Emma Callen, MA

Junior Writer

Emma is a freelance writer fascinated by the relationship between history and psychology. She graduated cum laude from Colorado College, where she spent her free time writing poetry in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. She now writes both creative essays and articles that explore everything from mythology to artificial intelligence. Emma’s love for writing first took hold as a child growing up in a close-knit cooperative community in New York. She spent her formative years exploring the woods surrounding her community, writing beneath the trees.

As a Story Terrace writer, Emma interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

Change and Love

He hunches over the microphone, his laugh lines creasing as he begins. Marty’s first words sidle through the crowd lightly and delicately as waiters wipe down our tables. His voice triggers something in us and we, as one, shift in our seats. Memories from my childhood years in the Colony come rushing back, from the forever-green woods to this old dairy barn where we now gather to celebrate our Jewish heritage. Marty’s right hand shakes as he takes the microphone, and he steadies it quickly with his left.

“So, I have early onset Alzheimer’s,” he says casually, turning the statement into a joke as he begins his routine.

He smiles and breathes in the crowd’s hesitant laughter. I look down from the hayloft where I sit in shock, and all at once I am keenly aware of the age shown in the faces below. The women’s powdered faces sag, their earlobes large and stretched from decades of holding heavy earrings. Even my parents seem more delicate.

*

A little color was lost that evening, like a certain shade of blue had been plucked out of existence. The world grew older; I saw Marty’s age in every face.

That night was just the first blow. At moments, the change can be heartbreaking; Marty’s jokes are now lost somewhere inside of him, unable to take root. Those who were present at the founding of the Colony are now gone. I pass houses that used to belong to people I knew. Although this change can threaten scarcity, making us aware of all that might be lost, it also has the ability to focus our love.

*

The other day, I saw Marty get out of his car. His feet scraped the gravel and his wife hugged him as they held hands and walked inside. I held onto a small frame of beauty created as the light hit them, their clasped hands disappearing behind the door.

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