Dear Quiet Reading World,
Three years ago, I decided to write a short story based on the various anecdotes and flashbacks from the Old Country (Slovakia), all retold to me throughout my life by my great grandmother, grandmother, and mother. After a long wait, “Plum Blood Red” is finally alive and ready for your eyes, having been recently published in Clarion 19.
Read “Plum Blood Red” here
At the council of Editor Zachary Bos, I’ve included a brief author’s note, which I’m sharing with you here for context. Thank you for reading my work, should you choose to.
Author’s note. This story is very loosely based on my grandmother’s telling of her experiences in the time immediately following the exit of Axis forces from Czechoslovakia near the end of the war; my great-grandmother’s, too—may she rest in peace. Some of the details, such as the partisans sneaking down during the war to eat and drink at the cantina, setting their ammunition belts down; the disappearance of the Jewish family; and the appearance of Ukrainians among the Nazi ranks, are genuine experiences that were recounted to me without solicitation.
Eastern Europe, and specifically my Slovak heritage, has contributed greatly to my genesis as a fiction writer. My undergraduate studies steered me toward heavy doses of Russian literature, which I still make a study of to this day, though my interests have expanded to include any of the Slavic states (Dalkey Archive Press is a wonderful source of material, in this regard). My own upbringing in a Slovak matriarchy has always provided places to invent from—learning the Slovak language, going back to live in Bratislava for a year or, in the case of this particular story, listening to my grandmother and great-grandmother recount their experiences during the Second World War and then behind the Iron Curtain. – AM
PS Eventually, Clarion 19 will be released in print.
Source: fiction from the Fall issue: Anthony Martin. Ill Not in the Mind.
She sees the bus and recalls a trip in the car with her sister out in the Carolinas where they passed a group of convicts by the side of the highway—a dozen or so male inmates unchained and walking single-file toward some menial cleanup task, bookended by potbellied prison guards holding big rifles down but at the ready, the gloomy, cold steel barrels reaching well past their knees.
Well, I’ll be: a story I wrote a long time ago (and never gave up on) has found a home in the pages of The Tishman Review issue 1.4.
Read “Gloom Won’t Stay Past Morning”
I must send special thanks Jennifer Porter and the rest of the editorial team at The Tishman Review–without their help, this story might never have seen the light of day. I certainly look forward to reading the rest of the issue.
Of course, I always enjoy feedback on my work. Use the Comments section below. Twitter (@pen_tight). Facebook.
PS The Tishman Review runs a mini-contest for each of its issues: Readers’ Favorite and Staff Favorite. The former is a live poll on the TR website which we, the readers, can vote on. Winners (writers) receive a cash prize. So read the issue and support the cause–let the world know what kind of literature you like seeing disseminated:
What relief it brings to know I–
Just kidding. I am still terrified.
Welcome to the first paroxysm in what (I hope) will become a regular word-slinging idea machine. While I am hesitant to step to the platform, to chime in and take part in conversation(s) already so rich, that reluctance is the crux of this little noisette.
That merciless doubt.
It begins with a question that has no definitive answer. It is obscure, of varying germination times; it is single-cell algae multiplying with each crashing wave; it is the seventeen-year cicada. It takes on new forms at every turn, a shape-shifter waiting on each new plateau we reach.