I wrote a first draft of “Wandered” in 2007 — long before even a hint of the Alzheimer’s that would overtake Brad, and several years before undertaking my Fairfield MFA. I can’t even remember what triggered the idea of a son’s efforts to retrace the steps of a dementia-stricken father who disappeared without a trace. Maybe I read something about Eskimos, whose supposed customs crept into the text.
In any case, I set it aside — until Zimbell House early this year solicited manuscripts for their their proposed anthology of stories about people who disappear without a trace. I resurrected my draft, improved it considerably, and sent it off, with more than usual confidence. Sure enough, it was accepted in mid-April, and is now in bookstores.
The package in the mail was unexpected: The May 2018 issue of the California-based Penumbra Art and Literary Journal, which includes my“Sweet Charity”. I’d completely forgotten the short story had been accepted.
More than a year ago a friend asked if there shouldn’t be a law against panhandling in a nearby town. I said no right away, but continued to think about the question. “Sweet Charity” was the result — and I owe the ending to my Fairfield MFA pals, who didn’t like my original and sent me back to the keyboard.
Counting three stories that will be printed in the next month, by the way, this brings me one shy of an even four dozen stories published.You can read this one at page 86 of the online version of the magazine, but it’s easier found ==>right here
Sometimes I marvel at the way elaborate inventions suggest themselves when I jot down and develop a fragment of memory or description of place. Empty Nest, just published in the Bowling Green online magazine, draws from a very real memory of taking our daughter to college. The rest, I assure you, is pure fiction.
The magazine — a PDF the size of a thick book, with the work of a dozen other short story writers and a flock of poets — is available free here. But you can access my short story much more easily by clicking ==>HERE.
My first few days in Phnom Penh in 1966 were stunningly memorable, not least for my middle-of-the-night initial encounter with Norodom Sihanouk, the monarch/president. It was also my first trip with the cyclopousse (pedicab) driver who would somehow always be available when I wanted to go somewhere — and who would ultimately confess that he reported on my travels to the police once a week.
I departed from my usual fiction routine to write a memoir slice that’s published today in the online literary magazine Lowestoft Chronicle. Read it in the online magazine by clicking ==>here — or (easier) click ==>right here at my blog
“Montana Mouthful,” the press release said, “is an independent, digital literary magazine devoted to publishing short fiction and nonfiction, poetry, artwork, and photography. The debut issue, themed “Firsts” is now available.”
As it happened, I’d been working on a short story that fit the “firsts” bill. One of those efforts that began with simply trying to paint a physical scene, a mid-summer hayfield, and waiting to see what my protagonist wanted to happen. The title and theme came not from any schoolteacher, but from one of my first newspaper editors. It all came together, and the editors of Montana Mouthful liked it. You’ll have to flip through to page 13, but you can read it –>here.
It began, at a Fairfield University MFA week, as an exercise in making sounds come alive — but then it grew into a short-short that has finally seen the light of day in riverbabble, a California-based online magazine. You can read it there by clicking ==>here.
What a great week! On Sunday, one of my favorite short stories, “Exoneration,” was accepted. It was part of my MFA thesis and has ever since been looking for a home. Finally! Then on Tuesday, two more were taken: “Tchotchkes” and “Sirens.” None of them like one another. As usual, I can only post a tease here now, a few paragraphs to whet the appetite; it will be February or later before you can read the entire stories. A minor frustration.
Then, today, a copy of The Ocotillo Review arrived in the mail, with my “Chip Off the Old Block” and 260 very readable pages from other authors. The book is available ==>here — or you can read my story right now: click ==>here
It’s taken so long to get this story into print — just published by Vignette Review — that I had to go back and re-read it. I’d forgotten how much it relies on dialogue, and how much it leaves for the reader to deduce. Try it yourself; click ==> here
I had to stretch my short story “The Good Seed”: Zimbell House wanted four stories, each at least 3,000 words, for its forthcoming anthology The Professor, “a collection of erotic tales.” I had the professor in the story already, and was more erotic than I usually try. I added a few words, and it was a perfect fit. It’s now available from Amazon and other booksellers, but you can read it ==>here.
Rosette Maleficarum calls itself a new literary journal that “shows the beautiful, yet depraved nature that lies within reality, both in humanity and the environment surrounding us. From dark, Gothic fairy tales, to dream-laced poems, the Maleficarum dances between the boundaries of life and death itself.” Maleficarum is perhaps best translated as “witchcraft”.
I hadn’t written “Trails” with witchcraft or depravity in mind, although it has its dark side. A bit embarrassing: As often happens, I’ve taken a tiny fraction of a new friend and developed a tale entirely unlike her. Anyway, the magazine’s editor (would you believe? Robin Goodfellow, editor of a journal inviting witchcraft!) thought my story fit her criteria. Read it here: