5×5 Issue #5 (No Theme)


5×5 is looking forward to selecting pieces for Issue #5, which will be launched on (or near) the Winter Solstice. There is no theme for the issue. We only ask that you send us your strongest, clearest nonfiction, fiction, and poetry! We are currently in the process of reading submissions and will begin selecting submissions soon. Thanks for supporting our magazine!

The Joys of the Dark


batsWe are entering the season of pumpkin-spiced everything, and Halloween superstores popping up like mushrooms after a week of rain. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have so much gloomy weather this time of year, that Halloween almost feels like a season unto itself. Or maybe I am just a Halloween superfan. The Seattle Seahawks may have their 12th Man (ask a sports fan), but the holiday of Halloween has me.

When I was five years old, my mother had to institute a rule in our home that I could not begin making decorations or decorating the house until October 1st every year. This should give you some idea about the levels of candy anticipating enthusiasm that I approached the end of October. It also happened to be my birthday month, so much the better. October has always meant crisp apples, fall leaves, and prowling the night in a costume.

With this in mind, I can safely say that no matter how gloomy the weather or how dark my interior landscape, there can always be some small light to write from. No matter how scary the material, or fearful I become, I know that once I write toward and through the dark woods, I will emerge on the other side. Yes, maybe a bit scared, but I will emerge like the hero at the end of the horror movie, worse for wear, but still alive as that zombie hand that crawls off in the corner of the screen promising a sequel in the future…

What I want to tell you amid the skeletons, bright autumn leaves, and very skimpy Halloween costumes, is that you have what it takes to keep on writing. No matter how scary the material looms ahead, no matter how lost you become in the dark and gloomy manuscript, you can do it. I believe in you.

Keep writing. No matter what. You will make it out the other side so long as you keep going forward.

I promise. Black cats and all.


Jory Mickelson, 5×5 Poetry Editor

Writing From the Eye of the Storm


Today there is thunder rumbling out of the air. This is a rare occurrence where we live. Northwest Washington is well known for its rain, but not for its thunderstorms. Lightning may be even rarer.

And this is how summer is slowly leaving us: thunderstorms and torrential rain after the hottest and driest summer on record. The Internet is telling us that three Class 4 hurricanes have sprouted up in the Pacific Ocean at the same time (another first) like morning glories unfurling their white collars at sunrise.


I try and stare down into the centers of those storms from the satellite pictures on my smartphone’s screen. Somehow, I feel as if I can fall deep enough into the center of the image, then it will unlock some mystery that I haven’t even thought to form a question to yet. And this is so often like my writing process.

When I being writing, I know that there is something that needs to be said, but it is often vague, uncertain, and shadowy in the recesses of my mind. I squint into the distance to try and better see the words or images. I take breaks and return to particular passages when I seem to get stuck or it all goes blurry. Most of all, I let the writing unfold like those storms on the Pacific. They will open, turn, and drift all on their own if I only make a point to look deeply enough, wait patiently for the next frame to show itself.

I didn’t know what the thunder in the air today had to do with writing. Most days, my best writing comes from knowing very little, but continuing to witness the page fill up word by slow word.


Jory Mickelson



No Theme for Issue #5, Winter, 2015


Dear writers and readers, we’d like to announce that the next issue of 5×5, which we aim to launch between December and February, will be theme-free. We only ask that you send us your strongest, most engaging poetry, prose, and/or photography. We look forward to reading your work! We will accept submissions for this issue through November 21st.