Here are 9 great resources for writers and readers

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Photo by Frame Harirak on Unsplash

Welcome to Just Ask Stacy, a sort of weekly advice column where you can ask about whatever you need help with (life, career, relationships, why Emily is in Paris, whatever), and I’ll answer because I’m ignoring the pile of work on my desk. I’d much rather be helping you sort out your life.

Here’s why I started doing this:

So let’s get to it, shall we?

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing some resources with writers in varying stages of their careers and I want to share them with you. I’m not affiliated with any of these entities, nor will I receive any kind of compensation if you decide to click on them and look through the sites. …

“I’m not your friend. I’m your mother.”

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Photo by Muhammadtaha Ibrahim Ma’aji on Unsplash

“Don’t come home pregnant.”

This is the kind of stuff she used to say to me, usually just before I went out, regardless of where I might be going. To the store. To school. To the next door neighbor’s house. On a date. The command to my ovaries was ever and always present: Thou shalt neither be fruitful nor multiply while living in this house.

It was the look that did it. Like most mothers back in the day, mine had an all-encompassing, notably compelling look that let me know she meant exactly what she’d said and she had no intention of repeating it, because I’d heard her the first time, and I know I did, and so did she so repetition was out of the question. …

Poetry Sunday

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Photo by Francesca Zama on Unsplash

Not for nothing did I love you
build a life on your word
believing it solid as the sky

Not for nothing did I sing you
like a song of new lyrics
sighed into life

Not for nothing did I see you
distressed by dreams delayed
like lightning coming long after rain

Not for nothing did I trigger you
hollow point words
aimed at the softest spot

Not for nothing did I let you
drain us like sun on snow
willing new shoots to form

Not for nothing did I bring you
here into the light
after the dust of…

Issue 2: You want to know about portfolios…and chicken. M’kay.

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Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash

Welcome to the second edition of Just Ask Stacy, a weekly advice column where you get to ask about whatever you need help with (life, career, laundry, dinner, whatever), and I’ll answer because my head is full of both useful and useless information which I don’t mind sharing. Because I’m a giver.

If you’re wondering how this all started, read this:

If you want to know what people have asked so far, read this:

Let’s get to it, shall we?

This week I received several questions related to portfolios (the writer’s kind, not the financial kind), and two or three related to chicken. …

Issue 1: You’ve got job-hunting questions. I’ve got answers.

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Photo by Matt Walsh on Unsplash

Welcome to the first issue of Just Ask Stacy. If you’ve somehow stumbled upon this and you’re not sure what’s happening, don’t worry. Just read the following and it will all become clear:

So, some of you are in the process of job-hunting and you’re annoyed with it all. This week I received a few questions about the online application process, getting an internship, and possibly fleeing the country — not necessarily in that order.

Let’s start with the online application first, m’kay?

Q: I’m so tired of online applications! They take forever to fill out even after you’ve attached your resume. Do you have any advice on how to make this process easier?
You gotta love online applications — especially the ones that claim they’ll populate the fields based on your attached resume, but when you attach your resume, there’s a “problem” and you have to fill out every field, including your entire past employment history! Yeah, that’s exactly what you want to be doing for the next two hours because the lazy algorithm is on a smoke break and can’t be bothered to parse your info. I don’t have a way to make the process less mind numbing, but here are a few things you can do beforehand to make it a little less time-consuming. …

Practical advice for your career, your life, and possibly what to cook for dinner.

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Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

I’m often asked for advice on a number of things and I freely respond because, you know, I was asked.

Over the years, that’s earned me the title of “Auntie Stacy” in nearly every job and personal relationship I’ve had. Generally, an issue comes up and someone eventually says, “Just ask Auntie Stacy; she’ll know what to do.”

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not the know-it-all who’s always got something to say about everything. But if asked my advice about something, and if I can give a good piece of advice, I will. But if I can’t, or I don’t know the answer, I will admit that freely. …

Poetry Sunday

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Photo by Emma Fabbri on Unsplash

Your escape awakened my long forgotten muse
who haunts me now in this new world
laughing at my courage
scoffing at the middle age
sagging around me like lead.

It is devastating, this loss
this passage to the middle of unwanted freedom
to a life displaced like rain in snow
sweet berries in hot liquor
ash with no evidence of fire.

I must learn it now, the new rooms
of my clean swept house
the lost ebbs of mirth and flow
inside the divine.

The muse sings and I write the words,
a languidly fused blues
of hope and desolence
twined like heavy branches bearing swollen fruit
on a strangely gentrified tree.

It is too much, this cost
can you not cross back
or is the cross too heavy?

We are not yet unbound
sings the muse.

I believe and will not let go.

From the moment of my birth, she knew I was his.

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Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

I never referred to him as my father. That was too formal, too distant. He was my daddy. I was a daddy’s girl. Still am. His only daughter and youngest child. Loyal to a fault.

He was full of wisdom and wisecracks. He was the coolest cat on the planet, back in the days when the planet was full of cool cats. He wasn’t easily approachable. But if he decided you were worthy enough to be spoken to, you wanted to hear what he had to say.

He was a listener who would look at you quietly, straightforward, eye-to-eye. Not with a glare. More like a “what’s-your-story” kind of look. And patiently wait for you to pour out your heart, which you’d do in the hopes that he found you worthy of a response. Because if he did, you knew you could trust what he had to say. …

You can sleep when you get to Spain.

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Photo by Harshil Gudka on Unsplash

“Sleep when you get to Spain.”

This is a mantra that a good friend and I came up with eons ago, in a younger life, before we were too deeply encumbered with the responsibilities of anything.

We’d decided on a whim to go to Paris, a lifetime dream trip for me. It was a whim because we were daydreaming at work, found some cheap tickets online, whipped out credit cards and presto-change-o, made a commitment. Some friends were going to be in Spain the following week and we agreed to meet them. That meant we had five days in Paris to be full-on tourists, which meant very little time for sleeping. …

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Photo by Gabriele Diwald on Unsplash

piano solos in blue
are a hard thing
dirty notes with dirty shines
like tears and rain
on windows in alleys
woeful notes full of pain
yet unfelt
sorry sounds full of love
gone bad
man gone out
money gone
and too much time to think

piano solos in blue
are like Sallie Mae in a red dress
on a Saturday night
a hot thing looking for a coldblooded man
to do her wrong
to sing her songs too sad for words
too long to keep up with
too slow for anything
except blue keys

piano solos in blue
are what I hear when you leave
slamming your door on what’s left
of me
wishing me hell
and all its gods
making me moan
in colors I don’t want to…


Stacy Smith

writer of words, righter of wrongs, traveler of worlds, lover of chocolate, avoider of veggies; find me at

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