online magazine for short, good writing

Category: News


by Treehouse Editors

Welcome to Treehouse, an online magazine for good, short writing. Treehouse published new issues from 2012 to 2015, and again from 2017 to 2020. While the magazine is now permanently closed, we invite you to browse our past publications of poetry, flash fiction, essays, and genre-benders from a variety of talented authors. We are forever grateful to the community of writers, readers, and editors who helped make Treehouse a reality, and we hope our past issues will continue to inspire, provoke, and entertain.


Announcing the Final Issue of Treehouse

by Treehouse Editors

Dear readers,

We hope you’re all safe and well during these difficult, uncertain times. Tomorrow, March 23rd, we will be publishing the first piece in the final issue of Treehouse, and will continue to publish new pieces every Monday and Friday through the end of April. At that point, Treehouse will close its doors permanently, but this website will remain active for anyone who’d like to look through our past issues. Our Twitter account will also remain active for the foreseeable future; however, our Facebook page will be deleted. Thank you for your patience; it’s been a pleasure reading and sharing great literature with you all.

–Laura Casteel, Managing Editor

A Farewell to Treehouse

by Treehouse Editors

To our wonderful readers, writers, and supporters,

Recently, we made the sad and difficult but ultimately necessary decision to shut down Treehouse permanently, after a majority of the editors voted to do so. We have closed submissions and will be putting out our final issue shortly, so if you’ve submitted something already, don’t worry; it will still be considered. This website will remain active so that our past publications can still be enjoyed.

There are a variety of reasons why we’ve made this decision. One is that some of the editors, myself included, are going through periods of transition in our lives and all of the difficulties and uncertainties that come with that. Since all of our staff are volunteers, I could not in good conscience expect them to keep working on Treehouse without pay. This leads to another reason, the fact that it’s challenging to sustain something like Treehouse in the beginning without financial investors. All of the submission fees have gone directly toward paying for our Submittable account and website expenses, and when the fees aren’t enough to cover these expenses, I pay for them myself, which is no longer affordable for me.

We’re grateful for having the opportunity to read, publish, and share the work of so many incredible writers in the years since Treehouse’s inception at UNC-Wilmington in 2012, and we sincerely thank all of our contributors and readers, as well as the founding editors of Treehouse who came before us. This especially includes Johannes Lichtman, the “mother goose to the Treehouse gaggle” who, as an MFA student at UNCW, got together a bunch of us scrappy undergrads to start an online magazine that took off in ways I never imagined. He has a novel out right now that you should read.

Once we’ve finished going through our backlog of submissions, we’ll begin posting content for the final issue, and one last farewell post after we’ve published our last piece. Again, thank you to everyone who helped make us a success while we lasted.

                                                                                                       –Laura Casteel, Managing Editor 




Brief Encounter: Keeping Mum

by Treehouse Editors

Karan Parrack

The summer my husband and I moved to the Texas Hill Country and bought
a house on two sloping, rocky acres west of Austin, we had just added to our
family an astonishingly large yellow lab puppy named Mason. Unfortunately, the acreage was not fenced. While Mason bounded and romped across the spacious land, chasing but never quite catching the rabbits and deer that roamed freely, we had to tether him to a stake in the side yard whenever we left the house. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it worked for the time.

By mid-October, the weather turned to more fall-like temperatures and the Hill Country became absolutely gorgeous. Our house had a fantastic wooden front porch with five steps leading up to it. I pictured how beautiful my country home would look with colorful pots of mums arranged artfully on the steps, much like some picture out of Southern Living. I bought multiple pots and placed them along the front steps. However, the neighbors had warned me about the futility of planting any flowers due to the large deer population. They ate almost anything that bloomed, that year in particular due to a severe drought. It dawned on me that I could use Mason, by now a strapping, lanky ten-month old, to scare away any deer that dared to approach the flowers. I planned to move his tether to the shady area at the base of the porch, and if any deer came near, Mason’s exuberant barking and jumping would scare them away. The next morning, with total confidence, I left Mason by the porch while I went to work.

Late in the afternoon I arrived back home. As I drove up the winding driveway, I peered past the trees to enjoy the beauty of fall flowers lining my front steps. To my dismay, I couldn’t make out any spots of color. Running to the front porch, I discovered that Mason, the guard dog, had proceeded to eat and destroy the flowers himself! Slobbery pots indented with teeth marks lay fallen in the dirt, and the flowers themselves had been shaken and shredded. A few limp bits of greenery remained littered around the steps, and as for Mason, his nose was crusted with dirt. I sank down on a step and shared a good laugh with Mason, clueless and contented, over how my plan had backfired.

Karan Parrack is a native Texan who has taught high school English and English as a Second Language for more than 30 years.

New Brief Encounters Prompt: When Life Gives You Lemons…

by Treehouse Editors

We’re excited to announce that Brief Encounters submissions are back open, and our newest prompt is: When Life Gives You Lemons…

Do you make lemonade, or lemon dill potatoes? Do you light the lemons on fire and hurl them through life’s windows to let it know that you’re not to be screwed with? Can you make lemonade without sugar and water? Send us your most creative and unexpected stories of making the best of a bad situation, whether they be poetry or prose (as long as they’re 400 words or fewer, of course).

We can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!

New BE Prompt: Willful Bad Decisions

by Treehouse Editors

The new writing prompt for our next round of Brief Encounters submissions is: Willful Bad Decisions!

Ever done something that you knew was a bad idea, but went ahead and did anyway? The text you shouldn’t have sent, the job you shouldn’t have quit, or the hornets’ nest you shouldn’t have kicked? Send us your super-short (400 words or less) pieces on the theme of red flags deliberately ignored. For more information about Brief Encounters, see our submission guidelines. We can’t wait to read your good, short writing!


This Week in Words – March 3

by Treehouse Editors

Rachel Bondurant

AWP 2018 is gearing up to start in a week. Oh, how I long to be there. Are you going to Tampa? If so, Barrelhouse has a list of things to do and not do at their table. As a side note, if you’re not following Barrelhouse on Twitter, what are you doing with your life?

You know what the world needs? More subscription boxes. Wait, allow me to be more specific. What does the world need? More subscription boxes for writers. I don’t know about you, but I love getting mail. And I especially love getting mail pertaining to this magical, insufferable craft. Scribbler is the one I’ve subscribed to. It’s brand new, brought to you by actual published authors, and full of all sorts of delightful writerly crap. Real talk: I’ve done no research in this area, so if you know of other boxes for writers, stop hoarding the treasure and share with us.

The other day, someone I know casually presented me with a fantastically terrible piece of writing a published author friend of hers wrote. It was a short little sample chapter beginning about a woman, so obviously written by a man that it should have been a joke. It reminded me of this Twitter hall-of-famer. And that led me to discover this. Don’t get me wrong; I’d love for sexism to get solved, but then…who would we laugh at for being terrible?

Update on my almost-a-book-club project: Lolita. If you haven’t read this book, you must. It’s so well-written, and it’s actually funny. Most importantly, it will make you feel all kinds of things that you don’t want to feel. I hate myself for loving it so far, and I’m not sorry about any of it. My friends are thoroughly enjoying the audiobook version, by the way, which is narrated by Jeremy Irons. He played H.H. in the 1997 movie adaptation, so that’s why, but it’s still impossible not to imagine the story being told by Scar from The Lion King.