Hartplatz Sitings

The fictional Mennonite community of Hartplatz, Man., has been seen in print and on the wing at several locations on the WWW.

Tell-tales include red wing blackbirds, killdeers, grackles, budgies and pelicans…icing sugar…the smell of an old baseball glove when you hold it right up to your face…the sound a bible makes when it is dropped – for emphasis – on a large wooden desk…followed perhaps by the sound of Grandma shouting at the TV while watching All-Star Wrestling.

Hey, we all have our guilty pleasures.

Here is a spotter’s guide:

CommuterLit.com has run three of Mitch’s short fictions: “Encountered on the Shore”, “A Vile Insinuation”, and “Without Reason”. Two more of his stories, “Nothing to Lose” and “Heavy Artillery” (Oct 30) appear on Fiction on the Web (UK) and, “A Fisherman’s Story”, was published in Rhubarb Magazine Issue 39 (Available at better book stores – like Sam’s Place, 159 Henderson Hwy – or ORDER  COPIES HERE.)
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Literally Stories (UK) published Mitch’s twisted yarn, “Breezy and the Six-Pack Sneaker” as well as his nostalgic walk down a dangerous alley in 1932 Winnipeg, “The Fifty Dollar Sewing Machine”, and the contemporary tale, “Frozen Tag”(Oct 27).
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“And So Are They All” won second place in the Fiction category in the 2016 “Write on the Lake” writing contest and will be published in the Lake Winnipeg Writers’ Group’s semi-annual journal, Voices, Volume 16, No. 2. Mitch will present the story at the Voices launch at McNally Robinson book sellers in Winnipeg, on November 20 at 2 PM. Voices will be available online HERE and at McNally Robinson after November 20.

THANKS to the editors and publications who have run my stories so far. I am grateful and always nervous when a story goes, “out there”! I wouldn’t want this to get around, but the truth is, I just make this stuff up!

Let’s keep that last bit between us and the mergansers out in the bay.

allfornow – m

P.S. – Click here to think of springtime.

P.P.S. – If you caught the PUN in the title, you’re better than me. I put it there by accident and then realized it and thought, “sitings, that’s pretty good,” and left it in. Ahhh, the creative process, it’s a sacred trust.

 

Copyright Mitchell Toews ©2016

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The Blog Post I Always Wanted to Write

As a high-functioning anonymist, I sent this note to two of my low-brow friends. OK, I am low-brow; they are actually quite cultured. I liked it and wanted to share it with other friends — any brow will do — and so, here it is.

“Hey,

Greetings from the most beautiful place on earth. Jan and I love life, BUT, we are old and we are working too hard. We are almost done — then we can revert to being lazy sloths!

Cheers to slothdom.

So…you two and various cousins and friends from the Stein (for whom I have no email addresses) are my imaginary audience when I write my shitty little stories. (Oh no — am I over-selling?) Anyway, I have a blog.

Highly writerly. Although there is little ennui. A definite lack of ennui. Some angst. A bit of introspection. But mostly Mennonite guys blowing stuff up and putting it on YouTube.

You, as my imaginary audience, should be my literal audience, I reckon. If you don’t like it, you can revert to the imaginary.

My Blog is called Flies in the Outhouse. NO, WAIT — that’s my soon-to-be-a-major-motion-picture life story.

My blog is just called Mitchell Toews. http://bit.ly/MitchellToewsBLOG

Snip: I recently registered mitchellaneous.com

I have nine stories accepted to lit journals; eight published and one undergoing some edits. <he spits, derisively>

In other news, we had wieners & beans last night. I had three wieners and no regrets. THAT is the kinda guy I have become, Goddammit! Writerly like crazy.

We should have a fall event. Daaaaave?

allfornow – m

P.S. – I admit I had to look up how to spell ennui. BTW, I hope Satan is not bothering you too much, now that you have the gays in Steinbach.

Yours, in ennui,

which is rather risky,

Sincerely,

Mitchy”

 (Always close with a poem. Tres writerly.)

Copyright Mitchell Toews ©2016

Henderson has Scored for Canada!

Paul Henderson scored his first NHL goal on January 29, 1964, against the Chicago Black Hawks. According to Wikipedia, “it came late in the game against goaltender Glenn Hall and resulted in a 2–2 tie.”

You probably did not know this.

But if you were born north of the 49th parallel between the Atlantic and the Pacific, you likely know about another of Henderson’s goals – one that came later in his career. (Americans who are drawing a blank can find plenty of appropriate, alternate sports references: from Bobby Thompson to The Miracle on Ice. Brits might conjure up Roger Bannister.)

Unforgettable moments – “against all odds” – are a staple of sports. Just ask Jesse Owens, or maybe better yet, Kevin Costner.

As an “emerging” writer (more often submerging) I had a Henderson moment recently when I received a copy of Rhubarb Magazine Issue 39. Looking at the cover, I saw a credit; my name, Mitchell Toews. I may have raised my arms. Just a little — my chewed-up rotator cuffs only allow for a limited joyous celebration. Besides, as my friend Dave sometimes reminds me, too much gesticulation is off-putting.

Anyway. My little story is not on a par with THE GOAL, but it was kinda cool. Por moi.

And the little town slept.

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Here is an excerpt from, “A Fisherman’s Story”, which is in this issue of Rhubarb:

The birds flew without effort, in trail formation, gliding into the wind with their wingtips inches away from the curling edge of a breaking wave. They suddenly banked up and out toward the dim, salt-misted far shore of the bay, snaking around in a circle and landing clumsily behind the wave. Rising and falling on the swell, the birds floated quietly until a big male took off, flapped twice, then dropped to scoop a fish. The pelican nodded strenuously to reposition the quarry in his large bill pouch while his wingmen watched the water around him with unblinking eyes.

“Pescadooooo!” Jose had said, flashing his bright smile.

Find more published works, here: http://en.gravatar.com/mitchtoews

…allfornow – Mitch

 

P.S. – The photo is of my dad, Norman “Chuck” Toews. Early Sixties here — he might have been just a bit better than Henderson.

 

Copyright Mitchell Toews ©2016