Bookstore in September…space for you and a friend still available in each! Both are appropriate for beginners or for more experienced writers. Let me know if you have any questions (lesliepietrzyk AT gmail DOT com).

Who’s Telling Your Story? Experiments in Point of View

Monday, September 25, 1 to 4 p.m.

Location: P&P's Classroom (5039 Connecticut Avenue, Unit #7)
Price:  $50 (10% off for members)

Point of view is one of a writer’s first decisions: Who will tell the story? And how? Everyone knows about first person and third person. But maybe your story or novel could benefit from a more unconventional point of view: collective first person or second person. We’ll talk about the possibilities (and challenges) of several POVs and then dig in with some writing exercises, which can be new or based on your work-in-progress. This class is also suitable for nonfiction writers, and writers of all levels of experience.

Recommended Reading:
The Virgin Suicides, Jeffery Eugenides (only chapter 1 of this book will be referenced)
Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (only chapter 1 of this book will be referenced)
How to Become a Writer, Lorrie Moore (found the author's story collection titled, Self-Help)


Right Brain Writing: Shifting Perceptions

Wednesday, September 27, 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Location: P&P's Classroom (5039 Connecticut Avenue, Unit #7)
Price: $45 (10% off for members)

Explore your creative side in this session, one of a series of stand-alone classes with prompts designed to get your subconscious flowing. Through guided exercises, we’ll focus on writing about how our perceptions shift, whether through altered landscapes, the passage of time, or being thrust into a different point of view. Is it we who have changed…or the world around us? This is a great class for beginners, and fiction writers or memoirists with more experience who might be stuck in their current projects and are looking for a jolt of inspiration. Our goal is to have fun in a supportive, nurturing environment, and to go home with several promising pieces to work on further. Please bring lots of paper and pen/pencil or a fully charged computer. Note: new exercises!

Recommended Book:
The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry edited by J.D. McClatchy
*Please note that although this is a poetry book, you are not required to write poetry.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

DMV Writers with a Book Ms....

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Until November 15, 2017, Washington Writers’ Publishing House (WWPH) will accept manuscripts for entry in our annual book competitions, The Jean Feldman Poetry Prize and The Washington Writers’ Publishing House Fiction Prize. Writers who live within a 75 mile radius of the U.S. Capitol in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia are eligible to enter these competitions. The winning manuscripts will be published in the fall of 2018. Visit

This competition and this press have brought forth many excellent books, so I'll only point to a scant few of my favorites:

Kathleen Wheaton | Aliens and Other Stories
Brandel France de Bravo | Provenance
Patricia Schultheis | St. Bart’s Way


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.