Finalists and prize winners, updated monthly.

In Memoriam

If there were a Musepaper Charter School, “Death 101” would be mandatory. I’m envisioning field trips to veterinarians, nursing homes, hospitals, and cemeteries, as we all unburden and celebrate our experiences with death and the deceased.

The Musepaper Charter School may have to wait, but the sharing starts now.

Laura Maynard of Enniskillen, Ontario for Apples (story)

Jonathan Segol of Troy, NY for Taking Our Time (essay)

M.K. Sturdevant of Chicago, Illinois for Ice Lessons (essay)

Honora Ní Aódagaín, “When Heroes Die”

Meredith Escudier, “My Father’s Eyes”

Nina Gaby, “Observations from the Girl Who Wasn’t Even Under the Bridge”

Rowan Groth, “Bye-Bye Johnny, Johnny Bye-Bye”

Carolyn Watkins, “The Born”

Childhood / Parenthood

As new parents, we’re humbled daily by the power this little creature holds over us, and the awesome responsibility of raising him.

Do you have an insight, a boondoggle, or a profound epiphany about raising a child…or being raised?

Michele Flynn for From the Garden (essay)

Laura Rose of Bucks County, Pennsylvania for Folie Á Deux (essay)

Molly Seale of Makanda, Illinois for Perfection (essay)

Carrie Bailey, “Open Letter to my Single Teenage Mother, a Career Waitress”

Diarmaid O Cuanain, “Revive”

Chris Guppy, “No Right to be Wine”

Bruce Rettig, “Rabbit Hole”

Ellie Roscher, “The Silence and the Cry”

1.2 — Friendship

The Bosom Buddy, The Frenemy, the friends that become family, the friend turned lover. Friendships add the sparkle and drama our lives need and, for better or worse, can change us in ways we never thought possible.

Send us your stories and essays about the friends you can’t live without, the ones you’ll never speak to again, and every shade in between.

Adrienne Garrison of Bloomington, Indiana for The One That Got Away (essay)

Jude Brewer of Portland, Oregon for Jordan & Karyn (story)

Annie Dawid of Monument, Colorado for ICARUS (story)

Honora Ní Aódagaín, “The Rituals of Love in Everyday Life”

John Barrale, “The Burden”

Maame Blue, “A Cautious Friend”

Jessica Epstein, “New Vocabulary”

Sue Powers, “He Said, She Said”


As Halloween approaches, we invite you to send stories and essays about the creepiest things you can imagine, or the most hair-raising experience you’ve lived to tell about.

Tell us about the things that go bump in the night, be they imagined…or remembered.

Ginny Lowe Connors of West Hartford, Connecticut for The Wolf in Me (poem)

Joanna Koch of Berkley, Michigan for President Marilyn Monroe Devours Her Young (story)

Brian Feehan of Wilton, Connecticut for Treats (story)

PS Cottier, “Lax”

Myles Ehrlich, “Long Exposure”

Evelyn King, “The Monsters Under My Bed”

Megan LeAnne, “Habit”

Donald McCarthy, “First Date”



The universal language – one that, in just a few bars, can lift our mood, move us to tears, and transport us across time, space, and possibility. How has music shaped you, guided your path, or even saved your life? What is music? And how does it move us so?

Ask your Muse and report back!

Kirk McDavitt of Bucharest, Romania for Tastes (essay)

Jeanne Wilkinson of Brooklyn, New York for A Tale of Two Concerts (essay)

Sally Lipton Derringer of Nanuet, New York for Whatever Gets You Through the Night (poem)

Melody Breyer-Grell, “Howling to Stan Getz”

Jessica Epstein, “Fiddler’s Neck”

Lori Levy, “When I’m Old and Demented”

Dan Woessner, “The Lonely Hearts Club”

Rob Wright, “Catching the Blues”


Home may indeed be where the heart is, but the heart is a complicated beast, and home can be elusive.

Tell us how one makes a house a home: On the fly? With a carefully thought-out vision? Or the paint-by-numbers, family tradition edition?

Maybe home transcends physical location. Maybe it’s more about who we’re with. Perhaps, home is simply a state of mind. Give us a glimpse inside and show us the way home.

Cezanne Alexander for Advent Calendar (story)

Constance Campana for Little House (essay)

Susan Maeder of the North Coast of California (and southwestern France) for SALT: A Homecoming (poem)

Susan Baller-Shepard, “Myra and the Clawed Frog”

Kelly Caldwell, “Perihelion”

Jennifer Lang, “Neither Here Nor There”

Cynthia McVay, “Field Farm”

Jacob Paul Patchen, “Where We Come From”


Think back to those first heady moments, those first scary steps, that first inkling of what was to come…Take us back to the beginning.

The end of an era. The end of innocence. The last straw. Tell us about the end—that moment when, at last, you knew the story was over.

For this Monthly Muse, send us your (1000 words or less) stories, essays, and poems about Endings, Beginnings, or both.

Natalie Mucker of Louisville, Kentucky for Ensō (essay)

Hana Rowan-Seddon of London, England, UK for Expat (story)

Keith Mark Gaboury of San Francisco, CA for Beginnings (poem)

Jordan Crook, “The Flock” (flash fiction)

Roberta Senechal de la Roche, “Bottle of Sleep” (poem)

Rachel Stewart Johnson, “Elegy for a Killdeer” (poem)

Seth Pilevsky, “Not Ready” (flash nonfiction)

S. J. Powers, “The News” (flash fiction)


Regrets…we’ve had a few. We’re betting you have, too. Take a deep breath and lay those burdens down, right on the page.

Resolutions—whether you’re a fervent believer in the power to change, or you rail against the idea of scheduled transformation, we want to hear it.

For this Monthly Muse, send us your (1000 words or less) stories, essays, and poems about Regrets, Resolutions, or both.

Terri Trespicio of New York, New York for The Cripple Makes a Wish (poem)

Nina Gaby of Vermont for The Sum of its Parts (essay)

Kathryn Gahl of Wisconsin for 40 (poem)

Kelli Bolen, “Aftermath” (poetry)

Lois Engel, “I Remember Mama” (flash nonfiction)

Sandy Longley, “Pas de Deux” (poem)

JC Miller, “Monday, a Lament” (flash fiction)

Claire Rubin, “After What I Did” (poem)

MUSEPAPER 2.0 is underway!

PROMPT: No Turning Back

DEADLINE: July, 31 2019 at Midnight

All in.

Everything’s in the rear-view, with no where to go but forward.

What kicked off this unstoppable trajectory and where might it end?

Let’s talk about the exhilaration, the terror, the sweet relief of knowing there’s No Turning Back.

For this Monthly Muse, send us your (1000 words or less) stories, essays, and poems about No Turning Back.

PROMPT: Ritual/Routine

DEADLINE: July, 31 2019 at Midnight

Comfort. Ceremony. Compulsion.

What doors can they open? What doors might they close? Are they magic?

Let’s talk about the inherent power of rituals and routines, the good, the bad, and the infinite ways in which they may be harnessed.

For this Monthly Musepaper, send us your (1000 words or less) stories, essays, and poems about Ritual or Routine.


DEADLINE: August, 31 2019 at Midnight

The ones we’ll love fur-ever or the ones that drive us absolutely bonkers, be they feathered, scaly, furry, four-legged animals. But why stop there? Plants flourish under our loving attention, robot companions are on the rise, and the Pet Rock rolled its way into 1.5 million homes.

However they come into our lives, and whatever form they take, pets become part of our families, part of our experience, and, if we’re lucky, the best part of ourselves.

For this monthly Musepaper, send us your (1,000 words or less) story, poems, or essay about any and every pet worthy of the written word. 

PROMPT: Vacation

DEADLINE: August, 31 2019 at Midnight

Ahhhhh, vacations — those brief windows designed to break up the schedules and routines of life.

Seeking rejuvenation, adventure, solace, contemplation, we set out… yet wherever we go, there we are.

Vacations can be geographical or all in the mind. A weekend jaunt, a cross-continent trek, or closing our eyes for a ten-minute meditative retreat.

From the picture-perfect honeymoon to the vacation from hell, from eureka moments of a clear head, a trip into another dimension all together, and the joy, or dread, of being back in your own bed.

For this monthly Musepaper, send us your (1,000 words or less) story, poems, or essay about the quest to get away from it all to find what we need.

PROMPT: Fears & Fantasies

DEADLINE: September, 30 2019

As Halloween approaches, let’s begin our explorations of fear and/or fantasy!

Whether isolated, opposite poles of the human imagination, or inseparable, inescapably intertwined with reality, fear and fantasy are part of the human condition.

We all love a good scare, and everyone deserves an escape. It’s all fun and games and the monsters aren’t real..right?

For this Monthly Musepaper, send us your (1,000 words or less) story, poems, or essay about Fear, Fantasy, or both!

PROMPT: You don’t know me, but…

DEADLINE: September, 30 2019 @ Midnight

A phone call out of the blue. An unexpected knock. A stranger on the street.

Is it an answer? An invitation? A warning?

For this Monthly Musepaper, send us your (1,000 words or less) story, poems, or essay about this unusual encounter.

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