Film photo taken by me on Ilford HP5 Plus

I went back through some Instagram stories this morning, and I realized that it’s a place I’ve stored some memories — like more than posing — I’ve been telling a story about myself for my future self. Going back three years ago, I can say that I’ve done some hard work for me, and it feels good. I remember beginning that journey thinking, “I’ll be able to see how good this is going to be in like three years.” It takes time to move on.

Talking to my therapist, I’ve learned two things about myself: (1) I feel responsible for…


They tell you to write and not edit as you write. As a teacher, I repeat this nonsense, but rarely follow it myself. I mean I sort of follow it, but then I’ll edit a couple of paragraphs before moving on.

Writing in school is a lot of BS, learning the formulas and following through. I think for a while this was something I rejected as a waste of time, but now, I see formulas — the formula of constructing a paragraph, of building an essay with reasons and evidence, of writing an argument, etc. — key to successful writing…


We’re reading headlines as we scroll through Facebook, avoiding the actual content because our minds have numbed-our new normal. And I am in the in-between, waiting to be released from my commitments so that I don’t have to keep doing this alone. Isolation fills me with anxiety and peace.

My children zombie out watching the television screen or scream fighting over a Barbie’s hat and the blanket roof to their chair fort. They stomp loudly in our second-floor apartment, and I imagine my neighbors talking about me behind my back. They’re calling my landlord and asking to have me evicted…


I am every person and no person. I am the one you want and the one you hate

“Aren’t you worried.”
“Everyone’s sets are so…this big.”
“How are you gonna handle this. People get high…going to the bar.”
“The craziest thing to watch.”
“It’s truly like wowing.”

I’m sitting at a window. Down on a street corner a woman is scratching another woman’s back.

My thoughts feel blank. Other people seem more interesting than me. By writing this now I’m avoiding responsibilities. Isn’t that what life is about? Sifting through what’s reasonable or right. Choosing what feels best in the…


My name is Alana Settle, and I am the editor/creator/curator of Phoenixmoth. In 2017, I put this publication up on Medium and with the help of my friend, Jeremiah, gave it some pretty designs. Since then, it has been sitting empty, as my life took some major twists and turns, and I had zero time to give to start this thing. But I’m back!

I am a queer, white, mother (she/her). I am a writer, teacher, and learner interested in Tarot and astrology (Aquarius sun, Cancer rising, Libra moon) as mind centering, presence engaging storytelling tools. I love the outdoors…


January 2018
Jeremiah and I drove together to Vermont. It was snowy and beautiful in New England. We spent a whole week adventuring together and visiting friends without our kids. The universe felt like it was shifting. As I graduated with my MFA from Goddard College, I read an essay in front of 100 people that recounted my trauma processing my attraction to women over the course of several years alongside my Christianity. Writers I admire came to me saying, “You have strong work.” …


I want to be someone who is able to offer love that is not attached to pain, but I’m not sure what this looks like.

“A parody of love and loneliness” or “the epidemic of loneliness” or “what is loneliness?”
I am considering the selfishness of youth.
I am considering the youth I lost.

Please, ask me a question and then listen to my answer.
The most intimate form of care and love lives in the empathy of pursuing the knowledge of another and hearing it.

How should I exist?

As my body is lifted, I hover above the ground…


“You are here for a purpose.”

This is something I’ve always believed. Sometimes I struggle to believe it more than at other times. But it feels significant in this season somehow. The events that have begun to transpire along with the friends that I have gained, this time feels significant and on purpose.

“Maybe God is a man or a woman, and she’s set something in motion.”

And I suppose this may be true. I’m watching the sun set on one thing and rise on another, and in the most intimate and beautiful way a relationship has transformed into something…


When does a story begin or end?
What does the past say about the present?

On New Years Eve, I listened to my husband explain that he felt a dark hole growing in his heart. He could not describe the emotion he felt attaching itself to that hole. “Perhaps the emotion is the unnamable one,” I said, “the one that we don’t know. You know? That one our culture cannot feel.”​

We heard about this emotion on a podcast that we listened to on our way to Washington State. The emotion was described as being silent or a groaning. I…


Arkansas River, Tulsa, OK

How do you separate yourself from who you want to be and who you are?
“I have accepted I don’t know is a better answer than I know.”
Insecure and helpless wrestling within ourselves to become ourselves while conforming to who someone else wants us to be.
It’s split me.
You are two people, three people, four people.
How many people will we become before we become the right one?

My children’s eyes are watching me.
They see my pain and desire my comfort.
“I will give you the affection I long for.”

What does love look like? It is…

Alana Settle

Writer, English teacher, MFA holder

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