Submit-O-Rama Week 3

Posted: October 30, 2013 in Short Story

I know, it’s almost the end of Week 4, but I got some much-needed feedback on my Week 3 submissions and needed a few extra days to revise before completing the submissions. For more on Submit-O-Rama, click here.

Here they are:

Gordon Finch’s Miracle

Gordon Finch follows the same routine so that when the miracle he’s been waiting on comes looking for him, it’ll know where to find him. But it’s Aggie’s 40th birthday and she’s sick of hanging around waiting for something to happen to her. Favorite line:

Gordon saw his cup was empty. He had nothing else to do but answer the question. How could he answer the question. He blurted the answer and she stared at him.

“That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.”

“What do you know?” he said.

“Say it again. You’ll hear how dumb it sounds. Go on. Say it.”

Submitted to Xenith because editor Patrick Nathan said he wanted fiction that moved. I hope this one does it for him. Poor Gordon will never be the same.

It may be worth noting the original draft of Gordon and Aggie’s story was written in 1996 for an undergraduate writing workshop. The criticism it received included “cliché characters” and “not the right time for a factory shift to end.” Turns out I just needed to have some life to realize what wanting a miracle was really all about.

Yesterday, in Boston

Ellen Hayes ran the Boston marathon yesterday. Today she’s stiff, tired, a little dazed, and can still smell the smoke and hear the chaos. Favorite line:

Eight strides from a 4:10 finishing time, her pink jersey visible behind the lady in orange. She was one of the charity runners, she was one of the less-elite. She was just trying to finish.

Submitted to Ardor Magazine. I have never run Boston, or even a full marathon; but I ran the day after the bombing and in the shower afterwards, I thought up Ellen Hayes, the charity runner in her hotel room the day after. How to make sense of such a thing? Writing helps.

I borrowed heavily from this blog, which gave the writer’s first-hand account of the course. So, thanks, Meg Runner Girl. She shows up in the story a little and I have a second story that peels off of this one which may feature her more.

Come Home

Cara Banks is playing Candyland with her son by candlelight after a blackout. They’re in her late husband’s best friend’s house. Sometimes we can see by candlelight things that are not so obvious in the light of day. Favorite line:

Cara closed her eyes and remembered Eric. Sargent Eric Robert Banks. A tear slipped down her cheek and she grabbed the counter top to keep from falling to her knees.

“I’m going to have another one,” she whispered.

She imagined he said, “Have it.”

She corked the bottle and opened the fridge again; put the bottle back on the shelf.

Not like Eli. Eli would tell her one was enough, two was more than enough, and three was drunk. Eli Moderation in Everything.

Submitted to The Missouri Review, which is the oldest of the lit mags I picked this October and also the most prestigious. “Come Home” did not start out October as my starter, I have several others that I think TMR would have liked, but it was time for “Come Home” and it shaped up nicely after some help from a military wife, my friend Jodie Cain Smith of The Queendom.

The name device was inspired by a conversation with Jodie about how significant a name really is. I used it throughout. I also feel like the story watches Cara get a little drunker and a little bit more dramatic and that, too, pleased me.

So there you have it. Week 3 in the books.

I will have to scramble tomorrow to get three more in by the Oct 31 deadline. I have some work to do! But I did already receive a rejection from Lascaux (thank you for being so timely and pfffttthhh) so I may sneak in a re-submit for “Have You Seen” if I get desperate.

How’s your Submit-O-Rama going? Share in the comments!

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