Wednesday, February 10, 2021

"Free Baseball" published at Stymie, a journal of sport, games, & literature

 

I'm so truly thankful to Erik Smetana, founding editor and publisher of Stymie, for publishing my piece "Free Baseball" yesterday. I've always liked what Erik and the others are doing there at the journal for sport, games, and literature. There's also a really good piece in there by DS Levy, author of A Binary Heart from Finishing Line Press.

But check out all the good pieces there at Stymie, and thanks again, Erik!

"Free Baseball"

"Feint of Heart" by DS Levy

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Short story "In a Meditation" published in Everyone Quarterly

So Joe Young's online journal Everyone Quarterly just put out a second issue focusing on architecture. It's a beautiful issue and has a great lineup. I have a story in there called "In a Meditation" and my friend Barrett Warner has a memoir piece called "I Had Been Feeding Leeches for a Month." Joe really has put together a fantastic journal. Go read it. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

7:05 p.m.

I've been putting in several hours a day writing just like every day. It's the same thing all of us do. Work, work, work, and keeping working. Make sentences, tell stories, build something memorable with our craft. All the things we all know. 

So work.

I received a submission today from a writer who stated in his bio that he had had more than fifty pieces published. Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. The website he linked to for himself only had an About page. I'm not trying to be a prick. Really, I'm not. If he's working hard every day to improve then I'm all for that. If he's not it's his business. But I rejected his story. 

Cliché. Worn out language. You have to get rid of that immediately before phrases become sentences and they breed and before you know it every paragraph is generally something somebody else said before you. 

In his first paragraph there were four of these - an ill-fitting suit, beads of sweat dancing, broken dreams, and the other I can't remember. 

He could have sent me something shitty, something from his bottom drawer, something he knew wasn't good hoping I would just publish it because I can't help but to publish any and all submissions sent my way. I don't know. And I just don't know. I only thought I'd mention this. I wanted to write him and offer some feedback but couldn't figure out a way to do it without seeming like a prick. So I'm sharing it here because I had to get rid of it from my mind. 

Sometimes this place is a dump station. I'm sorry about that.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

A New Story Published in Vending Machine Press

I have a new story at Vending Machine Press. It's called "Quietning Man" and I have Mike Lafontaine to thank for it appearing for people to read.

A little background on this one, something I've not really done before outside of an interview question. About two months ago I started to notice that my thinking was different than most of the people I'm around from day to day. Not better, not smarter, not anything like that. Just different, whereas others seemed to have at least some kind of consensus among each other. When I gave advice (advice I would absolutely take myself) I could tell they thought the idea monumentally absurd or just fantasy all together.

After a time, I started to believe that I should just be quiet. There was no reason to waste my breath. And let me make clear, I did not feel that I was above anyone's thinking. 

The ending, when the children come into play, is nothing more than my lifelong fear of destroying my kids in some way I never saw coming. It's in a lot of my stuff.

Read the story HERE

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Breathe, honor is on the return


I wanted to come here while Joseph Biden is still preparing his victory speech and say that we made it, folks. We got through four years with a child as the perceived leader of the free world. Soon we'll have an adult in the highest office again. Just think of the progress we can now be confident will come. Progress in human rights, progress in bringing honor back to the United States again, progress in repairing our global relationships. Progress in ways we've not seen in the last long and disgusting 48 barren months. Breathe, everybody. Breathe.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

TEXTBOOK

by SHELDON LEE COMPTON

Science class. Patricia pays attention. Pays attention like she’s got credit cards full of it. All the plastic attention they can handle.

The rest of the class pays attention to Patricia, the tight t-shirt even more tight over her melon belly. Chatter over her shoulder, food chain chatter at the front of the room where Mrs. Evans explains and explains. Chatter in Patricia’s head so that she can almost hear her thoughts in her throat, real words vibrating downward.

She raises her hand and Mrs. Evans calls on her without looking away from the caged boa propped on the edge of her desk.

“Can a baby inside of you hear what you’re thinking?”

Mrs. Evans says nothing and does not call down the kids laughing at the back of the room. Instead, she takes a white mouse from a box the class prepared the day before. Tiffany stabbed holes in the sides and top so the mice could live long enough to die.

Patricia raises her hand again but Mrs. Evans and the rest of the class watch the mouse and the snake. She writes another note in the margins of her textbook instead and resharpens her pencil.

In the textbook are pictures. Anatomy. The insides of men. Of women. The insides of her. She draws ash-light lines, curling around the skinless woman’s legs, wrapping them until they meet at the exposed stomach and then slickly enter her.

Blunt, Patricia sharpens.

Now the lead, knife-slender, continues its cut through the small and large intestine. Patricia works the pencil down to a nub again, circling a dark mass in the stomach. She hardly hears Mrs. Evans calling her name.

“Patricia. Am I boring you?” Mrs. Evans says. She is fumbling the chalk through spider web fingers, picking at it with her long, red nails.

“No, Mrs. Evans.”

The whispers. Patricia always has somebody to do. She’s never bored. Not Patricia. The giggles.

Patricia writes the names of three boys beside the skinless woman when there’s a snapfast thud from the boa’s cage. The mouse is a cotton ball in the unhinged mouth, a bloodied clump of twitch and panic.

Again, Patricia raises her hand. This time Mrs. Evans waves to the door, agitated, already sure a bathroom request is coming.

Patricia edges sideways out of her desk, closes her eyes and moves in a wobble across the classroom. She does not need the bathroom, only the silence. She rubs her stomach with snowflake fingertips and leans against the wall. When a student bangs open a locker just out of site she turns back to the door.

Walking into the classroom is crawling across broken glass, a gallows walk, the laughter a noose with teeth. Her textbook is in the floor, opened to her page. In red ink are the names of eight more boys scrawled beside the three she wrote. The circled mass in the stomach is now covered over in red. There is an X over each of the lidless eyes.

The crack of the book closing is the thud of a rattled cage and she thinks to herself, hopes it can hear her. That she can hear her. That he can hear her. 


(Originally published in Necessary Fiction).



"Free Baseball" published at Stymie, a journal of sport, games, & literature

  I'm so truly thankful to Erik Smetana, founding editor and publisher of Stymie, for publishing my piece "Free Baseball" yest...