Best of ATM 2018, Nonfiction

As 2018 comes to its close, Across the Margin takes a look back at some of its most treasured moments in Nonfiction…

Throughout this final week of 2018, Across the Margin has been be seasoning the air with thanks for all those who have spent time within our pages while sharing our picks for the “Best of Across the Margin, 2018.” Our best-of compilations continues with a look at our choices for our finest Nonfiction stories of the year, and an excerpt from each to wet your whistle…

The Loss Of Waiting” by Katherine Binford

I was always surprised by the photos I had taken, photos that brought back memories of moments that had been nibbled at by time and the next thing to do.” A short story that wonders what could have been, if not for the rapidity of which life, and technology, move forward…

The rhythm of our days were like crisp Oregon coast waves gently folding themselves on the beach—slow, steady and unceasing. I had forgotten I snapped a picture of the sleeping Becca until I saw it weeks later on the roll of film I had dropped off at Freddy’s for developing. I was always surprised by the photos I had taken, photos that brought back memories of moments that had been nibbled at by time and the next thing to do.”

On Mental Heath” by Robert Levin”

We require a measure of mental illness in order to live with even a semblance of internal equilibrium.” A story emphasizing the fact that the struggle for mental stability is a lifelong campaign, one where the outcome is never ensured…

“In the ensuing decades, and although I’d been reasonably active and held full-time (if unrewarding) jobs, the outcomes of my sense of worthlessness, besides a variety of peccadillos, one of which I’ve mentioned, had been a chronic middle-grade depression that was accompanied by a notable absence of aspirations, a marked diffidence in the presence of strangers and a series of unsatisfactory, when not downright abominable, relationships — I had little to give to anyone and elicited just as little in return.”

Chances Are” by Eduardo Cordeiro

A potent op-ed concerning the treatment of immigrants in the United States by Eduardo Cordeiro, the author of The Rapist, The Terrorist, The Idiot, The Hypocrite…

“We are now two years into the 45th administration, and President Trump has failed to keep his bold promises. There is no border wall. Obamacare has not been repealed and replaced. His greatest “victory” is giving $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to the rich and appointing two Supreme Court Justices cementing a conservative majority in the highest court in the land. But it’s easier to convince a stone to move across a mountain than it is to convince a Trump supporter of the dangers of his administration. Not because they don’t know better, but because they don’t care. He continues to rally his supporters merely by mocking everyone who doesn’t look like him.”

Podcast: Beyond The Margin – End Climate Silence With Dr. Genevieve Guenther

Beyond the Margin confronts the immediate threat of Climate Change and the faulty way in which the media covers it with an insightful interview with the Founder & Director of, Dr. Genevieve Guenther…

“In the latest episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast host Michael Shields interviews the Founder & Director of, Dr. Genevieve Guenther. is a volunteer organization dedicated to helping the media link stories about Climate-Change impacts to Climate Change itself. Mobilizing through digital activism, they are an organization motivated by the awareness that Climate Change possesses a grave danger to humanity and that an immediate transition from fossil fuels to safe energy is necessary in order to preserve a planet that supports civilization. recognizes that climate change has begun to hurt people, and it is the media’s job to report on that fact.”

Christian Niedan’s Hollywood Interviews — Part Two: The Poet by Christian Niedan

Part two of an eight part series, recounting and expanding upon an array of interviews with an assemblage of Hollywood’s greatest storytellers and cult figures. The series continues with actor, producer and screenwriter Hampton Fancher…

“In order to truly appreciate the wondrous talents of Hampton Fancher, you must have a face-to-face conversation with him. And in this conversation, one should never expect Fancher to say the expected, or count on short succinct answers to questions. Rather, know that he will frequently readjust his seat, randomly gesticulate, pace the room, and show you a photograph or a book or a video to demonstrate the point he’s trying to get at. This is just how he is wired. To paraphrase the replicant Roy Batty in Blade Runner: ‘Fancher is not a computer. He’s physical.’ He is also preternaturally articulate. He loves words. Lots of words.”

You Are Fine” by Yen Ha

I keep a chorus of women nearby. They chant in my ear and sing in my mind. We lift each other up! We soar, we fly.” An affecting short story that walks the reader through a woman’s daily struggles, and the limitless strength drawn upon to get her by…

His words turn my ears into bright crimson flame. I’m not sleepy anymore. I get in the elevator,blindly hitting the button numbered two-one. The cab jolts upwards. In the silence of myself, I turn to address the elevator doors. Thank you for that revelatory statement. It’s such a relief to know I can stop with the hair straightening, skin clearing and face smoothing, not to mention the yanking of hundreds of hairs every month or the careful washing of my face with two moisturizers and a cucumber scrub every night. I appreciate you letting me know that I no longer have to wear a bra that binds my chest or heels that draw blood from my feet without rest.”

Podcast: Beyond The Margin — Active Measures with Jack Bryan

With its 50th episode, Beyond the Margin features an eye-opening and essential interview with Jack Bryan, the director, writer, and producer of the documentary Active Measures, the first major documentary to address the collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian state…

“To mark its 50th episode, Beyond the Margin tackles one of the most pressing concerns of modern times: Russian influence in the United States’ 2016 presidential election and its ongoing sway on the President of the United States. To accomplish this in a comprehensive manner, host Michael Shields interviews filmmaker Jack Bryan, the figure behind one of 2018’s most talked about documentaries. Bryan is the director, writer, and producer of Active Measures (Available on iTunes and Hulu now!), a documentary which exposes a 30-year history of covert political warfare devised by Vladimir Putin to disrupt, influence, and ultimately control world events and democratic nations through cyber attacks, propaganda campaigns, and corruption. Bryan’s film is an important work of storytelling that provides a rich context for Russia’s interference by tracing the history of its government’s shrewd geopolitical machinations.”

Dancing Man” by Drema Deòraich

“His grin shadowed me, a happy reminder of fleeting insight.” A man, footloose and entirely liberated, offers his ability to get others to open their heart, and eventually their mind, to the struggles of humankind…

“Bob waited a couple steps ahead, patient as Job. We drove away, yet Dancing Man followed me the rest of the night. I saw again that brilliant white smile gleaming from his euphoric brown face, how he’d broken off when I approached him. It wasn’t until I was chasing sleep that I realized my half-eaten handout was an insult, sloppy seconds to a person possessed by hunger. Dreams finally descended upon me in which a blissful man danced, one hand beckoning and the other over his heart.”

Love Song For Amygdala” by Lara Messersmith-Glavin

An impactful essay about learning to celebrate the experience of anger and using it to overcome complacency in this political moment…

“When I was young, I lived in a house with a lot of anger. I mistook the anger for love sometimes, due to the force of it, the heat it expelled. The anger’s wrath was like being hit by balls of lightning, all tense crackle and explosive impact. I hadn’t yet learned how to wield it, how to make it move, so when it was hurled at me, in words and fists, I caught it in my belly and held it fast, where it boiled and morphed into steam. The pressure of that anger’s steam swelled within me, and the only way I learned how to let it out was through my skin. I learned to make tiny cuts in my wrists so all that pent-up anger could drain out, leaving me once again hollow and clear, yet limp like an empty balloon.”

Hollow Bodies” by Lucy Gardner

“I imagine their bodies are hollow like the look in their eyes, lifeless forms drifting through town.” A short story that uncovers how painful it is sometimes for those who succumb to the pull of their hometown…

“I was drunk and sitting in my screened porch when he called. He said he was surprised I answered after I breathed a slow “hey” into the receiver. He said it was a good day to ride and that I wouldn’t be cold. I crawled across the worn, pollen-sheathed porch on my knees like a bee in its hive. The screen-door screeched as I opened it. I could hear it down in my bones, rattling me out of a daze.”


Read more Nonfiction at Across The Margin here!


One reply on “Best of ATM 2018, Nonfiction”
  1. says: Ben Binder

    When I was in the Peace Corps in Ecuador I sailed out to the Galapagos Islands with L. C. Binford, who I believe is Katherine Binford’s grandfather.

    In another post, Katherine said she would like to communicate with people who knew her grandparents.

    If you have Katherine’s email address, please forward my email address to her.


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