Gentle reader, I wrote you a story.

***

It is two o’clock in the afternoon. The mailman revs his engine and moves on to the next house. The neighbor’s dog finally stops barking and the sunlight leaves shadows under the trees in the front yard.

A woman sits on the thick pine boards of her kitchen table. Her worn clogs have fallen off and lie on the linoleum at drunken angles. Her thin fringe of bangs wilt on her forehead. She leans back on her palms on the tabletop, taking long, slow breaths, taking the air into her lungs as deeply as it will go. On the table is a single sheet of stationery, crammed full of curling letters in different colors of ink, and a pen lies on top of it.

Her eyes are fixed on a spot across the room. “One wild and beautiful life,” says the handwritten note on the fridge, next to a handful of children’s drawings and grocery store greeting cards shouting their congratulations.

The sister always sends postcards with snatches of poetry scrawled on the back sides. This one was from San Francisco. They haven’t spoken in three years, but the postcards still come.

San Francisco.

So far away. But things would have to be very different.

She smiles. Life had been wild and beautiful. Before.

Now, it was going to be spectacular.

Read the rest of “Mother” over at The Swan Children.

***

a housekeeping note: in all the insanity that was Sunday, it appears that I have irretrievably lost my subscription list. if you want to get my posts in your email inbox, sign up again in the sidebar on the left. my apologies for the inconvenience.

xo, 

h



We’ve hit day 6! Which story is your favorite so far?

This one got pushed back to the end of the week because the author classically dissatisfied with it initially. But I think it’s found it’s sweet spot and you’ll be sure to enjoy his retelling of this myth.

Connor Park is a barista by trade, a baker after dark, and a writer by sheer vocational stubbornness. A recent graduate of Grace College, where he helped found and publish a brilliant but short-lived lit mag, Scribblous, Connor continues crafting poetry and fiction as he discovers just how much adventure is out there. He blogs on faith and creativity at keep-the-muse.com, tweets @keepthemuse, and, yes, gives a f*ck about an Oxford comma.

Women’s Work




While I was classmates with Ashley in college and enjoyed her feminist sass in class discussions, we never got to know each other very well. I always looked forward to her submissions to the school’s literary magazine I worked on — her pieces were well-written and punchy. I knew she kept writing after graduation, so I was excited when she submitted a couple stories for this week. This one stood out, and I think you’ll enjoy it just as much as I did. -H

Nothing to Lose (by Ashley Carpenter)



Stories get me excited. Especially ones that are true, honest, cutting to the quick of an emotion, a moment. This is why short stories are my favorite — there’s not enough space for a saga, just enough to cast for the reader quick character studies and a moment or two that let the reader in on their deepest emotional realities. In essence, the short story form provides case studies on being human.

Today’s first offering comes to us from Samantha Fields. Be sure to leave her some feedback in the comments and let her know what you think!

Song Without Words (by Samantha Field)


I love reading. When I was in third grade, my mom had me make a list of all the books I’d read in the last year. Once we got through the library loan records and my Sonlight reading list, I discovered that I’d read between two and three hundred books that year.

When I was in tenth grade, I fell behind and stopped working on most of my schoolwork for a lot of reasons–my mom had just had twins, I was babysitting for her a lot, I was stressed and probably depressed, I was socially isolated in unhealthy ways, and I coped by reading everything in sight. I read and drew and wrote lots that year, but mostly I read. Sometimes I think that books were my lifeline to sanity while I lived at home.

During college, people would ask me why I chose to be an English major. I’d jokingly tell them that it was so I could get good grades just for reading all the time like I would do anyway.

Paper writing intimidation, 2008.

Writing has always been part of who I am, as well. I wrote a historical fiction “novel” in high school, various short stories, and lots and lots of essays. In the last few years I have begun to explore poetry, write more fiction, and really focus on honing my craft.

But my favorite thing is still reading, challenging myself to read the greats and develop a good ear for quality language and voice and presence. To push myself to enjoy what I might not find easy in order to learn and stretch my own writing. And to just read for reading’s sake, savoring the presence of an author’s story and losing myself in someone else’s world and words.

Short stories are my very favorite of all. They fit well into a busy life. I love how they can be tight and focused like poetry, but the genre allows them to also be broader and more narrative. However, the form seems to be fading, and fewer authors are writing short stories and fewer schools are studying them. They’re not yet outdated, but there’s a slow fade happening for short stories in the publishing world. And that’s sad, because you’d think there would be a bigger market for them in the world of e-readers and online publishing venues and Twitter and blogs.

Inspired after attending a speaking event by Lorin Stein a few months back (promoting The Paris Review‘s new short story collection, Object Lessons), I decided I wanted to do more here with writing and promoting this great genre.

So here’s the plan:

During the first week of April, I’m going to host a short story week on Wine & Marble. 

And I want you to help.

I’d like to feature a short story every day from March 31st (Easter Sunday) to April 6th. 

That’s seven stories.

You write it, I’ll help you clean it up, and we’ll publish it here. 

I’ll be accepting submissions from now until March 23rd. Send them to me at wineandmarble@gmail.com. 

To kick this off, I’d like to give you a short story I wrote a couple years back. 

Click here to download Wine at Christmas.