Category Archives: flash fiction

Ann Beattie’s Winter Love Affair, “Snow.”

Snow by Ann Beattie   (Vanity Fair, 1983)

Monday’s Flash Fiction,   September 13, 2021

 

 

Short, cozy, and deep, this short story holds a bright candle to spending winter in a country house with your lover. The intensity between reality and imagination is Beattie’s signature style. This is written in second person narrative (not one of my favorites), but well done in imagery and metaphor.

 

“I know that stories don’t really have conclusions. It’s only an appropriate moment for stopping.”

This is not a surprising quote by Beattie. Her stories often dangle you at the end. In Snow, the dangling leaves the reader with a sense of drama and loss. But even that is open to interpretation. Reading this 5-paragraph story a couple of times is well worth it!

Ann Beattie  is an American short story writer and novelist. She has received an award for excellence from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and a PEN/Bernard Malamud Award for excellence in the short story form. Her work has been compared to that of Alice Adams, J.D. Salinger, John Cheever, and John Updike. She is the author of twenty-one books, including the collections What Was Mine, Follies, The State We’re In, and The Accomplished Guest, as well as the novels Chilly Scenes of Winter, Another You, Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life, and A Wonderful Stroke of Luck (Viking, 2019). Beattie was the Edgar Allan Poe Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia.  She lives in Maine and Key West.

 

Read the short story here at Wattsenglishclass.weebly.com:

https://wattsenglishclass.weebly.com/uploads/5/8/2/9/58298297/snowbyannbeattie.pdf

Listen to the audio  (5 minutes)

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

 

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Author of the Week, George Saunders, June 14

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   June 14

George Saunders

( Novellas, Short Stories, Essays, and Children’s Books)

“Reading is a form of prayer, a guided meditation that briefly makes us believe we’re someone else, disrupting the delusion that we’re permanent and at the centre of the universe. Suddenly (we’re saved!) other people are real again, and we’re fond of them.”

“When you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you. What I want is to have the reader come out just 6 percent more awake to the world.”

“By honing the sentences you used to describe the world, you changed the inflection of your mind, which changed your perceptions.”

“Sometimes I think fiction exists to model the way God might think of us, if God had the time and inclination to do so.”

 

George Saunders (Born 1958)  is a New York Times best-selling American writer of short stories and eleven novels. He won the Man Booker prize in 2017 for Lincoln in the Bardo. His stories have appeared regularly in The New Yorker since 1992. The short story collection Tenth of December was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has taught, since 1997, in the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.

Interview (Late Night with Seth Myers) with George Saunders, How Stories Enter Our Minds as Memories:

 

 

 

George Saunders is a conjurer, summoning worlds by stacking sentences and paragraphs, using agile and often brutally efficient language.  An interview with Saunders at The Believer Magazine:

An Interview with George Saunders

Reviews on Amazon:

“You want funny? Saunders is your man. You want emotional heft? Saunders again. You want stories that are actually about something—stories that again and again get to the meat of matters of life and death and justice and country? Saunders. There is no one better, no one more essential to our national sense of self and sanity.”—Dave Eggers, author of A Hologram for the King

“The best short-story writer in English—not ‘one of,’ not ‘arguably,’ but the Best.”—Mary Karr, Time.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that short story master George Saunders helped change the trajectory of American fiction.”The Wall Street Journal

Saunder’s Amazon Page:

https://www.amazon.com/George-Saunders/e/B000APEZ74

 

Note: You can read one of Saunder’s short stories Sticks right here at Reading Fiction Blog, featured in November 2018 (flash fiction 4-minute read):

George Saunder’s Flash Fiction “Sticks”

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

 Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors. Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

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Hekate, Witch or Goddess?

The Abduction of Persephone

Tuesday’s March Tale   March 30, 2021

Springtime is hardly known as the season of witches, but if you are a lover of supernatural stories—and like me you are fascinated by the myths, history, and fiction about witchcraft—every month is the season for witches. Also, since my birth date is on Halloween, I have both a fear and an attraction to witches. And while witches (associated with the word wicked) are traditionally thought to possess evil powers who communicate with spirits and underworld realms, acting out their powers of womanhood, I am wondering if there is much more to discover about witches than just their dark arts.

Today we are exploring the Titaness deity known as Hekate, or Hecate (pronounced Heck-ah-teh), an ancient witch-priestess. You may have seen images of this well-known witch, deemed the queen of witchcraft, black magick sorcerer, as a three-headed figure (she sees in all directions), standing at crossroads, holding torches or keys, with a black dog at her feet. She is revered as the goddess of magick of the night and the underworld, the moon, ghosts, and necromancy. Pretty hot babe, wouldn’t you say? She is among other dark goddesses like Kali, Morrigan, Brigid, Hel, Baba Yaga, Aradia, Isis, Persephone. 

In the story for this month’s reading, The Abduction of Persephone, Hekate makes a brief appearance in this tale of Zeus and Demeter (goddess of the earth) who have lost their daughter Persephone. Hades has abducted the girl. Hekate hears her screams from the Underworld. When Persephone eats the food of the dead, Zeus and Demeter must make a deal with Hades to get their daughter back.

This is an enchanting flash fiction (10-minute read), totally enjoyable, which symbolizes our shifting earth seasons, grief and loss, and brings meaning to mother/daughter love relationships. Reading myths can answer timeless questions about the value and insights of life, love, trust, good and evil. In the art of storytelling, these human experiences are everything.

Read the myth at Muses Realm:

http://www.musesrealm.net/stories/abductpersephone.html

Hekate has a much more powerful and impressive role in The Golden Ass by Lucius Apuleius (Chapter 47). In this myth, Hekate speaks to us and identifies her qualities. When the narrator Lucius is turned into an ass, it is Hekate who shows him how to return to his human shape.

Read Chapter 47 at Gutenberg.org

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1666/1666-h/1666-h.htm#link2H_4_0061

In my research about Hekate (for a short story I’m writing and my upcoming supernatural novel Draakensky) I found a mix of good and evil in her mythical history. Hekate knows she has powers to both destroy and create and uses that power wisely. Many believe her to be an intuitive goddess, soul-knowing, who holds both darkness and light within her powers. Hekate favors the color black, lavender, and the Yew tree. She is said to be the Dark Mother. I can’t help align her with Mother Nature who brings us fruit, grain, herbs, flowers, the beauty of sunrise and sunset, but also brings us hurricanes, drought, poisonous plants, pestilence and disease.

Other reports of Hekate are less flattering. She is said to be the high witch of the underworld Hades, her rituals and rites associated with death and secrecy, and she can banish or produce a ghost or ghosts infestations. She holds the ultimate skeleton key to unlock the gates to all realms, including Hades. Does she cast spells? Probably. Does she invoke the devil? Some say yes, some say no. There is a clear uncertainty about Hekate. But truth is like the sun, it eventually shines.

If you are in the season of the Crone, on the wise woman’s journey to deeper self-discovery, or curious to experience the cave of feminine power, Hekate is a woman you might like to explore. The archetype of “the witch” is a seeker and bringer of ancient secrets if not deeper knowledge. Witch, goddess, priestess, queen, crone, healer, medicine woman, warrior, shaman, leader, mentor, whatever you call her, feminine power is on the rise in our society.

For more on Hekate, stop by Keeping Her Keys website by Dr. Cyndi Brannen, a psychologist, author, and teacher who writes from the crossroads of psychology, spirituality, and traditional wisdom merging ancient knowledge with modern practices.

https://keepingherkeys.com/

Interested in reading more about the Dark Goddess?

https://thegoddesscircle.net/dark-goddess-magick/

Also, here is a post about Lilith: Ancient Diety: https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/lilith-ancient-demon-dark-deity-or-sex-goddess-005908

At this point, I cannot help but wonder where the crossroads meet between wicked witch vs. good goddess and what we might discover there. Is the shadow side of the Crone archetype the wicked witch? Or maybe it’s something else. What is the Dark Mother really about? You can read about The Dark Mother here: https://thenephilimrising.com/2017/06/22/the-dark-mother-lessons-from-lilith/

Do you think the patriarchy is losing power? These days the Divine Feminine is becoming stronger and more visible every day. There are legendary stories inside all of us. What is yours at this challenging time in our world? Is there a warrior woman inside of you?

Please feel free to add your thoughts to this page. I would love to hear from you!

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, romance, and mainstream fiction.

Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

Fangoria.com      Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

Monster Librarian        The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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The Beauty of Christmas Legends

Saturday’s Tales for Christmas,  December 19, 2020

Shall we go back to our childhood days today? The mythical Santa Claus and his magical sleigh, a sweet babe in a manger who brings love to the world, bright star lights on evergreen trees, festive feasts of meats, sweets, and gingerbread houses, the lonely elf on the shelf, and perhaps a boozy eggnog. One more item we can’t forget are the Christmas legends and fairy tales that make our holidays so warm and memorable.

 

Who doesn’t remember The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen? If you’ve forgotten this sad but poignant story, you can read it here at American Literature. My mom used to tell us this story every Christmas Eve as we drove around town to see all the Christmas lights.  And, this story is especially dedicated to Grandmas, Nanas, and Gramzies because this is a grandparent story too.

The audio is a real treat. The Little Match Girl was meant to be a read-aloud.

Read it here at American Literature:

https://americanliterature.com/author/hans-christian-andersen/short-story/the-little-match-girl

Listen to the audio storybook read by Ewan McGregor, with page-turning illustrations. Beautiful!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHnDT1SO8sc 

 

There is another Christmas legend, less known and one you may not have read. The Christmas Spider (also known as The Spider’s Gift, The Spider’s Miracle, and other cultural variations), a folktale originally from the Ukraine.

I found this story in an old Christmas book. You will be pleasantly surprised how a story about a spider for Christmas will endear you to these odd little creatures.

Read it here, reproduced from my Christmas Book.

The gray spider worked very hard every day making long strands of silk that he wove into a web in which he caught troublesome flies. But he noticed that everyone turned away from him because, they said, he was so unpleasant to look at with his long crooked legs and furry body. Of course the gray spider didn’t believe that, because he had only the kindliest feelings for everybody.

One day when he was crossing the stream he looked into the water. There he saw himself as he really was. “Oh,” he thought, “I am very unpleasant to look at. I shall keep out of people’s way.” He was very sad and hid himself in the darkest corner of the stable.

There he again began to work as he always had, weaving long strands of silk into webs and catching flies. The donkey and the ox and the sheep who lived in the stable thanked him for his kindness, because now they were no longer bothered with the buzzing flies. That made the spider very happy.

One night, exactly at midnight, the gray spider was awakened by a brilliant light. He looked about and saw that the light came from the manger where a tiny Child lay on the hay. The stable was filled with glory, and over the Child bent a beautiful mother. Behind her stood a man with a staff in his hand, and the ox and the donkey and all the white sheep were down on their knees.

Suddenly a gust of cold wind swept through the stable and the Baby began to weep from the cold. The mother bent over Him but could not cover Him enough to keep Him warm.

The little spider took his silken web and laid it at Mary’s feet (for it was Mary) and Mary took up the web and covered the Baby with it. It was soft as thistledown and as warm as wool. The Child stopped His crying and smiled at the little gray spider.

Then Mary said, “Little gray spider, for this great gift to the Babe you may have anything you wish.”

“Most of all,” said the spider, “I wish to be beautiful.”

“That I cannot give you,” Mary answered. “You must stay as you are for as long as you live. But this I grant you. Whenever anyone sees a spider at evening, he will count it a good omen, and it shall bring him good fortune.”

This made the spider very happy, and to this day, on Christmas Eve, we cover the Christmas tree with “angel’s hair” in memory of the little gray spider and his silken web.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing you all the happiest of holidays,  the gift of love, the gift of peace, and the magic of Christmas stories!

 

For one more Christmas story—one of my own creations—stop by my December 7, 2017 blog post for Christmas River Ghost. A ghostly holiday story about family, celebration, coming home, and a Christmas peacock.

“They come—through the icy wind, between the naked trees, walking the bridge, by Eagle Hill River … on Christmas Eve … ”

Read the Christmas River Ghost:

https://paulacappa.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/christmas-river-ghost-by-paula-cappa/ 

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, romance, and mainstream fiction.

 Stop by every month or sign up to follow my blog to read one short story every month. 

 

Comments are welcome!

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Bullet In the Brain

Bullet In the Brain  by Tobias Wolff  (1995)

Tuesday’s Tale of Suspense   November 24, 2020

Murder, nostalgia, understanding life. Bullet In the Brain is a fast read (15-minutes), unforgettable, and will draw you into the story immediately and hard. Do you love stories that explore language? Author Tobias Wolff has a reputation as a sharp academic. In this story, Wolff has crafted his narrative with fast tension and then redirects into an irresistible slow motion that keeps the readers hanging on every sentence. Truly a master writer.

Anders, a bitter literary critic by trade (a lover of literature), walks into a bank. He engages the other customers with sarcasm and wit when two bank robbers enter the front doors. For Anders, language has always provoked wonder (he is quite the entertaining logophile)—but  a jaded one. You’ll love the cynicism laced with humor. In this story Anders discovers that even danger holds a disdain for him. Read it slowly to enjoy Wolff’s chills, the humor, and this extraordinary character who jumps off the page into your mind. Savor the last lines. Say them aloud, because they have quite a slap.

Read it here:

https://pov.imv.au.dk/Issue_27/section_1/artc2A.html

Listen to the audio here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtcQ_Uk47MI

 

 

Tobias Wolf is the author of novels The Barracks Thief and Old School, the memoirs This Boy’s Life and In Pharaoh’s Army. Also short story collections In the Garden of the North American MartyrsBack in the World, and The Night in Question. His Our Story Begins, won The Story Prize, 2008, and he received the PEN/Malamud Award and the Rea Award, both for excellence in the short story, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. His work appears regularly in The New YorkerThe AtlanticHarper’s, and other magazines and literary journals.

 

Listen to an short interview with Tobias Wolff speak about short stories:

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, romance, and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in

reading one short story every month. 

 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine 

  Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Granny and That Red Riding Hood

The Werewolf   by Angela Carter (1979)

Tuesday’s Fairy Tale, A Modern Retelling   August 11, 2020

As an avid reader, you might know that fairy tales are being retold in modern and highly inventive ways. You may have seen titles like Cinderella is Dead or The Librarian and the Beast or Alice, The Wanderland Chronicles. Retellings of Little Red Riding Hood are one of the most popular stories to flood the literary marketplace. Amazon has over 100 retellings (The Red Wolf; Moon and Fangs; Reluctant Hood).  Why we still love fairy tales comes from our need to believe that magical things can happen to common folk and what better place to indulge in that than fiction.

The original Little Red Riding Hood is believed to have been written by Charles Perrault (17th century), or possibly more ancient than that as an 11th century poem, according to anthropologist Jamie Tehrani at National Geographic. Most of us know the story as authored by the Brothers Grimm from 1812 “Rotkäppchen.”

Reportedly, there are 58 versions of the tale from Japan to Africa to Korea. Here is the original by Grimm, if you’d like a read:
(https://germanstories.vcu.edu/grimm/redridinghood.html )

This week, however, I bring you a version of Little Red Riding Hood by Angela Carter, The Werewolf. Flash fiction at 900 words, a 5-minute read. And what a read it is. Gothic, pastoral, sharp. And this little riding girl is skilled at using a hunting knife. It ends grimly but like all fairy tales, the last line in this miniature narrative is dramatically tight.

 

Read Carter’s The Werewolf  here at Biblioklept.org:

https://biblioklept.org/2012/06/03/read-the-werewolf-a-short-fable-by-angela-carter/

 

Remember this song? For Betty Boop lovers!

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, romance, and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading

one short story every month. 

 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

 

 

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ParABnormal Magazine Publishes “Wild Darkness”

Wild Darkness by Paula Cappa

March 24, 2020

Why do we read short stories?  Because we can explore a variety of different authors and  experience a wide range of genres without the full-time commitment of a novel. Short fiction is a way to bring back daily or weekly reading time in small bites of pleasure. And with flash fiction, you can read a full story in the time it takes to eat your lunch. This blog has been devoted to short fiction for over seven years with over 250 stories by over 100 contemporary and classic authors.

Today I am proud to announce that ParABnormal Magazine has published my short fiction Wild Darkness.

Here’s a peek …

The ghost beneath the hickory trees is a women. She appears as a shivering presence among the leaves drowning in the summer sun. Her name is Falling Water.

Why do we love ghost stories? I read them because there is usually a truth creeping inside the story, an other-worldly element that suggests we are more than what we see or hear.  Or maybe because ghost stories cannot be absolutely proven and who doesn’t love a mystery? Or, maybe ghosts have something important to tell us.

Come meet Falling Water at Hickory House in the deep woods.

 

From Editor H. Blalock,  ParAbnormal Magazine

“The world is filled with strange and wondrous things; things beyond explanation, beyond imagination. Step into the world of the strange, the mystic, and the Beyond in parABnormal Magazine and find that which shouldn’t exist, but lurks just outside of that we can see.

“As the editor of the magazine, I believe it contains work from some of the most talented writers and artists. I recommend their work to anyone interested in paranormal fiction, non-fiction, and art.”

You can purchase a copy of ParAbnormal Magazine on Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/parABnormal-March-2020-David-Blalock/dp/1951384253

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

 

Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

 

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Becoming a Woman

March 10, 2020

Girl by Jamaica Kincaid (1978)

Let’s go video today.  Girl by Jamaica Kincaid is an unusual story with two characters in a conversation, a mother and a daughter. While most moms are ready and able to give their daughters advice about becoming a woman, this mother in the story focuses on the practical side of life. And then some. The ending has a zinger, and I dare you not to smile. Listen to the author read her story here at Chicago Humanities Festival. This is a 5-minute story (flash fiction at its finest), extraordinary writing, with a theme that is meaty for debate. I loved it!

 

 

 

The short story is available at The New Yorker but not all can access it online as a free read:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1978/06/26/girl

Jamaica Kincaid is an Antiguan-American novelist, essayist, gardener. Born in St John’s, Antigua, she lives in North Bennington, Vermont during the summers and is Professor of African and African American Studies in Residence at Harvard University during the academic year. At the Bottom of the River was her first collection of short stories and reflections. Her novels See Now Then (2013) chronicles the late-life dissolution of a marriage by way of the jilted wife’s acerbic ruminations.

If you have any thoughts or comments about this story, do post your opinion.

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

 

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month.

Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

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Read an E-Book Week, March 2 to March 7, 2020

March 2, 2020

If you are reading this post, you are fond of books and love to spend your time reading. This is National Read an E-Book Week, an annual celebration of reading e-books. Thousands of readers and authors join this literary event to load up their Kindles, download ebooks from their local library, and support reading events, friends, authors, storytellers, and indie publishers.

All my short stories at the right margin are in ebook format,  free on Amazon for Kindle, on Smashwords (Apple ibooks, Kobo, and more).

Between the Darkness and the Dawn   Does the ghost of Nathaniel Hawthorne stalk the front parlor of the Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts? Historical ghost story.

 Magic of the Loons   What mysteries can you imagine reside in loon magic? Jackson has a secret rendezvous with Kai, his Loon Woman. A short story of passion, mystery, and the power of love.

 The Haunting of Jezebeth   When Deborah goes home to her family farm house by the Dunwich River, she confronts ghostly powers who demand her surrender. Witchcraft is not the only power.

Hildie at the Ghost ShorHildie the lace maker, Mistress of Runecraft, knows the secret spells of the runes from the wind-god Odin in a land of Loki the trickster and flame-eyed ravens. Who will survive beyond the ghost shore? Historical fiction.

I have four more stories published in magazines that will be available in ebook format this year. Coming soon!

 

Where is your most comfortable place to read? In bed? Cozy chair? Park bench? Coffee shop? Mine is at the kitchen table in the mornings and also to snuggle into my sofa at night.

 

Got a favorite quote? Please post in the comments.

 

Happy Reading to All!

 

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Baba-Yaga and Vasilisa: Creative Fires

Vasilisa the Beautiful, Russian folktale (1860s)

Tuesday’s Fairy Tale      January 14, 2020

 

Baba-Yaga lives in a hut made of chicken legs with a fence of skulls on sticks.  Magical words can make the hut turn. There are variations of this fairy tale over the years (Vasilisa the Wise, Vasilisa the Brave, Vasilisa the Beautiful, Vasilisa the Fair), but  in most versions Baba-Yaga is known to eat people, especially children who smell of Russian flesh.  Some versions have Baba-Yaga as benevolent, in others, she is wicked. This is a story about fear, strength in adversity, wit, wisdom, and what we commonly define as witches. The word baba refers to babushka, or grandmother.

Vasilisa is a child who lives with her nasty stepmother and stepsisters. The ugly stepsisters send Vasilisa to the visit the witch Baba-Yaga, so she can fetch her magical fire and bring it back to light their house. But the sisters are hoping Baba-Yaga will devour Vasilisa the beautiful.

The frightened little girl spends days walking through the dark woods to Baba-Yaga’s hut.

 

Once Vasilisa meets Baba-Yaga, she discovers this crone is a wild and untamed woman. She is cruel to Vasilisa and forces her to perform unending tasks every day, promising no firelight to bring home. In desperation, Vasilisa calls upon her secret doll that her mother had given her before she died.

“Please help me. Baba-Yaga has given me an impossible task to do and if I fail she will eat me.”

What happens? Vasilisa defeats her opponent with truth, integrity, and a secret power.

This story is actually a reflection of maternal wisdom and feminine intuition, full of symbolism of light, darkness, and the feminine face of power. One might call it a dark goddess story because it identifies the blessings of all mothers (including Baba-Yaga archetypes) who came before us to achieve our strength, liberation, and independence. Sophia Wisdom is here too. We fear aging and death. The interaction of Sophia Wisdom (within Vasilisa) with Baba-Yaga is a force that assists Vasilisa in confronting her highest fear, death.

 

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés interprets the story of Baba-Yaga in her seminal work on fairy-tales, Women who Run with the Wolves. Estés writes:

“To my mind, the old Russian tale “Vasalisa” is a woman’s initiation story with few essential bones astray. It is about the realization that most things are not as they seem. As women we call upon our intuition and instincts in order to sniff things out. We use all our senses to wring the truth from things, to extract nourishment from our own ideas, to see what there is to see to know what there is to know, to be the keepers of our own creative fires, and to have intimate knowing about the Life/Death/ Life cycles of all nature – that is an initiated woman.”

“Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women.  The Wild Woman is both magic and medicine.  Fertile and life-giving, it is a psychology of women in the truest sense, a knowing of the soul.”

From Caitlin Matthews author of Sophia Goddess of Wisdom,  “Sophia, Holy Wisdom, came into the Russian soul never to leave it. She is deeply associated with the native images of Vasilisa and others.”

If you are tempted to read this 10-minute story, take the path through the woods with the little girl Vasilisa and meet Baba-Yaga. Read it here at SurLaLunefairytales.com :

http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/babayaga/index.html

 

Another version is here: Listen to the YouTube.com audio of A Story of Baba-Yaga

 

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