PF detail from Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Beach Scene, Guernsey (Children by the Sea in Guernsey) - 1883;


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Vanessa’s work has been recognized by grants and fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Yaddo, the Ragdale Foundation and the United Arts of Central Florida, and has appeared or is forthcoming in Harpur Palate, The Bellingham Review, Green Mountains Review, and The Southern Review, among other journals. She was a finalist for the 2011 Philip Roth Residency at Bucknell University and the Sozopol Fiction Seminars. Please visit for more.



Avoid eating too much meat,
or even better, become a pescatarian.
Work up a sweat at least once a day.
Always carry water with you,
especially while driving and doing errands.
Take a small risk every day, even if it means
ordering something you’ve never heard of
from the menu at lunch, like a Milton salad
with beets when you’ve always thought
you hated beets. Today you might not.
Write down your dreams in a little notebook
small enough to carry in your pocket or purse.
Every now and then, take out the notebook,
flip to the list, and read it aloud to yourself.
Rewrite the list every six months, without fail.
Avoid watching television before bed,
but if you must, find a good comedy
that makes you laugh out loud a lot.
This way, you will have good dreams.
And in your dreams, remind yourself
that you are dreaming,
and see what happens.