No Extra Words

one person's search for story


August 2017

Episode 89: Hold Hands and Stick Together

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The back to school episode is so much more than that.

It’s the lesson that’s not in the curriculum but one we all remember learning in “Read Across America.” By Jeff Bakkensen, copyright 2010, used with permission. Read Jeff’s bio.

Today’s commentary was inspired by Robert Fulgham’s All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Read an excerpt here.

The podcast mentioned is The Stoop Podcast.

Today’s writing spaces segment features Audra Kerr Brown, who first appeared on Episode 47. Click here to see her writing space. Also featured is M. Pepper Langlinais, who was first featured on Episode 34. Click here to see her writing space.

We end this episode with the childhood joy of the “Uncovered Track.” By Matt Page, copyright 2016, used with permission. Visit Matt’s website.

Happy listening,


Meet Episode 89 Contributor Matt Page

Matt Picture1

Matt Page is an aspiring fiction writer who is looking to spread his wings and find his voice. He writes for local publications in Ottawa, Canada, and Matt is now aiming to find his niche with a broader audience. Short stories and flash fiction are his preferred medium but he is unafraid to undertake any writing project. Matt finds inspiration for his writing in his local community; he is passionate about telling down-to-earth stories to which everyone can relate. A major influence on his storytelling is the late Stuart McLean. You can learn more about Matt’s writing at

Happy listening,


Final Writing Spaces for 2017 is Coming

It is hard for me to believe that we are winding down our Writing Spaces segment for 2017. It has been such a joy and delight to hear from our contributors about where they write and see their photos. Fifteen writers have shared with us their spaces, and two more will on episode 89.

I’m currently imagining what this segment will look like in 2018, as I very much want to bring it to you again. If you have feedback, please let me know.

Audra Kerr Brown was first with us on Episode 47, Mother’s Day 2016. I could spend all day looking at this photo. She’ll tell us more about all the details of her space.


M. Pepper Langlinais shared her story back on Episode 34. She’s here to tell us the story behind this space.


Happy listening,


Meet Episode 89 Contributor Jeff Bakkensen

Jeff was previously with us on Episode 30, the dystopian episode, and it is a delight to welcome him back to the show.

Jeff Bakkensen lives in Boston. Recent fiction has appeared in The Lullwater Review, Oblong Magazine, Smokelong Quarterly, and The Antigonish Review.

Happy listening,


Episode 88: Seeing the Divine

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What do you see when you look into the eye of humanity?

A chance encounter with a stranger on a train makes a woman wonder who is friend and who is stranger in “The Good Samaritan.” By Mary J. Breen, copyright 2011, used with permission. Read Mary’s bio.

First round of a new segment! “I’m a Meme Writer” features “After I Finished my Salad…” by Kris Baker Dersch, copyright 2017.

Rental of a place sight unseen leads to “The Lonely Key.” By Joan MacIntosh, copyright 2016, used with permission. Read Joan’s bio.

Happy listening,


Meet Episode 88 Contributor Joan MacIntosh

Joan MacIntosh was previously with us back on Episode 57 and shared with us her writing space on Episode 77. We are pleased to welcome Joan back to the show.

Joan MacIntosh lives in St. John’s, NL, and writes poetry and prose. Her work has been previously published on No Extra Words as well as in Leafpress, TickleAce and others.

Happy listening,


Special Episode #17: An Important Call for Submissions


Click on the photo for an audio version of this call.

No Extra Words is looking for women writers to create pieces about women’s health and choice for an upcoming special episode.

This is a topic that has been extensively covered in all sorts of media, but one of the things literature does very well is get at those in between places. While we are happy to read any and all fiction, nonfiction, and poetry on this topic, we would love to hear stories where things aren’t so straightforward, stories that explore all the nuances, stories that reflect how having and making choices impacts women at all phases in their lives and how the changing culture and political scene impacts how these personal stories play out in the real world. Truth is a hard thing to get at and sometimes gets crowded out of political debate, so we’re going to look for it through the lens of art.

You are welcome to be anonymous, use a pseuenym, or use your own name, whatever you prefer. We absolutely will not edit your story in any way without your consent.

Abortion stories are welcome, but this topic is larger than it is sometimes made out to be. Choice and women’s health includes the choices women make at all phases in their lives, around birth control, feminine care, fertility issues, aging, etc. We will use the broadest definition of a women’s right to choose in considering submissions.

I want to speak for just a moment about why I am opening this call for women writers only. We appreciate all of the guys out there and I’m sure many of you could write or maybe even have written, marvelous literature on this issue. But there is a tendency in this culture, for people who have been marginalized to not be able to tell their own truth or speak their own words. I sincerely hope you’ll understand, and I encourage male writers and listeners and any writer to whom this call doesn’t appeal to respond to our general call for submissions on our website or our Instagram Drabble Challenge, which is currently ongoing.

All our general submission rules are going to apply to this call. Please paste your entire piece into the body of an email, no attachments, send to and put Choice in your subject line. As I said, we are happy to read fiction, nonfiction, or poetry and we are going to have to adhere to a 1500 word maximum word count for this. We will also accept audio submissions, so if you prefer you can send your piece as a 7 minute or less .mp3 file. Writers who submit written pieces that are accepted will also be given the opportunity to record their own audio if they choose. Submissions deadline for this call is Friday, October 20. We will respond to all submissions and anticipate making selections by the end of November and releasing the episode in January.

I need to note that we are a non-paying market. I wish I had the ability to compensate all our writers for use of their material, but we do not. If accepted, we will credit and publicize you and you will maintain ownership of your own work.

If you have any questions or feedback, please email and I would love to chat with you.

Happy writing,


Meet Episode 88 Contributor Mary J. Breen

Mary is making her second appearance on the show, having been with us on Episode 83 back in June.


Mary J. Breen is the author of two books about women’s health. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in national newspapers, essay collections, travel magazines, health journals, and literary magazines including Brick, The Christian Science Monitor, The National Post, and The New Quarterly. She was a regular contributor to The Toast. She lives in Peterborough Ontario Canada where, among other things, she teaches writing.

Happy listening,



Episode 87: Crack the World Open

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The world is always on the verge of exploding and reinventing itself.

“A Town Built on Salt” is on a shaky foundation indeed. By Windy Lynn Harris, copyright 2014, used with permission. This piece was originally published in Crack the Spine in April 2015, issue 147. Visit Windy’s website.

Hanako’s world is very small and carefully observed, but observers miss things in “Hanako Learns to Count.” By Sean Patrick Whiteley, copyright 2016, used with permission. Read Sean’s bio.

Today’s Writing Spaces features longtime friend of the show and repeat contributor Dr. Jeffrey Toney. He was originally featured on Episode 49 and was part of Episode 82‘s drabble spectacular. Click here to see his writing space.

There are the things you see about a person, and things you don’t, especially when that person is “Watermelon.” By Lisa Ko, copyright 2015, used with permission. Read Lisa’s bio.

Happy listening,


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