If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful.  I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting.  I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans.  I get out of bed to trap them before they escape.


~ Ray Bradbury, born on this day in 1920


"Am Morgen" ("In the Morning") by A Rötting, 1840

“Am Morgen” (“In the Morning”) by A Rötting, 1840

Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Contest is currently accepting fiction submissions up to 3,000 words until midnight on August 31.  This opportunity is open to all writers and all themes.  As always, submissions must be original, unpublished fiction.  Glimmer Train does not publish poetry, fiction for children, or novel excerpts unless they read like complete stories.  Multiple submissions are accepted.

The first place winner will receive $2,000, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and ten copies of that issue.  The second and third place winners will receive $500 and $300, respectively.  Results will be announced in the November 1 bulletin.  For more information or to submit your work, visit the website at http://www.glimmertrain.org/pages/guidelines/very_short_fiction_guidelines.php.

Good luck!




One face looks out from all his canvases,

One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans:

We found her hidden just behind those screens,

That mirror gave back all her loveliness.

A queen in opal or in ruby dress,

A nameless girl in freshest summer-greens,

A saint, an angel—every canvas means

The same one meaning, neither more nor less.

He feeds upon her face by day and night,

And she with true kind eyes looks back on him,

Fair as the moon and joyful as the light:

Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim;

Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;

Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.


                                       ~ Christina Rossetti


"The Artist and His Model" by Carl Schweninger (1854-1912)

“The Artist and His Model” by Carl Schweninger (1854-1912)

Kafka on Books

Altogether, I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.  If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place?  So that it can make us happy, as you put it?  Good God, we’d be just as happy if we had no books at all; books that make us happy we could, in a pinch, also write ourselves.  What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like suicide.  A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. 


"Lesendes Mädchen" by Franz Eybl, 1850

“Lesendes Mädchen” by Franz Eybl, 1850

Like a perfect heroine, I wandered, weeping, on a forlorn quest […] through the aromatic labyrinth of alleys. […] Even though I lived there, it always seemed far away from me. It was as if there were glass between me and the world. But I could see myself perfectly well on the other side of the glass. There I was, walking up and down, eating meals, having conversations, in love, indifferent, and so on. But all the time I was pulling the strings of my own puppet; it was this puppet who was moving about on the other side of the glass. And I eyed the most marvellous adventures with the bored eye of the agent with the cigar watching another audition. I tapped out the ash and asked of events: ‘What else can you do?’

~ Angela Carter, Burning Your Boats


"The Looking Glass" by Alexander Ignatius Roche (1861-1921)

“The Looking Glass” by Alexander Ignatius Roche (1861-1921)


When the blackberries hang

swollen in the woods, in the brambles

nobody owns, I spend


all day among the high

branches, reaching

my ripped arms, thinking


of nothing, cramming

the black honey of summer

into my mouth; all day my body


accepts what it is. In the dark

creeks that run by there is

this thick paw of my life darting among


the black bells, the leaves; there is

this happy tongue.


             ~ Mary Oliver


"Blackberry Picking" by John George Brown, 1875

“Blackberry Picking” by John George Brown, 1875

The tri-annual literary journal Minerva Rising is currently reading for its upcoming themed issue and is looking for fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and interviews that focus on the topic of “home.”  For this issue, the magazine is interested in “where we come from, where we want to return, what we expect, where we belong.”  All entries should address the theme of the current issue and not exceed seven thousand words.  The online submission deadline is October 1.

Minerva Rising publishes original essays, interviews, short stories, short shorts, memoirs, poetry, photography, and artwork by women writers and artists.  The journal also supports women’s independence by donating to charities like Women for Women International, an amazing organization with which I have been involved personally for the last six years.  For more information about Minerva Rising and to submit online, visit the website at http://minervarising.com.


Minerva Rising


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