We write. We revise.
My daughter was one of them. When she took root inside me, she wasn’t alone. Another one dug in too. They were my blastocysts, beautiful, multi-cellular, and cultivated by the most diligent of babysitters, an enterprising embryologist. She gave the fast growers high marks and they were whisked away from the cool confines of their conception and placed into the warmth of my womb. The others were frozen in time.
The one to become my daughter morphed from a pulsating grain of rice to a buoyant creature with budding limbs. She transformed, as if she had superpowers, into the wiggling fetus who would bust open her amniotic sac, spewing a blood-tinged waterfall. She was selfish for survival. The first time we met, she lay on my chest returning my gaze with blue eyes gleaming. The screechy sounds rising from within her shuddering shape revealed her insatiable hunger to live.
~Excerpt from a short-story-in-progress by Jill Dyan Martin
After I get the Sunday lunch dishes put away, I load up Momma in the car, and we head west on Matagorda County Road 231 through the South Texas coastal plains. Past the shuttered TeePee Motel and its cracked weedy parking lot. Past hulking Conoco refinery where my ex worked before he up and left me and Preston. Past the shallow muddy sloughs favored by migrating water birds and patient alligators. Then, an abrupt drop off, and the asphalt pavement surrenders to a crushed shell surface. A low veil of dust now trails behind, coating the road kill carcasses and empty beer cans with a gritty summer frost.
Momma holds onto her shoulder harness seat belt strap so it doesn’t pull across her neck – her skin tears easier than wet tissue. If I nail a pothole or swerve too hard to miss one, she exhales a sharp squeak – Eee! With each bump, her folded wheelchair rattles against the backseat.
~Excerpt from a short-story-in-progress by Nancy Nygard
Gentle undulating green knolls and dells with wildflowers spread out under a brilliant sky, goose down clouds drifted by, chased by racing shadows on the ground. Paralleling the rail lines, long ribbons of cobblestone cut across the greenway beneath arches of an ancient Roman aqueduct. Long houses of mason bloc with families and livestock were flanked by open pasture. Lanes marked by young trees and unfinished projects of Baron Haussmann, an attempt at city planning. A gothic chapel, Église Saint Denys stood next to the new town hall, an ornate Victorian style building of yellow granite trimmed in terracotta brick. The region was scattered with a diverse range of architecture, like extra pieces of Paris that had been cast aside when there was no more room, or a dam burst and carried these pieces out in the flow. An equal variety of odors laced the air, fresh alfalfa, cow manure, smoke form the brick factory and run off from the distillery draining into the Bievre creek.
~Excerpt from 38 Umbrellas, a novel-in-progress by Michelle Fogle.