Silver-Tipped Swallow, 2015—forever

"Ask: what holds her up? What makes her cry? Does she remember the perfume she was wearing on the first day? What makes her feel holy, & is it the same thing she thinks of while standing in a cathedral? Are there more photographs in her camera roll of sunrise or sunset? Does she ever want to call you when a Bon Iver song comes on? Do her hands still shake when she’s onstage? Does she think of you as a footnote or as the one that got away? Does she think of you at all? It matters to you. Maybe it shouldn’t matter but it does. It does."

Topaz's Winters’ Silver-Tipped Swallow is an annual creative nonfiction column published in Half Mystic Journal & on the Half Mystic blog, chronicling the ways in which music intertwines with our experiences in loving, losing, & lingering on what remains.

Past editions of the column have covered subjects of fury, heartbreak, memory, mental illness, synaesthesia, & unrequited love in the modern age, all reflected through the lens of music.

read the column


"The Silver-Tipped Swallow column is something I look forward to every time I know an issue of Half Mystic Journal is on its way into the world. I adore everything Topaz writes, but her Silver-Tipped Swallow pieces are that extra level of special. They pull me in and take me on a journey, and they always stay with me after the last word."

Chiara Sullivan, book blogger at books for a delicate eternity

"When I want to be alone and retreat into myself, I read Topaz Winters' Silver-Tipped Swallow. It’s a reminder that there is always a kindred soul out there who hears the same music as you, one that has been kissed and bitten by it and still went on loving it, and there is nothing more comforting than that. For all the sensations and emotions I have felt but could never find the words for, Topaz has done so."

Margaryta Golovchenko, author of Pastries and Other Things History Has Tried to Choke Us With Miso Mermaid

"‘A song can be a prayer or a sin. This is not the hard part, it's just the truth.’ Topaz Winters' Silver-Tipped Swallow column neither hesitates nor shies away from heartbreak, pain, and longing. Instead, Winters writes with raw and steadfast honesty, dissecting what it means to ache, to love, to hurt, and to listen, through both the harmony of song and the cacophony of life." 

Kanika Lawton, author of Wildfire heart & editor-in-chief of l’éphémère review

"In her Silver-Tipped Swallow series, Winters’s language is musical, her words arranging notes and memory, side-by-side in jagged rhythms and aching contemplation. The entries are not just a reminder of how our love letters feel, but more importantly, of how they sound when we write them in our minds or say farewell to them in our hearts." 

E.R. Warren, author of the princess and the fox demon & burnt chocolate, faerie king