Archives for posts with tag: prose

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In Bruges
by Michelle Walshe

An early morning in January, Charleroi train station, Belgium, in a brain fog induced by budget airline scheduling, bleary eyed, headachy, vaguely nauseous and freezing cold I paid for a train ticket and shoved my wallet back into the top of my handbag. I remember him bumping into me as I boarded the train. Then I noticed the open zip on the bag. My heart sank. I wasn’t carrying much cash. I know better. Despite my lapse of concentration, I am an experienced traveler. It was the wallet. It was red leather, from Paris. I had photos of my deceased father in it, of my nieces and nephews, my credit cards, loyalty cards, membership cards, all the cards it takes to live a modern life! It was soft, elegant and well…French! And it was gone.

I walked up and down the train hoping he had discarded it. I reported it, in halting French, to the conductor. And then I sat in disbelief as the Belgian countryside rolled by. My first stop in beautiful Bruges, the Venice of the North, was not the Clock Tower or the canals or the Chocolate Factory, but the police station. Paperwork, telephone calls, signatures. No sign of the wallet.

My mother, who has an instinct that fortune tellers would die for, reckoned the wallet would turn up. I scoffed the idea, it was gone. But, she was right. About a week after returning home I received an email from Frederique in Belgium who had found my wallet on the train, looked through it, found my business card and emailed me to get my postal address. One week later, my red wallet, photos, cards, everything – except the cash – arrived in the post! I sent her Irish chocolates, whiskey, and a big card to say thank you.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The wallet featured in the story. I bought it in Paris in 2010.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Walshe is a teacher in Dublin, on career break, traveling, reading, writing, playing tennis and eating! Basically, doing what she does on the weekends, only full time, for the moment! Find a recent article at irishtimes.com.

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The 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) are sending photos featuring the book in their home environments for a series we’re calling “Nancy Drew Around the World.” Author Tricia Knoll provided this photo taken at the poetry box outside her house in rainy Portland, Oregon, with the remnants of holiday decorations. Tricia contributed the poem “The Secret at Shadow Ranch,” featured below, to the collection.

The Secret at Shadow Ranch
     —the fifth Nancy Drew volume

Oh give me a home

where shadows share
mirror limbs and leanings

whisper, weighing
nothing, casting backwards.

In slipshod light, gallop me
somewhere new.

When shadows evaporate
at corners, play hide and seek.

When they beg to race,
saddle up. Stow your secret

watch, find the red-rock cave,
listen to the old woman’s wisdom.

Stretch me longer
than before.

Find the Nancy Drew Anthology at Amazon.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet whose work appears in many journals and anthologies. Her chapbook Urban Wild focuses on human interactions with wildlife in urban habitat. Ocean’s Laughter (2016) combines lyric and eco-poetry to look at change over time in a small Oregon North Coast town. Her website is triciaknoll.com.

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We extend our appreciation to the 51 writers — from 17 states and 15 countries — who participated in our  MY IMAGINARY SKILL Poetry & Prose Series, which ran from June  5 – June 25, 2016. Many thanks to the following authors for a wonderful series! We started with a poem about imaginary juggling by Steve Klepetar and ended with a poem about juggling by Sunil Sharma. How’s that for symmetry!

Jan Alexander (New York)
Tobi Alfier (California)
Elizabeth Alford (California)
Magdalena Ball (Australia)
Shelly Blankman (Maryland)
Mark Blickley (New York)
Rose Mary Boehm (Peru)
Jane Burn (England)
Jacalyn Carley (Germany)
Sylvia Cavanaugh (Wisconsin)
Tricia Marcella Cimera (Illinois)
Lew Colgan (Colorado)
Mike Dailey (North Carolina)
Steven Deutsch (Pennsylvania)
Emma Filtness (England)
Vijaya Gowrisankar (India)
torrin a. greathouse (California)
Mavis Gulliver (Scotland)
Geosi Gyasi (Ghana)
G. Louis Heath (Iowa)
Ryn Holmes (Florida)
Derek Kannemeyer (Virginia)
S.I. Kerns (Japan)
Sofia Kioroglou (Greece)
Steve Klepetar (Minnesota)
Jennifer Lagier (California)
Joan Leotta (North Carolina)
Ellaraine Lockie (California)
Maggie Mackay (Scotland)
Betsy Mars (California)
Erica Gerald Mason (Georgia)
Mary McCarthy (Pennsylvania)
Catfish McDaris (Wisconsin)
Linda McKenney (New York)
Scott-Patrick Mitchell (Australia)
Alice Morris (Delaware)
Leara Morris-Clark (Massachusetts)
Robbi Nester (California)
Lee Parpart (Canada)
James Penha (Indonesia)
Patrick T. Reardon (Illinois)
Jeannie E. Roberts (Wisconsin)
Sunil Sharma (India)
Sheikha A. (Pakistan)
Leslie Sittner (New York)
Neha Srivastava (India)
Maureen Sudlow (New Zealand)
Virginia Chase Sutton (Arizona)
Dorothy Swoope (Australia)
Vincent Van Ross (India)
Lynn White (Wales)

 

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OVERVIEW: Moving from one location to another can bring about a range of emotions and experiences — and we want to hear all about it in the Silver Birch Press WHEN I MOVED Poetry and Prose Series.

PROMPT: Tell us about a memorable move in a poem (any reasonable length) or prose piece (300 words or fewer — this word limit also applies to prose poems).

WHAT: Submissions can be original or previously published poems or prose. You retain all rights to your work and give Silver Birch Press permission to publish the piece on social media and in a potential print edition.

WHEN: We’ll feature the poems and prose in the Silver Birch Press WHEN I MOVED Poetry and Prose Series on our blog starting in August 2016 . We’ll also feature the work on Twitter and Facebook.

HOW TO SUBMIT: Email one poem or prose piece to SBPSUBMISSIONS@gmail.com as an MSWord attachment — and in the same file include your name, contact info (including email address), one-paragraph author’s bio (written in third person), and any notes about your creative process or thoughts about your piece. Please put all this information in one MSWord document and title the file with your last name (and only your last name). Write “Move” in subject line of email. If available, please send a photo of yourself at any age — and provide a caption for the photo (when, where). (Photos taken during a move-in or move-out would be ideal!)

SUBMISSION CHECKLIST

To help everyone understand our submission requirements, we’ve prepared the following checklist.

1. Send ONE MS Word document TITLED WITH YOUR LAST NAME (e.g. Smith.doc or Jones.docx).

2. In the same MS Word document, include your contact information (name, mailing address, email address).

3. In the same MS Word document, include an author’s bio, written in the third person.

4. In the same MS Word document, include a note about your poem/prose or creative process (this is optional — but encouraged).

5. In the same MS Word document, include a caption for your photo (including where, when and/or date taken).

6. If available, send a photo of yourself at any age — as a SEPARATE jpg attachment (not in the MS Word document). Title the photo with your last name (e.g., Jones.jpg). Also send a current photo to accompany your bio.

7. Email to SBPSUBMISSIONS@gmail.com — and put MOVE in the subject line.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Monday, August 15, 2016.

IMAGE: Ad for U-Haul‘s 70th anniversary in 2015 (with our series title added).

White Bicycle icon on red stop sign web app
I Survived…(A head on collision with a stop sign)
by Kate Hodges

There was a lot of blood. I had just mastered riding without training wheels. My sister and her friend were riding their bikes. I tagged along. She was thrilled to be saddled with me, so she adjusted the speed on her 10-speed and took off. She ended up about a block-length ahead of me.

My bike was purple and turquoise and had teddy bears. It wasn’t a hand-me-down! Around the block from our house, there was a bar on the corner with a stop sign right in front. The curb had a deep slope downward. If you built up enough speed and turned your bike at just the right angle, you would fly off the pavement for a few seconds. We spent hours doing that. If you missed…well you didn’t miss.

I pedaled, furiously pumping my legs. My sister was already so far ahead, and I didn’t know which way she would turn next. My bike couldn’t go any faster. The wheel wobbled as I took the curb. Crash-Smash. A head-on collision with a Stop Sign. My mouth was bleeding. I was missing a tooth. My sister heard me crying and slowed down. When she turned to look at me, her mouth formed an “O.” A man came out of the bar and searched the ground for my tooth. He was a stranger, though. I was sure I’d be in trouble.

I don’t remember how my bike made it back to the house. I do remember the dentist giving me extra stickers from the prize box. All of my meals were made in a blender for a week. I still remember the look of veal scaloppini liquefied. What I remember most: my dad fixed my bike, and I knew then that he could fix anything.

IMAGE: “Bike stop sign” by Image Vector, used by permission.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kate Hodges is a teacher turned writer. She has traded the Middle School Science Lab for the Uni Library while studying in Scotland. Growing up, she dreamed of being Ramona Quimby, Dawn Schafer, and Sarah, Plain and Tall. She still believes that you can tell a lot about someone based on the a person’s favourite Wakefield Twin. She has fallen in deep like with Heathcliff, Laurie, and Moriarty. She has fallen in deep love with Gilbert Blythe. You can find her on twitter @kateyfacewrites.

Seamless vtctor pattern with bicycles

Learning to Ride
by Tobi Alfier

I don’t remember my first “big girl bike” but I’m sure it was pink, and I’m sure it had streamers coming out of the handlebars. Training wheels? Piece of cake, but once they were off I needed some serious help.

We lived in Dallas. At the end of our very long block lived my best friend Betsy. Next door, on the other side of the wash, lived our dentist Barney. This was useful to know in case I fell off my bike on the swoop down and up of the wash, causing me to fall and break more teeth (I had already chipped one front tooth bouncing on the steering wheel of my mom’s car. Even though Barney used cinnamon-flavored x-rays I did not want to break anything more).

My mom and Betsy’s mom would coordinate. They would push us off toward the other, cigarettes dangling from their lips as they yelled encouragement. Once I made it past the wash I headed straight for Betsy’s mom, and Betsy headed straight for mine. We never crashed on the way past each other. We never took our hands off the handlebars to high five.

Our moms would catch each of us between their chino-clad knees, sometimes unselfconsciously with their hair curled around orange-juice cans and wrapped in toilet paper to look pretty when our dads got home. They would turn us around and push us back home, over and over. That is how my best friend Betsy and I learned to ride our bikes.

IMAGE: “Bike pattern” by Natality, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My mom is going to be eighty this year. This was a long time ago. I remember it like it was yesterday — this was my first taste of freedom.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Her most current chapbooks are The Coincidence of Castles from Glass Lyre Press, and Romance and Rust from Blue Horse Press. Down Anstruther Way is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press. She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).

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Without Training Wheels
by Leslie Sittner

Drive-in movies were new venues in our area in 1952. Mom was fascinated. We went three or four times each week to different ones. We made a bed in the back of the station wagon and after the first movie, my brother and I had to go to sleep.

During intermission there were often drawings for popular items like bicycles. Ticket stubs were drawn to determine the winner. Since we were “four,” we always thought we had a pretty good chance of winning something.

We did. We won a girl’s bike with my brother’s ticket. Since he was too young to use it, the bike was mine. We were secretive about the real winner; my brother was young but had big ears.

Learning to ride required a week’s worth of training wheels. Dad coached. I did fine. They were removed. I was pretty cocky because I’d been taking gymnastic classes; I was strong, flexible, and had good balance. Unfortunately, steering, pedaling, and staying upright simultaneously was elusive without the extra little wheels. I practiced. And practiced. I practiced more. Dad gave up. Mom ran out of band-aids for my many cuts and scrapes.

When my parents suggested I give up and the bike be stored and saved for my brother, I learned very quickly to stay upright, ride straight, turn, and stop. Good psychology.

Now that I was on my own, I was allowed to ride on our suburban street as long a parent was supervising. I thought I was hot stuff. My little brother wasn’t permitted to leave the yard on his tricycle. I thought I was big-sister-hot-stuff.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is me in 1952 with the drive-in bike, a neighbor, and my brother on his tricycle. To this day he doesn’t know the winning ticket was his.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This prompt brought back memories of easy childhood summers. Apparently there was more gender equity in wardrobes in 1952. Nowadays I always wear tops.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Since returning to upstate New York after 25 years in Manhattan, Leslie Sittner has been turning to the written word as a form of self-expression and reflection. She began this journey two years ago and is just finding her voice in different formats. Two of her stories are now available in print in The Apple Tree by Third Age Press, and on-line prose at 101Words. A variety of prose and poetry can also be seen on-line at Silver Birch Press and 50 Word Challenge.

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NOTE: By popular request, we are extending the deadline for our STARTING TO RIDE Poetry & Prose Series to Sunday, May 15, 2016.

OVERVIEW: Most of us have a story (or stories) about how/when/where/why we learned to ride a bike — or taught someone else how to ride, or have vivid memories about when we first started to ride a bike. We want to hear about your bike-related experiences and invite you to submit your work to our STARTING TO RIDE Poetry and Prose Series. (Non-riders can also participate by explaining why they’ve never learned how to ride a bicycle.)

PROMPT: Tell us about learning to ride a bike, teaching someone else how to ride, or something that happened when you were a novice bicycle rider in a poem (any reasonable length) or prose piece (300 words or fewer). If you’ve never learned to ride, tell us why in poetry or prose.

WHAT: Submissions can be original or previously published poems or prose. You retain all rights to your work and give Silver Birch Press permission to publish the piece on social media and in a potential print edition.

WHEN: We’ll feature the poems and prose in the Silver Birch Press STARTING TO RIDE Poetry and Prose Series on our blog starting in May 2016 . We’ll also feature the work on Twitter and Facebook.

HOW TO SUBMIT: Email one poem or prose piece to SBPSUBMISSIONS@gmail.com as an MSWord attachment — and in the same file include your name, contact info (including email address), one-paragraph author’s bio (written in third person), and any notes about your creative process or thoughts about your piece. Please put all this information in one MSWord document and title the file with your last name (and only your last name). Write “Ride” in subject line of email. If available, please send a photo of yourself around the time you learned to ride a bicycle — or a photo of the person you taught to ride, with that person’s permission (if it’s your child, submitting the photo implies permission)  — and provide a caption for the photo (when, where). Photos with bikes encouraged!

SUBMISSION CHECKLIST

To help everyone understand our submission requirements, we’ve prepared the following checklist.

1. Send ONE MS Word document TITLED WITH YOUR LAST NAME (e.g. Smith.doc or Jones.docx).

2. In the same MS Word document, include your contact information (name, mailing address, email address).

3. In the same MS Word document, include an author’s bio, written in the third person (e.g., Bobby Schwinn lives in Ohio…”).

4. In the same MS Word document, include a note about your poem/prose or creative process (this is optional — but encouraged).

5. In the same MS Word document, include a caption for your photo (including where, when and/or date taken).

6. If available, send a photo of yourself at the age you learned to ride a bicycle — or a photo of the person you taught to ride a bike, with that person’s permission (if it’s your child, submitting the photo implies permission) — as a SEPARATE jpg attachment (not in the MS Word document). Title the photo with your last name (e.g., Jones.jpg). Also send a current photo to accompany your bio.

7. Email to SBPSUBMISSIONS@gmail.com — and put RIDE in the subject line.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Sunday, May 15, 2016

PHOTO: Bike rider in training (wheels), photo from 1950s purchased on etsy.com.

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OVERVIEW: Most of us wish we had a  special skill  — say, we could dance like Fred Astaire, play tennis like Serena Williams, cook like Julia Child, paint like Pablo Picasso, and on and on — that usually revolves around a particular interest or passion for music, art, sports, or whatever else gives our lives joy. Well, even if you don’t possess such a skill in real life, you can imagine you’re an ace in some category — and tell us about it in our MY IMAGINARY SKILL Poetry and Prose Series.

PROMPT: Tell us about your imaginary skill in a poem (any reasonable length) or prose piece (300 words or fewer– this word limit also applies to prose poems).

WHAT: Submissions can be original or previously published poems or prose. You retain all rights to your work and give Silver Birch Press permission to publish the piece on social media and in a potential print edition.

WHEN: We’ll feature the poems and prose in the Silver Birch Press MY IMAGINARY SKILL Poetry and Prose Series on our blog starting in June 2016 . We’ll also feature the work on Twitter and Facebook.

HOW TO SUBMIT: Email one poem or prose piece to SBPSUBMISSIONS@gmail.com as an MSWord attachment — and in the same file include your name, contact info (including email address), one-paragraph author’s bio (written in third person), and any notes about your creative process or thoughts about your piece. Please put all this information in one MSWord document and title the file with your last name (and only your last name). Write “Skill” in subject line of email. If available, please send a photo of yourself at any age enacting your skill (for example, dancing, diving, cooking, singing) and provide a caption for the photo (when, where).

SUBMISSION CHECKLIST

To help everyone understand our submission requirements, we’ve prepared the following checklist.

1. Send ONE MS Word document TITLED WITH YOUR LAST NAME (e.g. Smith.doc or Jones.docx).

2. In the same MS Word document, include your contact information (name, mailing address, email address).

3. In the same MS Word document, include an author’s bio, written in the third person (e.g., Ginger Rogers lives in Missouri…”).

4. In the same MS Word document, include a note about your poem/prose or creative process (this is optional — but encouraged).

5. In the same MS Word document, include a caption for your photo (including where, when and/or date taken).

6. If available, send a photo of yourself at any age enacting the skill — as a SEPARATE jpg attachment (not in the MS Word document). Title the photo with your last name (e.g., Jones.jpg). Also send a current photo to accompany your bio.

7. Email to SBPSUBMISSIONS@gmail.com — and put SKILL in the subject line.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Wednesday, June, 15, 2016.

IMAGE: Dancer supreme Fred Astaire (left) and tennis ace Serena Williams (right).

Kesselman

Private Transportation
by Rachel Lynn Kesselman

That summer Luke taught me how to drive a stick. But no other interpretations can be drawn from this fact. For Luke, there were no questions. He had not second-guessed any part of his ensemble that day: green tee shirt, worn Levi’s. I had changed six times. How to look pretty but casual, flattered but comfortable. Country girls had this down to a science. But I was somewhere between an urban academic prestige and a rustic working class past. Piles of rejected clothing waited back home: an array of potential identities.

We practiced in a parking lot. I shifted, we jolted. Eaaaasy. He shifted, we accelerated smoothly. I couldn’t master the relationship between the clutch and the gas. To take your foot slightly off the clutch and then put just the right amount of pressure on the gas. The intelligence of the feet. The trusting of the body. Why didn’t they make it so that you could fully take your foot off the clutch and then have, say, twenty seconds in which you could put your foot on the gas?

Because that’s not how a car works. The perfect balance this transition required felt as if I were expected to perform a triple axel on cue, at intervals uneven and thus unpredictable. Just listen to the car. You’ll feel it. I managed sometimes and didn’t others. I got distracted looking at the objects lying around the shifter itself. A red lighter, pennies, a tobacco tin. A folded piece of paper. Could it contain a phone number? What was in the glove box?

Let’s take her on the road now. You’re ready. Well, okay. Hey, I’m doing great! Should I turn? But he didn’t have a route in mind. When we reached a hill, I stalled. Maybe another time.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Much more comfortable driving in my favorite and first car: my 1999 automatic Volkswagen Beetle. Picking up a friend in the summer of 2011, long before this boyfriend and his stick shift lessons.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Some say you have to leave home in order to write about it. I’m not sure if that’s true for everyone, but in my case, moving to Paris helped me write about Pennsylvania. This text is part of a vignette series based on episodes that have deeply shaped my life and identity. Pennsylvania is a place where one must drive. The car is an intimate space. Paris is a place where transportation is public. The two yield different kinds of adventures.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born and raised in the coal-mining region of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Rachel Lynn Kesselman is a writer currently based in Paris. She is at work on a book set in these two places and teaches English at a French high school. She holds degrees from Bryn Mawr College and the Sorbonne.