Exploring loneliness

In conjuring up story ideas, I find myself exploring loneliness among seniors — a condition familiar to many of my retirement-community neighbors, although few talk about it.
I’m not sure how the idea came to me, but I imagined a man who was devastated when his wife divorced him years ago, who now reads of her death and wants to attend her memorial service. The story finally came together as “Parting Thoughts”. I sent it off to several magazines, including one called Discretionary Love that published my “Deja vu” last year. They liked this new one, too; it’s the lead short story in their May display; you can read it ==>there



Beware: Old Man with Chainsaw

Cosmic Daffodil Journal, an online magazine that published my “Outliving Sin” earlier this year, invited very short (600-word) stories with a Yin-Yang theme: exploring opposites.

That brought to mind a very real test of opposites here at Seabury where I live: Should our walking paths lead us through a pristine city park, or through a natural woods with dead and dying trees that give life to birds and other wildlife?
My offering, “A Sawyer’s Education”, is published this month. You can read it at Yin & Yang Ebook (scroll to the bottom of page, then to page 89)

OR, to avoid navigating cyberspace, read it ==>>right here


Death with Dignity

It is hardly surprising that in the retirement community where I live, median age 85, there are occasional conversations about planning for our demise. One of those prompted a short-short story that’s just been published by Flora Fiction. I’d send you there to read it, but it’s one of the literary magazines that wants you to buy a copy to read any of the contents, so it’s easiest for you to read it ==>here at my blog


Making funny with sin

I’ve never been much of a humor writer. But when Cosmic Daffodil Journal, an online literary magazine, invited under-500-word essays hinged on one or more of the “seven deadly sins”, my funny bone was tickled: Why not write about them all from the perspective of old age?
The editors liked it. You can read it at their website, but you’ll have to pick the little Seven Deadly Sins box and then scroll down to page 122. To start, go => here:

Or it may be easier to read it =>right here

Outliving Sin


Keyed up for exploration

A neighbor put out word earlier this year that he had lost or misplaced a key, asking that anyone who found it get it to him. A skeleton key.

By happy coincidence, a literary magazine that had published me before put out a call for short stories that might be illustrated with a simple image. Perfect! I began toying with the idea of a teen-ager finding such a key that would open his father’s liquor cabinet.

As it turned out, the prompting magazine held The Golden Key until the last minute and then said no-thanks. The next one I tried said my story had “come close”. A few months later an online magazine I hadn’t tried before, Backchannels, took it; it’s available now ==>>here


A Story Too True for Modern Sensibilities

I don’t think I’ve written a story that I really liked that proved so hard to get published.

I offered “Rattlesnakes” to a dozen magazines that focus on nature or the cowboy West, all of which have published some of my work. Most declined with their usual tactful language, but one was more candid — and appalled. “Well told,” the editor wrote, “but contrary to everything we espouse.”
Finally The Museum of Americana accepted it. You’ll understand why it was a hard sell when you read it ==>>there:


The demise of local journalism

Early this month I was speaker at the monthly Seabury Men’s Breakfast, and offered my pessimistic view of the decline if not demise of local journalism, and the impact on local government and democracy.
It drew a record attendance among my contemporaries here, and a video of the talk has been unusually well-received. It may be of some interest to the younger of those who follow me, so I’ve posted the text ==>here, and the video (22 minutes plus another 20 minutes of Q&A) is available at YouTube, ==>here.



Every time I have a story published that touches on loneliness in old age, I hear appreciative murmurs from neighbors in the retirement community I call home ( which is the model for my Harmony Acres stories). Occasional loneliness, I think, is a given among single folks of advanced age.
So I expect to hear approval of my A Bench with a View, published this week in Halcyon Days — perhaps the handsomest literary magazines that’s carried my work. I’m glad to have made it into their final edition.

You’ll only need to scroll down a couple of pages to read it online, on pages 3-4; look for the deer in shafts of forest sunlight here.  (If I float my cursor around it turns into a plus sign that obligingly makes the text big enough to reae comfortably.)

(Or, although you’ll miss the art, you can read it right here)



Some stories are pure invention, ideas that just pop into my head. The Other Woman is such a confection: Would someone contemplating  a senior complex like the one I live in be deterred when it seemed that the woman who ruined her marriage also lived there?
The editors of Change Seven, an online literary magazine based in West Virginia, who are partial to stories the involve change, liked it. You can read it at their website


A story as excuse for describing a rainstorm

We had a lot of rain in Connecticut this summer, some of it unusually heavy. Sitting at my computer desk, which overlooks a handsome courtyard, I watched one of them approach, darkening the sky, whipping the treetops, then unloosing a deluge.
I turned to the keyboard and tried to capture in words what was happening outside my window. Next day I went back to do a bit of polishing, and invented a story to entice readers into my description.
A New York City online magazine with the improbable title Hearth & Coffin was looking for stories under 500 words, for what it would call its ‘Micro’ edition. I thought they might like my quickie storm, and they did; you can read it now at their website