Glimmer Train’s April Fiction Open is accepting fiction submissions between 3,000 and 20,000 words until midnight (PST) on April 30, 2017.  This biannual opportunity is open to all writers and all subjects and themes.  Unpublished novel excerpts are considered, provided they feel like complete stories.  Up to four multiple submissions are also accepted.  The reading fee for each submission is $21.

The first place winner will receive $3,000, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and ten copies of that issue.  The second and third place winners will receive $1,000 and $600, respectively.  Results will be announced on July 1.  For more information or to submit your work, visit the website at http://www.glimmertrain.com/pages/guidelines/fiction_open_guidelines.php.

Good luck!


Toward what island-home am I moving,

not wanting to marry, not wanting

too much of that emptiness at evening,

as when I walked through a field at dusk

and felt wide in the night.

And it was again the evening that drew me

back to the field where I was most alone,

compassed by stems and ruts,

no light of the fixed stars, no flashing in the eyes,

only heather pared by dry air, shedding

a small feathered radiance when I looked away,

an expanse whose deep sleep seemed an unending

warren I had been given, to carry out such tasks—

that I might find nothing dead.

And it was again the evening that drew me

back to the field where I could sense no boundary—

the smell of dry earth, cool arch of my neck, the darkness

entirely within myself.

And when I shut my eyes there was no one.

Only weeds in drifts of stillness, only

stalks and gliding sky.


~ From “Toward what island-home am I moving” by Joanna Klink


“The Old Tower in the Fields” by Vincent van Gogh, 1884

Side by side through the streets at midnight,

Roaming together,

Through the tumultuous night of London,

In the miraculous April weather.


Roaming together under the gaslight,

Day’s work over,

How the Spring calls to us, here in the city,

Calls to the heart from the heart of a lover!


Cool the wind blows, fresh in our faces,

Cleansing, entrancing,

After the heat and the fumes and the footlights,

Where you dance and I watch your dancing.


Good it is to be here together,

Good to be roaming,

Even in London, even at midnight,

Lover-like in a lover’s gloaming.


You the dancer and I the dreamer,

Children together,

Wandering lost in the night of London,

In the miraculous April weather.


                               ~ Arthur Symons


“Trafalgar Square by Moonlight” by Henry Pether, circa 1865

To the Moon

Art thou pale for weariness

     Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,

Wandering companionless

     Among the stars that have a different birth, –

          And ever changing, like a joyless eye

          That finds no object worth its constancy?


                                  ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley


“Moonlight Night” by Ilya Repin, 1896

I looked up from my writing,

   And gave a start to see,

As if rapt in my inditing,

   The moon’s full gaze on me.


Her meditative misty head

   Was spectral in its air,

And I involuntarily said,

   ‘What are you doing there?’


‘Oh, I’ve been scanning pond and hole

   And waterway hereabout

For the body of one with a sunken soul

   Who has put his life-light out.


‘Did you hear his frenzied tattle?

   It was sorrow for his son

Who is slain in brutish battle,

   Though he has injured none.


‘And now I am curious to look

   Into the blinkered mind

Of one who wants to write a book

   In a world of such a kind.’


Her temper overwrought me,

   And I edged to shun her view,

For I felt assured she thought me

   One who should drown him too.


                ~ Thomas Hardy


A. L. Leroy, 1827

Last Spring

Fill yourself up with the forsythias

and when the lilacs flower, stir them in too

with your blood and happiness and wretchedness,

the dark ground that seems to come with you.


Sluggish days. All obstacles overcome.

And if you say: ending or beginning, who knows,

then maybe – just maybe – the hours will carry you

into June, when the roses blow.


                                      ~ Gottfried Benn


“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may” by John William Waterhouse, 1909

In the works of Virginia Woolf, puddles often represent a metaphorical chasm between significance and anonymity, solidity and vagueness, reality and illusion.  Frequently her protagonists, upon confronting a puddle, find themselves unable to cross, thereby remaining – like Woolf – locked in the debilitating delusions of their mind.

On this day in 1941, the tormented Woolf succumbed to her manic depression, filled the pockets of her overcoat with stones, and walked into the River Ouse and drowned.  As a tribute, some of Woolf’s literary puddles are presented here.


Some cleavage of the dark there must have been, some channel in the depths of obscurity through which light enough issued […].  The mystic, the visionary, walking the beach on a fine night, stirring a puddle, looking at a stone, asking themselves “What am I,” “What is this?” […]. 

~ To the Lighthouse (1927)


“There is the puddle,” said Rhoda, “and I cannot cross it.  I hear the rush of the great grindstone within an inch of my head.  Its wind roars in my face.  All palpable forms of life have failed me.  Unless I can stretch and touch something hard, I shall be blown down the eternal corridors for ever.”

~ The Waves (1931)


There was the moment of the puddle in the path; when for no reason I could discover, everything suddenly became unreal; I was suspended; I could not step across the puddle; I tried to touch something . . . the whole world became unreal.

~ “A Sketch of the Past” (1939)


I wished to add some remarks to this, on the mystical side of this solitude; how it is not oneself but something in the universe that one’s left with.  It is this that is frightening [and] exciting in the midst of my profound gloom, depression, boredom, whatever it is…. Life is, soberly [and] accurately, the oddest affair; has in it the essence of reality.  I used to feel this as a child – couldn’t step across a puddle once I remember, for thinking, how strange – what am I?

    ~ Diary 3, as quoted in The Flight of the Mind: Virginia Woolf’s Art and Manic-Depressive Illness by Thomas C. Caramagno


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