A Valentine Tale for First Sunday Prose; December BSFA Focus, Print Kong Poem Published February 6
Featured readers for this month’s Bloomington Writers Guild First Sunday Prose (see January 3, et al.) were local mostly-poet Shana Ritter and optometry professor/novelist (under the name Terry Pinaud) Khashayar Tonekaboni. Leading off, Ritter read what she said was her first short story, published in FIFTH WEDNESDAY, “The Invitation,” about the cruelty of teen girls, following it with a note from her blog on writing poetry vs. prose, and ended with two excerpts from a novel in progress set at the time of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. Dr. Tonekaboni followed with excerpts from two novels, the first THE FIXER set in the summer and fall of 1963 prior to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the second in progress, tentatively titled MINE, at the time of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War.
None of these would be characterized exactly as happy stories, which I didn’t help when open mike time came. Fourth of four (six people had signed up, but two apparently left early), and noting it was exactly one week before Valentine’s Day, I read a story I wrote just last month, “A Saint Valentine’s Day Tale,” based on the New Orleanian urban legend of the Casket Girls (cf. April 28 2015, April 17 2014, et al.).* This one introduced a new fille à la caissette, Claudette, giving a bit more of their history before recounting what happened the night her husband pledged to her his heart.
Speaking of busted love affairs, the day before, Saturday, I received an email announcing the availability of the British Science Fiction Association’s FOCUS magazine. Or in Poetry Editor Charles Christian’s words: “At long last the December issue of the BSFA FOCUS magazine is published (actually being only 2 months late is good) and it contains the poetry section I edit. The contributors included are James Dorr + Andrew Darlington + Pat Tompkins + Herb Kauderer (who sadly has been deprived of his final “R”) + Kelda Crich + Geoffrey A. Landis + Noel Sloboda + John Reinhart + Guy Belleranti + Manos Kounougakis + Karen A. Romanko + Susan Burch + Christina Sng + Julie Kelsey.” And the cool thing is, in the page shot on Facebook that gives the announcement, my poem is displayed, the print version of “On the Other Hand” that premiered electronically on GRIEVOUS ANGEL on August 30 (see September 5, March 30 2015) on why the torrid romance between Fay Wray and King Kong could never have lasted for the long haul.
*As MC Joan Hawkins pointed out after, the location was particularly apt, it also being two days before Mardi Gras.