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Best of In The Fray 2009

Best of In The Fray 2009

It is somehow fitting that the new year begins in the dead of winter. The silence of the snowy landscape, the frozen lakes and the darkness all seem to reinforce a single depressing message: the world is dead. Give up. There is nothing more to hope for. For the last week, overnight lows here along the north shore of Lake Superior have reached -25°F, which, for those who use a temperature scale that makes sense, is awfully, miserably cold. Still, with the dawning of a new year, I am reminded that the world is not dead, that spring will come again and that life is a circle, endlessly repeating.

It is in the tradition of this time of year to take stock of what has come to pass in the previous year, and we at In The Fray do not feel the urge to stray from that tradition. It is with this in mind that we look back over the previous year and select some of our favorite pieces.


One more thing before I go.

Uncomplicated joy

Thankfulness as an everyday occurrence.

December 2009: Coda

Endings are beginnings, just beginnings are endings. As a tree in the forest dies and falls to the ground, it gives birth to a host of new life: fungi, insects, other plants, and, in the long run, the forest itself. The end story can often mark the beginning of another, and the end of one era is the start of the next. In our December issue, InTheFray Magazine would like to focus on endings. Tell us the story of an ending in your life. Take a close look at the endings around you. Share a poem or a short story that reflects on endings, or write a book review that examines the ending of a particular book and how it impacts the rest of the story. Think broadly about endings, and pitch us a story based in your reflections. Contributors interested in pitching relevant news features, poetry/fiction, cultural criticism, commentary pieces, personal essays, visual essays, travel stories, or book reviews should e-mail us at coda-at-inthefray-dot-org. Send us a well-developed, one-paragraph pitch for your proposed piece NO LATER THAN NOVEMBER 15, 2009.  First-time contributors are urged to review our submissions guidelines at and review recent pieces published in InTheFray Magazine at

Verse versus vision

The solitude of the human experience.

Call for submissions: November 2009: Chorus

And so here were are again, in the fading months of the year. Here in the northern hemisphere, the land is going dormant, the sun rises later and sets earlier each day, and bears are adding a final layer of fat in preparation for the long winter that lies ahead. It is a cycle that repeats, like a chant or a mantra, om mani padme om, into perpetuity. The power of repetition cannot be overstated. A child learns to speak through repetition. It is endless repetition of a strand of DNA, with minor genetic changes, that produced every creature on this planet. Like the chorus of a song, repeating themes echo through much of our lives on earth. Repetition is routine, and routine can be comfort. In our November issue, InTheFray magazine would like to explore some of the repetition that can be found all around us, and what happens when we break those repeating patterns. Think broadly about the idea, examine it from all angles, and pitch us a story. Contributors interested in pitching relevant news features, poetry/fiction, cultural criticism, commentary pieces, personal essays, visual essays, travel stories, or book reviews should e-mail us at chorus-at-inthefray-dot-org. Send us a […]


All endings are beginnings and all beginnings are endings.

Fairness and justice

Learning to accept the world's petty cruelties.

September 2009: Prelude

We all must start somewhere. Every journey starts with a single step, every story starts with a single word, every song starts with a single sound, and every living being starts with a single zygote. As we build and grow and spread, it is easy to forget that once, humanity wandered out of Africa, a single step at a time, each generation both building on their ancestors and starting anew, alighting into new frontiers, chasing new dreams beyond the horizon and into the future. So tell us. Where did you begin? Where did your forebears begin? Where did anything begin? From whence did we come and to where are we rushing? In the September issue of InTheFray Magazine, we would like to tell the stories of the beginnings of things, be they art, science, history, language, or whatever else you can think of. Something further to think about: Our September issue aims to explore the beginnings of things, and in October, November and December we’d like to work through the middles of stories and finish with the ends of things as 2009 comes to a close. If you have a longer selection or story idea that might be suited for […]

The great escape

What we run from and how we get away.

These are difficult times

And often, there is no bailout.

I am my father’s son

Exploring the bonds between mothers, fathers, and their children.