Congratulations to our 2016 Short Story Award Winners
See the list of winners at the 2016 Short Story Award tab above
The twin acts of travel and exploration have always inspired writers to create, whether detailing the happenings within the journey or focusing on the events once the destination has been reached. Some of the most acclaimed books in literature address these two themes: Don Quixote, Robinson Crusoe, Moby-Dick, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Heart of Darkness, to name a few. In these works, the aspects of travel and exploration are central and unmistakable, surrounding us as we read, yet travel is not limited only to these kinds of stories, as fantasy tales like A Christmas Carol, The Time Machine, and The Wizard of Oz accomplish the same by transporting the reader to another world by playing with the concept of time and place.
Maybe writers think of home as being boring, and if not outright boring, then possibly as commonplace compared to other locales, a sort of literary version of ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’. Visiting different places and the people who live there ignites imagination, bringing forth undiscovered ideas, infusing old concepts with new and original nuances. Travel portents change, and change invites the notion that something will happen that doesn’t normally occur at home, in short, drama. Of course, as storytelling goes, change and plot are close kin.
Perhaps the power of the travel story is most vividly conveyed as I recall a statement one of my nephews made when he was about three, just prior to our drive up from his home in the mountains of North Carolina to New Jersey for a vacation. As we were about to climb into the van, young Wade exclaimed, “We’re going to New Jersey! This is the best day of my life!”, surely words never uttered in the history of humankind—nor since—but still a pretty good illustration of why we like to write about travel and read about others doing the same.
In this issue: Our featured author is our own Josie Myers, with her hilarious tale that shows how vacations can be planned one way and, of course, go another. This issue’s interview is BWG member, A. E. Decker, talking about her engaging debut YA Fantasy novel, The Falling of the Moon, the Moonfall Mayhem series, and her creative process. Also, in our & More section we feature two fine stories; Asha Azariah-Kribbs’ story, “Lara’s Tree”, which placed 2nd in our 2016 Short Story Award Competition and 3rd Place story, “Scarecrow Moon”, by David M. Simon.
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Making a Reservation
Ten . . .
1. The Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota
A palace-like building where huge portions of the exterior are covered in corn murals. If you like corn and art, this is the place to see. If you don’t like either, you should probably keep driving because there is a whole lot of corn art. Personally, I enjoyed the indigestible beauty.
2. Devil’s Tower National Monument, Wyoming
Contrary to what some movies may have you believe, it looks nothing like a giant tower of mashed potatoes and we found absolutely no extra-large pianos for extraterrestrial communication. Disappointing. But, the hiking trails were wonderful.
3. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston is one of my absolute favorite cities in the world. Driving in Boston is one of my least favorite activities in the world. My mother cursed out every single god available and the city for its poor street planning. Definitely a place to use public transportation or your feet.
4. Rhode Island
We took a lovely picture of ourselves in front of the sign that says “Welcome to Rhode Island.” Then we drove for five minutes and were in Connecticut.
5. Pike’s Peak, Colorado
The drive up miles of two-lane dirt roads next to a 10,000-foot drop-off is excellent for testing your fear of death. My dad clearly had no problem with it as he drove, laughing every time we screamed when he got close to the edge. My mother was less comfortable as she laid on the back bench seat praying, “Dear sweet Jesus, please let my family live through this.” We did.
6. Tombstone, Arizona
An absolutely delightful place to pretend to be a cowboy for a day, with tremendous history and enough bravado to fill your need for Clint Eastwood movies for years. Be sure to visit Boot Hill so your little brother can learn tons of entertaining epitaphs to repeat at school the next week.
7. Salem, Massachusetts
If cowboy kitsch isn’t your thing, then perhaps witch kitsch is. We loved exploring not only the history, but also the modern witch culture that is alive and well around Salem. Best of all, you can perturb all of the ultra-conservative types in your family with this trip to a "heathen” village.
8. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
The perfect place to listen to your children whine about learning history during the summer when you “aren’t supposed to learn” even though you can tell they are having fun. When you tire of listening to them, you can pretend to put them in a stockade or even an available old-school jail cell and walk away.
9. Roswell, New Mexico
For those who believe “the truth is out there,” you must stop in Roswell, vwere even the public trash cans look like aliens. My dad enjoyed an excruciatingly long and unscientific conversation with a local transplant who believed he had the answers in his shed. My mother wisely led us away.
10. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Apart from the natural beauty of one of the most well-known of the US National Parks, we also got to watch stupid tourists trying to take pictures almost be mauled by wild bison. Old Faithful was late.