“The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2014” Book Trailer

Hey… I helped work on this video! Check it out 🙂

The Burlington Writers Workshop

Want to learn more about our second annual anthology? Here’s the book trailer for The Best of The Burlington Writer’s Workshop 2014, featuring Jim Gamble, Cynthia Close, Michelle Watters, Paul Hobday, Martin Bock, Jernigan Pontiac, and Amanda Vella.

We hope to see you at the launch party on Friday, April 11 at Burlington City Arts.

Featuring the following music: “Flowers At My Feet” by Tyler Daniel Bean and “Dust Clouds” by Anthony Colarusso.

Video by Astropiano Films. Special thanks to Jessica Cook and Amanda Paulger-Foran for their amazing work! The BWW highly recommends hiring them for your video/photography needs.

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Tired of everything.
Ready to dig my own grave
Throw myself in after a few bad choices
Some harsh words from negative people
I still call my friends for whatever reason I can’t exactly fathom.
They assume the worst of me instead of the best and that’s what motivates me to get out the shovel
But I’m just a mess and not equipped to handle misguided criticism
So I would rather just die

Quick Update

Hey followers!

So I actually launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign today to raise money to upgrade my equipment for my Mandible|Photography Business. I would love to expand my business and grow, and that’s what the campaign is about!

If you have a minute and feel like checking it out, donating, or sharing, I would appreciate it immensely!  Thanks for taking even a moment to consider it: Mandible Photography Updates

Warm Regards,


Amanda Paulger-Foran


There is nothing in the darkness
But smoke and shadows
Flickering off the old rooftops of
Eerie broken homes
Shattered windows the broken teeth
In wooden clapboard faces
Rotting under the cruel hands
Of rain and wind and snow and sun
Bearing down like strong words
Whispers in a crate
Hidden in the attic
Your eyes are reflecting their woe.

But woe is such a small link
To such a huge world,
Large hearts with holes like
Our words are your words
Hidden in your chest, your hands
Clear as blue sky
But rocky as the shore at sunset.

Tides meet in the currents
Crest over one another
Like bodies in the moonlight
In the shadows they lurk outside the reach of the lamplight from
Blinking with haughty judgement
Behind the long grass
That sways in a turquoise breeze.

We cannot escape the lies
In our arms
Errant as trees in a storm
But we can apologize
For their razor edges
And hope our sorries will
Heal those wounds.

The smell of liquor
And cries for help
Perforate the air
Like the old stories
Our grandparents told us
About surviving through wars
And we remember their pain
Like sand remembers
Being a mountain
Memories buried in ancestry.

Our chests carry lead-bound
With fire and copper eyes
Stitched into our bones
Old runes for new love.


I used to run to the sounds of popping trees,
when rivers whispered underneath a layer of thick ice,
when maple trees lay dormant in their groves,
the taps and buckets the neighbor used on them
still stacked in his shed.

I used to say to my brother,
“we need to find a way out,”
my mind so enraptured with the creative thought
of survival in the natural world it all but took over
my reality.

In the summers
I ran to the sounds of coy-dogs under a full moon,
vixens screaming from their dens
the pine trees creaking as they swayed in the heavy winds
that brought out the seven brothers of lightening
and the great tall beast, Thunder, that trailed behind them.
They always moved quick over the mountains when we sat in our front yard.

But when we were safely beneath the thick overhead canopy of aspen and birch and pine,
we heard them coming but our laughter cut through their noise,
the trees rumbling – but we didn’t care.

We’d climb up there with them, into the great old pines
that our neighbor warned us could break under us easier
than the other trees, but we never paid heed
because these were more fun to climb.

We’d hug the great mass, its rough bark
tracing marks across our palms,
already sticky and black with its sap.

I used to run to the songs of the earth
and now I run to the songs of men,
breathing in, and out, and in
and out.

I realize one day that I am alive
and I have somehow grown,
my creative mind no longer intrigued with the thought
of survival
in nature

But I am just struggling to climb up instead
from some dark hole I’ve been thrown into,
my mind an eerie abyss,
surrounded by cement and pavement and
huddled up people with their shoulders around their ears,
by cars with horns like grating cries that try to kick me back into that dismal grave.

I wonder,
“how in the world did I get here?”


Humanity is a funny beast, rolling over the world like it owns it, as if anything owes us everything,
our waves pernicious poisons, devouring everything we contact.

We have become the monsters in the night we used to warn our children of,
when myths were our bedtime stories, our user manuals, our operational instructions –  

and now we teach our children how to be the monsters,
devouring the light and souls out of these living things around them. 

We romanticize ourselves, telling each other we’re cauterizing some wound,
telling each other we’re burning out the disease. 

But we’re just monsters, and when monsters look the same to each other,
they don’t see the anguish of anything else around them.

We have forgotten that the trees used to dance, 
that the wind used to howl and sing –

the mountains used to grumble,
and in the mornings, the birds would become symphonies, harmonizing carefully
while the trees beneath them stretched into the clean breath of the earth.

We forgot how the fox used to bark for her kits from her den,
or how the wolves used to roam in packs across the tundra, free of fear 
from us, free from our fear that grew to hatred,

purely because we refused to empathize. 

We believe we are somehow outside of nature but we are instead just above our demise,
hanging desperately over a precipice while deftly defying that we are there. 

We scoff. “I am immortal.” 

We write, and claim it will live forever.

No one seems to remember that if there is no one left to read it, there will be no forever. 
Our bones will sink back into the white flesh of snow and ice, bury themselves into deep dark soil
where birch trees will grow proud and straight, slicing out like the bones of the earth
a monument to the proud dead that are forgotten.

Where we all go to die, our souls will linger, our hubris too blinding to let us acquiesce to our end,
and in this vast barren space, we will wander for eternity, alone.

The wolves know not to roam with ghosts.

Church of Silence

This mountain in the dead of winter is my church.

I do not like human voices humming around me when I go to pray. I do not like the sounds of the “civilized” world infiltrating my cries to my unseen god.

In the dead of winter, most animals have migrated, or prefer to stay in the valleys where at least the prospect of food is a reality.

Except the bears, those creatures for which my mother holds her spirit, they lay asleep and dormant in these mountains. Aptly, this is where I come to pray. In the bedrooms of giants who sleep through the cold and the gray, dismal skies.

I come to pray in the place of giants who compel my mother to feel them as kindred spirits. They walk with her, come to her voice, appear to her in dreams and on her land while the neighbor’s Baptist church group has a cookout.

In the mountains, where the thick ice and bright snow smother and quiet the sounds of everything. Even the littlest creatures, like mice and voles, travel beneath the snow. Here and there I will hear a fox dive like a missile through the snow to find one of them for her dinner. But humanity quietly turns their backs to the mountains in the winter. This is no place for people, they whisper – it’s dangerous.

Maybe that is why I pray here too – the imminent, all encompassing danger of life on a mountain in the winter makes me feel like I have a life worth praying for. Death is something I seek to avoid, and yet my mortality, in the valleys, is all too often a trivial thing, one which I often proclaim to want to rid myself of.

Here on this mountain where I pray, life is worth something to me. I can feel it in my chest and my limbs, errant spirit stripping them bare under the eyes of my god, who listens to me here. My god can hear me here, where there is no loud humming of humanity to block my voice.

In the valleys, I am caught up in a constant heavy current of other bodies and voices, where mine in drowned under their constant humming. I am lost there. But here on the mountain, I can feel myself. I know myself.

In the quiet where the bears sleep, under the shadow if the great giant of rock which stands stern and ready under the gray sky, I am no longer drowning. I am alive.


I’m sorry.
I cross my legs quietly and whisper across the open room,
Again and again – I’m sorry.

Outside it’s twenty-five degrees below zero Fahrenheit and I taste the tangy copper in the back of my throat-
Foul, I swear, my sweaty palms open to the stale air of this reused gym
As I apologize.

Again, and again – I’m sorry.

I apologize for nothing,
Strangely it seems I am just apologizing for existing.
Like most women in America, I apologize for everything.

I apologize before I ask a question, before I make a decision.
I apologize for taking my lunch at work,
And I apologize to everyone for saying hello.

I am apologetically existing.

The loudest part of my existence is not my opinion of the nature of this or that,
Nor is it my passion for writing, or photography.

The loudest facet of my existence is my apologies for existing.

Yet I find myself wondering often why I’m apologizing. Sometimes I apologize for apologizing. “I’m sorry that I’m saying sorry,” over and over again until someone tells me to just stop.

Stop apologizing.

Normally it’s my husband who laughs at me, his face flickering quietly between amusement and worry as I keep throwing my sorries out into the brittle air.

Again and again – I’m sorry.

I Haven’t Got the Right Hands

I played piano for fourteen years and then one day I just stopped.  I had played from the time I was three, working with a well-known piano teacher out of his house in Barre.  I loved him; and our family friend went to him as well, except our family friend kept playing.  He went to college to become a professional pianist.  He has the hands for it; slender fingers, well placed nails, delicate palms and unassuming fingerprints.  Mine are too bulky, although I never wanted to admit that.

I stopped playing because I no longer wanted to play sheet music.  It’s just so much work to memorize a piece, which is the only way I ever enjoy playing anything – by memorizing it – but improvisational music? That’s my thing. I keep an 88 weighted-key keyboard in my basement with a step-stool as a chair so sometimes when my husband’s away I can sneak down and play.

Playing piano also hurts my hands.  I have joint problems now and working at a computer most of my life (thanks to work and my obsession with writing) has given me what is probably the start of carpal tunnel.  My wrists hurt, just below my palms, deep in the joints.  Sometimes it feels like someone’s carving words there but it’s just the bones rubbing together.  My elbows hurt.  I twist my arms at odd angles to make them crack.

I refuse to stop playing altogether, but where I could once stretch my hands three octaves from thumb to pinky I can now only stretch two, and my pinkies bend inwards like they’re trying to curl back into my palms.  They’re stubborn.

Sometimes when I play I pray that maybe my pinkies will straighten back out and I’ll be able to reach that third octave again but whenever I try it’s almost like I can hear my wrists grinding, I can hear the tendons in my hands stretching, and I just stop.  It’s a sharp note where there should be a flat.  Those cracking bones sound wrong.

So I’ve stuck to two octaves now for a few years, and I suppose that in only a few more years I’ll only be able to reach one single pathetic octave.  The carpal tunnel is reaching into my shoulders now, I can feel it.  I hunch up at work while I type and the tendons get grisly there under my shoulder blades, tearing apart the muscle.  I pinch nerves all the time.  The joins in my left shoulder feel like they’re bumping together now.

I’m 25 years old – this can’t be right, right? It is. I don’t know whether to blame genetics or my elementary school teachers for not telling me to sit up straight more often.  I often entertain the idea of writing by hand for the rest of my life.  And then I laugh, because I inherited my father’s horrifying chicken scratch, and if I transitioned to hand writing every scrap of information for the rest of my life, I would be fired.  No one would want to exchange words with me anymore.

What a depressing thought.

Hello! A Quick Update


I’ve been working diligently on a few projects recently, one which recently came to a tentative fruition.  It’s still in progress, as it’s an ongoing project.  I developed a new blog to share the finalized drafts of my short stories, a place where others can feel free to follow and engage with me, give me feedback on the stories.  I decided to buy a domain name for this website, but since it’s still hosted by wordpress, anyone on here can follow it (or opt to follow by email).   Find me at amandapaulgerforan.com!

I’m also working on this new blog as a way to figure out what I would like to include in my creative submission to Goddard College’s MFA Writing program.  I was working on my MA in English up until July of this year, when I decided that I really wanted to pursue a more personal approach to education, and one which focused on the craft of writing rather than the technicalities.  I love the technicalities of the English language and of writing, but I feel that focusing on the craft also will help me to better focus my future efforts and endeavors.

I’ve also decided to begin work on a project to implement some kind of creative writing program for “troubled teens” as my mom always called them.  A long time ago, I was dubbed a “troubled teen,” partially due to my depression.  Before I was diagnosed, I lashed out in anger at the people I loved for what seemed like no particular reason.  After I was diagnosed, I almost didn’t believe it until I started re-reading my stream-of-consciousness writing.  I was lucky to have the privilege of parents who cared about me and were able to financially help me seek treatment.  They were also able to help me mentally, as they were always extremely supportive no matter how I was reacting at the time.   I am not the majority.  Too many kids don’t have the support, mentally or financially, from their parents or other adults in their lives, to seek treatment or to figure out why they’re lashing out.  I want to create this program as a way for these kids to channel their energies into something productive and creative.  If nothing else, maybe it will help them to vocalize how they feel by engaging in the craft.  I’m hoping it will also help in finding these kids state-funded programs for treatment.  I’m hoping it will bring awareness to a bigger problem – that teenagers are too often excused as “just being rebellious” or “talking back” or “succumbing to their hormones.”  Teenagers are given such a bad reputation, and instead of investigating the problems, we often just brush off what is a silent cry for help with these sub-par excuses.  We need to do more, and that’s what I hope to do in working on this larger project.

Currently I’m working with a couple of friends from high school who both went on to pursue their degrees in psychology to implement this program.  If you are a specialist in the field of mental health and would like to work on this project, I welcome the support and interest. You can contact me at apaulgerforan@gmail.com.  It’s still in development and I hope to utilize it for my practicum, assuming I am accepted into Goddard’s MFA program.  Regardless of whether I am accepted into the program, I plan to pursue the project.

Thanks for reading.  I’ll still post my early morning free-writes, prompted writing, and stream-of-conscious literature here.  You may find refined, extended, and/or edited versions of pieces on here on the new blog.

-Amanda Paulger-Foran