Barking up a nearby tree

If you looked out my desk window at my Seabury home, you’d recognize the setting for Rabbits and Coyotes. If you went out in the morning to pooper-scoop behind your poodle, the rabbit droppings in the grass would tell you what he’d been barking at last night. If you went out to look, on at least some nights, you might hear the yelps of some remote progeny of the critters that you used to hear sing in the California desert. And when your daughter came to visit, she might warn you that those wild animals have been known to go after domestic pets.

And you’d have the makings of a story that appealed to the editors of Metafore, a literary magazine created by students at the little-known Maharishi University in Fairfield, Iowa.

You can read it on page 40 of their ==>>online magazine    . . . . or more easily ==>>here.

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From ‘Promises’ to ‘Independence’

I can’t remember what prompted this bit of flash fiction. I first wrote it under the title “Promises,” drawing on more than one state legislator I’ve known who couldn’t quite evade leadership’s arm-twisting on one bill or another. Nobody took it, so after a while I did a very minor rewrite and began sending it out as “Independence”. The Writer’s Club took it; you can read it ==>>here

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“Elegiac, not full of bravado”

The Museum of Americana, an online literary review  that “revives or repurposes the old, the dying, the forgotten or the almost entirely unknown aspects of Americana,” invited very short (500-word) essays involving “creatures . . . from pets to beasts of burden.”

That prompted a reminiscence of Deep Springs, California. In accepting it, editors Lauren Alwan and Lindsey Griffin said they “enjoyed the elegiac stance, an unexpected approach to a subject often full of bravado.” It’s published now; read it ==>>here.

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A dating app for a widower?

I doubt that many folks here in my retirement community  have even considered online dating services like eHarmony, Match, etc. But a few months ago someone mentioned trying one, so who knows? there may be others. I would find the idea distasteful, but was prompted to imagine a recently widowed man being urged by his son to sign up for such a service, and balking. Aiming for a sense of mournful open expanse, I placed it on the Platte River in Nebraska where the sandhill cranes stop each spring, which prompted a title.

A literary magazine named Nightingale & Sparrow wanted stories for their 5th issue on a ‘love’ theme, and they liked my Threshing. You can buy the volume at Amazon or other booksellers; read it online at their website (my story is at page 57) or (easiest) read it ==>here

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Yankee originals

Toho Journal, a fledgling literary magazine in Philadelphia, was looking for short-short stories with a strong sense of place. Toho is an ancient Japanese word for sword, and the editors wanted “pieces that are sincere and honest and that send shivers down our spine.” In less than 500 words.

I’d recently written about two of the most sincere and honest neighbors Brad and I had in our 65 years together, and I thought I’d successfully conveyed a sense of Connecticut farming country where we built our first house. I wasn’t sure about shivers down the spine, but I sent the story, and they liked it.

It’s now online at https://www.tohopub.com/thrift

. . . and of course here at my blog

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A snowstorm transplanted

Pandemonium Press, in California, publishes three oddly-named online magazines. One of them, riverbabble, took my “Sirens” two years ago. Another, Doorknobs & Body Paint, last winter invited short-short (450-word) stories featuring descriptions of hard work. We’d just had a good Connecticut snowstorm; I’d gone out to be sure the men hard at work clearing our courtyard shovelled up to my patio door to accommodate my dog. I whipped out a little vignette, called it “A Path for Peanut”, and sent it out. Hardly great literature, but fun; an exercise in painting word pictures.

They didn’t take it.

In October Doorknobs had a new invitation: Short-shorts set in Bern, with a sub-theme of transcend, and somewhere using the the phrase considered as. It took maybe an hour to give my courtyard a view of the Swiss Alps, meet the other criteria, and re-name the piece “Une Piste pour Le Petit.”

Bingo! You can read it online — and find some other quirky pieces — at the Doorknobs website ==>>here

and find some other quirky pieces elsewhere in issue # 96

(It’s also right here at my blog.)

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Economical with electricity — and words

Toho Journal, a young print-and-online literary magazine based in Philadelphia, invited short stories for its second issue that managed a strong sense of place in less than 500 words.

The place that came to mind was New Hartford, where I built our first house — and the near neighbors who still largely lived off the woodlands as their Yankee forebears had. I called it Thrift.

The journal is available now for $20, and an online version is promised soon. Meantime, yo9u can read my st0ry ==>here.

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Death Valley at New Year’s

Falling Star Magazine invited short stories somehow involving an intersection. The one that popped into my mind was on a floor of Death Valley, where a college pal and I explored an unusual sand dune and got caught in a blinding sandstorm on New Year’s Eve almost 70 years ago. It was also, symbolically, a nice intersection of a dark desert and a hostelry ablaze with holiday lights.

But the magazine didn’t invite narrative non-fiction. Never mind, I’d turn myself into “Andy” and relate that night in the third person.

The editors liked it. You can buy a copy of the winter issue at an online bookstore name Lulu (sorry, they haven’t so far made this issue available online) — or just read it ==>>here

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Seeing Charlie Off

“We are here,” wrote the editor, “to explore the human condition . . . .  submit anything that explores your life views, existence, mortality, spirituality, conflict, and more.”

So the oddly-named online magazine Cleaning Up Glitter planned a different kind of October/Halloween issue. I had written, years ago, a slightly fictionalized account of a memorial service I’d attended, that I’d titled “Seeing Charlie Off.”  She liked it; you can read it ==>>here

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