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The Business of Saving Souls on SickLit

Update: My prickly story about the conflation of business, big church and politics appears on SickLit Magazine today, May 15.

This is a reprint of the story which first appeared on another of my favourite literary journals, Literally Stories.

This is what SickLit Senior Editor Nicole Ford Thomas had to say about it:

“I really like “The Business of Saving Souls,” as it seems at first like a warm and fuzzy church parable about doing good, but down deep, it’s a lesson about standing up to corruption–all corruption–and fighting to take care of each other.”

SickLit recently ran a reprint of another of my stories, “The Rothmans Job”, which first appeared on the vibrant Canadian literature site, CommuterLit. I have a total of seven stories on CommuterLit and another five on Literally Stories. Thanks to the editors of all of these exceptional online literary journals!

I hope you enjoy the pieces and welcome your comments.

Special thanks to the editors at SickLit. They are awesome sauce. (Or, “hosanna!” as they’d read responsively at the NTCCF.)

Allfornow – Mitch

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The Beefeater and the Donnybrook

 

Update: 4.11.17 – Hi, from a sunny day in April, beside the lake,

Janice and I have been travelling and have both been down with a cold lately. My blog activity has been limited, though I have been able to keep up with daily writing. Today I heard from editor and literary paragon, Charlie Fish, that another of my stories has been accepted for his award-winning site, Fiction on the Web.

Feedspot has named FotW a TOP 20 short story site on the internet!

Short-story_20_transparent_216pxHere’s what Charlie says about FICTION on the WEB: “It is a labour of love. Every single story on here is hand-picked and carefully edited by me. I don’t have a staff, and I don’t make any money. I do this because I want to give authors a chance to get their work out there, and I love sharing great stories with the world.

FICTION on the WEB has been online since 1996, which makes it the oldest short stories website on the Internet.”

Here are a few snippets from my latest story:

The Beefeater and the Donnybrook

By Mitchell Toews

Copyright Mitchell Toews ©2017

MICAH JAMES WAS shorter than average and had an interesting kind of face. His eyes were recessed and penetrating and his complexion had the weathered texture and ruddy colour of a mountain climber or a big game hunter. He was neither. Micah James was a quiet, middle-aged family man – an engineer working for the City of Halifax in Canada.

The Jameses were leaving together soon on a long-awaited trip to London. His wife, Marion, had planned the trip from the packing process through tipping and all conceivable forms of disaster planning.

[SNIP]

“Ok, I’m on it! Walk will do me good.” Micah said, giving Marion an assuring glance and summoning up some energy for the trip. It was fine – the kind of little blip he had been secretly hoping for.

[SNIP]

Twisting in his crouch, Micah was eyeball to kneecap with a pair of creased black pants, gold piping on the sides. His eyes followed the stripes up to a white satin tunic and topping that, a dapper red fez. Then the voice again, but softer, “Are you alright, mate?”

[SNIP]

He waited in line at the reception desk, listening to an instrumental version of a Bob Dylan song. It was piping out of a speaker in the tile ceiling above him and he laid his head back to peer at it. Thinking of his own rapid descent into hell, he picked detritus from his oily beard; bits of styrofoam and other rancid urban spod. His thinning hair hung in limp disarray and the belt of the raincoat had come loose and was dragging on the ground behind him like an obedient, filthy snake.

[SNIP]

See it on FotW on May 19: an ever-worsening yarn that plays out on the streets of central London. 

Other stories that have appeared on Fiction on the Web:

Nothing to Lose

July 8, 2016. A baker and former hockey player reminisces on his colourful history as he delivers buns in the dusty Manitoba sun.

Heavy Artillery

Oct. 30, 2016. The story of young Matty and his characterful neighbour encountering a travelling salesman in the sleepy Manitoba town of Hartplatz.

The Preacher and His Wife

 Jan. 23, 2017. In Hartplatz, rural Canada, a neighbourhood scandal brews when young Sarah reports that her grandmother’s engagement ring has gone missing.

The Rothmans Job

February 19, 2017 UPDATE

SickLitMagazine has advised that they will be publishing a reprint of “The Rothmans Job” which first appeared (see below) on CommuterLit.com.

The story will run in late March or early April.

sicklit

allfornow – Mitch

January 30, 2017 UPDATE

TODAY, this twisted Canadian yarn, born in absurd truth and transported on the wings of a fictional 1991 prairie storm, is published by CommuterLit – a Toronto based online purveyor of morning short stories, lox and bagels. (And they are all out of lox and bagels.) 

http://commuterlit.com/

If a Neo-Noir Xmas Tragicomedy sub-genre exists, then this story belongs there. If not, then maybe this story inspires it?

A snowy night. An unlocked warehouse. A characterful materfamilias.

The Rothmans Job – EXCERPTS
By Mitchell Toews
.
A STORM LIKE THIS was rare. Snowflakes blocked out sky and sun and moon and stars. The flakes – as big as baby fists – had been falling for three days. Light and dry, they flew, then settled, then flew again – whipped by a dodgy north wind. At night, the tops of buildings disappeared except for the occasional glimpse of a red tower beacon or a snapping row of flags, like those atop The Bay.
.
Through this otherworld trudged Waxman and Thunderella. Waxman led. He wore two snowmobile suits and his knees could not bend more than a few degrees. Lumbering and stiff, he plowed through drifts for his female accomplice, Ellen Thundermaker.
.
[snip]
.
“No way, Waxy. It’s gonna be all imported cheese and fancy wine. Crab meat. Vienna sausages…” she said, stopping to let him join in.
.
“Ha-ha. Yeah – uhh, Heineken beer, Dijon ketchup, Swiss chocolate – or, you know, one of those giant bars, ahh,”
.
“TOBLERONE, TOBLERONE!” she shouted out, filling in the missing name.
.
“AS if,” she added, suddenly serious…
.
[snip]
.
(about 2,400 words)   Copyright Mitchell Toews ©2017.

#

Waxman, Thunderella, Pegasus, Otto the inventor, the police, Pozzo, Roland, and (in absentia) Poland, all look forward to making your acquaintance.

allfornow – Mitch

London is Calling

My story, “Nothing to Lose”, has been chosen for a print anthology in England. American writer-editor Charlie Fish–an expat living in London–has published the online literary zine, Fiction on the Web, since 1996. In that time he has published more than one thousand short stories by writers from around the world. Charlie is publishing a print collection of his favourite stories from FotW‘s 21-year history. Book sale proceeds will go to a London hospital charity: Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation Trust. The anthology will be available for purchase in the new year (2018).

Call Me Popeye

“Call me Ishmael.”

No. Too much.

“Call me Popeye.”

Better.

Why? The arc of my fiction writing career, while it is not literally about whale hunting, certainly could be said to have a metaphoric resemblance to the life of the harpoonist. Taking the famous opening line from Melville’s tale might help me to express the idea that I hope to be – like Ishmael – a survivor and one of those who regularly set out to engage fearsome behemoths in a foreign place. And–like Popeye–remain true to me. In either case – the great American novel or the great American cartoon – I find myself like those protagonists; ill-equipped and naive. I seek my fortune without truly knowing the cost of that quest.

I am what I am. That is my both my raison de’entre and my preparation. Am I unlikely? Am I preposterous? Am I nuts? Am I a long-shot in flannel pajamas? You bet yer plaid arse I am.

First, I suppose I need to support the idea that what I do qualifies as a career. I admit, with Alford guilt, that career might be at best an overstatement; at worst an inaccuracy. I have been writing and submitting short stories (and one sci-fi novella) to literary magazines and contests for approximately two years. In that time I have submitted about 183 stories. Most have been fictional short stories, a lesser number were flash fictions of less than one thousand words. I have also pitched – with little finesse and even poorer prospects of success – a collection of short stories to a handful of publishers.

In 2015, I submitted two short fictions; in 2016, 106; and in 2017, 75, so far. I have had 37 acceptances. My happy tally includes 28 individual, distinct stories and nine reprints. I have a few contest notables (“W’s” in my book, if not theirs) and several sincere, encouraging rejections asking for additional submissions. (A tie, in sports parlance?)

Nine unpublished stories are currently outstanding, awaiting a decision from editors. Two more unpublished stories await their next assignment – they have each been rejected a few times and will be sent over the top again, soon. I have a handful of work-in-progress and at least one red-hot concept that I wake up to each morning.

My last point on the career question is negative: How can it be a career when I lose money – not a lot, but enough to piss me off – each year?

State of the Union

Although I won’t get the standing ovations that U.S. Presidents receive when they deliver their summary reports, neither do I hand out plum jobs or government largesse. My self-assessment is as follows (please hold your applause to the end):

  • I have had more stories accepted than I would have guessed. Duotrope tells me that statistically, I am ahead of the pack when it comes to batting average. I’m right around Ty Cobb’s lifetime BA, so, I ain’t bitchin’.
  • Getting a story READ by the big publications is still far beyond my current dan ranking (Mennodan)
  • I have remained true to my original ideas of “how I should write”
  • I’ve worked with a professional editor a few times now and I can shout from the mountaintops that this is my greatest literary revelation, to date. Editors are remarkable and help a shabby mechanic like me in a most profound way. I need an editor.
  • Writing begets writing. Blogs and twitter nonsense are consumers of time and energy, but they do pay some rent in terms of practice and trial & error. (Like this article.) Also, from a marketing perspective; social media is a necessary tool for all but the most gifted of the gifted.
  • Rejection is manageable. I can handle it. It’s no fun, but, it’s part of the deal. I dislike, however, the amount of time many publications take to respond – it seems like a kind of (mild) artist abuse. Duotrope reported 276,000+ submissions in 2016. This multitude of stories was sent to the 6,000 or so English language lit mags out there. That is 46 stories per publication, on average, so why do so many pubs take three months to respond? I know it’s more complicated than that, but it hurts to wait.
  • At this point, I have exceeded my most optimistic pre-game visualizations. I have sent out homegrown stories about average Joe’s – many of them of the work-a-day variety, quotidian Mennonites, Ukrainians, and Francophones. I scattergunned these yarns out to an editorial demographic that might be described as urban, urbain, 30-something, female valedictorians with a much-photographed cat and an MFA. And guess what? These stormtroopers of the slush pile accepted them. They published my stories!

My God! Bright, worldly editors and audiences in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland have taken to my stories about rural Manitoba in the Sixties. Is this a dream?

I will continue. It’s getting harder because I am taking more chances with my writing and I am submitting to bigger markets. My acceptance in riverbabble, for one, suggests that I have the chops to tip-toew down some hallowed halls. I’m beginning to feel like I have a few supporters out there who might remember my name for uncomplicated reasons, like, they liked what they read.

I hope so if, for no other reason than that characters like Pete Vogt, my grandma Toews, my dad and other co-combatants with shit-spattered boots from the not-that-peaceful streets of my Steinbach upbringing deserve a little playtime outside of “Ditsied“.

gloria gaynor lyrics
Sing along…

allfornow,
Mitch

Community No. 24

Willing to be consumed by literary omnivores on this site!

Digging Through The Fat

In this Community, we proudly present works by Jon Jackson, Mitchell Toews, Bruce Robinson, Andrea Rogers, Lisa Beere, Alex Clermont, Amy Leigh Wicks, Dominic Bond, Janey Skinner, and Anita Haas.

Congrats to all!

Jon Jackson

Child Soldiers

Litro, June 2, 2016

Lambda

Visual Verse, March 2017

Mitchell Toews

Nothing to Lose 

Fiction on the Web, July 8, 2016

Heavy Artillery 

Fiction on the Web, October 30, 2016

Bruce Robinson

Believe Me 

Mobius, the Journal of Social Change, December 2016

Four Poems: Rain Delay: ground rules; Their Romance; sitcom; dressing

Peacock Journal, December 2016

Andrea Rogers

How to Tell a Man You Love Him When You Don’t

The Adirondack Review, Spring 2016

Lisa Beere

Two Poems: Something Comes; The Hunter’s Tale

Ottawa Poetry Magazine, October 10, 2016

Alex Clermont 

Hungry Ghosts of Park Avenue

Black Elephant, April 2016

View original post 89 more words

Across the Pond and Beyond

literally stories logo

I am honoured to be in the Literally Stories mix once again. My short story, “So Are They All” appears in this week’s collection of original short fiction – a short story curation that LS has been providing for the past 138 consecutive weeks.

This is my sixth acceptance in this United Kingdom based literary journal. The stories they have chosen (they have rejected five) have in common a Canadian setting and characters that represent various segments of life in Canada, across a number of eras.

main-qimg-c52a555c991ccfdda8925bab3a6d30a1 UK and Ireland sm

Several other UK literary journals* have also published my stories. The UK and Ireland are apparently in my sweet spot and damned if I know why!

I asked my Irish born – now Canadian Permanent Resident – son-in-law what he thought might be the attraction. While he had no conclusive theory, he supposed that the details, set in places and times in Canada that are not mainstream, offer a kind of “comfortable alien” nature. I accept that because the stories Tom tells about his childhood in Nobber are a source of fascination to me, in that same way.

Whatever the chemistry of the long distance relationship between the stories and the readers, I feel privileged to be part of the Literally Stories lineup.

*Fiction on the Web (4 stories published) – Charlie Fish, Editor; Storgy (1 story) – Tomek Dzido and Anthony Self, Editors; Fictive Dream (“The Seven Songs”, to be published on Nov 26) Laura Black, Editor; LingoBites, a part of Alsina Publishing (1 story, with a three-part serial in the edit suite and coming soon) – Lisa Dittmar, Editor (Although–full disclosure–Ms. D is a product of Cascadia, and like all of the editors I have encountered, she is foremost a citizen of the world.)

I hope to add more! (I write every day. Even when it hurts.)

P.S. – of the 35 titles of mine that have achieved virtual orbit online and in print, (“So far, damn it!” the author says through gritted teeth, a clinging scrap of spinach ruining the dramatic effect) quite a few have found Canadian and American platforms, and one Indian publication too.  I love all of my prose offspring equally; so too their adoptive homes.

allfornow – Mitch

Volunteer Prose

For years, my wife and I grew Pansies in a planter that ringed our small cabin. We live in the boreal forest and as far as flowers go, we have to choose species that the deer will not nibble. Pansies and Geraniums fit the bill, among others.

That planter is long gone, but the Pansies persist. They poked their yellow and purple heads above ground last week and we were happy to see them make a return engagement.

Janice transplanted some into a small flower bed. Others were left where they grew, brightening the stony soil beneath our wood deck.

I thought of these hardy blossoms and was reminded of my stories, many of them successfully “planted” on web sites across the internet landscape. The stories have been featured online and in print where they have flourished for a short time – receiving a brief glimpse of the sunlight of exposure. (I hope you will permit the metaphoric idea of readers being the sun. It works for me because readers are the source of life in my writing.)

Anyway, I wondered how I could revitalize those existing published stories, in much the way that wild Pansies have sprung up in the shady space beneath our deck where daylight lies on the ground in long white stripes.

One solution is to submit them to sites that allow reprints (as I did with “The Margin of the River” on riverbabble.) Another approach is to employ focused redirection – here on Niume, and on twitter via retweeters like #IARTG and #BeingAuthor. Also, if my work eventually makes into an anthology – great! But that’s a venue I don’t control and can only hope for.

Overall, I feel I should be aggressive; use whatever promotional bucket brigades I can connect with to bring new readers to my stories. (And my stories to them – a bi-directional brigade.)

It seems to me after all, that the cumulative hard work of conceiving, writing, editing and submitting has been DONE. An editor has been wooed and won! That’s no small feat given the thousands upon thousands of writers who, like me, saturation- bomb the slush piles of the English speaking literary world. It seems a shame to waste this enormous accomplishment – getting accepted – by simply letting my stories flicker like a strobe light for a few seconds and then recede into the frenzied blizzard of words that is the web.

So, please wander in my garden (sounds creepy, but it’s better than “sniff my Pansies”) and tell your friends and let my stories volunteer their way into your reading list. Here are a few of my fav yarns from some of my fav publishers:

riverbabble

riverbabble, one of three literary journals published by Pandemonium Press of Berkeley, CA, published “The Margin of the River”, a story of unintended violence. (It is a piece that first appeared in CommuterLit – home to seven of my short stories and one flash fiction.)

The tragic tale, “The Log Boom”, appeared on Storgy.com. @morestorgy had this to say:

“The impressive ‘The Log Boom’ by Mitchell Toews, a brilliant author and voice which we are proud to be bringing you!”

Literally Stories (UK) published the twisted yarn, “Breezy and the Six-Pack Sneaker”; as well as the nostalgic walk down a dangerous alley in 1932 Winnipeg, “The Fifty Dollar Sewing Machine”; the contemporary tale, “Frozen Tag”; the story of teenage friendship, drink and folly, “South of Oromocto Depths”; and the satiric imaginings of Big Church in, “The Business of Saving Souls”.

Visit the Search field on Fiction on the Web and query Toews. Your search will bring up four stories chosen by Editor Charlie Fish.

For my complete back catalogue and upcoming publication dates, please see: https://mitchellaneous.com/write-clicks/

allfornow – Mitch

Episodic Moi and LingoBites

I recently had a short story accepted by a new start-up in the “Learn a Language Online” business. Given the amount of refugeeism in the world today – not to be confused with refugee-whiz-ism (in short supply, I’m afraid) – there must be a lot of newly relocated people in Canada and other places who would like to speak English.

A company called Alsina Publishing is creating a platform for language learning – English and many others – and one of the central tools they use is the short story. It’s intuitive to imagine a language student, who, when provided with a story produced in both their native tongue and their target language, uses this resource to flip back and forth. They will read the story and learn new words, syntax, and more from the narrative. Furthermore, they can discover the subtleties of conversation through the story’s dialogue. I’m no linguist, but this must be a proven method, I’m sure.

My personal experience confirms this too. I don’t speak much French, but thanks to similar duplicate, bilingual formatting on Canadian cereal boxes and shampoo bottles, etc., phrases like “bien agiter” and “servez froid” are not just letter jumbles to me. I learned them via repetition, without trying, because the material was at hand in front of me at the breakfast table, in the restaurant, or in the tub. (High-concept stuff, wot? Eh? Si?)

The new platform Alsina Publishing has created is called LingoBites and it is in the final stages of development and will launch soon. My story, “The Light Pool” will be one of the first literary works that learners will use to climb the Tower of Babble.

LingoBites refines that basic cereal box concept – with more method and less mirth – and offers it to those who want to learn a new language. Here’s how they describe it at http://www.lingobites.com/:

LingoBites gives you what you’ve been looking for: a way to practice language through creative short stories tailored to your level and interest. Read or listen anywhere on your phone. Support authors from all over the world make a living from their craft and enjoy learning, all at the same time. We are currently in startup stealth mode, but sign up to be the first to hear about our launch plans!

Please follow this link for an interesting third-party description of the LingoBites app from contributor Patricia Duffaud:

http://www.patriciaduffaud.co.uk/lingobites-app-languages-stories/

It’s always great to be accepted for publication but in this case, my work will be a part of the process of – OMFGliteracy! That is a security clearance I seldom achieve, although I guess LingoBites might just as often be used by leathery travellers from Pittsburgh or Shaughnessy, or maybe Haywards Heath to polish up their “eye-tie” before a trip to the Continent. That’s okay with me – I’ll take readers of all stripes.

“Vi prego di mettere più whisky nel mio             cameriere di bevande!”

And, lucky me, LingoBites has accepted a second submission of mine – one I wrote expressly for them. My editor at the publication suggested that serialized stories were a perfect fit because they allowed readers to establish and reuse a knowledge base of words, names, characters and settings developed while reading earlier instalments. My three-part story, “Of a Forest Silent” will also be appearing in LingoBites, after some editing.

Tune in next week cap

It’s interesting to me how closely the publication works with the writer to ensure that the story is appropriate for learners. Within flexible boundaries, the editors strive to keep sentences short, to restrict the vocabulary and to keep cliches, local slang, and regional references out of the stories. I was afraid this might “dumb down” the prose, but instead, I find it clean and readable. (Many are nodding knowingly now – I can feel it!)

LingoBites offers three FREE stories per month and the subscription fee – for full rights to the site – is nominal. It’s a great value for language learners or those just looking to find great new stories and writers.

voice over

One more COOL THING: Stories will be converted into audio recordings presented by professional voice actors.

The LingoBites site is running in Beta now (July 22).

allfornow – Mitch

https://www.facebook.com/lingobite/

https://twicopy.org/LingoBites/

 

 

 

South of Oromocto Depths

I’m happy and grateful to have a reprint of my maple syrup imbued, tres Canadien, playoff beard of a short story, “South of Oromocto Depths”, appear in Toronto’s CommuterLit. Editor Nancy Kay Clark has been generous with her coveted space once again and this will be my eighth appearance in this respected (and entertaining) literary ezine.

The short fiction, which first appeared in Literally Stories, will appear this Thursday, July 6, in CommuterLit. It follows previous publications of:

“Encountered on the Shore”– reprinted by Occulum (previously called Fair Folk)

“A Vile Insinuation”

“Without Reason”

(The three stories above comprise “The Red River Valley Trilogy”)

“Gather by the River” Part One (“Zero to Sixty”)

“Gather by the River” Part Two (“The Margin of the River”) – reprinted in riverbabble

“The Rothmans Job”– reprinted in SickLit

“Winter Eve at Walker Creek”

“South of Oromocto Depths” – first published in Literally StoriesVisit CommuterLit commencing July 6 to see this story in its latest incarnation.

We let the motor warm up. It idled in baritone, gurgling as gray smoke rose up out of bubbles that popped on the surface behind the big white motor. Every half-minute or so it ran slightly faster, then vibrated, shuddering back down to the lower idle speed, sometimes coughing unexpectedly.

35 chryco obscure

Work

I wrote a short story called, “Fairchild, McGowan and the Detective” . It appears in Work Literary Magazine and it’s a fiction that draws from some of my past BOSSES and my experiences with them.

Like most of what I write – the characters are hybrids of many people, real and imagined.

One of the comments I received from the Niume Reads audience where I placed a link was, “Thanks for honoring work”. This struck me as I had not set out to honour work, nor had I paid particular attention to the work – I thought – as much as the characters who were employed in the imaginary workplaces (Loeb Lumber and Grambles Department Store).

I thought about the comment and it occurred to me that not only should we honour our work, but it is an honour to work. To hold a job; to be able to work; to have skills and so on is a prize. (Too often a surprize – but you know what I mean.)

Work is not a given.

Work can be an example of some of our best behaviour as humans. To get along at work, as we all know, can be trying. And yet, we manage it. An overwhelming number of us don’t swing a hatchet, be it figurative or literal, in response to the many that whiz (virtually) by our naked skulls on a daily basis. We act like grown-ups at work, even though most of us qualify for that distinction more by the pure fact of our age and not of our deeds, day-to-day.

And the little town slept.

That’s my signature segue (“And now for something completely different,”) that leads into…

HERE are a few other stories of mine that concern work and how we get through to the weekend. And by weekend, I unfortunately mean the time when a dismaying number of us do other work – whether that’s laundry, finding that all-important LEGO piece, getting the kids to ball practice, slinging burgers, or fixing the damn eavestrough. Again.

P.S. – We all struggle with bosses, don’t we? I do. I did. Most of us are not graced with great leadership skills. Personally, I finally realized – after 40-odd years – that I did not have good followship skills either. My LinkedIn connections seem to agree as this story is the most-read post on my LinkedIn page in a long time. 

allfornow – Mitch

 

Dad

2000th follower twitter

There are times when I can totally relate to Donald Trump’s compulsion to post on twitter, even if it’s a stupid-ass thing to do.

Humour needs expanded boundaries, is what I keep telling myself.

My dad would have got it. He would have had a sparkle in his eye and appreciated that I pressed send. Dad preferred – would have preferred – that I follow my natural inclinations and become an artist or a writer. Something in the creative layer of dirt. Instead, like so much of his discarded advice, I followed not what he said, but what he did. (Someone should make that into a memorable expression.) I became a guy with a family who showed up every morning for work and tried to eat my crap sandwich without too much moaning. Well, he and I both moaned a little.

Like Dad, what it got me was a happy life and a family I treasure. Not a bad deal. Pass the sandwiches, I’ll take another. Make it a double.

Anyway, cheers to my dad, a hale fellow well met of whom an observer both wise and kindred from Grunthal, Manitoba (home of the Red Wings) once said, “He could separate braggarts from their bullshit with a hip check.”

Here’s a story about him, posted a while back by Fiction on the Web editor @fishcharlie

Nothing to Lose

 allfornow – Mitch

A Beautiful Day by the River Babble

Dog bites man. Man writes story.

Small things that happen in a simple life. Or are they? A dog bite may be small to a lion tamer, but less inconsequential to most others. A story about a dog bite may be an uncomplicated retelling or it could be more – an imagining and a quick, unobscured peek into the lives of others.

Anyway – whatever the magic potion was, it was enough to make it into a publication that has a good many more stripes on its sleeves than me. I’ll take the upgrade and work hard not to aww-shucks it into something less than it is, nor succumb to the creeping inclination to think “CCCChhrist, I’m good!” as I run a board though the table saw and nip the tip of my pinky off, flitzing it into the nearby bush to become a snack for an omnivorous, unpretentious squirrel.

The story is “The Margin of the River” and it first appeared in the Canadian journal CommuterLit, last December as ‘”Gather by the River, Part 2″.  A painting of mine – “Brown Eyed Girl”, which has a small connection to the story, is the cover image of the Summer issue of riverbabble, number 31, Bloomsbury 2017.

Thanks to the kind people at Pandemonium Press for including my work in riverbabble.

allfornow – Mitch