Occasionally memory goes back to 1966-67, when the Alicia Patterson Foundation sent me with the family to study the governance of two great rivers that traversed both Communist and non-Communist nations — the Danube and the Mekong. Although my reports dealt with government action, there was time to marvel at how people lived — and in Cambodia, one unique way they fished.
Wanderlust Journal liked the account; you can read it ==>there
Most Seabury residents are determined to keep exercising into old age, and if I step out at daybreak I’m sure to see some brisk walkers. If I watch for her, I can also see the lady who delivers newspapers making her rounds.
She must also see the walkers, I thought one day; suppose one of them literally started out at sunrise: Could she tell the time of year by where she crossed paths with him? An opportunity to wax eloquent about early morning sights and sounds..
The Westchester Writers Workshop liked it. It’s out in their magazine Confetti. You can read it ===>here
A relatively new entrant to the huge array of literary magazines, The Muleskinner Journal is different because it sends out the stories and poems chosen for its next edition one per day by email, then later compiles them into a paper version.
Editor in Chief Gary Campanella says, “We look for writing of all kinds that uses skill, wit, and determination to deliver the goods.” I wasn’t sure about all that, but when I saw that the theme for the next edition was “Mirrors,” I was delighted: I’d recently written a short story whose protagonist goes to a mirror to compare her old-age face with her high school yearbook.
I titled it “Likenesses,” and it’s out now. Read it online here
An Irish blessing
I don’t usually offer stories to magazines in other countries, but an Irish magazine called Sonder got my attention: The theme for their next issue was “identity,” and I had a short story that ought to fit exactly. I sent it off, and it did. My “Extraordinary” is published today.
Sonder is a magazine published in paper and ink, not online. You can order a copy for 10 pounds Irish, or read it ===>here
PS Sonder is an obscure word: The realization that everyone you encounter has a mind as vivid and complex as your own.
My Dad loved nothing more than standing in the pounding waters of Montana’s Madison River, casting for trout No diversion pleased him more, although other contests with waterways came close. It took me a while to understand the allure; when I wrote it up, The Museum of Americana liked it. It’s out now; you can read it –>>there
I can’t remember what prompted me to start writing Déjà Vu; someone barging into dinner? It was two years ago, and I set it aside incomplete, then had trouble finding the draft because I hadn’t used the accent marks the first time! Anyway, I finished it and began sending it out seven months ago. An online magazine called “Discretionary Love” liked it, and it’s out now; read it ==>>there:
I wrote most of what finally became “Arson” in one night almost three years ago. I can’t remember what prompted it; probably a news account of violence against a girl friend. It’s wholly made-up fiction, but my daughter correctly observes that the poodle sounds like mine.
I set it aside, thinking it needed a more decisive ending. I find, scattered over time in my computer, four versions of this story, each with a different name, all strikingly similar. I finally decided that an inconclusive ending was okay, and began sending it out. The Vineyard, a new magazine of an old literary site, liked it, and it’s out now, in print soon here==> , and online (scroll to page 14) here==>
My short story Miss Sam is a nostalgia trip: The setting is unmistakably Calabash Bay, Jamaica, where Brad and I had our Villa Hikaru built 55 years ago. (It’s still there, handsomely improved by new owners and still for rent by vacationers. See recent pictures at villahikaru-dot-com; read my book, Near A Far Sea, elsewhere at this website.) I even borrowed some names from the neighbors, although Samantha and her three-generational family are entirely fictional, as is the story.
But I owe an apology to the Jamaican zoning authorities and power company: No one would build a power line along a beach, if nothing else for fear of hurricanes. That proposed line is purely an invention; I needed something for Tommy to sneer at.
The story is now published by Meat for Tea, The Valley Review, but isn’t at their website — only in a for-sale book. But you can read it ==>>right here
In the fortnight since I assumed bears must be asleep and dared to resume feeding birds, I’ve had a parade at the suet cakes just outside my window: bluejays, cardinals, woodpeckers, nutcrackers, juncoes and several kinds of sparrows. I occasionally imagine a greeting through the closed window: Good morning, Mrs. Cardinal.
Which led me to imagine someone really trying to talk with such visitors, which led to a whimsical bit of flash fiction that appealed to Open: A Journal of Arts & Letters. You can read it in less than five minutes ==>>here
A cowboy’s lariat is a tool of both sport and hard work – braids of stiff hemp, back in the day when I used one, but nowadays more likely of nylon or polyester. Throwing it may look easy in a rodeo, but it’s an acquired skill.
Describing that skill in words proved a different kind of exercise, but I liked the outcome and tried it out on the literary circuit. The editors of Moria Literary Magazine (Woodbury University, Los Angeles) say they had more than 350 submissions for their new edition; mine was one of 52 they picked.
It’s a five-minute read ==>>here