Sarah J. Singer

Freelance Editor


Ever wonder what editors do in their free time? Many of us write! My areas are YA Fantasy fiction, graphic novels (the text, not the illustrations), poetry, and literary short stories.

Here, you’ll find selected works I’ve chosen to share. Feedback is always welcome!

29 June, 2016 

My latest poem is now available at Literary Field Kaleidoscope!

Domes was written in workshop with the wonderful poet Frances Leviston. Special thanks to her, and to my Literary Field professors Gesa Stedman and Sandra van Lente.

16 April, 2013

To My Body is available at Metanoia, Volume II: Redemption!

This literary magazine has some beautiful pieces in it, by some incredibly talented writers and artists, and I’m honored to be counted among them. I spent a long time considering whether or not to share this poem. It’s one of my older works, and very personal, but if it speaks to even one person, then it’s worth sharing.

Special thanks to the creators of Metanoia, and to everyone who helped me through the difficult times that inspired this poem. You know who you are, and I owe you everything.

11 November, 2011

This publication comes with a backstory. I’m going to include trigger warnings which encompass the backstory and the publication itself, but it’s a good story, I promise. (TRIGGER WARNING: death, suicide):

So. When I was nineteen, I moved to London for a study abroad semester. I lived in a two-bedroom flat with four other girls. Let me put that in a little more context: five girls, two bedrooms, only three beds. Needless to say, we were always in each other’s business.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I’m in the Foundling Museum with my Victorian Art and Society class (with the most fascinating professor I have ever known — ask me about her; you want to hear about this woman). I’m staring at a painting by George Frederic Watts. It’s called Found Drowned. It looks like this:

Source: The Foundling Museum

I look at this painting, and I feel an immense sadness I cannot place. It’s a sadness that grows as I research the painting’s context, that complicates itself as I consider the complexity and controversy of the idea of the “fallen woman,” which was prevalent in Victorian times. But whatever I am feeling on those grey February days in London, I cannot shake it.

So, when my Irish Literature professor (also an incredible professor about whom you should ask me) assigns us, a week later, to write a short story in the style of James Joyce’s Dubliners, I know exactly what my inspiration will be.

Cut to me researching suicides in New York City for a short story entitled, perhaps a bit unimaginatively, “Found Drowned.” One morning as I rush out the door, I accidentally leave my laptop open on the kitchen table. I arrive back to the flat late in the evening, after a day spent back at the Foundling Museum, communing with Mr. Watts’s paintings, and I find my flatmates sitting in the living room, looking somberly towards the front door.

“Sarah,” my first roommate says, “we just want you to know how much we love you.”

“Okay,” I say, my mind on the takeaway I hold in my hands. “I love you, too.”

“And it gets better,” my second roommate hastily adds.

“The fish and chips do?”

No,” says my third flatmate, a bit impatiently. “Life.”

“I…what are we talking about?”

My fourth flatmate finally says, “We saw your laptop. We saw what you were researching. And we just want you to know that we’re here for you.”

I do my best impression of a gasping fish for a few moments before I finally figure out what in the world they’re on about, and then I start to laugh. (Not the most sensitive of reactions, I know.) I finally manage to explain myself. My flatmates are relieved, and maybe a bit annoyed.

I suppose that was their first taste of living with a writer. We research odd things. We ask concerning questions. Sometimes we live off of canned food for a week to put ourselves in the mindset of a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy hero (okay, that last one might be just me). But it’s all in the name of the story.

Anyway, for me, that story was “Found Drowned,” inspired by a painting that was inspired by a poem, in the style of a different writer again, but probably failing utterly at emulating him. It’s the story that earned me top marks in my Irish Literature course, the story that earned me a place presenting at the Ithaca College 2012 Whalen Symposium, and the story that you can read here, in Issue 1 of Noah Magazine (page 7 of the magazine; 11 of the PDF).

Special thanks to my London flatmates, to Professors Linda Bolton/Lucretia Walker (you really do want to hear about this woman) and Lee White (remind me to tell you about the tea times), to the Ithaca College London Center, and to the creators of Noah Magazine.

3 November, 2011

“The Changings” is a short story with a special backstory I’d like to share. It’s a story that’s mostly truth, with a few fictions thrown in because, well, I’m not sure which bits happened, which are exaggerated, and which are completely made up. That’s how family histories are sometimes, I suppose, or maybe even most times. And that’s what this story is about.

This is a story that starts at the end, in more ways than one. It starts with a phone call, telling me that my grandfather, Frederick W. Glassberg, had passed away. It was September 15th, 2011. The phone call led to me catch a last-minute ride from Ithaca to New York City, and then another ride from NYC to Pennsylvania, and then to crash at my cousin’s house for a night, only to drive to Maryland the next day for a funeral.

But it really starts on the drive to the funeral, when we picked up my great uncle (my grandmother’s brother), from his home in NYC. (Yes, I did feel like a pinball.) My Great Uncle George had stories about my grandpa, or Pops, as my family called him. Oh, did he have stories.

Many of them I’d heard before, but there was one that was new to me, and so very random that it just…sort of stuck. Uncle George told me that when my grandfather was a young lawyer in Manhattan, he’d worked with a particular client…or maybe he’d found a particular client’s files…or maybe he’d heard about this client… See? I’m not sure what’s true, and memory is a fickle thing.

In any case, the meat of the story was this: This client, a Jew fleeing the Holocaust, found himself in New York City. But he was so afraid that the Nazis would find him there, he visited my grandfather’s law firm over and over to legally change his name. It was the only thing that made him feel safe.

Did this man even exist? Did my grandfather’s law firm even offer that service? Who’s in charge of name changes, anyway? Was this whole story some Jewish urban legend? Who knows?

But it got me thinking. It got me thinking about how insidious fear can be, how it can live curled inside of us, unnoticed, until the day it’s not unnoticed anymore. It got me thinking about how that fear is still present in the American Jewish community, and how maybe telling stories about it could make it a little less powerful.

So, I wrote a story about that man, and about his son, and about the fears of multiple communities of which I am a part. And I gave it a happy ending, because what better way to combat fear than with a little bit of joy?

This story is for my grandfather. It’s for the Jewish people. It’s for everyone who’s ever feared being who they truly are.

“The Changings” was chosen by Professor Eleanor Henderson to debut at an Ithaca College reading, at which I also introduced novelist Anna Solomon. It is available exclusively on my blog.

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