Contributors – Issue 8

Spring 2016 Issue 8

Theme: The itch and scratch of spring.

To our Contributors: Tell The Sigh Press about an itch you’d like to scratch.


Lillian Rodriguez: I have many pursuits that occupy my time, and many more obsessions that occupy my mind. I suppose this makes me an artist, so after receiving my BFA from Alfred University, New York in 2015, I moved to Florence, Italy, for an artist residency. I spend my days observing, writing, photographing, and collaging it all together in constant search of some clarity.

Lillian Rodriguez

Why is more validity given to life in front of open eyes than life behind eyes closed?


“John Gerard Sapodilla, when and how did you start writing short stories?”
“From time to time I was far from home during the week, at night I used to call home and tell a fairytale I had invented to my then little daughter. My stories were recorded and later I put them on paper.”

Scratching an itch can be dangerous. I always intended to visit Victoria Falls. What if I fell in the Zambesi? So, I am going to Naples in the spring, where they make the proper Pizza Margherita and on the way I will stop in Florence, for Fiorentina di Razza Chianina. Scratching two itches is better than one.

JJ Piglet: I was trained as a geologist, appropriate given the mining history of the north of England, but I have always preferred spangles and diamonds, so I became a burlesque dancer on the ‘Miners and Working Men’s Clubs’ circuit. Sadly these were closed due to Health & Safety regulations and I now resort to secretarial duties and mole-catching.

In the real world  my time is spent in the wild rural Pennines of northern England so accordingly I feel the need to experience more culture, beautiful architecture, glorious wines, milder weather and fewer sheep. Italy is where I choose to satisfy these needs and stretch my imagination.


Erzsébet Gilbert. Things I’ve done: dwelt in Florence for three years, gotten an impractical degree in the Philosophy of Science, and almost died. I’ve also published one book, entitled Logodaedaly or Sleight-of-Words, released by Wolverine Farm Publishing, which earned IndieFab/Foreword Reviews’ 2011 Nonfiction Book of the Year. Things I adore: astrophysics, memory, cats, words, and love.

Logodaedaly or Sleight-of-Words Review

An itch I’d wish to scratch? I love that feeling of dust between the toes, but, as of yet, I have not visited the moon.


Alice-Catherine Jennings holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University. She is the author of Katherine of Aragon: A Collection of Poems (Finishing Line Press, 2016) and her poetry has been published worldwide in various literary journals. A summer residency at Tenuta di Spannocchia near Siena, Italy, sparked an interest in medieval mystical writers. Jennings divides her time between Oaxaca, Mexico, and Texas, where she lives with her husband, photographer and historian, John Mark Jennings.

Alice-Catherine Jennings

Spring in the desert of Far West Texas is the driest, hottest and windiest season of the year. I hate it. It is the time when I stuff my pillow with minty herbs and dream of water and rain and all things green.


Jeff Shapiro, born and raised in Massachusetts, is a former columnist for the UK edition of Cosmopolitan and has had nonfiction articles published in New Society and International magazine. He has authored two novels, Renato’s Luck (with movie rights optioned to Mango Productions, Inc.) and Secrets of Sant’Angelo. He teaches English at the Università Popolare Senese, and Creative Writing at Siena School for Liberal Arts and the Siena Art Institute. A resident of Italy since 1991, Jeff and his wife, Italian singer Valeria Indice, live outside Siena. He is currently at work on his third novel.

I once asked a British friend whether she, too, noticed the extraordinary intensity of springtime here in Tuscany. “Absolutely,” she said. “Makes you want to shag a tree.” More than an itch I’d like to scratch, my sincerest wish is to never ever lose the itch.


Laura Fraser is a San Francisco-based freelance writer who is the author of the NYT-bestselling memoir An Italian Affair, as well as the memoir All Over the Map, along with hundreds of national magazine articles, some of which you may have read when you had your highlights done. Although she’s never pulled up stakes and moved to Italy (hate to give up that rent- controlled SF flat), she visits as often as she can. She is the co-founder of, which publishes e-books by and for women. Her latest book, The Risotto Guru, is available there. Laura also teaches writing workshops in Italy and Mexico, which you can find out about at

Laura Fraser 


I’m itching to go to an Italian island, sit on a terrace overlooking the sea, and eat a lunch of stuffed totani followed by a pasta of fresh fennel fronds and sardines, accompanied by the light local wine. Then, after an espresso and some conversation, I’d like to go jump into that sea for a swim.